Pic Hits for the week

thursday
august 1
The Grapes of Wrath: Frank Galati won a Tony Award for his adaptation of John Steinbeck's landmark novel about the Joad family's flight from the Dust Bowl's devastation to the broken promise of golden California, land of milk, honey and barbarism. The Phoenix-based Actors Group presents Galati's take on Grapes in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, August 1; 8 p.m. Friday, August 2; 8 p.m. Saturday, August 3; and 2 p.m. Sunday, August 4. The production continues through Sunday, August 18. Tickets are $16.25. For reservations and details, call 252-8497.

"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. For details call 990-7342.

The New Play Cabaret: Actors Theatre of Phoenix is behind this package of staged readings of new works by members of the Arizona-based Writers Circle. Cabaret opens Thursday, August 1, with a program of short pieces by Monica Long Ross, Gus Edwards, Linda DeArmond and Wendy Myers. Michael Grady's White Picket Fence, a story about racial integration set on the eve of the Apollo 8 launch, is scheduled on Friday, August 2. Tucson's Howard Allen penned Wonderland, a cross between a Vietnam war drama and a Through the Looking Glass-style fantasy; it's presented on Saturday, August 3. The production closes on Sunday, August 4, with a performance of In a Magic World, a musical work-in-progress by Elise Forier and Rob Hartmann. All shows start at 7 p.m. in Stage West at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe; a discussion follows each presentation. Nightly admission is $5. For details call 253-6701.

friday
august 2
Arizona Cardinals: Head coach Vince Tobin and his reconfigured NFL redbirds open preseason play with a game against the Oakland Raiders on Friday, August 2. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. Tickets range from $20 to $50. For details call 379-0102.

Heard Museum Summer Video Festival: Masters of Native American and Hispanic arts are featured in the various short subjects screened at this two-day event, which takes place at Mrs. Helen C. Lincoln Auditorium at the Heard, 22 East Monte Vista. Sessions titled "Cultures of Mexico" and "Cultural Journeys" are scheduled on Friday, August 2; they include films such as Ute Legacy and Mayordomia: Ritual, Gender and Cultural Identity in a Zapotec Community. "Masters in Art," on Saturday, August 3, features works about individual artists, including Hopi painter Dan Namingha and Santa Clara sculptor Michael Naranjo. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with a break for lunch each day. The festival is included in the regular admission price. For details call 252-8840.

U.S. Hot Rod Monster Jam: Grave Digger, Bearfoot, Predator, Airbourne Range, and Survivor are the mechanical stars of this annual gathering of the monster trucks, set for 8 p.m. Friday, August 2; and the same time Saturday, August 3, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Tickets are $18, $8 for kids age 12 and under, available at the arena and Dillard's. Call 379-7800 or 678-2222.

Black Uhuru: The name translates as "Black Sounds of Freedom," and, while the supermilitant reggae group from Jamaica has shuffled its lineup almost incessantly during its 20-year existence, Uhuru's commitment to its ideals hasn't wavered once. The group is scheduled on Friday, August 2, at Nile Theater, 105 West Main in Mesa. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Alternatix. Call 649-2766 or 244-8444.

"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": See Thursday.
The Grapes of Wrath: See Thursday.
The New Play Cabaret: See Thursday.

saturday
august 3
Misha and Cipa Dichter: Four hands are better than two, and the husband-and-wife piano team proves it again on Saturday, August 3, with a program of works by Schumann, Brahms, Shostakovich, Dvorak and Arensky. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, concluding the center's "Summer Classical Series." Tickets are $22 and $26, available at the scene and Ticketmaster. Call 994-2787 or 784-4444.

Monster Mike Welch Band: Until recently, the young, Anglo blues gun from Boston was known as "Little Mikey," and 16-year-old Welch hasn't completely outgrown the nickname. Two examples: He's proudly incorporated his new designation, "Monster"--supplied by faux bluesman Dan Aykroyd--into his stage name, yet he strongly denies the obvious Stevie Ray Vaughan influence on his debut, These Blues Are Mine, preferring to be mentioned in the same breath as Albert King and Earl Hooker. Whoa, Bean Town boy. Despite Stevie Ray's prevailing status as white-album-rock god/martyr, the late Vaughan was true blue, and he didn't exactly learn his trade from Arthur Godfrey. Monster Mike don't know much about history, but he plays a fairly decent blues guitar. Showtime is 9 p.m. Saturday, August 3, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $4. For details call 265-4842.

Holly Hofmann and Bill Cunliffe: Hofmann's a noted flutist, and Cunliffe's mantel is home to the 1989 Thelonious Monk Jazz Piano Award. Hofmann and Cunliffe are backed by the Valley rhythm section of drummer Dom Moio and bassist Warren Jones at a concert scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, August 3, in the Territorial Room at SunBurst Resort, 4925 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. The show continues the resort's "Summer Jazz Series." Admission is $12. Call 945-7666 or 1-800-528-7867.

