Calendar for the week

thursday
november 6
The Food Chain: Though Nicky Silver (Pterodactyls; Free Will and Wanton Lust) is one of America's more promising comic playwrights, his writing sometimes straddles the line that divides standup patter from subtler characterization; there's surely no little connection between that and men having an en masse attraction to Silver's humor that mostly eludes those of the more reflective/less reflexive sex. In the off-Broadway hit Chain, Silver strip-mines for yuks in the deep, dark holes of dysfunction and narcissism; the largely unlikable characters here sift through largely unresolvable issues of physical and mental despair by gorging, purging, preening and obsessing. But there is an upbeat ending, of a wretchedly excessive sort. D. Scott Withers of the Valley's In Mixed Company, the troupe presenting the show, says Silver actually wrote two finales to Chain, and "we picked the happier one, because we thought it was even more pathetic." Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, November 6; 8 p.m. Friday, November 7; 8 p.m. Saturday, November 8; and 2 p.m. Sunday, November 9, at PlayWright's Theatre, 1121 North First Street. The run continues through Saturday, November 22. Thursdays are "barter nights"; those who bring in $15 worth of nonperishable food items get a price break, and St. Mary's Food Bank gets the donation. Sunday's matinee is a two-for-one special. Regular tickets are $16.50, $14.50 for students and seniors, available at Herberger Theater Center and Dillard's (252-8497, 503-5555).

Phoenix Symphony's "Resurrection": It's not Gustav's great Ninth, but Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony (his Second) is a bracing, complex work of classical existentialism that proved to be the Austrian composer's professional breakthrough; it was also the first of many Mahler works to incorporate vocals. Soprano Margaret Jane Wray, mezzo-soprano Claudine Carlson and the 280-member Arizona State University Choral Union join conductor Hermann Michael and the symphony for performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 6; 8 p.m. Friday, November 7; and 8 p.m. Saturday, November 8, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Tickets range from $14 to $38, available at the symphony box office and Dillard's (495-1999, 503-5555).

Miss Coco Peru: Drag king Clinton Leupp (To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar) wrote the one-man/woman Miss Coco Peru; Leupp also enacts the title role, a chatty wench of depth, warmth and conviction who breaks the fourth wall with abandon--and charm. New York's Captive Audience Productions presents final performances on Thursday, November 6; Friday, November 7; and Saturday, November 8. All start at 8 p.m. at Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre, 100 East McDowell. Tickets are $17.50. 254-2151.

friday
november 7
The Rolling Stones: We dubbed these guys the "Rolling Bones" nearly a decade ago, during the Steel Wheels tour, and our cynicism has ballooned along with the group's collective prostate. Fine wine and mountain ranges age well; gallon jugs of Night Train and British rock bands don't. The Stones are now as old as the hills but not half so wise, if their latest disc, Bridges to Babylon, is any indication; their last album to share space in the same sentence with the word "greatness" was Tattoo You, 16 years ago. So what's the lingering attraction? As advertised, the Stones were the "World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band" for the first half of their 35-year existence, and they've earned the right--at least in their minds--to piddle away the remainder by releasing a passable album every few years and doing a spectacle-filled support tour. Fleetwood Mac's reunion is mostly about cash flow, and so are the more frequent rebandings by the Stones--but, hey, it's your money. Dem Bones are scheduled Friday, November 7 (a.k.a. el Dia de los Muertos Muchachos); see the related story on page 8. Third Eye Blind opens; showtime is 7:30 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium, College Avenue and Stadium Drive in Tempe. Tickets are $41.25 and $61.75, available at Gammage Auditorium and Dillard's (965-3434, 503-5555).

"Fire & Ice '97": Ravers and techheads unite at this DJ shindig, whose main event features dancing "under a huge chandelier of burning fire and melting ice." Teri Bristol, Earl Pleasure and Ralphi Rosario of Chicago's Crobar kick-start the affair with an outdoor show from 8 p.m. Friday, November 7, to 2 a.m. at Tovrea Mansion, 4633 East Van Buren. "Fire & Ice" proper features New York's Michael Fierman and Atlanta's Darin Arrowood; it's slated for 8 p.m. Saturday, November 8, to 6 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom at Phoenix Civic Plaza, Second Street and Adams. NY's Warren Gluck spins at "Meltdown," scheduled for 8 p.m. Sunday, November 9, to 1 a.m. in the Great Hall at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central. Proceeds benefit Phoenix Body Positive. 1-800-494-8497.

Thunderbird Balloon Classic and "Desert Glow": The 23rd annual event kicks off with a new draw, "A Taste of the Glow," at 5:30 p.m. Friday, November 7. The Classic--slated for Saturday, November 8; and Sunday, November 9--features about 125 balloons competing in "hare and hound"-style races; "hare"-bag launches are planned at 7:15 and 8:30 each a.m., with "hound" waves pursuing at 7:30 and 8:45. The "Desert Glow," which starts at dusk Saturday, features about 80 of the big bags of hot gas lined up in a row and hot-firing against a backdrop of the McDowells; the effect is like a fistful of fat diamonds cast onto black velvet and illuminated with a baby spot. Lovely and highly recommended--as is early arrival. The scene is WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road. Admission to each event is $5 in advance, $8 at the gate, free for kids under 12; all proceeds benefit the scholarship fund at Glendale's Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management. 978-7790.

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