Erykah Badu: Texas-born Badu (real surname: the not-quite-so-exotic Wright) was trained as a dancer, but she's a natural singer, with a voice that crackles like the dry, clear air of the desert mountains. On her debut, Baduizm, the gorgeous 26-year-old fuses her lifelong love for Billie Holiday with a crossover hip-hop appeal reminiscent of the Fugees' and the best quality of Nigerian native Sade--a stylish soulfulness that Badu broadens and deepens. (Speaking of crossover hip-hop appeal, Philly's Roots lent support on three of Baduizm's tracks.) Erykah performs Thursday, April 17, at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Eric Benet shares the stage. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18, available at the club and Ticketmaster; call 894-0707 or 784-4444.
Canadian Dance Festival: Three contemporary ensembles from the Great White North--Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Toronto Dance Theatre and Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal--join forces for six Valley performances at this inaugural event, sponsored by Southwest Dance. Jazz de Montreal performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 17, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams; and the same time Friday, April 18, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Toronto Dance is scheduled at 8 p.m. Friday at the Orpheum and the same time Saturday, April 19, at the Chandler facility. Festival highlights are shows by the outstanding Les Grands troupe at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 20, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Tickets range from $12 to $28, half-price for kids and students, available at Dillard's or Ticketmaster. Call 482-6410, 503-5555 or 784-4444.
Phoenix Firebirds: The Triple A/Pacific Coast League affiliate of baseball's San Francisco Giants continues its 34th--and final--season in the Valley with a home stand against the Salt Lake City Buzz. Games are scheduled at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, April 17; 7:05 p.m. Friday, April 18; 7:05 p.m. Saturday, April 19; and 1:05 p.m. Sunday, April 20, at Scottsdale Stadium, 7408 East Osborn. Tickets range from $4 to $8, available at the scene and Dillard's; call 275-0500 or 503-5555.
Don Juan in Chicago: David Ives (All in the Timing) penned this farce about the promiscuous title nobleman's visit to contemporary America. Phoenix College's theater-arts department presents the Arizona premiere of the work. This week's performances are on Thursday, April 17; Friday, April 18; and Saturday, April 19. All start at 8 p.m. at John Paul Theatre on the PC campus, 1202 West Thomas. More shows are scheduled Thursday, April 24, through Saturday, April 26. Admission is $8, $6 for seniors, $4 for students. For details call 285-7300.
Phil Collins: Collins is the unlikeliest superstar. He's a decent drummer and singer, but he's no artist, and decidedly no pinup. Still, Phil--at least when he's not power-balladeering--adds up to more than the sum of his parts. Collins performs an in-the-round concert on Friday, April 18, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $42.50, available at the arena and Dillard's; call 379-7800 or 503-5555.
"Drawing the Lines" Native American Arts Festival: The mixed-media festival features the premiere of a new work by Spiderwoman Theater Company, installation and performance art by James Luna, music by Brent Michael Davids and Chesley Wilson, puppetry by Buddy Big Mountain and a panel discussion about "drawing the lines"--i.e. making connections--between traditional and contemporary Indian arts. The fest is scheduled Friday, April 18; and Saturday, April 19, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Event times vary. Daily passes are $5, available at Gammage and Dillard's. For more information, call 965-3434 or 503-5555.
Rusty Zinn Blues Band: The redheaded purist from California is one of the bright young hopes of the blues. The guitarist and his group return for a performance at 9 p.m. Friday, April 18, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $4. For more information, call 265-4842.
Arizona Science Center: See Thursday.
Canadian Dance Festival: See Thursday.
Don Juan in Chicago: See Thursday.
Phoenix Firebirds: See Thursday.
No Doubt: The nonpunk quartet from Punk Ground Zero--Orange County, California--is good. Its lead singer, Gwen Stefani, is pretty great; she might even prove to be the Debbie Harry of her generation, especially given her passionate relationship with center stage--akin to the one a topflight model has with a camera. And Stefani's lovely, elastic face and indisputable charisma, combined with the band's sunny ska-pop, have put No Doubt way over the top after an extended struggle for professional subsistence. Still touring behind its breakthrough disc, Tragic Kingdom, the group performs Saturday, April 19, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Cake, and the Vandals share the bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $16.50 and $23, available at Ticketmaster. Call 254-7599 or 784-4444.