Although his offbeat, rather good sitcom Boston Commons landed, sadly, on the scrap heap, actor-comedian Anthony Clark--now a regular on Soul Man--is a talented fellow, a loose-limbed corn-pone ironist--Andy Griffith mixed with Robin Williams. The Lynchburg, Virginia, native and Emerson College alumnus visits the Valley for six shows this weekend. Clark performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 11; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, June 12; the same times Saturday, June 13; and 8 p.m. Sunday, June 14, at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, 930 East University (at Cornerstone mall). Tickets range from $12 to $15. 921-9877.
Although scheduled for tours of the U.S. and Sweden, and also to play, along with Willie Nelson, at the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Hells Angels, rocker Chris Hiatt has nonetheless made time for a show here in the Valley. Hiatt and Cold Shot, the band he fronts, consisting of Lance Plantz, Billy Vann and John Michael Colvin, play a "tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan" on Thursday, June 11, at the Blue Note Cool Cafe, 8040 East McDowell in Scottsdale. Showtime is 9 p.m. 946-6227.
Pirates in Arizona? Yep. A group calling itself Corsairs of the Desert Sea sponsors Corsaircon, the sixth biannual festival celebrating the seafaring brigands and varlets, knaves and rogues of--well, of our movie-fed imaginations, if not of history. A Pirate's Market of books, videos and threads, two Pirates' Balls, role-playing, live-action and computer games, belly dancers, contests, water fun, debates (on what topics--the cutlass versus the scimitar?) and other diversions, plus drinking, of course, will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, June 12, and continue, more or less round-the-clock, through 3 p.m. Sunday, June 14, at the Ramada Inn, 502 West Camelback. Admission is $25, $12.50 for kids accompanied by an adult; inexpensive baby sitting is offered. 788-5442.
Feast of Fools Theatre, which recently presented stage adaptations of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, tries something completely different: Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park. A press release explains the connection between Simon and Tarantino thusly: "Tarantino directed Pulp Fiction with John Travolta who was in Primary Colors with Billy Bob Thornton who was in Sling Blade with J.T. Walsh who was in A Few Good Men with, that's right, Kevin Bacon who was in JFK with Jack Lemmon who was in Neil Simon's The Odd Couple." The company also offers a gutsy advisory: "There are no guns, no dismemberment, and no profanity in this production." The show opens at 8 p.m. Friday, June 12; and continues at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 13; and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 14, at Playhouse on the Park, 1850 North Central. Tickets are $10, $8.50 for students and seniors. 256-7898, 503-5555.
Zarco Guerrero's eight-foot-tall bronze statue of Chicano union organizer Cesar Chavez, plaques by Martin Moreno, and a plaza landscaped by Dalinda Jimenez-Madrid to resemble an agricultural field are the aesthetic highlights of Cesar Chavez Memorial Plaza in Cesar Chavez Park, located at 35th Avenue and Baseline. The park is dedicated at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 13. 262-7176.
Also known as "Black Independence Day," Juneteenth marks June 19, 1865, the day slaves in some Southern states found out they'd been legally freed on January 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Among this year's Valley commemorations is a biggie, co-sponsored by the Arizona Cardinals, from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 13, at Chandler's Folley Park, 601 East Frye. Included are tournaments of three-on-three hoops, chess, dominoes and horseshoes, along with food booths, guest speakers, vendors, a Motown revue, Latin jazz and other entertainment. 899-3022.
The winner of the upset victory over the hare will be the focus of a free, two-day event sponsored by the National Turtle and Tortoise Society. Specimens of various varieties of the shelled reptiles, from here in Arizona and from around the world, are displayed from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 13; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 14, at Christown Mall, 19th Avenue and Bethany Home. There will also be turtle-care tips for prospective owners, a representative from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and a coloring contest for kids, with a retired Beanie Baby, Speedy the Turtle, as first prize. 242-9074.
Author Linda Kranz will speak on the topic of family journal writing from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 13, in the first-floor story room of the Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central. Admission is free; Kranz's works For My Child: A Mother's Keepsake Journal and All About Me: A Keepsake Journal for Kids will be available for purchase. Proceeds benefit the library. 534-0603.
Rising with the mercury in the thermometer is the Phoenix Mercury, in its sophomore season. The WNBA franchise kicks off regular-season home play with a game against the Los Angeles Sparks at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 14; and another against the Washington Mystics at 7 p.m. Monday, June 15, at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. Tickets range from $8 to $32, available at the arena and Dillard's. 252-9622, 379-7800, 503-5555.
Like his fellow local hero Jerry Riopelle, it's easy to take John Stewart for granted, because of his multiple annual pit stops at Anderson's Fifth Estate in Scottsdale. But we shouldn't; Stewart's one of pop's great songsmiths, from his Kingston Trio days to "Daydream Believer" to "Armstrong" to "July, You're a Woman" to "Bad Rats" to "Gold" (with Stevie Nicks) to "Runaway Trains" to "Sweet Dreams Will Come" (with Nanci Griffith). Stewart returns to the Estate, 6820 East Fifth Avenue, for a show at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 14. Tickets are $14.50, $15.50 at the door. 994-4168.
Long Wong's Live, 3623 East Indian School, is the new venue for the Divergent Arts Poetry Series, which continues at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 14. The program features readings by poet Chela Chelsea Glenn and musician/songwriter Hanes Kvaran. Admission is free; donations are accepted. 947-0371.
Disney's animated feature Mulan doesn't start plucking money out of parents' wallets until June 19, but kids can enjoy the Mulan Kids' Fest for free. The event, which includes Chinese-oriented games, prizes, origami and calligraphy activities, coloring, a martial-arts demonstration, Ronald McDonald and free movie posters for the first 200 kids, is held from 6 a.m. to noon Monday, June 15, at the COFCO Chinese Cultural Center, located on 44th Street between the 202 and Van Buren. For more info: 277-3550.
For some reason, Entertainment Weekly rarely misses a chance to bash Vonda Shepard, the singer whose covers of romantic standards are used to counterpoint the action on the Fox series Ally McBeal, and who also performs the show's theme song, "Searchin' My Soul." Okay, so Shepard may not exactly be Aretha, but she has her own pleasantly torchy kind of soul. Touring behind her 550 Music release Songs From Ally McBeal, Featuring Vonda Shepard, la Shep takes the stage Tuesday, June 16, at the Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Willy Porter opens the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $17 in advance, $18 the day of the show. 267-1600 (Celeb), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
The 25th-anniversary tour of Foghat, the '70s-era rockers best known for "Slow Ride," touches down in the Valley with a show at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, at Toolies Country, 4231 West Thomas. Tickets are $15 and $25. 272-3100 (Toolies), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
New Times' own Robrt L. Pela facilitates the Gay/Lesbian Literature Conversation Group at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, in the music lounge of Borders Books & Music at 1361 South Alma School in Mesa. The topic this month is Daniel Harris' The Rise and Fall of Gay Culture. All are welcome; admission is free. 833-2244.