Pic Hits for the week

thursday
september 19
Carousel: Royal National Theatre of Great Britain's retooled production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is not to be confused with Hollywood's light-handed, Production Code-governed adaptation of '56, which starred Gordon MacRae as a rowdy carny barker and Shirley Jones as his (much) better half. This version is largely unsentimental, featuring frank explorations of the work's darker edges: spousal abuse, suicide and the struggles of single motherhood. The score still falls somewhere between the sublime ("If I Loved You") and the bombastic ("You'll Never Walk Alone"). Final performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, September 19; 8 p.m. Friday, September 20; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, September 21; and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, September 22, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Tickets range from $28 to $42, available at Gammage and Dillard's. Call 965-3434 or 678-2222.

"In My Room: Teenagers in Their Bedrooms": This candid, sometimes disturbing installation by photographer Adrienne Salinger, an associate professor at Syracuse University, is based on the book of the same name, which was itself based on Salinger's seven years of hanging out with teens in their sanctum sanctorums and at public places like malls and gyms. It continues through Sunday, December 1, in the Mezzanine Gallery at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Viewing is free; hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays (to 8 p.m. Thursdays), noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. For details about the related, though diametrical, exhibit "I Can Fly," see "Young at Art" in Kid Pics. Call 994-2787.

Sponge: The title of Sponge's Wax Ecstatic (Columbia), the band's follow-up to its platinum disc Rotting Pinata, comes close to summing up what this Motor City ensemble's all about: rock--real rock--rock with a '90s sheen and a glam-era undertow. Vocalist Vinnie Dombroski, guitarist Joey Mazzola and company headline a bill that includes Stabbing Westward, the Joykiller, and Agnes Gooch. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, September 19, at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Tickets are $12, available at the club and Ticketmaster. Call 894-0707 or 784-4444.

friday
september 20
Harkins Theatres Anniversary Film Festival: The independent Valley chain celebrates its 63rd year in show biz with its annual spate of value-priced classics. The Marilyn Monroe vehicles How to Marry a Millionaire and The Seven Year Itch play at Centerpoint 11, Mill and University in Tempe. A couple of Gene Kelly flicks, An American in Paris and Singin' in the Rain, are scheduled at Bell Tower 8, 51st Avenue and Bell in Glendale. My Fair Lady screens at Fiesta 5, 1520 South Longmore in Mesa, and The Sound of Music unspools at Shea 14, 74th Street and Shea in Scottsdale. All of the films are unrated. Admission to each showing is 25 cents; all proceeds benefit Arizona AIDS Project's Camp Hakuna Matata, a facility for those infected with the HIV virus. The fest starts on Friday, September 20, and continues daily, through Thursday, September 26. For more information, see Showtimes or call the individual theatres.

Suzanne Westenhoefer: The mop-topped comedian's act is centered almost exclusively on her status as a lesbian, but her zings are really up and as universal as they can be, under the circumstances. That's made her popular with a crowd for which gays usually aren't: yuppies. Maybe it's because she hits yups where they reside--and repose--with quips like "Homosexuals are like gold Visa cards; we're everywhere you want to be." But our all-time-favorite 'hoeferism has nothing to do with sexual identity and everything to do with poetic justice: "If some retired football player had to stab his wife, why couldn't it have been Frank Gifford?" Go, girl. Suzanne performs at 8 p.m. Friday, September 20, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are available at the center and Ticketmaster. Call 994-2787 or 784-4444.

"Together" featuring Sandy Duncan, and Phoenix Symphony: Guest conductor Timothy Russell leads the ensemble in its season opener, which features perpetually perky Duncan, along with Don Correia and Guy Stroman, in a song-and-dance pops blowout of Broadway faves from On the Town, Peter Pan and Singin' in the Rain. Shows are scheduled at 8 p.m. Friday, September 20; and the same time Saturday, September 21, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Tickets range from $13 to $37, available at the symphony box office and Dillard's; call 264-6363 or 678-2222.

Carousel: See Thursday.
"In My Room: Teenagers in Their Bedrooms": See Thursday.

saturday
september 21
Phoenix Art Museum Grand-Opening Weekend: The museum, 1625 North Central, shows off its new face and its 160,000 square feet of breathing space with a two-day, indoor/outdoor party titled "Paint the Town," featuring festivities such as art minigolf on a course designed by Valley artists; interactive experiences like "Create-Your-Own-Art" and "Dreamwheel"; a jazz concert; and tours of PAM's new Art of Our Time contemporary galleries and the rest of the facility's reconfigured viewing areas. Celebration hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, September 21; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, September 22. Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza snips the ribbon at the formal opening ceremony, which starts at 11 a.m. Saturday. Admission is free. Call 257-1880 or 257-1222.

Phoenix Coyotes: The Valley's new professional hockey franchise opens its inaugural season in Arizona with a preseason game against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, September 21. More preseason matches are scheduled on Monday, September 23, versus the Vancouver Canucks, and on Wednesday, September 25, against the Dallas Stars. All games face off at 7 p.m. at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Tickets are $8.75 and $26.75, available at the arena and Dillard's. Call 379-7800, 379-7825 or 678-2222.

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