Calendar for the week

thursday
september 18
Ballet Arizona's "Black & White Gala": The troupe's formal, season-opening bash features world-class hoofers and a wide-ranging repertoire. The highlights: the premiere of "Solo for a Gala" by BA artistic director Michael Uthoff, danced by Jeremy Raia; Kevin O'Day (Twyla Tharp's company, Baryshnikov's White Oak Project) performing his own "Quartet for IV"; Lauren Gelfand and James Russell Toth of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in the pas de deux from Don Quixote; Ballet Arizona's Mariusz Ostrowski and Britt Juleen in a reprise of Uthoff's "Dazed and Confused" from last season's baby-boomer smash "Ask Not . . ."; and, as a curtain-closer, the entire gala cast performing George Balanchine's "The Four Temperaments," one of the works from Basically Balanchine (see Friday). Showtime is 8:30 p.m. Thursday, September 18, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe; a nosh precedes at 7, and onstage "disco dancing" with the performers follows. A limited number of performance-only tickets were available at press time for $40; regular tickets are $150. Proceeds benefit BA. Call 381-1096.

"Inescapable Histories": The retrospective of the career of New York-based artist Mel Chin, the product of China-born parents and an upbringing in a racially mixed neighborhood in Houston, Texas, addresses Chin's deep concerns for personal and Earth history, human rights and, most notable, the environment. (The sculptor/eco-artist is likely best known for his large-scale piece "Maquette for Revival Field," a living sculpture that substituted "hyperaccumulator" plants for his usual medium of marble and was inspired by the "Revival Field" project focusing on the "green remediation" process of removing heavy metals from contaminated soil.) "Inescapable Histories" continues through Sunday, November 9, in the Mezzanine and Lower galleries at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Viewing is free; hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays (to 8 p.m. Thursdays), noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Call 994-2787.

Live: Vocalist Edward Kowalczyk and the rest of the Throwing Copper guys from York, Pennsylvania, play earnest, beetle-browed stuff that, per the band's press kit, is centrally concerned with "the challenge of mounting a spiritual quest [amid] the chaos and debris of the modern world." Commendable, but U2's got that base pretty well covered, and, you know, come on, it's only rock 'n' roll; i.e., if you're the type who'd rather sit through a Richard Gere discourse on Tibet than watch him wooing a leading lady on the screen, Live's the band for you. Touring behind Secret Samadhi, the follow-up to the multiplatinum Copper, Live plays Thursday, September 18, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Luscious Jackson, and ManBREAK open. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.25 and $22.25, available at Ticketmaster. Call 254-7599 or 784-4444.

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friday
september 19
Coco Fusco and Nao Bustamante: Fusco is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist, parodist and essayist (English Is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas); the appropriately named Bustamante is a voluptuous so-called "sexpert" and limit-pushing improv "body artist" from San Francisco. The performance artists unveil their new collaboration, Stuff, at 8 p.m. Friday, September 19; and the same time Saturday, September 20. Co-commissioned by London's Institute for Contemporary Art, the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art and the L.A. performance space Highways, Stuff is described by its creators as an examination of "how fear and desire for food, satiation, nurturing and erotic pleasure are . . . connected to perceptions of Latin culture and Latin women." Also expect "cabaret-style entertainment, protracted ludicrous toasts and readings from ancient cookbooks." About 10 lucky (or maybe not) audience members will be selected at random for an onstage feedbag of purportedly aphrodisiacal munchies. The scene is Second Stage West, located in the University Center Building on the Arizona State University West campus, 4701 West Thunderbird in Glendale. Tickets are $10, $8 for seniors, $5 for students. Call 543-6057.

Fritz Scholder: It figures to be the fall of Fritz--or the season of Scholder, if you prefer--as the world-infamous, Minnesota-born, Arizona-based painter/sculptor is saluted in his adopted hometown with upcoming installations at Phoenix Art Museum (next week), Scottsdale Center for the Arts (late October) and Scottsdale's Cultural Exchange (early November). Scholder previews the PAM exhibit with the show-and-tell presentation "Object As Creativity" at 6:30 p.m. Friday, September 19, in AED 60, located in the Architecture and Environmental Design Building on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. Admission is free; space is limited. Call 965-4135.

Basically Balanchine: Following its "Black & White Gala" on Thursday (see above), Ballet Arizona opens its regular season with this homage to the "father of American ballet"--an all-Balanchine program that includes "Serenade: A Dance in the Light of the Moon," "The Four Temperaments: A Dance Ballet Without Plot" and the jazzy "Rubies" (the middle movement from the late choreographer's ballet Jewels). Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, September 19; 8 p.m. Saturday, September 20; and 2 p.m. Sunday, September 21, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. More shows are scheduled Thursday, September 25, through Saturday, September 27. Tickets range from $9 to $34.50, available at the center and Dillard's; call 252-8497 or 503-5555.

"Inescapable Histories": See Thursday.

saturday
september 20
Wu-Tang Clan: Here comes the best hard-core-slinging, kung-fu-fighting hip-hop crew on the planet. The edition that plays Veterans' Memorial Coliseum, 19th Avenue and McDowell, on Saturday, September 20, in support of the disc Wu-Tang Forever includes all of the original "Wu-warriors," including Prince (the RZA) Rakeem, Raekwon the Chef, the GhostFace Killah, and Ol' Dirty Bastard (some might recall "Fantasy," ODB's unlikely '96 duet with soft-core-slinging Mariah Carey). Tha Alkaholiks, Know Qwestion, and DJ Z-Trip share the stage. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $22.50 in advance, $25 the day of the show, available at the coliseum and Ticketmaster; call 258-6711 or 784-4444.

