"You guys got baseball now!" says Tom Paxton, by phone, of the Valley. "I'll have to remember to do some baseball songs. I've got one called 'My Favorite Spring' that I'll have to do." Paxton, the legendary Pete Seeger protege best known, perhaps, for "Goin' to the Zoo," "Ramblin' Boy" and the peerless "The Marvelous Toy," is speaking of his upcoming gig at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. The folkie says he'll play "some serious songs, about gun control and Bosnia, and some love songs," but promises not to stray too far from the lighthearted: "I'm always trying to write funny songs about whatever's going on in the world, so I have stuff about Linda Tripp and Bill Clinton. And also, Modern Maturity--you know, nobody wants it, so why's it in the mailbox? They start sending it to you when you're 50, for God's sake." Tickets are $15 reserved, $13 general. There's also a "Coffee at Kerr" at 10:30 that morning, at which Paxton will perform and chat over morning refreshments; this event is free, but reservations are required. 965-5377, 503-5555.
Give a kid a healthy set of choppers, and you give a kid a chance--that's the reasonable theory behind the Dave Pratt Dental Clinic, a free clinic for members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix and other underprivileged children in the Valley. The clinic, which opens with a dedication at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 16, at 1601 West Sherman, is named after KUPD's Pratt, who raised thousands for the effort by getting his listeners to fork over a buck apiece in return for a handshake. 954-8182.
It'll cost you $200, but if you've got the wherewithal to blow off a Thursday and play golf, you can probably afford it: A fund raiser for Tempe Chamber of Commerce, Open Horizons and Pathways, Tempe Chamber Links Classic Golf Tournament and Auction starts with registration and a box lunch at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 16; the shotgun start is at 12:30 p.m.; silent and live auctions and dinner follow starting at 5:30 p.m. The scene is Karsten Golf Course, 1125 East Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. 736-4283.
Mixed-media works by Carolyn Lavender and photographs by Wayne Rainey are featured in--get this--the Pitre Artists Exhibition, which runs through Sunday, May 31, at the Chrysler/Plymouth/Jeep/Eagle/Kia dealership, Scottsdale Auto Park, 6460 East McDowell. The invitation reads, "Please stop by Pitre soon to view the work of these artists and to support this ongoing art exhibition series." And, while you're there enjoying some fine art, if you just happen to notice the fine deals on new Chryslers, Plymouths, Jeeps, Eagles and Kias, well . . . But does this gallery show come with free hot dogs and balloons for the kids? 994-4999.
Ethington Theatre at Grand Canyon University, 3300 West Camelback, continues its current practice of reconstructing Shakespeare with this high-tech version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Bard's beloved pastiche about amour fou--a goddess-Queen falls hard for a hick with the head of a donkey; two couples get their attraction wires crossed; and a group of tradesmen struggles to put on a show as entertainment at a royal wedding. Claude N. Pensis directs the production. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, April 17; and the same time Saturday, April 18. Tickets are $8, $6.50 for seniors and kids. 589-2871. In other Bard-related news, Actors' Renaissance Theatre concludes its run of both Romeo and Juliet and Midsummer this week, and Southwest Shakespeare Company's Twelfth Night wraps up as well; see the Stages listing.
The monthly cinema series "MAC Movies 4" continues at 7 p.m. Friday, April 17, at Mesa Arts Center, 155 North Center, with a screening of director Jennie Livingston's acclaimed documentary Paris Is Burning (1990, unrated), which explores the subculture of black and Latino "drag balls" in New York City. Admission is a suggested donation of $2. 644-2242.
Celtic rock, puppets, Native American dance, crafts, astro jumps and a giant inflatable alligator are all on the agenda for Earth Day at the Phoenix Zoo, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, at the zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway, in Papago Park. Meadowlark provides the music; the Great Arizona Puppet Theater performs Creepy, Crawly, Wild and Woolly at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.; there's a quail dance at 1:15 p.m. and a hoop dance at 2 p.m., and other activities throughout the day. 273-1341.
Highlights of Sunday on Central, the annual bash on Central Avenue between Earll and Osborn, include music by Three Dog Night and 13 other bands; the annual Phoenix Mini-Indy; a pet parade; clowns; magicians; a juggler; line dancing; swing dancing; clogging; an in-line skate competition; a "Sundae on Central" booth by St. Mary's Food Bank; a sports experience with interactive games from the Suns, the Mercury, the Rattlers, the Coyotes and the D-Backs; and three kids' areas. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 19. Admission is free. 262-4627.
The City of Peoria hosts the United States Triathlon, which includes a 1,500-meter swim, a 40K bike race and a 10K run. The first of an eight-race national tour sponsored by Bally's Total Fitness Corporation, the event starts at 6:30 a.m. Sunday, April 19, at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, 39400 North State Route 74 in Peoria. 1-520-290-8990.
Veteran of everything from the Top 40 to True Grit, balladeer Glen Campbell plays two shows, at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 19, at the Red River Music Hall, Mill and Washington in Tempe. Tickets are $20 and $25. 829-6779 (Red River), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
Though she's the daughter of a Broadway belter, blues diva Bonnie Raitt has a growly-yet-stylish sound that's quite a few blocks downtown from the Great White Way. Touring in support of her upcoming Capitol release Fundamental, La Raitt takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 20, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Tickets are $25 and $35, available at Phoenix Civic Plaza and Dillard's box offices. 262-7272, 678-2222.
"Mark your calendar!" says the promotional material for Organic Products Committee's 1998 Composting Conference. The rotfest, titled "Composting . . . Southwest Style," is held Monday, April 20, and Tuesday, April 21, at the Holiday Inn Select, 4300 East Washington. 350-8131.
The avant-rock quartet June of 44, touring behind its Quarterstick CD Four Great Points, performs its serene-yet-ominous rumblings at 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, at Boston's, 910 North McClintock in Tempe. The Boom shares the bill. 921-7343.
Unlike David Spade (see story left), who frequently laments the assumption that he's gay, the performers in Absolutely Outrageous, an evening of standup benefiting the AIDS Project Arizona and Lesbian Resource Project, are openly gay. On the bill are Suzanne Westenhoffer, Bob Smith, Robin Greenspan, ANT and Michele Balan. Showtimes are at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, 930 East University (at Cornerstone mall). Tickets are $16, which also gets you a gift bag full of goodies from Atlantic Records, Geffen Records, Wet, Henessey Liquors and so forth. 921-9877.
More standup: If, like me, you're among those who disagree with the NBC honcho who reportedly engineered the removal of Norm MacDonald from SNL's "Weekend Update" desk, it may be worth it to you to drive to Tucson to catch the comic's weirdly deadpan, off-the-cuff riffs. He takes the stage at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, at Centennial Hall, 1020 East University. 1-520-621-3341.