Calendar for the week

thursday
july 24
"Canyonland Visions" and "Crossing the Frontier": The former installation, 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 exhibit, 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. See the Art Exhibits listing for information about related gallery talks on Thursday, July 24; see the Kid Stuff listing for details about an all-ages event slated for Sunday, July 27. 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 more information, call 257-1880 or 257-1222.

Pageant: In Mixed Company brought us Alan Ball's frothy Five Women Wearing the Same Dress; the froth quotient's also high in the troupe's production of this interactive musical by Albert Evans, Bill Russell and Frank Kelly, which might be subtitled Six Guys Wearing the Same Gown. The dudes in question don pumps and sashes in pursuit of the "Miss Glamouresse" title and accompanying tiara. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 24; 8 p.m. Friday, July 25; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, July 26; and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, July 27, in Stage West at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. The run continues through Sunday, August 17. Tickets are $19.50, $17.50 for students and seniors, available at Herberger and Dillard's; call 252-8497 or 503-5555.

The Paladins: Dave Gonzalez's nonsense-free roots trio has been rocking roadhouses since the dawn of the '80s. The San Diego act returns for a gig on Thursday, July 24, at Nita's Hideaway, 1816 East Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. Hick 50 shares the bill. Showtime is 10 p.m. The cover is $6. For details call 967-9531.

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 jet-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. A gala performance, featuring entertainment and dinner, is scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 24, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Final shows are at 8 p.m. Friday, July 25; 8 p.m. Saturday, July 26; and 2 p.m. Sunday, July 27. Gala tickets are $45; regular tix are $22.50, $18 for students and seniors. They're available at the center and Ticketmaster; call 994-2787 or 784-4444.

Ray Obiedo: The Bay Area guitarist was a member of the Pete Escovedo Orchestra last time he hit town--and he remains one--but Obiedo scored a headlining slot in the Red River Opry's 1997 "cool jazz" series on the strength of his solo work for Windham Hill. (His song "Blue Kiss" was included on the label's 20th-anniversary sampler, Sanctuary; the title track of Obiedo's latest disc, Sweet Summer Days, features a vocal by Peabo Bryson.) Ray's scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 24, at the Opry, Mill and Washington in Tempe. (Escovedo's Latin-jazz crew has a headlining slot of its own at the venue on Thursday, August 7.) Tickets are available at the scene and Dillard's; call 829-6779 or 503-5555.

friday
july 25
"The Great Dinosaur Extinction": The exhibit makes its inaugural pit stop on a planned two-year national tour at Mesa Southwest Museum, 53 North Macdonald. The installation focuses on various theories about why the great beasts perished, and features the remains of a number of rare ones--including the large predator Acrocanthosaurus; the only complete skeleton of a Pachycephalosaurus ever found; and, naturally, a T. rex or two. The show opens Friday, July 25, and continues through Sunday, September 7. This week's related events include appearances by Neal Larson of South Dakota's Black Hills Institute of Geological Research (the company that reconstructed the Acrocanth) at 10 a.m. Friday and 4 and 5 p.m. Saturday, July 26; and a presentation about saber-toothed cats by paleontologist John Babiarz at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 27. Viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $4, $3.50 for students and seniors, $2 for kids ages 3 to 12, free for those younger. Call 644-2230.

Helmet, the Melvins, and Hovercraft: The first two acts, both veteran hard-core standard-bearers, are okay, if a bit long in the aesthetic tooth. The bright young hope on this bill is Hovercraft, which isn't even hard-core, except in the experimental sense. The sound of the Seattle-based instrumental trio (guitarist Campbell 2000, bassist Sadie 7 and drummer Karl 3-30) was once compared to "the innermost thoughts of a passing serial killer"--a sublime, if startling, analogy. Songs like "Vagus Nerve" and "De-Orbit Burn," from Hovercraft's new disc, Akathisia, strike us (from deep left field, we grant) as a synthesis of Dick Dale and Galaxie 500 if the former was on downers and the latter was on uppers and the acts were playing at a Mekong clambake for Robert Duvall's Mad Hatter crew in Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Like, wow--wipeout. Regurgitator, and Caustic Resin share the stage; the all-ages show starts at 9 p.m. Friday, July 25, at the Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Tickets are $12 in advance, $13 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster (call 894-0707 or 784-4444). The members of Helmet are scheduled to sign autographs at 2 p.m. Friday at the Zia Record Exchange at 105 West University in Tempe (call 829-1967).

