"Canyonland Visions" and "Crossing the Frontier": The former exhibit, organized by Fort Worth, Texas' Amon Carter Museum, features 117 paintings and photos of the Colorado Plateau region dating from the mid-19th century to the late 20th, including 46 recently rediscovered and never-before-displayed watercolors by Prussia-born adventurer/naturalist Heinrich Balduin Msllhausen. The latter installation, sponsored by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and subtitled "Photographs of the Developing West, 1849 to the Present," includes more than 200 works by the likes of William Henry Jackson, Timothy O'Sullivan, Skeet McAuley, A.J. Russell, Robert Adams and Frank Gohlke. "Canyonland Visions" and "Crossing the Frontier" continue through Sunday, September 28, in the Steele Gallery at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central; PAM's Heather Northway hosts free, related gallery talks titled "The Evolution of Documentary Photography" at 12:15 and 7 p.m. Thursday, July 17. Viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays (to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays). Special admission, to the Steele Gallery only, is $5, $4 for seniors, $2 for students and children age 6 and up, free for younger kids and members; entry is free to all from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays. For details call 257-1880 or 257-1222.
Scott Thompson: Thompson's a once and, perhaps, future member of Canada's Kids in the Hall comedy troupe and the co-star of that ensemble's big-screen debut, last year's Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy. He's also made his mark on the tube (the out-of-the-closet actor portrays Garry Shandling's gay assistant on cable's The Larry Sanders Show) and on the Web (he's the "megalomaniac" ruler of a virtual nation he calls "ScottLand"; the address is www.scottland.com); see the story on page 61. Scott's scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 17; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, July 18; 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, July 19; and 8 p.m. Sunday, July 20, at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, Rural and University (at Cornerstone mall). Tickets are $12 and $15. For details call 921-9877.
Loot: The promising Ensemble Theatre has cut its teeth on darkly humorous offerings about patently unfunny stuff, like Paula Vogel's AIDS fantasy The Baltimore Waltz and Israel Horovitz's absurdist character study Line. The troupe continues the tradition with this black farce about institutional and societal wickedness, penned by late British playwright Joe Orton (with a nod to Mark Twain) and centered on a ne'er-do-well who stashes stolen funds in his recently deceased mum's casket and parks mum's remains in a nearby armoire. This week's performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 17; 8 p.m. Friday, July 18; 8 p.m. Saturday, July 19; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 20; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. The production continues through Sunday, July 27. Tickets are $22.50, $18 for students and seniors, available at the center and Ticketmaster; call 994-2787 or 784-4444.
Bloodhound Gang: Jimmy Pop Ali and his rude-white-boy hip-hop crew are funny, fearless and, in their boorish way, even a little poetic. Still touring behind the disc One Fierce Beer Coaster, Philly's B Gang returns on Thursday, July 17, for a concert at the Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Sevendust, and Mollies Revenge share the stage. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12, available at the club and Ticketmaster; call 894-0707 or 784-4444.
"New Play Cabaret": Actors Theatre of Phoenix sponsors this second annual series of staged readings of new works by members of the Arizona-based Writers Circle. All performances start at 7:30 p.m. in Stage West at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. The schedule is as follows: Gus Edwards' Drought Country on Thursday, July 17; Wendy Myers' And the Second Step Squeaks on Friday, July 18; Rebecca Million's Nebraska on Saturday, July 19; and Guillermo Reyes' The HisPanick Zone on Sunday, July 20. Nightly admission is $5. For details call 252-8497.
Boz Scaggs: The urbane-soul man made a comeback, of sorts, with his 1994 album Some Change, which found the musician in a more gritty, less elegant mood than usual. Touring in support of his new disc, Come On Home, Scaggs is scheduled Thursday, July 17, at Union Hall, Sixth Street and Van Buren. (Scaggs' old Texas bandmate, Steve Miller, is also in town this week; see Sunday.) San Diego's Larry Mitchell Band opens for Boz at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $21 to $41, available at the hall and Dillard's; call 253-7100 or 503-5555.
"H.O.R.D.E. Festival '97" featuring Neil Young and Crazy Horse: "H.O.R.D.E." stands for "Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere"; Neil Young and Crazy Horse stand for smart, passionate rock nonpareil. Metaphorically and, in some ways, literally, the historically laid-back fest has pumped up the volume in its sixth year; the strong supporting cast includes Primus, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Morphine, the Ben Folds Five, Leftover Salmon, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and Sky Cries Mary. Showtime is 4 p.m. Friday, July 18, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Tickets are $25.25 and $33.25, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 254-7599 or 784-4444.
Ann Peebles: The East St. Louis native was one raw soul sister in the '70s, waxing classic and near-classic sides like "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down," "I Can't Stand the Rain," "(I Feel Like) Breaking Up Somebody's Home" and "99 Pounds" for Memphis' Hi label. Her sound was both timeless and ahead of its time. Ann's most recent disc, the too-polished Fill This World With Love, lacks the sharp sense of sexual innuendo Ann brought to her early sessions; the live but mannered version of "99 Pounds" included on Fill This World gets its ass righteously stomped by the singer's flammable, from-the-gut studio take of '72. But make no mistake: The pint-size Peebles can still rock the mike, and she undoubtedly will on Friday, July 18, with support from her 10-piece band, which includes the original Hi battery of drummer Howard "Bulldog" Grimes and bassist Leroy "Flick" Hodges. Dave Cook and Intensity open at 9 p.m. at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $8. For details call 265-4842.