Ever seen Santo, the masked superhero-wrestler from Mexican fantasy-horror films? Imagine four Santos playing frenzied Dick Dale/Ventures-style surf-guitar rock, and you've got a good picture of Los Straitjackets. Touring in support of its excellent Upstart CD Viva! Los Straitjackets!--supposedly what Quentin Tarantino cried to the band from the audience at a gig--the instrumental-only masked quartet takes the stage at 9 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School, following a set by Al Casey, of the previous generation of surf music. Cover is $7. 265-4842.
From the higher end of Hispanic culture comes Ballet Hispanico of New York, a 28-year-old, 13-strong troupe serving up its special blend of classic ballet and ethnic dances. The group performs works choreographed by the likes of Maria Rovira, Ann Reinking, and George Faison--whose Idol Obsession depicts the life of Tejano star Selena--at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $24 and $28. 994-2787 (SCA), 784-4444 (Ticketmaster).
The American cowboy, from historic figure to romantic, is feted at the National Festival of the West. Highlights of this annual hoe-down at Rawhide, 23023 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, include appearances by such luminaries from Western film and TV as Harry Carey Jr., Rex Allen Sr., Buck Taylor and Christina Paine, as well as music, cowboy poetry, a costume contest, hayrides, gun fights, a shooting contest and a chuck-wagon cookoff. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 19; and the same hours Friday, March 20; and Saturday, March 21; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 22. Admission is $8, $2 for children ages 5 to 12, $1 less with the donation of a canned good for St. Mary's Food Bank; kids get in free on Friday, seniors get in for half price on Thursday. 996-4387, 502-1880.
If the musical stylings of Los Straitjackets (see Thursday) are too harsh for you, you might try subjecting yourself to Yanni, the human sedative. If you must, the former Mr. Linda Evans takes the stage at 8 p.m. Friday, March 20, at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. Tickets are $39.50 and $65; don't forget your six-pack of Jolt soda. 379-7800 (AWA), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
If the comedy stylings of Bobby Slayton (see story left) are too hard-edged for your tastes, you might try an evening with rabbi/standup comic Bob Alper. Called "a Jewish Bill Cosby" by the New York Post, Alper promotes himself as the "world's only practicing clergyman doing standup comedy . . . intentionally." Titled "Saturday (and Sunday) the Rabbi Made Us Laugh," and hyped as "funny enough for teenagers, clean enough for their grandparents, a hit with all faiths," the rabbi's show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 21; and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 22, at Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Tickets are $18, $20 reserved. 965-5377 (Kerr), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
The Beethoven of blues, John Lee Hooker performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at the Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets are $31 and $41; superlatives fail (see page 88). 267-1600 (Celeb), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
About four dozen galleries, studios and alternative art spaces throughout central Phoenix showcase thousands of works in all media created by hundreds of artists--including paintings, sculpture, photography, performances and experimental works--during Art Detour '98, Artlink's 10th annual, self-guided art tour. The free public event lasts from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 21, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 22 (with some spaces open optionally on Friday and Saturday evening). The most promising diversion this year might just be Hemaderby, Angela Ellsworth's "two-day multimedia performance piece based on tag-team skating and the human blood system," at the Icehouse, 429 West Jackson. Tour programs with maps and information about each exhibit space are available at Art Detour 10 headquarters, 411 North Central, and at all participating venues. 256-7539.
The Arizona Wing of the Confederate Air Force hosts another '40s Big Band Dance, featuring the Freddy Guerra Orchestra, and Art Royers' 1940s USO Show, along with refreshments, costume and dance contests and the atmosphere created by all those historic aircraft, most especially the B-17 "Sentimental Journey." Hours are 6 p.m. Saturday, March 21, to midnight, at the CAF hangar at Falcon Field, Greenfield and McKellips in Mesa. Admission is $18, $20 at the gate. 924-1940.
The best tale told about Peter, Paul and Mary (Yarrow, Stookey and Travers, respectively): Mary Travers claims that she once actually tossed one of the folk-activist trio's gold records on the turntable to see how it played, and it turned out to be a gilded Dean Martin album. All that glitters is not gold, but the harmonies of these three are, and besides, they helped to popularize Dylan. PP&M perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 22, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Tickets are $26 and $35. 262-7272 (Phoenix Civic Plaza), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
It's Oscar night, for heaven's sake--the only valid reasons for leaving your home are A) your TV was stolen, or B) you're going to an Oscar party somewhere. If you've got a few bucks to spare, consider the Sixth Annual Phoenix Academy Awards Benefit '98, a black-tie shindig from 6 to 11 p.m. Monday, March 23, at the Arizona Club, on the 37th floor of the Bank One Building, 201 North Central. Advance tickets range from $100 to $150 and include champagne, hosted wine, voluminous buffets, silent and live auctions and other entertainment, a great view of Phoenix, and, from a bunch of big-screen TVs, a great view of the 70th annual Academy Awards show. Best of all, proceeds go to Volunteers in Direct AID Client Assistance Program, and Dignita Hospice Foundation's Bereavement Camps for Children and Families. 230-2225, 279-0677.