"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": See Thursday.
The Grapes of Wrath: See Thursday.
Heard Museum Summer Video Festival: See Friday.
The New Play Cabaret: See Thursday.
U.S. Hot Rod Monster Jam: See Friday.

sunday
august 4
The Furthur Festival: If the recent H.O.R.D.E. fest didn't slake your thirst for Grateful Dead-style jamming, this one ought to do it. Jerry Garcia won't be in attendance--except, surely, in spirit--but many of his compatriots and pals will be. Dead heads Bob Weir and Mickey Hart are scheduled to perform with their respective groups, Ratdog and Mystery Box, and unofficial Dead member Bruce Hornsby shares the marquee with fellow support acts Los Lobos, Hot Tuna, the Subdudes, and the Flying Karamazov Brothers. The music starts at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, August 4, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Also on the agenda, as part of the fest's "Vendors Faire": the exhibit "Art and the Love of Music," featuring works by Garcia, Roberta Weir, John Lennon, John Kahn, Herb Greene, Stanley Mouse, Allison Lefcort and others. Tickets are $28, available at Ticketmaster. For more information, call 254-7599 or 784-4444.

Know Qwestion, and Brothers Grimm: Two of the area's best hip-hop acts showcase their b-boy skills on Sunday, August 4, at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. KQ, comprising Cappuccino and Cash on raps and P-body on beats, displays an East Coast street style mated with a more expansive Western flavor; see the story on page 106. The two-tone Brothers Grimm have been making the Valley scene for years, and they remain near the top of the local heap. Negro League, and Tucson's Unforeseen Satellite share the all-ages bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster. For details call 894-0707 or 784-4444.

The Grapes of Wrath: See Thursday.
The New Play Cabaret: See Thursday.

monday
august 5
Superdrag: The potential for irony is the best--probably the only--gift MTV has given American music, and Superdrag's single "Sucked Out" is the latest example. (Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" was, arguably, the first.) The song features the musical question, "Who sucked out the feeling?"--referring to rock 'n' roll. The answer, according to Superdrag's John Davis? MTV, which, naturally, placed the piece in buzz-clip rotation. Knoxville, Tennessee's gifted 'drag returns to Tempe for the second time in as many months on Monday, August 5. The power-punkers in Nada Surf are also worth a listen, and they share the marquee along with Scarce. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. at Gibson's, 410 South Mill. Tickets are $5 in advance, $6 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster. Call 967-1234 or 784-4444.

tuesday
august 6
Weapon of Choice: The L.A. collective might be America's premier funk act, which isn't saying that much these days. But this Weapon would've been fully loaded in funk's heyday, which is, of course, saying something righteous. Lonnie Marshall's eight-piece wrecking crew brings its bubbling caldron of politicized rap and horny grooves to Boston's, 910 North McClintock in Tempe, for a show on Tuesday, August 6. Geggy Tah, and Fred Green share the stage. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $6.50 in advance, $8.50 the day of the show, available at Alternatix. For more information, call 921-7343 or 244-8444.

Taken for a Ride: Michael Moore's 1989 documentary Roger & Me was a darkly comic, "pets or meat" riff on the heartlessness and corporate gall of General Motors and GM chair Roger Smith. This work by Jim Klein and Martha Olson is more chilling, alleging that one of Smith's predecessors, '30s-vintage propaganda master Alfred P. Sloan, systematically dismantled America's clean, viable and perfectly efficient rapid-transit system--the streetcar industry--so he could corner the transportation market with his own line of environmentally destructive and extremely profitable autos. "What's good for General Motors is good for America"? For shame. Taken for a Ride is the latest installment in the worthy P.O.V. series, billed as "broadcast television's only continuing forum for independent nonfiction film." Ride airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday, August 6, on KAET-TV, Channel 8. For details call 965-2308.

Therapy?: The hard-core metal group from Belfast, Northern Ireland--and what better place for a hard-core metal group to hail from?--brings its brutal sonic shrapnel back to the Valley for a gig in support of its new A&M disc, Infernal Love, on Tuesday, August 6, at the Mason Jar, 2303 East Indian School. You Am I shares the all-ages bill. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance, $6 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 956-6271 or 784-4444.

"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": See Thursday.

wednesday
august 7
House of Blues Barnburner Tour 1996: The latest in a mushrooming line of summer package tours, the Barnburner features a mixed, though not uninteresting, bag of acts: cool spaz Joe Cocker, Buddy Guy, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the Radiators, the Gales Brothers and locals Chuck Hall, and Carvin Jones. Showtime is 5 p.m. Wednesday, August 7, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Tickets range from $17.50 to $50, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 254-7599 or 784-4444.

"Three Short Plays by Christopher Durang": The final installment in the Brown-Bag Lunchtime Theatre series, co-sponsored by Herberger Theater Center and the Arizona State University theatre department, is this trio of comedies by prickly playwright/social critic Durang: Mrs. Sorken, Funeral Parlor and DMV Tyrant. The run opens with a performance at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, August 7, in Stage West at the center, 222 East Monroe, and continues through Friday, August 16. Tickets are $3.50; attendees should bring their own lunches. For details call 252-8497.

"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": See Thursday.

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