Calendar for the week

thursday
august 14
Fine 'tooning: Todd McFarlane; Our Lady Peace: Ahwatukee-based comic-book impresario McFarlane, whom New Times profiled in the July 31 piece "The Devil and Todd McFarlane," plugs multimedia spin-offs from his bleak but best-selling mag, Spawn, from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, August 14, at the Tower Records store at 3 East Ninth Street in Tempe (call 968-7774). Speaking of cartoon characters as metaphors for the continuing decline of modern civilization, Canada's Our Lady Peace opens its second album, Clumsy, with the postmodern parable "Superman's Dead" (not to be confused with the Spin Doctors' propulsive but pinheaded "Pocket Full of Kryptonite"). Says Peace vocalist Raine Maida of the song, "People used to watch those old black-and-white Superman shows. . . . Now they're watching Beavis and Butt-head. Back then, heroes had virtues . . . [and] made genuine sacrifices." Huzzah! A worthy, even intrepid, observation from an act that transforms knowing ingenuousness into a flaming sword of conviction on terrific tracks like "Big Dumb Rocket," "Automatic Flowers" and the new disc's title track. Our Lady Peace is scheduled Thursday at Nita's Hideaway, 1816 East Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. Maypole, and the Stumbles share the relocated bill. Showtime is 9 p.m. The cover is $6 (call 967-9531).

"Token City": The virtual subway station Big Apple-born digital artist Muriel Magenta assembled out of whole cybercloth for this installation is likely the closest the Valley will come to mass transit for a significant span of years. Curated by John Spiak and developed at Arizona State University's Institute for Studies in the Arts, with support from composer Michael Udow and animator Gene Cooper, the multimedia creation features images back-projected onto three screens (two of them 10 feet by 14 feet, the third 10 feet by eight feet) and underscored by multiple soundtracks to create the illusion of a 3-D depot "with platforms, trains, billboards, blue-tiled walls and passengers." "Token City" continues through Tuesday, September 30, at the ASU Art Museum at Nelson Fine Arts Center, 10th Street and Mill in Tempe. Viewing is free; hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. For details call 965-2787.

Auntie Christ featuring Exene Cervenkova, D.J. Bonebrake and Matt Freeman: X co-founders Cervenkova (she formerly went by "Cervenka") and Bonebrake, on vocals/guitars and drums, respectively, hooked up with bassist Freeman (Rancid, Operation Ivy) for this old-school-punk project. Exene's at her foaming-at-the-mouth best on the group's full-length bow, Life Could Be a Dream. Auntie Christ is scheduled Thursday, August 14, at the Nile Theater, 105 West Main in Mesa. Pollen shares the stage. For details call 649-2766.

"Crossing the Frontier" and "Canyonland Visions": The former exhibit, sponsored by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, is subtitled "Photographs of the Developing West, 1849 to the Present," though "Photographs of the Despoiling West" might be more accurate. The show comprises more than 200 shots, vintage and contemporary, detailing the taming/raping of the land, from clear-cutting to nuclear dumping; artists represented include William Henry Jackson, Timothy O'Sullivan, A.J. Russell, Robert Adams and Frank Gohlke. "Canyonland Visions," a palate-cleansing companion installation organized by Fort Worth, Texas' Amon Carter Museum, features 117 paintings and photos of still-pristine places on the Colorado Plateau. The exhibitions continue through Sunday, September 28, in the Steele Gallery at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central; for details about related gallery talks on Thursday, August 14, see the Art Exhibits listing. Viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays (to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays). 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.

Bruce Smirnoff: "I've turned lemons into lemonade like my mother always told me to do," says Connecticut-born Smirnoff, who's inched his way up the standup-comedy ladder by transforming industry-standard tough breaks--like the time he was axed from Archie Bunker's Place for unintentionally upstaging star Carroll O'Connor--into fodder for his comic gristmill, a one-man gripe fest titled "Other Than My Health I Have Nothing . . . and Today I Don't Feel So Good." Sound career advice notwithstanding, Ma Smirnoff also takes her lumps; one of Bruce's better bons mots: "My mother was so crazy, I wanted to become Superman--not to have his strength, but to have a mother on a planet 20 million miles away." Smirnoff performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, August 14; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, August 15; 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, August 16; and 8 p.m. Sunday, August 17, at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, Rural and University (at Cornerstone mall). More shows are scheduled Thursday, August 21, through Sunday, August 24. Tickets are $10 and $12; call 921-9877.

"The Great Dinosaur Extinction": 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 exhibit continues through Sunday, September 7, at Mesa Southwest Museum, 53 North Macdonald. This week's related events include appearances by paleontologist Allan Graffham, who dug up the Acrocanth, at 1 p.m. Friday, August 15; and 3 p.m. Saturday, August 16. 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.

friday
august 15
Buck-O-Nine: Surfacely, the San Diego septet has a lot in common with fellow Baja Bay Area band Blink 182; both groups are fast and funny, though Blink is faster and funnier, and has a far more wicked Weltanschauung. But Buck-O's not bad; it draws less on speed-punk and more on ska and reggae, infusing the slacker vignettes on its new disc, Twenty-Eight Teeth, with sure-footed rhythms and plenty of horn power. Standout tracks: the misspelled "Albequerque" and the cover of Joe Jackson's "I'm the Man." The relocated, all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Friday, August 15, at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster. Call 967-1234 or 784-4444.

