Robert Schimmel: The Phoenix-based comic, currently touring in support of his ironically titled CD Robert Schimmel Comes Clean, talks frankly about sex and other social taboos, in the tradition of Carlin, Pryor and Bruce. He performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 5; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, March 6; 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, March 7; and 8 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, 930 East University (at Cornerstone mall). 921-9877.
Personals: Marta Kauffman and David Crane, co-creators of the TV series Friends, wrote the book for this musical about the dating misadventures of six singles; Michael Skloff, Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast) and Stephen Schwartz (Godspell) wrote the music. Theater League presents the production. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 5; and the same time Friday, March 6; and Saturday, March 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at the Viad Playhouse on the Park. Tickets are available at Dillard's for $17.50 and $21.50. The run continues through Sunday, April 26. 1850 North Central. 503-5555.
The Radio Kings: Growler Brian Templeton and his Boston-based blues-roots act play a release show for their Bullseye album Money Road on Thursday, March 5, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $4. 265-4842.
Earth Dances: Ballet Arizona continues its season with this program of ritual dances. Michael Uthoff's "Murmurs in the Stream" is set to Chilean folk tunes; "Voices in Stone," an ode to the American Southwest, is danced to music by Brent Michael Davids and the poetry of Ramson Lomatewama; and a commissioned work, called "Transitions," is by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar of the Urban Bush Women of New York. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, March 6; 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. Tickets range from $10.50 to $34.50, available at the center and Dillard's. The run continues through Sunday, March 15. 252-8497 or 503-5555.
Air Show Spectacular: The aerial portion of this annual event will include appearances and/or aerobatic demonstrations by Red Baron Stearman Squadron and Tora Tora Tora, a squadron of eight replicas of Japanese warplanes, which will reenact the attack on Pearl Harbor. On the non-Axis side, Greg Poe's Crucial Technology EDGE 540 single-engine monoplane will show off, a C-130 Transport used to fight forest fires will be demonstrated, and the AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter will make its first-ever public appearance. Aviation nuts should find it aphrodisiacal. On terra firma, monster vehicles Robosaurus, Bigfoot, Gravedigger, Monster Patrol and Snakebite are the big draws. The show runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, March 6; and the same hours Saturday, March 7; and Sunday, March 8, at Williams Gateway Airport, 6001 South Power in Mesa. Tickets, available at Ticketmaster, are $7.50, free for kids 3 to 10. 774-9355, 784-4444, 988-1013.
Paragon Ragtime Orchestra: These vintage-music specialists perform two shows: "Scott Joplin and the Original Kings of Ragtime," featuring hits of the '20s, both by the title composer and by Klickmann and Sousa, at 8 p.m. Friday, March 6; and "The Charlie Chaplin Film Festival," which accompanies the silent clown's shorts The Adventurer, The Rink and The Immigrant, at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. The Joplin evening also includes a short silent film; missing any chance to see silent cinema with live music is ill-advised. Tickets are $20 or $24 for each show. 994-2787 (SCA), 784-4444 (Ticketmaster).
Rhinoceros: Planet Earth Theatre presents Jared Sakren's production of Eugene Ionesco's absurdist parable about conformity--the people of the world start changing into rhinos, and slowly those who wish to stay human come to feel like outcasts. Opening performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, March 6; and the same time Saturday, March 7; Sunday, March 8; and Wednesday, March 11, at Planet Earth Theatre, 909 North Third Street. Tickets are $10, $8 for students and seniors. 521-6278.
Phoenix Holistic Health Expo: The fifth annual event, which includes more than 60 lecturers and workshops ranging from herbalism and aromatherapy to Mars/Venus relationship therapy, is slated for noon to 9 p.m. Friday, March 6; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 7; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 8, in Exhibit Hall E at Phoenix Civic Plaza, Second Street and Adams. Admission is $6, $3 for students and seniors; it's free with a $2 donation to the Student Scholarship Fund from noon to 5 p.m. Friday, 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 1 p.m. Sunday. 287-8972.
Phoenix Gem and Mineral Show: Maricopa Lapidary Society sponsors the 49th annual event, at which jewelry, gems, minerals, lapidary art, fossils, slabs, gemstones, wirewrapping, books, beads and findings, door prizes, grab bags, spinning wheels and gold panning are all displayed, demonstrated and/or sold. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, March 6; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 7; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at Mountain Preserve Reception and Conference Center, 1431 East Dunlap. Admission is $4, free for kids 12 and under with an adult. 267-1926.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: The cocktail-core group, best known for its cameo in the film Swingers, takes the stage at 7 p.m. Friday, March 6, at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Paul Maranto of the Phoenix Academy of Ballroom Dancing is scheduled to be on hand to provide swing dance lessons. 967-1234.
