Pic Hits for the week

thursday
july 25
Smokin' Grooves Tour 1996: Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, comprising Rita and Bob Marley's kids Ziggy, Sharon, Cedella and Stephen, are first among equals on this fine bill, produced by Dan Aykroyd's House of Blues, the same entity responsible for the upcoming House of Blues Tour 1996. There's not a loser on the Smokin' Grooves marquee, which includes the crossover-smashing Fugees, Cypress Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, and Michael Franti's angry, funky Spearhead; see the story on page 98. Showtime is 6 p.m. Thursday, July 25, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Tickets range from $20 to $37.50, available at Ticketmaster. Call 254-7599 or 784-4444.

"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": Valley multimedia artist Gompf has created a pseudohistory of television and a few of its faux pioneers in this compelling exhibit. The installation features sometimes disturbing, nickelodeon-style loops "broadcast" on a variety of lovingly handcrafted but oddly threatening machines. "Distant Visions" continues through Saturday, September 28, at Lisa Sette Gallery, 4142 North Marshall Way in Scottsdale. Viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays (and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays), noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment. Admission is free. Call 990-7342.

Unlikely Trio: Mike Fenlason of Mesa's Unlikely Theater, 2950 South Alma School, Suite 6, penned the three plays in this set: Vanitas Scene ("a love story for the millennium"), My Own Country ("a tale of occupation, collaboration and survival in postwar France") and Athene ("a comedy about one woman's tenuous grasp of her sanity and society's firm grasp of her"). The plays are performed this week at the Mesa theatre as previews of their planned August production by the Unlikely troupe at New York City's Raw Space. Vanitas and Country are scheduled on Thursday, July 25; and Sunday, July 28. Athene is slated for Friday, July 26; and Saturday, July 27. All shows start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7, $5 for students and seniors. For details call 777-2771.

National Independent Bookstore Week: If you're a fan of chain-threatened independent book coves like Tempe's Changing Hands Bookstore and Those Were the Days, Phoenix's Book Gallery and Annie's Book Shop and Scottsdale's Bookmaster, now's a good time to show your appreciation. The Valley Independent Booksellers Association sponsors the local commemoration of this national celebration of literary "mom and pop" operations, which continues Thursday, July 25; Friday, July 26; and Saturday, July 27. For details, or the location of an indie bookseller near you, call 967-4729 or 756-2701.

Phoenix Firebirds: The Valley's Triple A affiliate of baseball's San Francisco Giants continues its Pacific Coast League season with home games against the Tucson Toros at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, July 25; and the same time Friday, July 26. The 'birds host the Calgary Cannons at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, July 27; 6:05 p.m. Sunday, July 28; 7:05 p.m. Monday, July 29; and 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, July 30. The scene is Scottsdale Stadium, 7408 East Osborn. For details call 275-0500.

"La Phoeniquera XVI": MARS Artspace, located at 126 South Central, in Luhrs Office Center, celebrates the art and artists of Arizona with its annual summer-season blowout. This year's exhibition, juried by Phoenix Art Museum's curator of 20th-century art, David Rubin, features works by Tina Sotis, Frank Ybarra, Nancy Scheer, Linda K. Foss-Asakawa, Brent Bond and many others. It continues through Friday, August 9. Viewing hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free. Call 253-3541.

friday
july 26
Paul Rodriguez: The Mexico-born, East L.A.-reared comedian is beloved in the Valley, so much so that he chose Phoenix as the site to premiere his 1994 film A Million to Juan, an extremely loose adaptation of Mark Twain's story "The Million Pound Bank Note." Rodriguez returns for a short stand at Tempe's Improvisation, Rural and University (at Cornerstone mall). Shows are scheduled at 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, July 26; and the same times Saturday, July 27. Tickets are $20 and $25. For details call 921-9877.

Daniel Kemmis: The mayor of Missoula, Montana, is also the author of 1990's Community and the Politics of Place and 1995's The Good City and the Good Life: Renewing the Sense of Community. Named one of the 100 visionaries of the contemporary world by the Utne Reader, Kemmis speaks on "Government and Community Identity" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 26, at the Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 East Lincoln Drive in Scottsdale, continuing Arizona Humanities Council's "Voices From Communities in Transition" series. A reception and a book signing follow the lecture. Admission is free. Call 257-0335.

Road Trip: Arizona Cowpuncher's Reunion Rodeo in Flagstaff: This 18th annual hoe-down for working cowpokes and their families is scheduled Friday, July 26; Saturday, July 27; and Sunday, July 28, at Fort Tuthill County Park, located three miles south of Flag at I-17 exit 337. Daily performances begin at 1 p.m. Rodeo dances are scheduled at 9 Friday and Saturday nights. For details call 1-520-632-7730 or 1-520-445-6915.

"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": See Thursday.
"La Phoeniquera XVI": See Thursday.
National Independent Bookstore Week: See Thursday.
Phoenix Firebirds: See Thursday.
Unlikely Trio: See Thursday.

saturday
july 27
Lollapalooza '96: Headliner Metallica has raised a big stink via its new album, Load, an effort that, to put it delicately, is considered lame in some circles. And Soundgarden's latest, Down on the Upside, is no Superunknown. So there should be tons of cool controversy raging on the main stage, whose lineup includes the newly added and always fun Devo, the soon-to-pasture Ramones, Rancid, the Shaolin Kung Fu of China (see the story on page 106), Screaming Trees, and Psychotica. The second stage features Soul Coughing (see the album review on page 104), Sponge, the Melvins, Satchel, Jonny Polonsky, and Sweden's Fireside. Sharing the understage are the Cows, Long Fin Killie, Thirty Ought Six, Varnaline, and Crumb. The music starts at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at Compton Terrace, I-10 and Queen Creek Road in Chandler. Tickets are $38, available at Dillard's; $1 from each one sold benefits Improve Our Communities. For more information, check out the festival's on-line site at http://www.lollapalooza.com or call 678-2222.

