Big Jack Johnson and the Oilers: Mississippi Delta bluesman Johnson is that rare artist who evokes the musical voices of others without undermining his own. You'll hear loving references to "Sittin' on Top of the World" and "Proud Mary" on his new disc, We Got to Stop This Killin', but you'll also hear a ragged-but-right tone poet at work, one with some passionate, pointed comments about a few unlovely things, as on the title track ("New babies being born with a gun in their hand/We got to stop this killin' right now"). See the related story on page 95. Showtime is 9 p.m. Thursday, February 13, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $5. Call 265-4842.
La Malinche: The subject of native culture and Spanish colonialism colliding in the Americas receives a generally upbeat treatment in Phoenix Art Museum's "Converging Cultures" installation (see the Art Exhibits listing). California's Carlos Morton paints a darker, more intimate portrait of the same in La Malinche, the playwright's recasting of Euripides' tragedy Medea against the backdrop of Cortez's conquest of Mexico. Arizona Theatre Company continues its 30th-anniversary season with the world premiere of the work; see the review on page 63. This week's performances are at 2 and 8 p.m. Thursday, February 13; 8 p.m. Friday, February 14; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, February 15; 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday, February 16; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, February 19, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. The production continues through Saturday, February 22. Tickets range from $19 to $32, available at Herberger and Dillard's; call 252-8497 or 503-5555.
"Art Has Heart" Walk: The fund raiser is planned in conjunction with Scottsdale Gallery Association's weekly stroll among the art spaces along Main Street, Marshall Way and the rest of the city's arts district. It's scheduled for 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, February 13, and includes a series of silent auctions at participating galleries; proceeds benefit various Valley nonprofits, including Reading Is Fundamental, and Crisis Nursery. Admission is free. Call 990-3939.
Storyville: Anyone familiar with the live scene in Austin, Texas, will recognize the players composing this rock/soul collective: vocalist Malford Milligan, guitarists David Grissom and Dave Holt and the rhythm section of drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon. The latter pair, of course, anchored Stevie Ray Vaughan's Double Trouble. Touring behind its major-label debut, the David Z.-produced A Piece of Your Soul, Storyville performs Thursday, February 13, at the Mason Jar, 2303 East Indian School. Carvin Jones Band, and Jake the Snake share the stage. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are $12, available at the club and Ticketmaster; call 956-6271 or 784-4444.
Riding the Edge: Adventures in Activism: PlayWright's Workshop Theatre presents this package of short pieces--about 10 minutes a pop--written by members of PWT's Edge Project '97 and addressing topics like racism and euthanasia. This week's performances are on Thursday, February 13; Friday, February 14; and Saturday, February 15. All start at 8 p.m. at the group's longtime home at 3302 North Seventh Street; that building will be razed immediately following the run, with PWT moving to new quarters at 1121 North First Street. The production continues through Saturday, February 22. Tickets are $10, $8 for students and seniors. Call 279-5151.
Desert Foothills Musicfest '97: The sixth annual winter carnival of sounds continues through Sunday, February 23, at various northeast Valley venues. On this week's agenda: "Music for Lovers," featuring the San Francisco duo of soprano Stephanie Johnson and tenor Linus Eukel, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 13, at Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 East Cave Creek Road in Cave Creek; a performance by Phoenix Symphony and guest violinist Chee-Yun at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 15, at Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center, 33606 North 60th Street in Cave Creek (for program details, see Thursday in the Music listing); a concert titled "Classical Stars: A Celestial Showcase of Winds and Strings," featuring Musicfest's resident ensemble, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 18, at Desert Hills Presbyterian Church, Scottsdale Road and the Carefree Highway in Carefree; and a "Bach Lunch" at noon Wednesday, February 19, at the Cactus Shadows center. For admission and other information, call 488-0806.
"Swank D'Amour 2": Valley artist/writer Jim Cherry hosts this boozy bash on Friday, February 14, at the Copper Queen, a venue at 6933 North Seventh Street that Cherry describes as "a perfectly preserved '50s cocktail lounge." The highlight of this year's groovy do is a show by Karla Pundit, the turban-wearing master impersonator of "genie of the keys" Korla Pandit, the turban-wearing '50s master of magic-carpet organ music. Also planned: a performance by Eddy Detroit and the U-Bang-E Quartet, a retro fashion show by Buffalo Exchange, screenings of cheeseball spy and sci-fi movies and other vintage delights. The evening starts at 7 and continues 'til last call. The cover is $6. For details call 340-0715.
Valentine's Chocolate Bar: Belly up to this bar for too long, and you'll have more belly than you bargained for. The all-you-can-eat dessert buffet for chocoholics is open from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, February 14; and the same hours Saturday, February 15. It'll also be open Saturday, February 22. The scene is the Arizona Biltmore, 24th Street and Missouri. The price is $18.75. For reservations and details, call 954-2507.
Pilobolus: The dance troupe, known for its potent one-two punch of physicality and creativity, remains one of America's best. Shows are scheduled at 8 p.m. Friday, February 14; and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, February 15, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. The matinee is a one-hour "family" performance; the evening shows include nudity. If tickets are available, they're at the center and Ticketmaster; call 994-2787 or 784-4444.