Calendar for the week

thursday
september 4
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.

friday
september 5
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.

saturday
september 6
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.

The Doobie Brothers: The core of this Doobies touring edition includes guitarists/vocalists Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons and dual drummers Keith Knudson and Michael Hossack, so expect an emphasis on the early stuff. The all-ages shows starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, September 6, at Mesa Amphitheatre, Center and University. Tickets are $23 in advance, $24 the day of the show, available at Mesa Community Center and Dillard's box offices; call 644-2560 or 503-5555.

CopperCon 17: See Friday.
Grand Canyon Chamber Music Festival: See Friday.
Proposals: See Thursday.
Rapid Eye Movement: See Friday.

sunday
september 7
10,000 Maniacs: Let's not beat around the bush; this is not the band whose lyrical mix of pop, poetics and politics made it one of the best acts of the mid-'80s to early '90s. The poetry and politics exited with former vocalist/songwriter Natalie Merchant in '93. (Justice: They seem to have deserted the solo Merchant, as well.) Which leaves us with the gleaming but faceless pop of the reconfigured group--comprising all of the original members except Natalie, plus new vocalist Mary Ramsey, a former back-up singer for the band. The Maniacs' new disc, Love Among the Ruins, is to 1987's In My Tribe as the '57 Quarrymen were to the Beatles of Sgt. Pepper. The band headlines the "NFL on TNT Tailgate Party," a warm-up to the Arizona Cardinals' home opener against the Dallas Cowboys (see the Sports listing). The outdoor show starts at 3 p.m. Sunday, September 7, on the South Plaza at the Arizona State University Activity Center, Sixth Street and Stadium Drive in Tempe; admission's free if you can get anywhere near there. For details call 379-0102.

CopperCon 17: See Friday.
Proposals: See Thursday.
Rapid Eye Movement: See Friday.

monday
september 8
The Legendary Pink Dots: Based in the Netherlands and led by wayward Brit Edward Ka-Spel, the Dots have defined--and perpetually redefined--the term "cult band" since their humble beginnings in 1980. Purposefully hard to pin down, the Pink guys have been likened to both Syd Barrett and Skinny Puppy--name another act you can say that about--and play, at various times and occasionally simultaneously, mystical avant noise, sampled found sounds, warmed-over psychedelia and English teatime folk/murk. Twilight Circus, and the Silver Man open. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Monday, September 8, at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $6 in advance, $8 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster. For details call 967-1234 or 784-4444.

AriZoni Awards: The Valley theater community is feted at this seventh annual ceremony, which gets under way at 7:30 p.m. Monday, September 8, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. Tickets are $13.50, available at the center; call 252-8497.

Kenny Loggins: Mr. "Footloose," approaching 50, has shaved off his flowing facial locks and co-authored a self-help book, The Unimaginable Life: Lessons Learned on the Path of Love--urk--with his second wife, an odd duck named Julia; the couple rattles on about stuff like healers and their wedding in the buff. Biohazard warning: Kenny's new album is also titled The Unimaginable Life, and seeks to spread the New Age gospel according to Loggins via another route. Nevertheless, tickets are going fast for his shows on Monday, September 8; and Tuesday, September 9, at the Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Wethinks a few folks might be in for a surprise. Sax player Everette Harp opens each concert/be-in at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 267-1600 or 503-5555.

Proposals: See Thursday.

wednesday
september 10
Sheryl Crow, Wilco, and Michael Penn: Excellent lineup, excellent venue: cozy Mesa Amphitheatre, Center and University. The headliner, shooting star Sheryl Crow, was a complete unknown only three years ago; today, this Bonnie Raitt of roots/folk is near the top of her class, a passionate writer and performer of intense, of-the-moment tunes who seems to get better, and dig deeper, with each one. Jeff Tweedy's Wilco is always neck and neck with its main competitor, Jay Farrar's Son Volt, for best-of-field in the alt-Americana sweepstakes. And Michael Penn (brother of actors Sean and Chris) has made a strong, assured comeback with his new disc, Resigned--his first since 1992's Free for All. Showtime is 6 p.m. Wednesday, September 10. Tickets are $24 in advance, $26 the day of the show, available at Mesa Community Center and Dillard's box offices; call 644-2560 or 503-5555.

Paula Poundstone: Like a Venus's-flytrap, this comedian draws in victims with patience and quiet intelligence, relying for bait on her misleadingly laid-back delivery. Then she devours 'em--us--for dinner. The leading lady of improv performs at 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 10, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Tickets range from $14 to $28, available at the center and Ticketmaster; call 786-2680 or 784-4444.

The Skatalites: The Jamaican group not only invented ska, but the 'lites also embodied and perfected it. In recent years, we've seen a population explosion of the band's musical progeny--members of ska's burgeoning (and largely American) "third wave." Check out the original--minus, of course, the late and more than slightly mad genius Don Drummond--on Wednesday, September 10, at Boston's, 910 North McClintock in Tempe. The Mad Caddies, Kongo Shock, Dave's Big Deluxe, and Warsaw are also scheduled; showtime is 8 p.m. For details call 921-7343.

Andrea McArdle: Broadway's original Annie, all grown up and stumping for her latest role in the Theater League production of Oliver! at Symphony Hall (see Tuesday in the Theater listing), meets, greets, croons and signs autographs at 5 p.m. Wednesday, September 10, at Borders Books & Music at 1361 South Alma School in Mesa. For details call 833-2244.

Grand Canyon Chamber Music Festival: See Friday.
Proposals: See Thursday.

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