Spearhead: The militant hip-hop/funk group, led by vocalist and former b-ball player Michael Franti (a real tower of baritone power at six-foot-six), offered up a near-great album in 1994 with its debut, Home. The band's latest, Chocolate Supa Highway, is a tribute, of sorts, to Bob Marley, or at least to the consciousness-raising power of the late reggae star; while not near-great, the disc is still listenable and topical, ingredients that are ever in short supply. Spearhead is scheduled Thursday, May 8, at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Camp Lo, and Coolbone share the all-ages bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $17, available at the club and Ticketmaster; call 894-0707 or 784-4444.
Love! Valour! Compassion!: Terrence McNally (Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, The Lisbon Traviata) penned this work about the "lives and loves of gay men in the '90s"; see the review on page 65. The Actors Group presents performances at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 8; 8 p.m. Friday, May 9; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 10; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 11, at Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre, located at the intersection of Alvarado and Coronado streets. The production has been extended through Saturday, May 24. Tickets are $16, $14 for students and seniors, available at Dillard's. For details call 252-8497 or 503-5555.
"The Cigar Shmooze IV": Puff 'em if you got 'em at this annual, state-hopping affair, sponsored by the Ladies & Gentlemen Cigar Smoking Club of America and scheduled for 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, May 8, in the Grand Ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton, 24th Street and Camelback. (Last year's "Shmooze" was held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.) Admission is $30. Call 1-888-244-2710.
Rush: While the long-lived Canadian trio--bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart--and the Bic lighter breathe, so does the endangered species called progressive rock. The group is scheduled to perform the album 2112 live from first note to last for the first time in a decade. The all-ages show starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 8, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Tickets range from $20 to $45.50, available at Ticketmaster. Call 254-7599 or 784-4444.
Southwest Film and Video Festival: The 17th annual competition includes experimental and commercial films and music videos submitted by college students from Arizona and surrounding states. Showcases are scheduled Thursday, May 8, at Harkins Camelview 5, located on Goldwater Boulevard north of Camelback in Scottsdale; Friday, May 9, in the Performing Arts Center at Scottsdale Community College, 9000 East Chaparral; and Saturday, May 10, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. All start at 7:30 p.m.; admission to each is $3. For details call 423-6328.
Little Murders: In Mixed Company presents this satire of urban family values and random violence by Jules Feiffer. This week's performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 8; 8 p.m. Friday, May 9; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 10; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 11; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 14, in the Studio Theater at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. The run continues through Saturday, May 17. Tickets are $16.25, $13.25 for students and seniors. Call 252-8497.
U2: Ireland's finest is back on these shores with a numbingly extravagant set that would make the Stones weep with envy. The tour's name: POPMart. The theme: a loving dish on and homage to pop culture. See the story on page 95. The Edge, Bono and company take the stage at Sun Devil Stadium, College Avenue and Stadium Drive in Tempe, on Friday, May 9. Rage Against the Machine shares the bill. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. If tickets are available, they're at Gammage Auditorium and Dillard's box offices; call 965-3434 or 503-5555.
Seven Guitars: Arizona Theatre Company concludes its 30th-anniversary season with the state premiere of August Wilson's literary memorial to a fictional, star-crossed bluesman named Floyd "Schoolboy" Barton; San Francisco's Benny Sato Ambush directed. The show opens with a preview at 8 p.m. Friday, May 9, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. The press opening is at the same time Saturday, May 10. The rest of this week's performances are at 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday, May 11; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 14. A discussion follows Sunday's matinee; Wednesday's show is "audio described" for the visually impaired. Proceeds from the latter performance benefit the Carver/Phoenix Union Colored High School Museum and Cultural Center; call 254-7516 for details. The run continues through Sunday, May 25. Tickets range from $19 to $32, available at Herberger and Dillard's; call 252-8497 or 503-5555.
Jimmy Rogers: Six bucks to see one of the greatest living bluesmen? A stone bargain, and no hype intended or required. Rogers played with Muddy Waters and Little Walter in the Headhunters--Chicago's first electric blues band--and was Muddy's right-hand man during Waters' '50s heyday. But Rogers is a giant in his own right, a fabulous guitarist, singer and writer of blues perennials like "Chicago Bound," "Sloppy Drunk" and "Rock This House." Shows are scheduled at 9 p.m. Friday, May 9; and the same time Saturday, May 10, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. For details call 265-4842.
Our Lady of the Tortilla: Luis Santiero's comedy is based on a real-life tale about an elderly Mexican-American woman who sees the visage of the Virgin Mary on the title foodstuff. Phoenix Theatre, 100 East McDowell, presents opening performances at 8 p.m. Friday, May 9; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 10; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, May 11; 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 13; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 14. The production continues through Sunday, May 25. Tickets are $22 and $25, available at the scene and Dillard's; call 254-2151 or 503-5555.