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. This week's performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, August 8; 8 p.m. Friday, August 9; 8 p.m. Saturday, August 10; and 2 p.m. Sunday, August 11. The production continues through Sunday, August 18. Tickets are $16.25. For reservations and details, call 252-8497.
Israel Vibration: The three steady-rockin' vocalists in this roots-reggae group--Cecil "Skelly" Spence, Albert "Apple" Craig and Lascelle "Wiss" Bulgin--met at Jamaica's Mona Rehabilitation Center, where each of the polio victims was placed by his family. United by the healing power of music and fueled by the Rastafarian faith, Israel Vibration released a number of classic sides between 1976 and 1983, when the three musicians split, opting for solo careers. RAS Records prez Doctor Dread brokered a harmonic reconvergence in '89, and the trio's been kicking out the lights ever since. Touring behind its latest RAS disc, On the Rock, the Vibe performs on Thursday, August 8, at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Roots Radics, and Motherland Soul share the all-ages bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $17, available at the scene and Mesa's Rasta Tings Reggae Shop. For details call 894-0707 or 461-8305.
Culture Clash: The standup comedian has evolved into a lone wolf, but the Chicano funnymen in the Culture Clash collective--Richard Montoya, Ricardo Salinas and Herbert Siguenza--continue to run in a pack, and their strength-in-numbers approach has emboldened them. True to its name, the trio boasts one of the comedy circuit's strongest sociopolitical agendas. Culture Clash performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, August 8; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, August 9; 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, August 10; and 8 p.m. Sunday, August 11, at the Improvisation, Rural and University (at Cornerstone mall) in Tempe. Tickets are $10 and $12. For details call 921-9877.
Friends of Dean Martinez: The Tucson combo comprises five current or former members of sand-core groups Giant Sand and Naked Prey, and the band's signed to Sub Pop, so you'd expect its backward-leaning originals and its covers of lounge-era standards like "Misty" and "I Wish You Love" to be vicious, cheesy or both. You'd be wrong. The group restricts the satire to its title, which was Friends of Dean Martin until Dino's lawyers had their say. The Friends' music is, for the most part, languid and lovely. Touring in support of its full-length debut, The Shadow of Your Smile, Dean Martinez performs two Valley shows on Thursday, August 8. The first is a free in-store at 5 p.m. at Zia Record Exchange, 105 West University in Tempe (call 829-1967). The second, which also features Quebec's campy Minstrels, and the Valley's Suicide Kings, follows at 9 at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School; the cover is $6.50 (call 265-4842).
Sovory: The San Francisco-born, L.A.-based singer/songwriter (his name is pronounced "Suh-vor-ee") is reminiscent of Seal backed by, say, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. The son of Seventh-day Adventists, young Sovory was fed a strict diet of classics--the symphony, the ballet--and largely banned from partaking in "low" (read: pop) culture. The childhood experience might have left emotional scars, but it's paid off artistically; the big-voiced singer now lives and breathes pop, but his brand sports a distinctive, soulful edge. Hyping his self-titled Polydor debut, Sovory performs a free show on Friday, August 9, at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Showtime is 9:30 p.m. For details call 967-1234.
Culture Clash: See Thursday.
The Grapes of Wrath: See Thursday.
Arizona Rattlers Playoffs: Coach Danny White's minigridiron squad hosts the Orlando Predators on Saturday, August 10, in an opening-round arena-ball playoff game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at the "Snake Pit": America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Tickets range from $9 to $37, available at the arena and Dillard's. For details call 514-8383, 379-7800 or 678-2222.
Ice-T: The way-controversial West Coast rapper and self-proclaimed "original gangsta"--remember 1993's "Cop Killer" brouhaha?--is also a sometime film actor (Johnny Mnemonic, Trespass), a published author (The Ice Opinion), a worthy social critic and, far too frequently, a violent, sexist pig. Ice is scheduled on Saturday, August 10, at Nile Theater, 105 West Main in Mesa. Delinquent Habits, and Raw Breed share the all-ages bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the club and Dillard's. Call 649-2766 or 678-2222.
Arizona Cardinals: Head coach Vince Tobin and his reconfigured NFL redbirds continue the preseason with a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, August 10. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. The team's next home match is the regular-season home opener at 5 p.m. Sunday, September 8, versus coach Jimmy Johnson's Miami Dolphins. Tickets range from $20 to $50. For details call 379-0102.