MUFON Fair: The state chapter of the national Mutual UFO Network hosts this annual event at Christown Mall, 19th Avenue and Bethany Home. On the agenda: appearances by UFOlogists and alleged abductees, video clips of UFO "events" and hypnotherapy sessions conducted by a "certified doctor." The fair's scheduled Friday, August 15; Saturday, August 16; and Sunday, August 17. Call 242-9074.

"Crossing the Frontier" and "Canyonland Visions": See Thursday.
"The Great Dinosaur Extinction": See Thursday.
Bruce Smirnoff: See Thursday.
"Token City": See Thursday.

saturday
august 16
King Day: Presley Impersonators, Elvis '56: For everybody but those poor saps who think he's still frying up peanut butter and plantain sandwiches down South America way, Elvis Presley died hopped-up, bloated and before his time 20 years ago today. Among the local commemorations planned are tributes by impersonators Matt Lewis and Todd Luxton at the living wax museum named Superstars Theater, 11518 East Apache Trail in Apache Junction (Lewis specializes in early Elvis; Luxton does late-period Presley). Shows are scheduled at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, August 16. Tickets are $15 (call 380-0200). Those who'd rather commune with the real thing--the Pelvis in his prime--should tune in Elvis '56 at 8 or 9:30 p.m. Saturday on KAET-TV, Channel 8; the 1987 documentary, directed by Alan Raymond and Susan Raymond and narrated by Levon Helm, features vintage performances of "Heartbreak Hotel," "Don't Be Cruel," "Baby Let's Play House" and other standards, plus rare images and interview clips (call 965-2308). For a picks-and-pans review of Presley's Hollywood career, see page 100.

"Electric Highway Tour" featuring the Crystal Method, Arkarna, Uberzone, and Terry Mullan: The kids'll be dancing with dust devils and trip-hopping the light fantastic on Saturday, August 16, as this electronic/dance bash hits Compton Terrace, I-10 and Queen Creek Road in Chandler. An unrelated version of this summer's massive "Big Top" electronica tour (which wasn't scheduled to play the Valley at press time), "Electric Highway" also features scheduled performances by DJ Icey, the Bombshelter DJs, Gary Menichiello, R.C. Lair, Skylab SoundSystem, AK1200, and Karma. It starts at 9 p.m. and continues 'til 6 a.m.; tickets are $20, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 945-3898 or 784-4444.

Arizona Lowrider Super Show: Take a little trip to Phoenix Civic Plaza, Second Street and Adams, for the 19th annual "Fiesta on Wheels." The show features the latest in low-slung autos and other "special interest" vehicles, plus performances by various DJs and hip-hop acts. Hours are 5 p.m. Saturday, August 16, to 1 a.m.; and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, August 17, in exhibit halls A through E. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 the day of the show, available at Dillard's; accompanied kids 10 and under get in free. For details call 262-7272 or 503-5555.

Arizona Rattlers Playoffs: The arena-football team hosts a semifinal against the Tampa Bay Storm at 5 p.m. Saturday, August 16, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Tickets range from $10 to $38, available at the arena and Dillard's. Call 514-8383, 379-7800 or 503-5555.

"Crossing the Frontier" and "Canyonland Visions": See Thursday.
"The Great Dinosaur Extinction": See Thursday.
MUFON Fair: See Friday.
Bruce Smirnoff: See Thursday.
"Token City": See Thursday.

tuesday
august 19
Willie Nelson: Willie's not pleasing to all palates--an old Texas pal used to say of Nelson, treasonously, "He sangs like a cow a-dyin'"--but the ponytailed performer is a towering figure in the realm of outlaw/outsider country, and a virtual immortal at home in the Lone Star State. And, expiring bovine or not, it's hard to deny Willie's deft way with asong--like, say, "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain" or "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground." Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 19, at the Red River Opry, Mill and Washington in Tempe. Tickets are available at the scene and Dillard's; call 829-6779 or 503-5555.

Hawaii Five-0 Cigar Festival: Book 'em, Dano--your reservations, that is, for this aromatic luau, which features premium-cigar sampling, libations, a five-course "tropical feast" and entertainment. It starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 19, at the Famous Door Supper Club, 7419 East Indian Plaza in Scottsdale. Tickets are $65, and must be purchased in advance; call 941-0101 or 970-1945.

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

wednesday
august 20
Patti LaBelle: Patti and her soul sisters in the '70s trio LaBelle--Wynona "Nona" Hendryx and Sarah Dash--looked like they'd just beamed down from planet Mongo in the "Lady Marmalade" days, but weren't they great days? Twenty-three years later, the solo LaBelle (real name: Patricia Holt) still has the pipes--an extraordinary voice with a five-octave range--and a taste for topflight producers. New Orleans' Allen Toussaint manned the board for "Marmalade" and its album of origin, Nightbirds; '90s megastars Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis penned and produced the first single ("When You Talk About Love") from 53-year-old Patti's new disc, Flame. Rahsaan Patterson opens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 20, at the Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets are $31 and $41, available at the scene and Dillard's; call 267-1600 or 503-5555.

Thomas Bopp: The Valley-based co-discoverer of Comet Hale-Bopp presents the keynote address at Arizona State University West's opening convocation, which also serves as the dedication ceremony for the new University-College Center, a collaborative effort between ASU West and Glendale Community College. The event starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 20, at La Sala on the ASU West campus, 4701 West Thunderbird in Glendale; admission is free, but RSVPs are requested by Monday, August 18; call 543-7787. For general information, call 543-5300.

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

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