Phoenix Mercury: Coach Cheryl Miller's Women's National Basketball Association franchise continues its first season, in the WNBA's inaugural year, with games against the Los Angeles Sparks at 6 p.m. Friday, July 25; and the Cleveland Rockers at 5:30 p.m. Monday, July 28, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Tickets range from $8 to $25, available at the arena and Dillard's. For details call 252-9622, 379-7800 or 503-5555.

Ozzie Ahlers: Ahlers, a solid keyboardist with a highly melodic style, has played with Van Morrison, Jerry Garcia, Jesse Colin Young and, most recently, Craig Chaquico. (On the downside, Ozzie contributed to the soundtrack of Gumby: The Movie.) Touring behind his solo debut, Fingerpainting, Ahlers performs free shows at 8 p.m. Friday, July 25, at Borders Books & Music at 7320 West Bell in Glendale (call 487-9110); 2 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at the Borders store at 1361 South Alma School in Mesa (call 833-2244); and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Borders location at Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback, Suite 200 (call 957-6660).

"Canyonland Visions" and "Crossing the Frontier": See Thursday.
Loot: See Thursday.
Pageant: See Thursday.

saturday
july 26
Brad featuring Stone Gossard: While intense slacker Eddie Vedder quietly stews, Pearl Jam guitarist Gossard is fiddling with this excellent side project, which also features Satchel vocalist Shawn Smith and drummer Regan Hagar. Supporting its second disc, Interiors, Brad's scheduled at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at the Zia Record Exchange at 105 West University in Tempe; and at 9 that night at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Both shows are open to all ages; Verbow shares the latter bill. Admission to the Zia show is free (call 829-1967); tickets to the Gibson's show are $10 in advance, $12 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster (call 967-1234 or 784-4444).

Arizona Rattlers: Danny White coaches the arena-football squad, which takes on the Albany Firebirds at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 26, 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.

Ozzie Ahlers: See Friday.
"Canyonland Visions" and "Crossing the Frontier": See Thursday.
"The Great Dinosaur Extinction": See Friday.
Loot: See Thursday.
Pageant: See Thursday.

sunday
july 27
Arizona Blues Showdown: The Phoenix Blues Society sponsors the seventh annual gathering of state bluesicians, who vie for a trip to Memphis for October's International Blues Talent Competition; the Valley's Sistah Blue placed second overall in last year's International. This year's state finals, featuring the top six acts from last week's prelims, are scheduled for 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 27, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Chico Chism's Chicago Blues Band hosts a post-Showdown jam. The cover is $6. For details call 265-4842 or 252-0599.

"Canyonland Visions" and "Crossing the Frontier": See Thursday.
"The Great Dinosaur Extinction": See Friday.
Loot: See Thursday.
Pageant: See Thursday.

tuesday
july 29
Phish: The navel-gazing quartet from Vermont, sort of a deep-woods Dead, is pretty popular, but that's more a product of its cool vibe than its derivative sound. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Tickets are $25 in advance, $27 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 254-7599 or 784-4444.

"The Gay Comedy Jam": This touring show features Houston-based standups Scott Kennedy and Kevin Maye, who dish on targets gay and straight; Kennedy's an Arizona native. Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 29; and the same time Wednesday, July 30, at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, Rural and University (at Cornerstone mall). Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 the day of the show. For details call 921-9877.

The 007's: Hollywood's Sprague Brothers (Frank and Chris) and masked bassist Mr. X play "secret agent spy music" like the theme from Goldfinger, plus "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" and other Cocktail Nation curiosities. Phonoroyale shares the stage. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $4. For details call 265-4842.

OMC: The name stands for "Otara Millionaires Club," but the act consists--on a recording basis, at least--solely of New Zealand dance/pop dude Pauly Fuemana, born to a mother of Maori descent and raised in the South Auckland ghetto of Otara. The Southern Hemisphere hit "How Bizarre" gained Pauly entree to the North American market. The Murmurs share the stage. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $7, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 967-1234 or 784-4444.

"Canyonland Visions" and "Crossing the Frontier": See Thursday.
"The Great Dinosaur Extinction": See Friday.

wednesday
july 30
Skavoovie and the Epitones, Spring Heeled Jack, and Isaac Green and the Skalars: The Third Wave ska acts--from Boston, Connecticut and St. Louis, respectively--gang up for "Moonstomp II" on Wednesday, July 30, at Hollywood Alley, 2610 West Baseline in Mesa. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 the day of the show, available at Dillard's. For details call 820-7117 or 503-5555.

"Canyonland Visions" and "Crossing the Frontier": See Thursday.
"The Gay Comedy Jam": See Tuesday.
"The Great Dinosaur Extinction": See Friday.

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