John Mellencamp: The Hoosier rocker has historically put on an outstanding live show. Touring in support of his latest album, Mr. Happy Go Lucky, Mellencamp performs Thursday, May 29, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Amanda Marshall shares the stage. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets range from $19.25 to $45.75, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 254-7599 or 784-4444.
Dave Walker: The former New Times staffer, who's now breaking metaphorical rocks in the hot sun at the Arizona Republic as the monolithic daily's television critic, applies his extra-dry humor to presentations titled "From Elvis and Ed to MTV." The free programs are scheduled at 12:15 and 7 p.m. Thursday, May 29, at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central, in conjunction with PAM's "It's Only Rock and Roll: Rock and Roll Currents in Contemporary Art" installation (see the Art Exhibits listing). For details call 257-1880 or 257-1222.
A Chorus Line: Original cast member Baayork Lee directed and choreographed the touring production of the let's-put-on-a-show show, conceived by Michael Bennett and written by Marvin Hamlisch, Edward Kleban, James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante. Final performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 29; 8 p.m. Friday, May 30; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 31; and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, June 1, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Tickets range from $28 to $42, available at Gammage and Dillard's; call 965-3434 or 503-5555.
"Dis/Functional": Arizona State University Art Museum's John Spiak organized this exhibit of works by antisocialists Jenny Holzer, Vernon Fisher, Francesc Torres, Barbara Penn, Dan Collins, Herb Stratford and Joyan Saunders (the latter, from Tucson, contributed arguably the show's best piece, a skewering of the romantic ideal titled "Athlete Heart" and comprising a king-size bed covered with 300 pounds of feathers). "What connects these seven artists is that they all question aspects of today's society," says Spiak. The installation continues through Sunday, October 19, at ASU Art Museum at Nelson Fine Arts Center, 10th Street and Mill in Tempe. Viewing is free; hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. For details call 965-2787.
Dogstar featuring Keanu Reeves, Bret Domrose and Rob Mailhouse: Movie star Reeves (Speed, Feeling Minnesota) plays bass and chick magnet while vocalist/guitarist Domrose and drummer Mailhouse do the real work in this alt.-pop act (pre-Dogstar band names: Small Fecal Matter, Big Fucking Shit). Stagger shares the bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. Thursday, May 29, at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Tickets are $18, available at the club and Ticketmaster; call 894-0707 or 784-4444.
"Our Future in the Desert: Architectural Explorations": The Arizona VisionWeavers organization, which seeks to "harmonize commercial and private development with the Sonoran Desert environment by encouraging innovative architectural visions," sponsors this exhibit of conceptual works about desert habitation and conservation by architects from around the state, including Marlene Imirzian, Todd Bogatay, Don Grieb, Anne Marie Nequette, William Harold Kurtz and Terry Sewell. The show continues through Sunday, August 31, in the Mezzanine and Lower galleries at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. A related lecture titled "Desert House" by Desert Botanical Garden's Mary Irish is scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 29, in the center's Cinema. Admission and viewing are free; hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays. Call 994-2787 or 949-5860.
Los Straitjackets: The Nashville band comes off a mite silly on the surface, thanks to its onstage get-up (Mexican wrestling masks) and calculatedly odd influences (Link Wray, Ray Coniff). Still, some serious talent underlies the happy-surfer facade; reference the band's latest platter, the Ben Vaughn-produced AViva! Los Straitjackets, whose strong musical undertow sucks one in like a tasty tidal wave. Los 'jackets are scheduled Friday, May 30, at Nita's Hideaway, 1816 East Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. Showtime is 10 p.m. The cover is $6. For details call 967-9531.
"Cesar Chavez Tribute Exhibit": The installation at Alwun House commemorates the late United Farm Workers of America founder, a native Arizonan, via photos, artwork and memorabilia. It opens with a reception at 8 p.m. Friday, May 30, and continues through Friday, June 27, at the gallery, 1204 East Roosevelt. Admission and viewing are free; regular hours are noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. For details call 253-7887.
Edmond: Zenith Group Gallery Theatre tackles one of the lesser-known works by one of America's better-known playwrights, David Mamet (Speed-the-Plow, Sexual Perversity in Chicago). This week's performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, May 30; and the same time Saturday, May 31, at the theater, 118 South Central, in Luhrs Office Center. The run continues through Saturday, June 7. Tickets are $10. For details call 420-9318.