Calendar for the week

thursday
may 8
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.

friday
may 9
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.

Little Murders: See Thursday.
Love! Valour! Compassion!: See Thursday.
Southwest Film and Video Festival: See Thursday.

saturday
may 10
James: The melancholic British band--aren't they all?--has made its mark with a spare, barren sound that belies an underlying passion and complexity. Brian Eno produced the group's best-selling disc to date, 1993's Laid. Touring behind its latest album, Whiplash, James performs Saturday, May 10, at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Third Eye Blind, and Permission to Breathe share the all-ages bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $13, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 894-0707 or 784-4444.

N ight Run for the Arts: The annual fund raiser for Scottsdale Center for the Arts features a herd of glow-lighted athletes competing in a variety of events, including an 8K run, a 5K fitness walk and a one-mile fun run/walk/art stroll. It starts at 7:30 Saturday, May 10, at the center's amphitheater, 75th Street and Main; registration precedes at 6:30, and a party follows at 8:15. The entry fee is $15; all proceeds benefit SCA. For details call 994-2787.

Shyama: If you see only one subcontinental dance drama this year, make it this 1939 tragedy by Bengali poet, philosopher and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The Shakti Dance Company of Los Angeles presents the work, a fusion of a north Indian dramatic form and the traditional south Indian dance style named the Bharata Natyam. Showtime is 7 p.m. Saturday, May 10, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. Tickets are $18, $15 for students, available at Phoenix Civic Plaza and Dillard's box offices; proceeds benefit Arizona State University's Bengali Studies program. For details call 262-7272 or 503-5555.

Silverchair: Love it or loathe it, the Australian trio almost single-handedly created punk-rock's raging youth movement that includes the Valley's Chronic Future. The mid-teenage 'chairs perform a matinee on Saturday, May 10, at Club Rio, 430 North Scottsdale Road in Tempe. Local H, and Automatic share the bill. Showtime is 3 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster. call 894-0533 or 784-4444.

Battlefield Band: Splendid Scottish strains at Scottsdale Center for the Arts. Showtime is 8 p.m. Saturday, May 10. The center's located at 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $15, available at the center and Ticketmaster; call 994-2787 or 784-4444.

Little Murders: See Thursday.
Love! Valour! Compassion!: See Thursday.
Our Lady of the Tortilla: See Friday.
Jimmy Rogers: See Friday.
Seven Guitars: See Friday.
Southwest Film and Video Festival: See Thursday.

sunday
may 11
National Symphony Orchestra: Conductor Leonard Slatkin, former head of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, leads the NSO in a program that includes Bernstein's Candide Overture; Brahms' Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Opus 98; Ives' The Unanswered Question; and Nelson's Panels (Epiphanies II). Showtime is 7 p.m. Sunday, May 11, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Tickets are $9, $5 for students and kids under 12, available at Gammage and Dillard's; call 965-3434 or 503-5555. (The NSO is also scheduled to perform Thursday, May 8, through Saturday, May 10, at various southern Arizona venues; call 255-5882 for the schedule.)

Kim Abeles: The L.A.-based environmental artist--deservedly lionized for her "smog" series--continues the "Raised on Rock and Roll" lecture forum with a free program titled "Portraits of Movers and Shakers." The presentation is held in conjunction with Phoenix Art Museum's "It's Only Rock and Roll: Rock and Roll Currents in Contemporary Art" (see the Art Exhibits listing). It starts at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 11, in the Whiteman Lecture Hall at PAM, 1625 North Central. Call 257-1880.

Little Murders: See Thursday.
Love! Valour! Compassion!: See Thursday.
Our Lady of the Tortilla: See Friday.
Seven Guitars: See Friday.

monday
may 12
Elizabeth Evans: The Tucson-based author of The Blue Hour and Locomotion reads from her works on Monday, May 12, at Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. The Valley's James Barbour reads first; the event, sponsored by the Writer's Voice of the Scottsdale/Paradise Valley YMCA, starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7, $3.50 for students and seniors; Writer's Voice members get in free. For details call 965-5377.

tuesday
may 13
Gwar: The hysterically garbed members of this cult favorite--including lead vocalist Oderus Urungus, bassist Beefcake the Mighty and dual guitarists Flattus Maximus and Balsac, the Jaws of Death--claim to be space aliens who were trapped beneath the Antarctic ice sheet until now-manager Sleazy P. Martini accidentally reanimated them. The conceptual metal crew returns on Tuesday, May 13, for a show at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Chemlab, and Crushed share the all-ages bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $13.50 in advance, $15 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster. Call 894-0707 or 784-4444.

Our Lady of the Tortilla: See Friday.

wednesday
may 14
Syl Johnson: It would be inaccurate to term this Mississippi-born, Chicago-based soul singer a legend, since few outside the Windy City or the R&B cult have heard of him--except, perhaps, in the context of his 1975 crossover version of Al Green's "Take Me to the River," a song Johnson says Green wrote for him. But Syl (real name: Sylvester Thompson) has a legendary voice, by turns tough and transcendently tender, and by all means classic. Johnson'll make you feel like it's 1972 all over again--a good thing, in this case. See the story on page 96. He performs at 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 14, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $10, $8 for Phoenix Blues Society members; a meeting of the society precedes at 7:30. Call 265-4842.

Wilco: Jeff Tweedy's group has all but won the artistic civil war with Tweedy's former Uncle Tupelo mate, Jay Farrar, and Farrar's band, Son Volt. Bettie Serveert, and the Burnlackers share the stage on Wednesday, May 14, at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 894-0707 or 784-4444.

Bobby McFerrin: The "Don't Worry, Be Happy" dude's touring behind his latest a cappella disc, Circlesongs. Showtime's 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 14, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. Tickets range from $20 to $28, available at Scottsdale Center for the Arts and Dillard's box offices; call 994-2787 or 503-5555.

Little Murders: See Thursday.
Our Lady of the Tortilla: See Friday.
Seven Guitars: See Friday.

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