Rigo Star's African Revue: The show, which features Pepe Kalle, offers audiences a taste of the central African pop form known as Soukous. It begins at 8:30 p.m. Friday, February 27, at The Women's Club of Phoenix, 302 West Earll. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. 438-2382, 705-9581.
"Meditations on China" at Phoenix Art Museum: Subtitled "An exploration of Nature and Chinese Art," this exhibit, which opens on Saturday, February 28, in the Steele Gallery of the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central, includes paintings, scrolls, sculptural rocks and furniture, all of which demonstrate the traditional Chinese view that nature itself is an artist. Among the featured works is Ah-Leon's Bridge: Illusion in Clay, "a weathered 60-foot Chinese footbridge, in reality made of stoneware." Also on display at PAM is "Worlds Within Worlds: The Richard Rosenblum Collection of Chinese Scholars Rocks." Scholars' rocks are those collected since ancient times for their "aesthetic and spiritual qualities"; they are one of the earliest known examples of what is now called "found art." This collection, organized by Robert D. Mowry, curator of Chinese Art at Harvard University Art Museums, includes more than 80 rocks from the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. In addition, the exhibition will feature "Art and the Chinese Scholar: Paintings and Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties." Various related in-gallery presentations are scheduled throughout the run of the exhibit, which continues through Sunday, April 19. 257-1222.
The Peking Opera: Traditional Chinese opera--the kind that Jackie Chan studied as a kid, the kind featured in the Chen Kaige film Farewell, My Concubine--involves not only singing but dancing, mime, acrobatics, martial arts and juggling. It promises a feast of high theatricality. The company takes the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 28, at Gammage Auditorium. Tickets are $19, $22 and $25. Mill and Apache in Tempe. 965-3434 (Gammage), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
Franklin Templeton Tennis Classic: Formerly known as the Arizona Men's Tennis Championships, this tourney features a field that includes defending champ Mark Philippoussis, Andre Agassi and Boris Becker. After two days of free qualifying rounds, the tournament proper begins at 10 a.m. Monday, March 2, and continues daily through Sunday, March 8, at the Scottsdale Princess resort, 7575 East Princess Drive. Individual tickets, available at Dillard's, range from $8 to $50; a variety of ticket packages is available for more. 922-0222, 503-5555.
Smokey Joe's Cafe: This Tony-nominated musical, directed by Jerry Zaks, showcases the songs of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the two nice, middle-class Jewish boys whose collaborations were largely responsible for turning black R&B and rock into a mainstream form. Their canon includes "Hound Dog," "Stand By Me," "Charlie Brown," "Yakety Yak," "There Goes My Baby," "Jailhouse Rock," "Love Potion #9" and the estimable "On Broadway"--to name a few. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 3; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Tickets range from $29.50 to $43.50. The run continues through Saturday, March 7. 965-3434 (Gammage), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
Sugar Ray, with Save Ferris: Touring in support of its Lava/Atlantic album Floored, the aggro popsters Sugar Ray, fronted by vocalist Mark McGrath and backed by Craig "DJ Homicide" Bullock, comes to the Valley with assurances that it's added melody to its repertoire of musical skills. The nonpunk outfit Save Ferris, which, like Sugar Ray, hails from the Punk Ground Zero of Orange County, California, sports a ska-tinged sound and a strong female presence at center mike: operatically trained Monique Powell. Along with Incubus, and Goldfinger, the band shares the all-ages bill with Ray. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at Hayden Square Amphitheatre, Fourth Street and Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $17, available at Dillard's. 503-5555.
Chumbawamba: After at least a decade as a Brit political-fringe band with anarchist leanings, this lot broke through a few months back with the eminently catchy "Tubthumping." It's since suggested shoplifting its Republic/Universal CD Tubthumper to concert audiences, leading some retailers to keep it behind the counter, like porno. One does wonder if the Chums would show political solidarity with Republic/Universal if the label decided to become anarchist before paying them their percentage. The band plays at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, at Hayden Square Amphitheatre, Fourth Street and Mill in Tempe. Tickets, should you be bourgeois enough to pay for them, are $15 in advance, $17 the day of the show. A3 opens the all-ages show. 503-5555 (Dillard's).
George Hickenlooper's Dogtown: The admired documentarian Hickenlooper, who directed the classic moviemaking chronicle Hearts of Darkness, turns to fiction with this feature about ennui amongst small-town Generation Xers. Rory Cochrane of Dazed and Confused stars as a struggling actor who returns to his small Missouri hometown and reconnects with his beauty-queen ex-girlfriend (Mary Stuart Masterson). Jon Favreau, Harold Russell, Karen Black, Shawnee Smith and Maureen McCormick also appear. Hickenlooper himself is scheduled for an in-person Q&A, moderated by yours truly, after this special screening by the Arizona Film Society's "Phoenix Independent Series," which starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, at AMC Town & Country 6 Theatres, 20th Street and Camelback. Tickets are $5. 970-8711.