Calendar for the week

thursday
may 1
Maricopa County Fair: The 22nd annual event--a cozier, countrier version of Arizona State Fair--winds down with its final days Thursday, May 1, through Sunday, May 4, at the fairgrounds, 19th Avenue and McDowell. Highlights include carnival rides and games on the midway; the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show; swine racing and swimming pigs; motorized events including a demolition derby; and the usual array of agriculture and livestock competitions and exhibits. There will be live music at the Bill Johnson's Big Apple Stage and a variety of other acts at the Family Stage. This week's hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, May 1; 10 a.m. to midnight Friday, May 2; 10 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, May 3; and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, May 4. Admission is $5, $3 for children ages 6 to 12, under 6 are free. Call 252-0717.

Arizona Rattlers: The arena-football squad has its first regular-season game against the Tampa Bay Storm at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at the "Snake Pit": America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Tickets range from $9 to $37, available at the arena and Dillard's. Call 514-8383, 379-7800 or 503-5555.

Love! Valour! Compassion!: The "lives and loves of gay men in the '90s" is the focus of this award-winning play at Phoenix Theater's Little Theater, 1625 North Central. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 1; the same time Friday, May 2, and Saturday, May 3; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4. The play continues through Sunday, May 18. Tickets are $16, $14 for students and seniors, available at Dillard's. For other information, call 252-8497 or 503-5555.

Phoenix Suns Playoffs: The Suns host the fourth game of their first-round playoff series against the Seattle SuperSonics at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. If tickets are available, they're at the arena and Dillard's; call 379-7800 or 503-5555.

5 AZ Pieces: Marshall W. Mason directed this collection of short, wide-ranging works by Arizona State University graduate students Tania Katan, Victoria Holloway, Gregory Mitchell, David Vegh and Randi Klein (see the review on page 61). ASU's theater department presents final performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1; 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 2; and 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at Lyceum Theatre, located at the north end of Forest Mall on the west side of the ASU campus in Tempe. Tickets are $12, $6 for students and seniors, available at ASU Fine Arts box office; call 965-6447.

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 Tucson Toros and the Vancouver Canadians. Toro games are scheduled at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, May 1; and the same time Friday, May 2. Games against the Canadians are scheduled at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, May 3; 1:05 p.m. Sunday, May 4; 7:05 p.m. Monday, May 5; and 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, May 6. All games are played 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.

friday
may 2
Snoop Doggy Dogg and the Dogg Pound: L.A.-born rapper/actor Calvin Broadus, better known as Snoop, comes to town as part of his 1997 world tour. Snoop established his territory with his debut release, Doggystyle (1993), which sold more than four million copies. Snoop's latest release, Tha Doggfather, exposes the lesser-known side of ghetto life. Equally as real as the violence are the "relationships, love, even hope," so Snoop shows that being the father of a 2-year-old son can change one's perspective on life. Concertgoers beware; the artist has been known to stir up controversy with sexist and explicit language. Too $hort, Do or Die, and BET's Rap City host Leslie "Big Lez" Segar share the stage at 7 p.m. Friday, May 2, at Veterans' Memorial Coliseum at Arizona State Fairgrounds, 19th Avenue and McDowell. Tickets are $22.50, $30 and $35, available at Dillard's. For details call 258-6711 or 503-5555.

Putting It Together: This musical revue of Stephen Sondheim songs from Sunday in the Park With George, Merrily We Roll Along, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, Company, Sweeney Todd, Follies and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is directed by Matthew Wiener and closes out the season for Actors Theatre of Phoenix. Produced originally in London, this play is about old acquaintances and new and the sparks that often fly at such chance meetings, especially when the meeting place is a party. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, May 2; the same time Saturday, May 3; and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, May 4, in Stage West at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. Additional performances run through Sunday, May 25. Tickets range from $16 to $26. For details call 252-8497.

The Chieftains: Ireland's musical ambassadors bring their traditional Irish sound of pipes, bodhram and whistle to the Valley as they celebrate their 32nd year together. Having traveled and performed the world over, including a performance for Pope John Paul II and two performances at Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Chieftains made certified gold in the U.S. with their recent release The Long Black Veil. The pipes blow at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 2, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts Amphitheater, 75th Street and Main. Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 the day of the show. Call 994-2787.

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