Calendar for the week

thursday
august 21
"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. Call 965-2787.

Bruce Smirnoff: "I've turned lemons into lemonade like my other 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's scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday, August 21; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, August 22; 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, August 23; and 8 p.m. Sunday, August 24, at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, Rural and University (at Cornerstone mall). Tickets are $10 and $12; call 921-9877.

"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 200-plus 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. 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.

"Dazzling Diamonds": There are hot rocks galore in this traveling exhibit, including those of the "Cullinan Blue." The turn-of-the-century necklace features numerous chips off the old block--i.e., the Cullinan Diamond, a 3,106-carat South African beauty. The show also features the canary ring worn by Hillary Rodham Clinton at both of hubby Bill Clinton's inaugurals; a 136-carat Mardi Gras-style mask designed by Henry Dunay; a vintage tiara by Asprey, official jeweler of British blue bloods; and various pieces loaned by Martin Katz and Neil Lane, so-called jewelers to the Hollywood stars. "Dazzling Diamonds" stops at Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 Maricopa Road in Maricopa, on Thursday, August 21; Friday, August 22; and Saturday, August 23. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is a $2 donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. For details call 802-5000.

friday
august 22
The Aquabats: The Devo of alt? The Man . . . or Astroman? of beats? The Gwar of grooves? Meet an Orange County ska band with a difference--a big difference. Garbed like a band of superheroes in need of Chapter 11 protection--cheapo, painfully mauve wet suits, shiny silver skullcaps, black foam-rubber goggles that look like they were carved out of packing material--the Caped Commander, Chain Saw, the Brain and the rest of the 'bats play nutty but catchy tunes about space oddities ("Ska Robot Army," "Martian Girl") and the pop-culture ephemera we puny Earthlings clutter space with (some of the names dropped on their debut, The Return of the Aquabats: just about everybody from the Star Wars trilogy, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, Casper, Mr. Magoo and G.I. Joe). One of the band's tunes--"Aquabat March," something of a declaration of principles--sounds like a cross between a polka and the theme from Bonanza (representative refrain: "We're all just peaceful happy Aquabats/We would never take a life"). The Mad Caddies share the outdoor bill at Boston's, 910 North McClintock in Tempe. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Friday, August 22. Tickets are $10, available at Dillard's. For details call 921-7343 or 503-5555.

The Imaginary Invalid: French playwright/actor Moliere (real name: Jean Baptiste Poquelin) portrayed the title hypochondriac, Argan, in the 1673 debut of his own satire of the then-barbaric medical profession--actually (and ironically) dying early in the show's run. Peoria-based Theater Works, best known for its middle-of-the-road musicals and easily digestible comedies, takes a stab at Moliere's meatier work. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, August 22; 8 p.m. Saturday, August 23; and 2:30 and 7 p.m. Sunday, August 24, at the theater, 9850 West Peoria Avenue. The production continues through Sunday, September 7. Tickets range from $10 to $12. Call 815-7930.

"Jamizon" featuring Keith Sweat: Sexed-up swinger Sweat headlines this urban-contemporary bill, which also includes SWV, Mark Morrison, Brownstone, and Shades. Showtime is 7 p.m. Friday, August 22, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Tickets are $15.25 and $25.25 in advance, $15.25 and $28.25 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 254-7599 or 784-4444.

"Crossing the Frontier" and "Canyonland Visions": See Thursday.
"Dazzling Diamonds": See Thursday.
Bruce Smirnoff: See Thursday.
"Token City": See Thursday.

saturday
august 23
"Miss Arizona Trunk Show": Miss A '97, Chandler-born Grand Canyon University student Stacey Momeyer, previews her wardrobe and talent entry for September's Miss America competition at an Atlantic City sendoff scheduled for 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, August 23, at the Ritz-Carlton, 24th Street and Camelback. All proceeds from a related raffle and silent auction benefit the Arizona Department of Economic Security's "Adopt-a-Caseworker" program. Admission is free, but reservations are required; call 844-0220.

