Pic Hits for the week

Manon: See Thursday.

february 22
Baseball's Back: "Grand Slam Gala," Padres/Mariners Fan Fest: The City of Mesa introduces the new HoHoKam Park, the winter home of the Chicago Cubs at 1235 North Center in Mesa, at the "Gala," which includes public tours, an open Cubs practice and more. It's scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, February 22, and it's free (call 644-2351). The San Diego and Seattle squads take the field at Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 North 83rd Avenue, for public practices at the annual "Fan Fest," also scheduled Saturday and also free (call 878-4337). The latter teams inaugurate the 1997 Cactus League miniseason with a match at 1:05 p.m. Thursday, February 27, at PSC.

"Desert Canals: At the Confluence of History, Art and Culture": Various exhibits and events are scheduled in conjunction with this "three-month exploration of the area's ancient, historical and contemporary canal system." The following installations open Saturday, February 22, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street: "Land Forms/Life Forms" by Barbara Jo McLaughlin; "Water Rites" by Thomas Strich and Michael Dollin; and "Los Zanjeros" by Dorothea Lange (for specifics and viewing hours, see the Art Exhibits listing). McLaughlin hosts artistic "boulder floats" at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 23, at the Cross Cut Canal, on 68th Street south of Thomas in Scottsdale (the "boulders" are billed as "biomorphic forms constructed of Fiberglas over a light steel framework"); a "Desert Canals" open house precedes at 11 at Tempe's PERA Club, 1 East Continental. A second round of exhibit openings is slated for Friday, March 7, at SCA. For a free schedule of related events, call 874-4677; for general information, dial 994-2787.

Ad Vielle Que Pourra: BeauSoleil's Michael Doucet labeled this Montreal-based quartet a band of "troubadour cosmonauts [who] transcend time and space. . . ." It's a cryptic, but, at second blush, appropriate description of AVQP, which plays gorgeous, traditional French folk strains with a generosity of spirit that's been out of style for quite a while and on instruments (like the hurdy-gurdy, or "vielle") that were never in style. Floorboard-pounding fun. (P.S. The act's name has the same basic translation as the Doris Day tune "Que Sera, Sera.") Showtime is 8 p.m. Saturday, February 22, at Tempe's First United Methodist Church, 215 East University. Tickets are $12 in advance, $14 at the door. For details call 893-3328.

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange: The Washington, D.C.-based troupe specializes in the elevation of the ridiculously pedestrian (like shopping for pantyhose) to the sublime. It wraps up an extended Arizona residency with a performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 22, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Tickets range from $19 to $28, available at Gammage and Dillard's; call 965-3434 or 503-5555.

Wiener Dog Nationals 1997: The third annual running of the amateur hounds--specifically, dachshunds, the "slowest canines on the planet"--is on Saturday, February 22, at Phoenix Greyhound Park, 3801 East Washington. Various hot-dog heats (and a new cocker-spaniel run, so-called) are scheduled between the regular greyhound competitions. Proceeds benefit United Cerebral Palsy of Arizona. For details call 273-7181.

Arizona Scottish Highland Games and Gathering: See Friday.
A Grand Night for Singing: See Friday.
Manon: See Thursday.
Vital Signs: See Friday.
Waxing Local: Joe Myers: See Friday.

february 23
Rory Block: Smokers and knee-jerk conservatives should avoid this show; the exuberantly liberal blues diva will have none of either. Rory's touring behind her new album, Tornado, which includes a song dedicated to Nicole Brown ("Gone Woman Blues") and Andy Barnes' anthemic "The Last Leviathan"; the latter's a lament for, well, the plight of the great whales, superbly sung by Block. The songsmith performs Sunday, February 23, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Rena Haus and Rochelle Raya open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12, available at the club and Ticketmaster; call 265-4842 or 784-4444.

Star Trek Convention: The guest stars at Creation Entertainment's latest sci-fi confab are Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Dean Haglund (one of the "Lone Gunmen" on The X-Files) and Jason Carter (Babylon 5's Marcus). Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, February 23, in Exhibit Hall B and the Phoenix Room at Phoenix Civic Plaza, Second Street and Adams. Tickets range from $7 to $18, available at Civic Plaza and Dillard's box offices; call 262-7272 or 503-5555.

Arizona Scottish Highland Games and Gathering: See Friday.
A Grand Night for Singing: See Friday.
Manon: See Thursday.
Vital Signs: See Friday.

february 24
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown: The long-limbed Texan's a powerhouse guitarist/vocalist in the T-Bone Walker mold, but the blues is just Clarence's main squeeze. His musical mistresses are many, and he is to blues as Ray Charles is to soul, which is to say that he's just as likely to launch into a country, jazz or pop piece as he is to play one of his signature smokers like "Gate's Salty Blues." In fact, you really haven't lived 'til you've heard Brown's cover of Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," a duet with Maria Muldaur from Gate's new disc, Long Way Home. Showtime is 9 p.m. Monday, February 24, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Tickets are $14, available at the scene and Ticketmaster; call 265-4842 or 784-4444.

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