Proposals: The world-premiere tour of Neil Simon's latest work for the stage plays the Orpheum Theatre following an L.A. run and in advance of productions in New Haven, Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; and, this November, on Broadway. Terrific actor Ron Rifkin tops a cast that also includes Suzanne Cryer and L. Scott Caldwell in Simon's romantic comedy about a family reunion in the Poconos. Joe Mantello, who helmed both the off-Broadway and Hollywood versions of Terrence McNally's Love! Valour! Compassion!, directed. See the story on page 61. This week's performances are at 2 and 8 p.m. Thursday, September 4; 8 p.m. Friday, September 5; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, September 6; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, September 7; 8 p.m. Monday, September 8; 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 9; and 2 and 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 10, at the theater, 203 West Adams. Final shows are scheduled Thursday, September 11. Tickets range from $32.50 to $45; if available, they're at Phoenix Civic Plaza and Dillard's box offices (call 262-7272 or 503-5555).
The Royal Crown Revue: The spirit of the late Louis Jordan inhabits this neo-jumpin' jive crew from the City of the Angels--so-called "Kings of Gangster Bop" and undisputed rulers of the New Hot Swing. The Revue returns Thursday, September 4, for a show at the Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Phonoroyale opens; the all-ages concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $13, available at the club and Ticketmaster; call 894-0707 or 784-4444.
Less Than Jake: Just another ska-tinged punk band with a 'tude? Hardly; for starters, the six-piece hails from that other orange-bearing state (Florida) and rightly bills its hard-ska/speed-punk as a cross between the Toasters and Screeching Weasel. It's also known for jubilant desecrations of classic TV themes (from Happy Days to The Dukes of Hazzard), its worship of Pez and Quiet Riot, its tradition of ending live shows with a stuffed-animal fling to the faithful, the unusually unrestrictive deal it inked with Capitol and, of course, its way-catchy, horn-powered, whiplash-inducing anthems of youth, like "Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts" and "9th at Pine" from the band's good-through-and-through Capitol debut, Losing Streak. Frenzal Rhomb shares the stage on Friday, September 5, at the Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. The all-ages show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster. Call 894-0707 or 784-4444.
Rapid Eye Movement: New York troupe Art Bridgman/Myrna Packer and guests unveil the title piece, inspired by "personal dream imagery" and including separate sections choreographed by Marta Renzi, Bill T. Jones, Ann Carlson, Vickie Shick, Dan Urlin and Mark Dendy. The booking inaugurates the Arizona State University dance department's new season. Shows are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 5; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 6; and 2 p.m. Sunday, September 7, at the University Dance Laboratory at Nelson Fine Arts Center, 10th Street and Mill in Tempe. Tickets range from $6 to $12, available at the ASU Fine Arts box office; call 965-6447.
Los Straitjackets: Serious talent underlies the happy-surfers-from-the-heartland facade of this Nashville band that wears Mexican wrestling masks and boasts of influences that include Link Wray and Ray Coniff; see the story on page 93. Showtime is 10 p.m. Friday, September 5, at Nita's Hideaway, 1816 East Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. Call 967-9531.
CopperCon 17: Kevin J. Anderson, author of various Star Wars and X-Files best sellers (including Jedi Academy and Antibodies), is guest of honor at this year's sci-fi/fantasy blowout, sponsored by the Central Arizona Speculative Fiction Society. Also scheduled: "Robot Sumo Wars," filking, the wheeling and dealing of collectibles, a costume ball and the "SF Dating Game." CopperCon takes over the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, 7601 East Indian Bend in Scottsdale, on Friday, September 5; Saturday, September 6; and Sunday, September 7. Admission is $40, $20 for children ages 9 to 13, free for accompanied younger kids; call 849-3338 or 991-2400.
Road Trips: Grand Canyon Chamber Music Festival; Sandra Semchuk in Tucson: The 14th annual festival with a view opens Friday, September 5, and continues through Saturday, September 20, centered on the South Rim's Shrine of the Ages. Classical concerts are scheduled on Friday and on Saturday, September 6. Jazz/blues showcases are slated for Tuesday, September 9; and Wednesday, September 10. Tuesday's show, at Old Main on the Northern Arizona University campus in Flagstaff, is the fest's only out-of-Canyon experience. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. (call 1-800-997-8285 or 1-520-638-9215). Canadian artist Semchuk specializes in striking, self-expressionist photo, video and installation pieces; she discusses the works in her fine retrospective "how far back is home . . ." at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Old Pueblo's University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography, located north of Second Street on Olive Road. The exhibit continues through Sunday, September 14, at the center (see the On the Road listing or call 1-520-621-7968).
Proposals: See Thursday.
Social Distortion: The California band is not to be judged by its studio work, however close to greatness a couple of its albums have come. Social D is one of the postpunk era's superb live acts--more to the point, guitarist/vocalist Mike Ness is. Doctor? Astronaut? Racecar driver? Hell, what kid in his/her right mind would want to be anything but a rock star, Ness brand, after seeing this front man on a mission punctuate--exclamate!--a song with a patented windmill-power-chord high jump? But it's no rock-star pose; Ness has the pumping heart of a tiger, and the conscience and street savvy to match it. Touring behind its recent disc White Light White Heat White Trash (not one of its best, but not bad), Social Distortion performs Saturday, September 6, at the Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. The Old 97's open. The all-ages concert starts at 9 p.m. Tickets were scarce at press time; check with Ticketmaster at 784-4444.