Calendar for the week

thursday
december 4
Baby, It's Bright Outside: Fiesta of Light; Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights; "Wild Winter Nights": Phoenix's free Fiesta continues nightly, through Thursday, January 1, 1998, in the area surrounding Symphony Hall Terrace, Second Street and Adams (534-3378). Phoenix's other major display, Ahwatukee's bounteous, white-lights-only bonanza, can be viewed from 5:30 to 11 nightly, through January 1. Related horse-drawn hay rides and "luminary" hikes to South Mountain's Telegraph Pass are scheduled each Saturday, through December 20. The fest is centered on Chandler Boulevard about three and a half miles west of I-10 (460-6169). 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). For info about other significant Yuletide doings this week, see below.

Fiona Apple: The controversial Apple has taken a good deal of dis from folks who find her tart mouthiness and general anti-joie de vivre disagreeable, but who apparently haven't bothered to play her debut, Tidal. The songs therein--especially "Shadowboxer" and the loping rocker "Criminal"--showcase a songwriter/performer far beyond this musician's tender years. And it doesn't hurt that Fiona has a face from a fever dream and a moody--sometimes almost torchy--sound that echoes Tori Amos and Pirates-era Rickie Lee Jones (the New Yorker singles out Billie Holiday and poet Maya Angelou as influences). Laika opens the all-ages concert. Showtime is 9 p.m. Thursday, December 4, at the Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets are $23.50, available at the scene and Dillard's (267-1600, 503-5555).

Fred Stonehouse/Steve Gompf: Stonehouse is a Milwaukee-born painter who operates in his own fever-pitched realm of imagination; says Fred of the startlingly original pieces in his exhibit "Thirteen Devils & El Libro de los Suenos": "I break the rules of symbolism internationally. . . . I don't have any qualms about it." Sounds good to us. Valley-based Gompf is a multimedia junkie who transforms his passion for old junk--and faded visuals--into glorious pseudohistory via sometimes disturbing, nickelodeon-style loops "broadcast" on lovingly rehabilitated, oddly threatening machines named televisors. His installation is titled "Steve Gompf & Eadweard Muybridge: Persistent Visions: Televisors and Early Motion-Picture Technologies." The dual exhibits are up through Saturday, January 3, 1998, at the Lisa Sette Gallery, 4142 North Marshall Way in Scottsdale. Viewing is free; hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays (and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays), noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 990-7342.

The American Analog Set: Another worthy booking from Kimber and crew at Tempe's tiny Stinkweeds Record Exchange, 1250 East Apache, Suite 109--which has given indie/alt aficionados more bang for their buck, per square foot, than any other Valley venue. AmAnSet is based in Austin, Texas, but originally hails from Fort Worth, and is earthy in that dust-covered-boot kinda way that Cowtown's semifamous for. But the Set's not a neocountry band--or even close. Its hushed psychedelia, backlighted by Farfisa and found sounds, calls to mind the lazy dipping of warm toes in shaded grass on a resplendent afternoon--not to mention the quieter gushings and gurglings of Galaxie 500 (though the Set is more often likened to Stereolab and Spiritualized). Touring behind its sophomore crop of lo-fi, home-recorded tunes, From Our Living Room to Yours, AmAnSet plays Thursday, December 4. Alisons Halo opens at 10 p.m. 968-9490.

"Physical Fiction: Electronic Installations by Sara Roberts": Northern California teacher/technologist Roberts is a master of inventive, viewer-responsive electronic installations that create "portraits of common relationships." In her piece "Elective Affinities" (named after the Goethe novella), Roberts tracks the complex interplay between four occupants of a moving car. Explains the exhibit's curator, Heather Sealy Lineberry, "Depending upon [his or her] location, the visitor triggers a soundtrack of thoughts. . . . The story will be different each time you visit, depending on which soundtracks are activated as you move around the space." The show continues through Saturday, January 31, 1998, in the Experimental Gallery at the Arizona State University Art Museum at Matthews Center, located at the intersection of Cady and Tyler malls on the ASU campus in Tempe. Viewing is free; hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. 965-2787.

friday
december 5
Las Noches de las Luminarias: The phenomenally popular fund raiser, in its 20th year, features an elbow-to-elbow stroll on luminaria-lighted paths, entertainment and more. It's scheduled for 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, December 5; and the same hours Saturday, December 6, at Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, in Papago Park. If available, tickets are $10, $4 for kids ages 5 to 12; advance purchase is required, and early arrival is of the essence. A free shuttle service originates at nearby Phoenix Municipal Stadium. 941-1225.

Juliana Hatfield: The former Blake Baby's solo success this decade presaged--and, in some ways, helped spawn--the raging femme-pop movement. And "spawn" is a good word for it; though we vastly prefer intelligent women coaxing angst-ridden confessionals out of guitars to, say, that '80s monstrosity called hair-metal, we also note that there are far too many mediocre femmes slipping through the cracks. Hatfield's not one of 'em, though we've never been particularly smitten with her work--the voice is too static, displaying the raw emotion of a brick wall. Still, we give the Boston native props aplenty for her smarts, her songs' vivid sense of sorrow and her artistic refusal to tread water; see the story on page 100. Fig Dish shares the stage. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Friday, December 5, at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster. 967-1234, 784-4444.

A Christmas Carol: Actors Theatre of Phoenix's traditional production of Charles Dickens' ghost story, adapted by Richard Hellesen and featuring music by David de Barry, previews at 8 p.m. Friday, December 5; and 2 p.m. Saturday, December 6, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. The official opening is at 8 p.m. Saturday; more shows are scheduled at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, December 7. The run continues through Sunday, December 21. Tickets range from $10.50 to $32, available at Herberger and Dillard's (252-8497, 503-5555).

Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights: See Thursday.
Fiesta of Light: See Thursday.
"Physical Fiction": See Thursday.
Fred Stonehouse/Steve Gompf: See Thursday.
"Wild Winter Nights": See Thursday.

saturday
december 6
Glowing in Style: Electric Light Parade; Prescott Courthouse Lighting: The 11th annual parade, held in conjunction with the Fiesta of Light (see Thursday), is one of Phoenix's lovelier events. The caravan of lighted floats and folks in luminous costumes gets under way at 7 p.m. Saturday, December 6, traveling down Central Avenue from Missouri to Thomas. Viewing is free (534-3378). The lighting of the Yavapai County Courthouse up in Prescott, Arizona's official "Christmas City," is one of the state's signature seasonal events. The ceremony starts at 6 p.m. Saturday; the "12 Days of Christmas" Parade precedes at 1. Viewing is free (1-800-266-7534, 1-520-445-2000).

The Velveteen Rabbit: Childsplay presents its annual, "24-carrot" holiday gift to the Valley: Brian Burgess Clark's adaptation of Margery Williams' tale about the strong bond between a boy and his stuffed bunny. Opening performances are at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, December 6; and the same times Sunday, December 7, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. More shows are planned Saturday, December 13. Tickets are $17.50, $12.50 for students and seniors. 350-8101, 994-2787.

Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights: See Thursday.
A Christmas Carol: See Friday.
Fiesta of Light: See Thursday.
Las Noches de las Luminarias: See Friday.
"Physical Fiction": See Thursday.
Fred Stonehouse/Steve Gompf: See Thursday.
"Wild Winter Nights": See Thursday.

sunday
december 7
Green Day: It feels odd but right to go out on a limb for this punk-pop progenitor--and to ponder the psychology behind the backlash that's been brewing since GD's Dookie (1994) crossed over to become the Thriller of punk. Previous to their flukish mainstreaming, Billie Joe and gang were considered semirevolutionary--and certainly merit-worthy; post-Dookie, they were shunned by critics who had previously stumped for them, and saddled with sins more appropriately placed at the feet of pitiful acolytes like Rancid and the Offspring. It's the typical story; Green Day didn't change--its commercial status did. And its status has changed again: Last time through, GD headlined America West Arena; this time, it plays Club Rio, 430 North Scottsdale Road in Tempe. But this band's still got its chops, and Billie Joe's still got that attitude--the sort to bring a crooked sneer to the cracked lips of Mr. Joe's hero, Sid Vicious, rotting down there in hell. D Generation opens at 8 p.m. Sunday, December 7. Tickets are $20, available at Ticketmaster. 894-0533, 784-4444.

ZooLights: The Phoenix Zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway, in Papago Park, is garbed in a Technicolor dreamcoat of lights during this sixth annual display; this year's version features new exhibits and an hour's extra viewing time per evening. ZooLights opens Sunday, December 7, and continues from 6 to 10 nightly (except Christmas Eve), through Sunday, January 11, 1998. The Phoenix Boys Choir performs a related concert on Sunday. The special admission is $4.50, free for kids age 2 and under. 273-1341, extension 7810.

Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights: See Thursday.
A Christmas Carol: See Friday.
Fiesta of Light: See Thursday.
The Velveteen Rabbit: See Saturday.
"Wild Winter Nights": See Thursday.

monday
december 8
"The End of the World Party" featuring Puck: Puck (real name: David Rainey) hosts this bash targeted primarily at the Arizona State University crowd; he's a former cast member of The Real World (that MTV chemistry experiment in airheaded socialism), and his presence is decidedly not why we recommend nonstudent attendance. Rather, check out headliner Fred Green--fragrantly airheaded socialists of a different sort, if you catch our drift--and Cousins of the Wize, the new hip-hop/fusion act by former Brothers Grimm member Pie Gomez. See the story on page 102. Left of Center opens; the all-ages party starts at 9 p.m. Monday, December 8, at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $10, available at Ticketmaster. 967-1234, 784-4444.

Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights: See Thursday.
Fiesta of Light: See Thursday.
"Wild Winter Nights": See Thursday.
ZooLights: See Sunday.

tuesday
december 9
The Hot Club of Cowtown: Conceived in New York but currently docked in San Diego, this trio plays a style of hard swing equally informed by the Gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and their great Quintet of the Hot Club du France and by Western swingers Bob Wills and Tex Williams. Seeming schizophrenia aside--the duality is sorta like takin' a girl to a rodeo or a sandwich to a picnic--the combination works like a danged charm, to utilize the parlance of the latter pair of aces. The Ramblers open at 9 p.m. Tuesday, December 9, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. 265-4842.

Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights: See Thursday.
Fiesta of Light: See Thursday.
"Physical Fiction": See Thursday.
Fred Stonehouse/Steve Gompf: See Thursday.
"Wild Winter Nights": See Thursday.
ZooLights: See Sunday.

wednesday
december 10
The Dandy Warhols: Great name--just in general, but also specific to the world view of this Portland, Oregon, quartet, which plays forward-thinking alt-pop with tendencies toward throwback stuff like glam; see the story on page 97. The Longpigs, and Treble Charger are the openers. Showtime is 9 p.m. Wednesday, December 10, at Nita's Hideaway, 1816 East Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. Tickets are $10, available at Dillard's. 967-9531, 503-5555.

Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights: See Thursday.
Fiesta of Light: See Thursday.
"Physical Fiction": See Thursday.
Fred Stonehouse/Steve Gompf: See Thursday.
"Wild Winter Nights": See Thursday.
ZooLights: See Sunday.

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