Indian Fair and Market: Heard Museum Guild presents the 40th annual cultural festival, one of the West's best. It runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7; and the same hours Sunday, March 8, on the museum grounds of the Heard, 22 East Monte Vista. Highlights include a display and sale of works by more than 350 top Native American artists--Navajo and Zuni jewelry, Navajo weavings, Hopi kachina dolls, Apache beadwork, pottery, paintings, sculpture, tribal dance outfits, beaded belts, bows and arrows, drums and rattles. There is also an extensive schedule of performances, including chicken-scratch music and hoop dancing, and a wide variety of native foods, ranging from Apache acorn soup to frybread. Tickets, available at the scene and Dillard's, are $6, $3 for kids ages 4 to 12, and include museum entry (call 252-8840 or 503-5555).
It's Magic!: The show, which calls itself "America's most prestigious production of popular prestidigitators," includes performances by illusionist Ed Alonzo, comedian-juggler-magician Mike Caveney and some half-dozen others. The single performance is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at the Sundome, 19403 R.H. Johnson Boulevard in Sun City West. Tickets are $11, $16 and $20. 975-1900 (the 'dome), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
Summer Camp Expo: Directors of camps from across the state and around the country will be on hand with literature and videos designed to entice the young into their isolated compounds in the wilderness. The fifth annual informational fest for families seeking summer options for their kids is slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at All Saints Day School, 6300 North Central. Admission is free. 820-1702.
Two-Day Film School: We have taken the Hollywood Film School's crash course in low-budget independent filmmaking, and can attest that, whether it turns you into the next Quentin or Spike--instructor Dov S-S Simens counts both of these wunderkinds among his former students--it will give you a couple of entertaining afternoons. Simens, a former line producer for low-budget horror films and syndicated TV shows, is a hilarious lecturer, and his combination of pragmatism and bombast makes for a healthy clearing-away of film-theory mush. The workshop is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 7; and the same time Sunday, March 8, at Scottsdale Community College, 9000 East Chaparral. The fee is $289. 970-8711, 957-4009.
Sun Cities Symphony of the West Valley: James Yestadt conducts the ensemble, which is joined by the first-prize winner (for voice) of the 1997 Jennings Butterfield Young Artist Competition for a program of works by Wagner, Borodin, Shostakovich and Berlioz. Showtime is 3 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at the Sundome, 19403 R.H. Johnson Boulevard in Sun City West. Tickets range from $12 to $20, available at the 'dome and Dillard's; call 975-1900 or 503-5555.
Contemporary Watercolorists of Arizona: Betsy Dillard Stroud juried this annual show, which is displayed from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at the Norwest Bank gallery, 3300 North Central. Admission is free. Included are works by Mickey Daniels, Kimberly Harris, Bev Jones, Betty Amos, Sally Dallas, Janice Bell and Harriet Mularz. 945-8832.
Scottsdale Concert Band: The ensemble performs at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 8; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, in the Performing Arts Center on the Scottsdale Community College campus, Pima and Chaparral. The program, conducted by Charles Sessions with guest conductors Richard Saunders and Frank Darmiento, includes Sousa marches, Broadway melodies and overtures. Scottsdale Trombone Choir opens both shows. Admission is free. 423-6152 or 860-2902.
American Ballet Theatre: The big-shot troupe from New York, probably the premier dance company in the country, makes its Phoenix debut with two shows, at 8 p.m. Monday, March 9; and the same time Tuesday, March 10, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Southwest Dance sponsors the performances. Tickets range from $23 to $75. Tickets are available at Dillard's; call 503-5555.
Patricia Russell-McCloud: The president of The Links, Inc., a volunteer-service organization of more than 9,000 African-American women (and one of Ebony magazine's 100 most influential women), presents the keynote address, "Celebrating the Experiences of Women: It's You; It's Now," at the seventh annual International Women's Day Celebration, scheduled for noon to 1:30 p.m. Monday, March 9, in the Grand Ballroom at Phoenix Civic Plaza, Second Street and Adams. Tickets are $25, $15 for students and seniors; proceeds benefit the Phoenix Women's Commission Scholarship Fund. Reservations are required; call 261-8242.
Holly Cole: This pneumatic thrush, touring in support of her Metro Blue/Capitol album Dark, Dear Heart, performs at 10 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, at Nita's Hideaway, 1816 East Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. Admission is $6. 967-9531.
RatDog: The San Francisco blues/rock band includes Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, bassist and studio sideman supreme Rob Wasserman, and the great boogie-woogie piano man Johnnie Johnson, who scorched the keys on most of Chuck Berry's classic sides (Berry purportedly dedicated "Johnny B. Goode" to Johnson). Showtime is 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, at Hayden Square Amphitheatre, Fourth Street and Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $25 in advance, $26 the day of the show, available at Dillard's; call 503-5555.
Trunk Show: The functional artworks of Mary Reynolds are featured in this exhibition/sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, at Sun Cities Museum of Art, 17425 North 115th Avenue in Sun City. Surprise native Reynolds depicts Southwestern scenes on tapestries, pillows, towels, tee shirts, vests, jackets and coats. The handiwork of Valley jewelry makers Lorrie Neale, Evelyn Alexander and Sunny Draudt will also be displayed. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the museum. Museum admission is free during the trunk-show hours, and a light lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Regular hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays; closed holidays. 972-0635.