Yo-Yo Ma: The world-premier cellist joins the Phoenix Symphony--conducted by its now-permanent music director, Hermann Michael--for a performance of Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B minor as part of the symphony's "opening-night celebration" on Saturday, September 20, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. (The orchestra's true season openers, sans Ma, are slated for Thursday, September 18; and Friday, September 19. See the Sounds listing in Thrills.) The concert starts at 8 p.m.; a cocktail party precedes at 6:30, and a bash featuring a Ma appearance follows. Concert-only tickets range from $20 to $45, available at the symphony box office and Dillard's (call 495-1999 or 503-5555). A limited number of "celebration" tix are available for $100 a pop (call 495-1117, extension 335).

"That Damn Show!" featuring the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the Offspring, the Artificial Joy Club, the Bloodhound Gang, and Our Lady Peace: A who's who of the alt-crossover scene, the fest, sponsored by KEDJ-FM ("The Edge" 106.3/100.3), also features scheduled performances by Buck-O-Nine, Goldfinger, Soul Coughing, the Voodoo Glow Skulls, and the Phunk Junkeez. Make a point to check out the Joy Club and its one-named singer Sal; the Canadian group plays acid-heartbreak pop brimming with junk-culture nods. Showtime is noon Saturday, September 20, at Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 North 83rd Avenue. Tickets are $20, available at Ticketmaster; call 784-4444.

Danilo Perez: Postbop Panamanian Perez was a semifinalist in 1989's Thelonious Monk Competition; today, he's one of the top jazzmen in circulation, an assessment supported by the quality of his '96 homage to Thelonious, PanaMonk. The pianist performs and signs copies of the disc at 2 p.m. Saturday, September 20, at Borders Books & Music at Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback, Suite 200. Admission is free (call 957-6660). Perez is joined by his trio for shows at 7:30 and 9:30 that evening at the intimate, newly renovated Sotto at Che Bella Tuscan Grill and Bakery, also at Biltmore Fashion Park. Tickets for the evening shows cost $15 in advance, $18.50 the day of, available at the venue and Ticketmaster (call 956-5705 or 784-4444).

Basically Balanchine: See Friday.
Coco Fusco and Nao Bustamante: See Friday.
"Inescapable Histories": See Thursday.

sunday
september 21
Rage Against the Machine, and the Foo Fighters: Radical metal band Rage--"radical metal" might seem oxymoronic, but some of the most rad of notions have exited metal heads--is exactly as billed: a balled fist of anger aimed at the skulls of corporate greed meisters. The group's album deal with one of the cogs in the corporate machine, Epic, adds ironic spice. Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters, though on the outs with some critics because their latest, The Colour and the Shape, isn't in the same league as their self-titled debut, remain unmatched in the (admittedly narrow) field of grunge/pop. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Sunday, September 21, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Tickets are $20, available at Ticketmaster. Call 254-7599 or 784-4444.

Basically Balanchine: See Friday.
"Inescapable Histories": See Thursday.

monday
september 22
"Harkins Classic Movie Festival": A precursor to the Valley cinema chain's annual best-deal-in-town "Anniversary Film Festival" (coming up next week), this fund raiser for the United Way features the same flicks--Giant, Lawrence of Arabia, Vertigo, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cabaret--though, in the aforementioned good cause, at significantly higher prices. The "Classic" fest takes over Scottsdale's Harkins Camelview 5, located on Goldwater Boulevard north of Camelback, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, September 22. Admission to each screening is $15; all proceeds go to the nonprofit. For more information, see Showtimes or call 263-7701 or 423-9900.

"Inescapable Histories": See Thursday.

tuesday
september 23
Pavement: This California-born quintet's the second chess-espousing group to hit the market this week. The first is Wu-Tang Clan (see Saturday), which uses the game to sharpen its collective claws for its real passion: the art of war. Except for their apocryphal fistfight with Beverly Hills, 90210 star Jason Priestley, the Pavement guys just like to play--metaphor intended. Leader Stephen Malkmus is often compared to R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe--early Stipe--but for an odd reason. Murmur-era Mike was the master of vocal mumblety-peg--his lyrics, though abstract to the extreme, made a mad sort of sense if you could suss out the actual words he was singing; Malkmus' diction is comparatively decent, but the meaning of the Dadaist gibberish he spouts is willfully opaque. And here's another metaphor that almost works: Pavement's new disc, the Mitch Easter-produced Brighten the Corners, might be as close as any act from this generation of alt-rockers comes to the elegiac, deep-garage-pop benchmark established by Murmur--another Easter production. See the story on page 98. The Geraldine Fibbers open the all-ages show at 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 23, at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $12 in advance, $13 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster. Call 967-1234 or 784-4444.

"Inescapable Histories": See Thursday.

wednesday
september 24
Super Deluxe: If the garage pop of Pavement (see Tuesday) references R.E.M., the Fall and the Velvet Underground, Braden Blake's Seattle foursome hero-worships the studio sheen of the Posies and Queen. After Pavement, it's hard to readjust the ears to light mode--the setting required for extended listening to SD's latest disc, via satellite--but the band does what it does pretty well. Lucky Me opens the all-ages show at 9 p.m. Wednesday, September 24, in the Fender Showcase Room at the Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Tickets are $5, available at Ticketmaster. Call 894-0707 or 784-4444.

"Inescapable Histories": See Thursday.

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