Farewell to Manzanar: This book by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, the true story of a family of Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government at the Manzanar Internment Camp during World War II, will be discussed by Dr. Carlotta Adams at 2 p.m. Thursday, March 12, at the Glendale Public Library, 5959 West Brown. It's part of the continuing "Transforming Barbed Wire" series. 930-3573.
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; "Lady Lost Found" is danced to Irish and Scottish folk music; and "Land's Edge," a 1986 work set in New England and created by the artistic collective Pilobolus, rounds out the evening. Final performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 12; 8 p.m. Friday, March 13; 8 p.m. Saturday, March 14; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 15, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. Tickets range from $16.50 to $34.50, available at the center and Dillard's. 252-8497 or 503-5555.
Radio Days: "Sentimental Journey," appropriately enough, kicks off Phoenix Symphony's marvelous program of music from the days before broadcasting came with pictures. Included are themes from The Shadow, Superman and Little Orphan Annie as well as jingles from vintage commercials for Pepsi and Wheaties, and big-band favorites including two that we feel ought to be on the short list for the new national anthem: "Big Noise From Winnetka" and "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo." Missing this one isn't advisable. Clotilde Otranto conducts the Symphony, which is joined by vocalists Five By Design, starting at 8 p.m. Friday, March 13; and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Tickets are $15 and $39. 262-7272 (Phoenix Civic Plaza), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
Scottsdale Arts Festival: The 28th annual indoor-outdoor fest includes dance, theater and music--including performances by Pete Belasco and his band, and Irish contemporary alternative rock by the Devlins--artist demos, a trompe l'oeil illusion in chalk created by master Italian street painter Kurt Wenner, kids' activities, more than 185 juried artists' booths, food and drink, and more. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Friday, March 13; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 14; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 15, at Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, Civic Center Boulevard between Second Street and Indian School. Admission is $3, free for kids age 12 and under. Shuttle service is provided from the Loloma Transit Center, Marshall Way and Second Street, and from the Galleria parking structure. 994-2787.
Chandler Ostrich Festival: Struthioformes--those fast, flightless, funny-looking avians which are the best visual evidence of the theory that modern birds descended from therapod dinosaurs--are celebrated for the 10th annual time in this world-famous three-day fest. The agenda includes big-bird races; the Ostrich Festival Parade; concerts by the likes of Kool and the Gang, Hiroshima, Dr. Ruth Band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Robert Street Band; an artist garden and marketplace; "Ostrich Alley," an exhibit which places ostrich ranching in the context of Chandler's history; a carnival; a fireworks-and-laser show; and more. Hours are noon to 11 p.m. Friday, March 13; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, March 14; and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, March 15. Events are centered on the intersection of Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard. General admission is free, but fees are charged for races and carnival rides. 963-4571, extension #123.
WorldPort '98: The annual event celebrates the cultures of other lands, and features ethnic arts and crafts, four stages of entertainment, music, dancing, foods and beverages, and, on Sunday, a "Parade of Nations," featuring costumes of many cultures. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 13; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 14; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 15, on the campus of Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management, 59th Avenue and Greenway Road in Glendale. Admission is free. 930-2299.
Phoenix Home Improvement and Garden Show: Channel 3's "Garden Guy" Dave Owens, and Brian Blake of Whitfill Nursery are among the special guests at the 25th annual show, which also features more than 400 exhibits on interior and exterior decorating, remodeling, winter landscaping and other such weekend-ruining projects. It's slated for noon to 9 p.m. Friday, March 13; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 14; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 15, in exhibit halls A through C at Phoenix Civic Plaza, Second Street and Adams. Admission is $5, $3 for seniors, free for kids 12 and under. 277-4748, 262-7272.
Forever Jung: This rates a mention just because of the title. Brit actor John Maxwell Taylor wrote and performs this monodrama about the great psychologist Carl G. Jung. The single performance is at 8 p.m. Friday, March 13, at Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Tickets are $20. 965-5377 (Kerr), 503-5555 (Dillard's), 991-8373.
Second City Theater: Elaine May and Mike Nichols, J.J. Barry, Shelly Berman, Alan Arkin, both Belushis, both Murrays (Bill and Brian-Doyle), Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, David Steinberg, Shelley Long and Chris Farley ad seemingly infinitum matriculated in this Chicago-based improv-comedy troupe, which grew out of the University of Chicago's Compass Players in the late '50s and probably had a greater influence on American comedy of the late 20th century than any other single institution. Who knows what future superstars you may catch--and be able to brag that you saw before they were big--when the theater's current national touring company takes the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Tickets are $14. 786-2680.
