Calendar for the week

Season Openers: "City Lights," "Wild Winter Nights": The holiday displays, both in their third year, help to make the dawn of the season bright on Friday, November 28. "City Lights" features a half-million bulbs that glow nightly, through Thursday, January 1, 1998, at Arizona Center, Third Street and Van Buren; viewing is free (949-4353). Wildlife World Zoo's "Wild Winter Nights" features thousands of lights placed strategically around the grounds of the west-side menagerie, 165th Avenue and Northern in Litchfield Park, plus a special exhibit of black-footed penguins from South Africa. The "WWN" display continues nightly, through Sunday, January 4, 1998; admission is $5, free for kids 2 and under (935-9453).

Holiday Extra: For more info about Yuletide doings, see below, the Holiday Highlights supplement in this issue, or the On the Road listing.

saturday
november 29
Baby, It's Bright Outside: Fiesta of Light, Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights, Chandler's "Tumbleweed-Tree-Lighting Ceremony," Tempe's Fantasy of Lights: Phoenix's twin holiday extravaganzas, the downtown Fiesta and the Ahwatukee-Foothills fest, get under way with celebrity switch-flippings by Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza and Arizona Governor Jane Hull, respectively, on Saturday, November 29. The Fiesta continues nightly, through Thursday, January 1, 1998, in the area surrounding Symphony Hall Terrace, Second Street and Adams (534-3378). The Festival of Lights kickoff party on Saturday includes visits from the motley crew of Hull, Santa and the Phoenix Suns Gorilla; it's at Desert Foothills Park, Desert Foothills Parkway and Chandler Boulevard. The white-light show proper continues nightly, through January 1, on Chandler Boulevard about three and a half miles west of I-10 (460-6169). Chandler's oddball "Tumbleweed-Tree-Lighting Ceremony" was conceived in 1957 by relocated Indianan Earl Barnum--who, bless his heart, saw a need. The event, quite possibly the highlight of the season for us nontraditionalists, features the lighting of a 40-foot-tall tree constructed of chicken wire, adorned with about 1,000 of those nasty Russian thistles and doused with paint, flame retardant and a 50-pound dollop of silver glitter. The fun begins at 3 p.m. Saturday at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, located on Arizona Avenue between Buffalo and Boston streets (786-2518). Tempe's fourth annual Fantasy opens with a party on Saturday and continues through January 1, in the Old Town area (894-8158).

Premier Classic 1997: The hoops invitational features a quartet of college ball's top men's teams in twin head-to-head match-ups on Saturday, November 29: Fresno State against Arkansas at 3:30 p.m., followed by Kentucky versus Clemson at 6. America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. Tickets range from $16 to $95, at the arena and Dillard's (379-7800, 503-5555).

"City Lights": See Friday.
"Physical Fiction": See Friday.
Fred Stonehouse/Steve Gompf: See Friday.
Valley Song: See Friday.
"Wild Winter Nights": See Friday.

sunday
november 30
Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra: Young maestro Keith Lockhart is only the third conductor the venerated Boston Pops has had since the Hoover administration. Lockhart's predecessors? Arthur Fiedler and John Williams. Lockhart leads this touring version of the ensemble in its third annual presentation of carols and choral/orchestral favorites at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. The Phoenix Bach Choir and the Phoenix Boys Choir are also scheduled; the program includes pieces by Bizet, Tchaikovsky and Vaughan Williams. Showtime is 7 p.m. Sunday, November 30. Tickets range from $15 to $50, available at the arena and Dillard's (379-7800, 503-5555).

Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights: See Saturday.
"City Lights": See Friday.
Fiesta of Light: See Saturday.
Tempe's Fantasy of Lights: See Saturday.
"Wild Winter Nights": See Friday.

tuesday
december 2
"For the Time Being": Held in conjunction with World AIDS Day and the annual "A Day Without Art" commemoration, this installation by California's Karen Atkinson opens Tuesday, December 2, and continues through Sunday, December 7, at various locations on the first floor of the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central. The exhibit comprises a series of interactive parking meters that, when fed with pocket change, play back stories recorded by writers and artists afflicted with HIV or AIDS; monies collected benefit various nonprofits. For viewing hours and admission info, see the Visual Art listing. 257-1880, 257-1222.

Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights: See Saturday.
"City Lights": See Friday.
Fiesta of Light: See Saturday.
"Physical Fiction": See Friday.
Fred Stonehouse/Steve Gompf: See Friday.
Tempe's Fantasy of Lights: See Saturday.
"Wild Winter Nights": See Friday.

wednesday
december 3
Martin Atkins: The alt/ambient Renaissance man leads Pigface and runs Chicago's Invisible label, and he's performed with PiL, Killing Joke, Ministry, and the Revolting Cocks and produced stuff by the likes of Sheep on Drugs, Sister Machine Gun, and Skinny Puppy. Atkins hosts a combination spoken-word program and meet-and-greet session from 8 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, December 3, at Stinkweeds Record Exchange, 1250 East Apache, Suite 109, in Tempe. Admission is free. 968-9490.

Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights: See Saturday.
"City Lights": See Friday.
Fiesta of Light: See Saturday.
"For the Time Being": See Tuesday.
"Physical Fiction": See Friday.
Fred Stonehouse/Steve Gompf: See Friday.
Tempe's Fantasy of Lights: See Saturday.
"Wild Winter Nights": See Friday.

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