Pic Hits for the week

thursday
january 9
Swinging on a Star: The Johnny Burke Musical: The late Burke wrote the words to some of our most memorable popular songs--including the title tune, "Pennies From Heaven," "But Beautiful," "Moonlight Becomes You" and "Misty"--and most of his career high notes are hit in this Tony-nominated homage by writer/director Michael Leeds. Arizona Theatre Company continues its 30th-anniversary season with the Southwestern premiere of the work. This week's performances are at 2 and 8 p.m. Thursday, January 9; 8 p.m. Friday, January 10; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, January 11; 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday, January 12; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, January 15, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. The production continues through Sunday, January 19. Tickets range from $24 to $37, available at Herberger and Dillard's; call 252-8497 or 503-5555.

"Rick Hards: Former Lives": Chicago-based artist Hards was struck with the inspiration for the small-scale works in "Former Lives" at an antique store, where he first encountered those stark, sometimes chilling, photographic portraits called tintypes (a.k.a. ferrotypes) that were so popular during the Civil War era. Mostly, the painter deals in artistic reincarnation; he breathes a sort of surrealistic life into these old, dead souls by recasting their images in new, often ironic forms suggested by the subjects' original poses (a reanimation process not dissimilar to the one practiced by the Mexican woodcarvers of Oaxaca on their tortured piles of driftwood). "Former Lives" continues through Saturday, February 1, in the "through the arch" space at Scottsdale's Lisa Sette Gallery, 4142 North Marshall Way. Viewing is free; 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. Call 990-7342.

Kruse International Collector Car Show and Auction: A 1971 Pantera Detomaso coupe once owned by Elvis Presley--and sporting a King-size bullet hole, courtesy of the impatient and vehicularly challenged singer--will go on the block, along with other hot cars of the rich and infamous, at this annual blowout. It's scheduled Thursday, January 9; Friday, January 10; Saturday, January 11; Sunday, January 12; and Monday, January 13, at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, 5999 East Van Buren. Admission is $8, $3 for kids. Call 1-800-968-4444.

"The Art of John Lennon": Lennon was a great artist in one sense. In terms of visual art? Not so much. But this touring exhibit, approved by Yoko Ono and produced by the Laguna Beach-based Pacific Edge Gallery of California, does provide an overview for those curious about the late Beatle's paintings and drawings, which we'll charitably term "whimsical." For those who just want to linger in the vicinity of Lennon's aura a little longer, 20 of the songwriter's handwritten lyrics will be displayed. Viewing is free. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. Thursday, January 9; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, January 10; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, January 11; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, January 12, at the Borgata, 6166 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. For details call 998-1822.

Dannion Brinkley: Speaking of the afterlife, Brinkley was pronounced dead following a 1976 accident, displaying no heart or brain activity for about half an hour. He claims to have visited Heaven and "walked with angels," and the assertions snagged him a book deal and a Fox-TV movie of the week. He describes his life and near-death experiences at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 9, at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, 7601 East Indian Bend in Scottsdale. Tickets are $25. For details call 970-8543.

Disney's Beauty and the Beast: The musical-theater version of the tale is billed as a "silhouette" of the movie company's blockbuster "rather than a replica of it." Alan Menken and Howard Ashman wrote the score, which is augmented by seven new songs, six of them collaborations by Menken and Tim Rice. This week's performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, January 9; 8 p.m. Friday, January 10; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, January 11; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, January 12; 8 p.m. Tuesday, January 14; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, January 15, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. The touring production continues through Saturday, February 1. Tickets range form $20 to $60, available at Gammage and Dillard's; call 965-3434 or 503-5555.

friday
january 10
Kenny Davern and the Rhythm Men featuring Dave Frishberg, Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Tony DeNicola and Greg Cohen: Traditionalist Davern, a clarinetist who cut his teeth with the late Jack Teagarden, leads this worthy ensemble. The group inaugurates the "Jazz Evenings" supper-club/cabaret series at the Wrigley Conference Center Ballroom, 6001 North 24th Street, with shows at 7 Friday, January 10; and the same time Saturday, January 11. Tickets are $30. Call 956-5515.

Karaoke Queens at the St. James: Leo Cortez's work, billed as a "flashback fable filled with song and relentless repartee," centers on several musical drag queens mourning the closing of the title bathhouse. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, January 10; 8 p.m. Saturday, January 11; and 3 p.m. Sunday, January 12, at Planet Earth Multi-Cultural Theatre, 909 North Third Street. The production continues through Saturday, February 1. Tickets are $9, $7 for students and seniors; those in drag receive a $2 discount. Call 241-1828.

Orion String Quartet: The quartet-in-residence at New York's Lincoln Center is augmented by violinist Ida Kavafian and cellist Fred Sherry at a concert scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, January 10, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. The program includes Ravel's Sonata for Violin and Cello; Brahms' Sextet for Strings in G major, Opus 36; and Marsalis' "At the Octoroon Balls" for String Quartet. The show's co-sponsored by Phoenix Chamber Music Society and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Tickets are $18, $5 for students. Call 252-0095 or 994-2787.

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