Pic Hits for the week

thursday
september 5
Guv: The Emperor Strikes Back: Guv: The Musical, the Star Wars: A New Hope of Arizona musiopolitical revues and one of the Valley's biggest hits of the early '90s, has given way to this sequel by the original Guv collaborators: Candice St. Jacques Miles (book/lyrics), Bruce Miles (executive producer) and Ben Tyler (director). The main target of the team's melodic barbs remains our fair-haired and now federally indicted governor, J. Fife Symington III, but the rest of the state's loony-tunes political/crime-fightin' crew gets plenty of satirical scraps. As Bruce Miles says, "What rhymes with 'Arpaio'?" The show opens with previews at 8 p.m. Thursday, September 5; 8 p.m. Friday, September 6; 8 p.m. Saturday, September 7; 2 p.m. Sunday, September 8; and 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 10. The official opening is at 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 11. The Theatre League production continues through Sunday, November 10. All performances are at the Scottsdale Playhouse, 7219 East Main. Preview tickets are $16.50; regular tickets are $20 and $22.50. They're available at Dillard's. Call 952-2881 or 678-2222.

Phoenix Firebirds Playoffs: The Triple A affiliate of baseball's San Francisco Giants, first-half champ of the Pacific Coast League's Southern Division, continues its first-round playoff series against the second-half Southern Division winner, the Las Vegas Stars, with game two at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, September 5, at Scottsdale Stadium, 7408 East Osborn. Tickets range from $3 to $7. Should the 'birds beat the Stars, they would host the first two games of the PCL Championship Series at 7:05 p.m. Monday, September 9; and the same time Tuesday, September 10. Call 275-0500.

Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers: Distortion king Thackery, longtime guitarist for the semilegendary Washington, D.C., band the Nighthawks, has fronted the Drivers since '92. The Thackery trio has come of age with the hot-off-the-presses Blind Pig disc Drive to Survive. The album is good through and through, but its hind end--including the wonderful shuffle "Long, Lean & Lanky" (featuring vocals by drummer Mark Stutso), the tasty instrumental "Burford's Bop" and a traditionalist take on the Jerry Lordan chestnut "Apache"--makes Drive a transcendent blues experience. The group performs at 9 p.m. Thursday, September 5, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $7.50. Call 265-4842.

friday
september 6
"Legends of Latin Jazz" featuring Pete Escovedo Band, and Ray Obiedo: Percussionist Escovedo, a.k.a. "Mr. E.," is the father of rhythm queen and 7-Up pitchwoman Sheila E., and Pete taught Ms. E. everything she knows about wielding the sticks. Sheila's featured on keyboardist Obiedo's new Windham Hill disc, Zulaya. Rounding out the "Legends" lineup is One Nation (featuring guitarist Gabriel Manzo and percussionist Tony Menjivar), keyboardist Bobby Espinosa, vibist Roger Glen, and the Arizona group Straight Up. Showtime is 7 p.m. Friday, September 6, at Union Hall, Sixth Street and Van Buren. Tickets are $19 and $23, available at the hall and Dillard's. For details call 253-7100 or 678-2222.

"Strange Rencounters": Arizona State University theatre professor Bill Akins joined forces with stage designer Douglas-Scott Goheen and "integrated media" artist Steve Gompf--whose worthy exhibit "Distant Visions" is currently on view at Scottsdale's Lisa Sette Gallery (see the Art Exhibits listing)--for this interactive exhibit about the "death force and our comic rage against it." (P.S. The trio's preferred definition of the little-used word "rencounters" is "a hostile meeting.") The exhibit opens with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, September 6, and continues through Saturday, October 26, in the Experimental Gallery at ASU Art Museum at Matthews Center, located at the intersection of Cady and Tyler malls on the ASU campus in Tempe. Regular viewing hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free. Call 965-2787.

"Super Old School" Tour: Soul acts War, the Delfonics, One Way, Deniece Williams, Rose Royce, Friends of Distinction, the Dazz Band, and Don Julian and the Larks are scheduled to perform on Friday, September 6, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets range from $16.50 to $21, available at the arena and Dillard's. Call 379-7800 or 678-2222.

CopperCon 16: Actor Alexander Siddig (Dr. Julian Bashir on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), author Lois McMaster Bujold and artist Alan Gutierrez are the guests of honor at the 16th annual sci-fi/fantasy blowout, sponsored by the Central Arizona Speculative Fiction Society. Also scheduled: panel discussions, demos, filking, a costume contest, an art show, and gaming, video and dealers' rooms. Proceeds from an auction of sci-fi memorabilia are split between Habitat for Humanity and the Phoenix Union High School District's Reading Is Fundamental program; a book drive benefits the Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association. CopperCon takes over the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, 7601 East Indian Bend in Scottsdale, on Friday, September 6; Saturday, September 7; and Sunday, September 8. Admission is $35, $15 for kids ages 9 to 13, available at the scene or Dillard's. For details call 237-2780, 991-2400 or 678-2222.

Clay Walker: The 26-year-old, chart-bustin' cowpoke from down Beaumont, Texas, way is the latest product to roll off the assembly line at the Nashville Cat in a Hat plant. Touring behind his recent Giant disc, Hypnotize the Moon, which has spawned monsters like the title track and "Only on Days That End in 'Y,'" Walker performs on Friday, September 6, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 and $30, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 254-7599 or 784-4444.