"Crossing the Frontier" and "Canyonland Visions": See Thursday.
"Dazzling Diamonds": See Thursday.
The Imaginary Invalid: See Friday.
Bruce Smirnoff: See Thursday.
"Token City": See Thursday.

sunday
august 24
Drain S.T.H.: Lock up your . . . sons? These smash-mouth daughters of Sweden--vocalist Maria Sjsholm, guitarist Flavia Canel, drummer Martina Axen and bassist Anna Kjellberg--would rather take a truncheon to the teeth than be mentioned in the same breath as ABBA, Ace of Base, or even the Cardigans. Not that that's likely; on its full-length debut, Horror Wrestling, this Helmet with hairpins plays the heavy stuff with style and a stiff dose of femme fatality. (P.S. To distinguish itself from the lesser Drains of the world, the band swiped the abbreviation "S.T.H." from its hometown airport in Stockholm.) The badass girls play a free, all-ages gig at 3 p.m. Sunday, August 24, at the Zia Record Exchange at 2510 West Thunderbird (call 866-7867). More shows--not free--are scheduled Sunday night; and Monday, August 25, at the Mason Jar, 2303 East Indian School (call 956-6271).

"Crossing the Frontier" and "Canyonland Visions": See Thursday.
The Imaginary Invalid: See Friday.
Bruce Smirnoff: See Thursday.
"Token City": See Thursday.

monday
august 25
"Art of the Matter: Seven Collaborations in Paper Art": Organized by the Dieu Donne Papermill of New York City's Soho district, this installation makes a case that the meticulous, hands-on pursuit of papermaking remains relevant in the Cyberspace Age. Featuring pieces by various artists working in pairs (some of those represented include William Weege, Gail Deery, John Nava, Paul Wong, Virginia Jaramillo, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Margaret Prentice, and John Risseeuw of Arizona State University's Pyracantha Press), the exhibit opens with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, August 25, and continues through Friday, September 5, at the Harry Wood Gallery, located in the School of Art Building on the ASU campus in Tempe. Viewing is free; regular hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For details call 965-3468.

Arizona Rattlers Playoffs: The football team hosts ArenaBowl XI, this year's league championship game, at 6 p.m. Monday, August 25, versus the Iowa Barnstormers. The scene is America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Call 514-8383, 379-7800 or 503-5555.

Drain S.T.H.: See Sunday.

tuesday
august 26
Alice Cooper: Citizen Alice--Valley homeowner, rabid golfer, shockmeister--shows the revivified mane-rockers sharing this bill (Dokken, Warrant, Slaughter--argh) how it's done. See the story about Alice on page 101; see the story about the aforementioned mane-rocking openers on page 102. Showtime is 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 26, at Mesa Amphitheatre, Center and University. Tickets are $26 in advance, $28 the day of the show, available at Mesa Community Center and Dillard's box offices; call 644-2560 or 503-5555.

The Derailers: If you've ever wondered what a musical summit between Buck Owens, George Jones, and the Mavericks would sound like, check out the bull's eyes "Jackpot" and "Lies, Lies, Lies" from this act's Dave Alvin-produced '96 debut. Also like Raul Malo's Florida-based Mavs, Texas' Derailers are fronted by a talented vocalist/guitarist of Hispanic descent, Tony Villanueva; Tony teams with excellent electric guitarist Brian Hofeldt for a double-whammy of a songwriting tandem. Slick 50 shares the stage on Tuesday, August 26, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Showtime is 9 p.m. The cover is $5. Call 265-4842.

"Art of the Matter: Seven Collaborations in Paper Art": See Monday.
"Crossing the Frontier" and "Canyonland Visions": See Thursday.
"Token City": See Thursday.

wednesday
august 27
Del Amitri: Front man Justin Currie has spent the better part of this decade penning shimmering, should-be pop standards that have the frustrating habit of slipping out of memory seconds after they end. Radio-friendly, smart, well-constructed--the Scot just can't seem to write a bad song, though he hasn't written a truly memorable one (with the extremely arguable exception of 1992's "Always the Last to Know") since 1990's Waking Hours and its bookend gems "Stone Cold Sober" and "Kiss This Thing Goodbye." Touring behind their latest into-the-ether collection, Some Other Sucker's Parade, Currie and company are scheduled Wednesday, August 27, at the Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. dog's eye view opens the all-ages show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $17 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster. Call 894-0707 or 784-4444.

"Art of the Matter: Seven Collaborations in Paper Art": See Monday.
"Crossing the Frontier" and "Canyonland Visions": See Thursday.
"Token City": See Thursday.

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