"How Safe Is Our Food Supply?" Luncheon: Arizona Department of Agriculture director Sheldon Jones and California Department of Food and Agriculture secretary Ann Veneman speak about this topic at the Arizona Forum Luncheon at noon Thursday, January 8, at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix Civic Plaza, 122 North Second Street. Tickets for this high-powered repast are $30, $25 for Forum members, and reservations are required. 912-5351.
Keith Lockhart: The popular Boston Pops maestro and heartthrob takes a turn as guest conductor of the Phoenix Symphony in a program called "Love Duets," at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 8; 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, January 9; and 8 p.m. Saturday, January 10, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. The concert gets a jump on Valentine's season with amorous faves from opera and ballet. Soprano Kathleen Brett and her real-life husband, tenor Benoit Boutet, and dancers from Ballet Arizona, are scheduled to perform selections from Carmen, Giselle and La Traviata, and three versions of Romeo and Juliet (Gounod's opera, Prokofiev's ballet and Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story). Mozart is also well-represented, with romantic passages from Cosi Fan Tutte, The Marriage of Figaro and his early opera Idomoneo. Tickets are $14 to $38. 262-7272, 503-5555.
Kansas City Jam 'n' Jazz with Jay McShann: The Orange Tree Golf and Conference Resort continues its Jazz Evenings series with Midwestern-style sounds from pianist "Hootie" McShann, whose K.C. band employed Charlie Parker in the late '30s. Scheduled to sit in are trombonist Al Grey, drummer Butch Miles, bassist Milt Abel, and sax men Ahmad Alaadeen and Plas Johnson. The tunes start flowing at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 8, and at the same time on Friday, January 9, at 56th Street and Shea. Tickets are $35. 948-6100.
The Red Elvises: These guys hail from the former Soviet Union and bill themselves as "the legendary legends of Siberian surf music." The L.A.-based act plays tunes like "Elvis and Bears," "Ballad of Elvis and Priscilla" and "Shooba-Doobah (Elvis' Vacation)"--you get the picture. The Czars of Rock 'n' Roll are scheduled to play at 9 p.m. Thursday, January 8, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $6. 265-4842.
Puttin' On the Brits: U.K. painters at Scottsdale galleries: Isle of Jersey native Pauline Wehrle Blench's "plein air" oil paintings, depicting land- and seascapes from Venice, the Greek Isles, France, Italy and Arizona, are displayed starting on Thursday, January 8, at the Hohn Gallery of Fine Arts, Ltd., 7140 East Main in Scottsdale. Also kicking off this week is an exhibit of serene pastels by northern England native MacKenzie Thorpe. The display opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 8, at Wilde-Meyer Gallery, 4142 North Marshall Way, Suite A, in Scottsdale, alongside a display of works by a celebrated Yank: Dr. Suess. Regular hours for Wilde-Meyer: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays (to 9 p.m. Thursdays), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Hohn: 945-2995; Wilde-Meyer: 945-2323.
The Good Woman of Szechuan: Unlikely Theatre tries its luck with Bertolt Brecht's great-but-difficult "epic theatre" treatment of a Chinese parable, in which the gods determine that the best person on Earth is a prostitute. Co-directors Michelle Cruff and MaryKay Zeeb have updated the play to the '20s and shifted the locale to America. Opening performances of their experiment are at 8 p.m. Thursday, January 8, and the same time Friday, January 9, and Saturday, January 10, at Mesa Arts Center, 155 North Center. Tickets are $12, $10 for students, and may be purchased at Changing Hands Bookstore, 414 South Mill, Suite 109, in Tempe. 994-0497, 966-0203.
ARTiculations: The 60th birthday of Scottsdale-based, love-him-or-hate-him expressionist Fritz Scholder is celebrated Thursday, January 8, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, as the man himself performs his poetry, demonstrates his painting techniques and talks about his work. The show, which begins at 8 p.m. Thursday, January 8, at 7380 East Second Street, is part of the center's ongoing exhibit "Fritz Scholder: Icons and Apparitions, 1957-1997;" see the Visual Art listing in Thrills. Tickets are $6 ($4 for members, $3 for students). 994-2787.
The King and I: Hayley Mills plays Anna, nanny to the children of the royal house, in this touring production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved musical, which features "Whistle a Happy Tune" and "Shall We Dance?" Vee Talmadge plays the hardheaded, softhearted King. Final performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, January 8, and Friday, January 9; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, January 10; and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, January 11, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Saturday's matinee is interpreted in American Sign Language. Tickets, if they're still available, range from $33 to $47 (all ASL tickets are $45), at Gammage or Dillard's (965-3434, 503-5555).
"Africa! A Sense of Wonder": The exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central, promises "new ways of looking at the art of Africa" and includes about 80 sub-Saharan objects that date from the 16th to early 20th centuries and range from the sociocultural to the fanciful. Drawn from the extensive collection of Valley resident Richard Faletti and family, "Africa!" was co-curated by Mary Nooter Roberts and Allen F. Roberts. Various related in-gallery presentations and performances are scheduled. This week: "Drumology," a participatory exploration of the art of African drumming featuring local musician and teacher Keith Johnson, begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, January 11. The exhibition continues through Sunday, February 8, in the Steele Gallery. Viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays (to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays). Admission is $6, $4 for students and seniors, $2 for children ages 6 to 18, free for younger kids and members; entry is free to all on Thursdays. 257-1880, 257-1222.