The Tempest: Planet Earth Multi-Cultural Theatre, 909 North Third Street, opens its season with Shakespeare's storm-lashed drama about magic and revenge. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, September 6; 8 p.m. Saturday, September 7; and 3 p.m. Sunday, September 8. The production continues through Saturday, October 5. Tickets are $9, $7 for students and seniors, $2 less on Sundays. Call 241-1828.

Guv: The Emperor Strikes Back: See Thursday.

saturday
september 7
ASU Football: Arizona State University's nationally ranked Sun Devils, coached by Bruce Snyder and led by quarterback Jake "The Snake" Plummer, kick off this year's schedule with a home match against the University of Washington Huskies at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, September 7, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. The team's next home game is at 7 p.m. Saturday, September 14, against North Texas State University. For ticket and other information, call the Sun Devil Sports Box Office at 965-2381. Tickets are also available at Dillard's; call 678-2222.

Laura Love Band: This Seattle band marries Caribbean rhythms and upbeat folk strains, and calls the result "Afro/Celtic." The group performs a benefit for the Valley of the Sun Gay and Lesbian Center on Saturday, September 7, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Tucson comedian Kenny Jacobs, and Phoenix performance artist D.W. McKim share the stage. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 the day of the show. Call 265-7283 or 786-2680.

"The Wonderful World of Horses" featuring the Royal Lippizaner Stallions: Tons of equine fun are in store at this 27th annual event, featuring traditional dressage demonstrations and other high-stepping and -jumping routines by Austria's lovely Lippizans. Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. Saturday, September 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, September 8, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Tickets are $14.50 and $18.50, available at the arena and Dillard's. For details call 379-7800 or 678-2222.

CopperCon 16: See Friday.
Guv: The Emperor Strikes Back: See Thursday.
"Strange Rencounters": See Friday.
The Tempest: See Friday.

sunday
september 8
Arizona Cardinals: Head coach Vince Tobin and his reconfigured NFL redbirds play Jimmy Johnson's Miami Dolphins in the Cards' regular-season home opener, scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday, September 8, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. Arizona's next home game is at 1 p.m. Sunday, September 29, against the St. Louis Rams. Tickets range from $20 to $50, available at Dillard's. For details call 379-0102 or 678-2222.

Sleepy LaBeef: Sleepy's latest Rounder disc, I'll Never Lay My Guitar Down, finds the rotund rockabilly in his usual fine form: cranking out slabs of contagious, gospel-tinged roots and honky-tonk blues, all sung in his trademark croak, which is reminiscent of an overturned gravel truck. The Grievous Angels share the bill. Showtime is 9 p.m. Sunday, September 8, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $6.50. For more information, call 265-4842.

"Remembering Raymond Carver": The Divergent Arts Poetry Society celebrates its 11th anniversary with this season-opening event, a special reading of Carver poetry and prose featuring 17 Valley literary lights. Showtime is 7 p.m. Sunday, September 8, at Bookstar at Town & Country Shopping Center, 20th Street and Camelback. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. For details call 947-0371.

Ellis Paul: The Boston folkie and Rounder recording artist is the real thing; he sports a tattoo bearing Woody Guthrie's likeness on one shoulder. Ellis kicks off the fall concert series at the Songsmith, located at Congregational Church of the Valley, 120th Street and Shea in Scottsdale, with a show on Sunday, September 8. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 the day of the show. For details call 860-1624 or 451-4565.

CopperCon 16: See Friday.
Guv: The Emperor Strikes Back: See Thursday.
The Tempest: See Friday.

"The Wonderful World of Horses" featuring the Royal Lippizaner Stallions: See Saturday.

monday
september 9
Evan Handler: The author of Time on Fire: My Comedy of Terrors, an account of the writer's battle with leukemia drawn from his one-man, off-Broadway show, reads from and signs copies of the book on Monday, September 9, at Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7, $3.50 for students and seniors, available at the center and Dillard's; proceeds benefit the Leukemia Society of America. For details call 922-5467, 965-5377 or 678-2222.

tuesday
september 10
Paul Cebar and the Milwaukeeans: These Milwaukee denizens don't play polkas, but they're fluent in just about everything else; their sassy R&B's been deep-fried in sounds as diverse as surf, soukous, conjunto, Creole, funk and swing. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tuesday, September 10, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $3. For more information, call 265-4842.

Guv: The Emperor Strikes Back: See Thursday.
"Strange Rencounters": See Friday.

wednesday
september 11
Primitive Radio Gods: Former air-traffic controller Chris O'Connor and his California garage mates are touring behind what their label, Columbia, rightfully (and, needless to say, gleefully) terms "one of the least expensive hit records ever made"--Rocket--and the bizarre fuse that lighted it: the trip-hoppy single "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand." Made for $1,000 on a taped-together 1969 Ampex 16-track deck, Rocket also includes the return-to-glitter-rock ode "The Rise and Fall of Ooo Mau" and homages to Led Zeppelin and Elton John. "Hip-populist" O'Connor and company are scheduled on Wednesday, September 11, at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Seattle's Gus shares the all-ages bill. Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 967-1234 or 784-4444.

The Temptations, and the Four Tops: The Motown vocal quartets vie for soul supremacy on Wednesday, September 11, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $35, available at the arena and Dillard's. For details call 379-7800 or 678-2222.

Guv: The Emperor Strikes Back: See Thursday.
"Strange Rencounters": See Friday.

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