Awadagin Pratt: The dreadlocked, informal, highly unorthodox classical pianist, the first African American to win the Naumburg International Piano Competition, continues the "Summer Classical Series" at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, with a performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 27. Tickets are $20 and $24, available at the center and Ticketmaster. Call 994-2787 or 784-4444.

Arizona Cowpuncher's Reunion Rodeo in Flagstaff: See Friday.
"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": See Thursday.
"La Phoeniquera XVI": See Thursday.
National Independent Bookstore Week: See Thursday.
Phoenix Firebirds: See Thursday.
Paul Rodriguez: See Friday.
Unlikely Trio: See Thursday.

sunday
july 28
Jackopierce: The Dallas-based crypto-pop duet, comprising vocalists/guitarists and former drama students Jack O'Neill and Cary Pierce, has mutated into a real group with the recent additions of drummer Earl Darling and bassist Clay Pendergrass. Touring behind its second A&M disc, Finest Hour, the follow-up to 1994's T-Bone Burnett-produced Bringing On the Weather, the four-piece 'pierce performs on Sunday, July 28, in the Fender Showcase Room at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Stir shares the all-ages bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. The cover is $5. Call 894-0707.

Matinee at the Bijou: The mission of this yearlong series is to re-create the ambiance of the silver-screen family matinees of the '30s and '40s. This week's show, which starts at noon Sunday, July 28, on KAET-TV, Channel 8, includes a Betty Boop cartoon; the short Hollywood on Parade, starring Jean Harlow and Gary Cooper; part four of the serial Zorro Rides Again; and the feature Ladies Crave Excitement. For details call 965-2308.

Uncle Luke: Rapper Luke, a.k.a. Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew, brings his badass self and the No Good but So Good male dancers to Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, for a show at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 28. Luther, who bills himself as the "black Hefner," is lewd, crude, tasteless and artless--the latter being his only true crime--but his once-controversial act seems pretty toothless compared to Nineties gangsta rap. Tickets range from $18.50 to $50, available at the scene and Dillard's. Call 267-9373 or 678-2222.

Arizona Cowpuncher's Reunion Rodeo in Flagstaff: See Friday.
Phoenix Firebirds: See Thursday.
Unlikely Trio: See Thursday.

monday
july 29
Slam Off!: The three-round performance-poetry rumble pits the slam teams from Phoenix and Mesa. The lingual jabs and roundhouse rhymes start flying at 6 p.m. Monday, July 29, at Beeloe's Cafe and Underground Bar, 501 South Mill in Tempe. Admission is by donation; all proceeds help to defer the cost of sending the teams to the National Poetry Slam, scheduled in August in Portland, Oregon. Call 863-0284 or 894-1230.

Tracy Byrd: The tall Texan with the long drawl and the truckload of contemporary-country hits--"Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous," "Walking to Jerusalem," "Heaven in My Woman's Eyes," et al.--performs all-ages shows at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Monday, July 29, at Toolies Country, 4231 West Thomas. Tickets range from $15 to $25, available at Toolies and Dillard's. Call 272-3100 or 678-2222.

Phoenix Firebirds: See Thursday.

tuesday
july 30
Gloria Estefan: The Havana-born Cuban American has gone from the humid "Conga" days with Miami Sound Machine to the watered-down princess of power-ballad pop, but Estefan's long ride on the charts hasn't completely doused her flames. When Gloria lets down that curly mane and locks into a Latina groove, the joint still jumps. The crooner of "Reach," the official power ballad of the '96 Summer Olympics, performs on Tuesday, July 30, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $22.50 to $53.55, available at the arena and Dillard's. Call 379-7800 or 678-2222.

Everclear: Art Alexakis and his Portland, Oregon-based crew return to the Valley as the headliner of a big gig on Tuesday, July 30, at Mesa Centennial Hall, 201 North Center. Spacehog, Tracy Bonham, and 7 Year Bitch share the bill. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are $22.35, available at Mesa Community Center and Dillard's box offices. For details call 644-2178 or 678-2222.

Los Straitjackets: Nashville's 'jackets may seem a little silly--they wear Mexican wrestling masks onstage and brag that they were influenced by Link Wray and Ray Coniff--but they have one of the tastiest sounds around. Their new Upstart album, the all-instrumental, Ben Vaughn-produced AViva! Los Straitjackets, is flat-out fabulous, from the Middle Eastern-tinged "The Casbah" to the happy-surfer strains of "Tsunami!" to the "Theme From The High Chaparral"-style "Lonely Apache." Flathead shares the bill on Tuesday, July 30, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Showtime is 9 p.m. The cover is $6. Call 265-4842.

"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": See Thursday.
"La Phoeniquera XVI": See Thursday.
Phoenix Firebirds: See Thursday.

wednesday
july 31
Desert Twilight Tour: The docent-guided, one-hour walk through Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, in Papago Park, offers wildlife encounters and a relatively temperate way to experience the well-baked summertime garden. The tour steps off at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 31. Participation is free with regular admission: $6, $5 for seniors, $1 for kids ages 5 to 12, free for those younger. For details call 941-1225.

"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": See Thursday.
"La Phoeniquera XVI": See Thursday.

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