Orpheus Male Chorus: The lads present another of their "lively and whimsical" programs of manly tunes, ranging from "Soon Ah Will Be Done" to "When I Fall in Love," with perhaps a sea chanty or two thrown in. Two performances are scheduled: at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. Tickets are $12, $6 for those under 18. 271-9396 (OMC), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
"Fight Night at the Ritz": The great Muhammad Ali is scheduled to make a special appearance at this event, which begins with a reception followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Ritz-Carlton, 24th Street and Camelback. Apart from Ali, the evening's major attractions are the "fights" between area celebrities for such charities as Barrow Neurological Institute and Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix. In past years, the likes of Jake Plummer, Alice Cooper and Kerri Strug have duked it out; last year the prospect of this sort of bizarre pop-culture juxtaposition was enough to raise close to $400,000. Tickets, if any are still available, start at a cool $3,500 per table. 956-7111.
Objects: The gallery's second annual "Best of the Vest" show features the vest as canvas for a wide variety of clothing artists from around the country, among them Louise Blumberg, Peggotty Christenson, Kathleen Hagerty and Ellen Silberlicht, working in every medium that could be used in a vest, from handpainted silk to interwoven found objects. The exhibition opens Saturday, March 14, and runs through Saturday, April 11. 7051 East Fifth Avenue in Scottsdale. 994-4720.
Mary Lou Lord: Beantown's Lord can knock out an eccentric, folksy ballad--like her cover of Elliott Smith's "I Figured You Out"--or shake the foundation with a piece of power-chord pop like "Some Jingle Jangle Morning." When not on tour, La Lord can sometimes be found broadcasting, via her beloved Mighty Mouse amp, her lower-depths yarns of urban detritus, human and otherwise, to the commuters in her hometown's subway. See the story on page 93. The show, for ages 21 and up, starts at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15, at the Mason Jar, 2303 East Indian School. Tickets are $7, available at Ticketmaster. 956-6271, 784-4444.
I Will Fight No More Forever: In the style of European "reader's theatre," Actor's Workout, Inc., presents another in its "Project Risk" series of "holding book" performances, rehearsed no more than three times. This one, a screenplay by Jeb Rosebrook based on the life of Chief Joseph, begins at 7 p.m. Monday, March 16, at the Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central. Admission is free; donations are welcomed. 631-9251.
The Irish Rovers: Actually, this band of folkies was founded in Canada in the early '60s by a couple of teenage Irish immigrants, and two of its biggest hits were written by Chicago natives: Shel Silverstein's "The Unicorn" and Tom Paxton's "Wasn't That a Party." If blarney can be ersatz, this is an example. Still, there are worse ways one could spend St. Paddy's than listening to this lot; they always put on a good, cornball show. Make sure to request "Goodbye Mrs. Durkin" or their goof on the Scots, "Donald, Where's Your Trousers?" The Rovers play two shows in the Valley, first at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, at the Sundome, 19403 R.H. Johnson Boulevard in Sun City West; and then at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Tickets range from $7 to $24 at the Sundome; at CCA they're $12, $18 or $24. 975-1900 (the 'dome), 786-2680 (CCA).
Spacehog, and Imani Coppola: The Leeds, England, natives have been criticized for feeding too heavily at the '70s-glam trough, and even more harshly for not swiping the sound more artfully. But the retro stylings of their first CD Resident Alien--with its Bowie-esque hit "In the Meantime"--garnered them enough of a following to rate a second, The Chinese Album. More authentically glamorous is the delectable Coppola, whose hit "Legend of a Cowgirl," from her Columbia debut album Chupacabra, is a cheerful mission statement of fickleness. Garageland also shares the bill with the interstellar boar at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 the day of the show. All ages are welcome. 967-1234.
The Specials: The well-named ska/pop crew is still fronted by Lynval Golding, Neville Staples, Roddy Byers and Horace Panter, the founding fathers of this groundbreaking group and, by extension, of England's late-'70s 2-Tone movement. Busy Kongo Shock opens the show at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, at Boston's, 910 North McClintock in Tempe. Advance tickets are $15; admission is $17 the day of the show. 921-7343, 784-4444 (Ticketmaster).