The Valley leg of the sixth annual Grand Canyon State Games for recreational athletes of all ages and ability levels kicks off with opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 18, at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. The event includes an address by Phoenix Sun and GCSG executive commissioner Danny Manning, appearances by Phoenix Mercury Head Coach Cheryl Miller and Arizona Olympians Kerri Strug and Gary Hall Jr., the traditional parade of athletes and a performance by the country band Mogollon. Advance tickets are $5, $3 for kids under 12; $6 for adults and $4 for kids the day of the event. They're available at the arena and Dillard's (379-7800, 503-5555). Competition in more than 20 sports, including basketball, flag football, judo, in-line hockey, soccer, volleyball, diving, archery, cycling, golf, bowling and swimming, is scheduled at various sites on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe and at other Maricopa County locales on Friday, June 19; Saturday, June 20; and Sunday, June 21. The Arizona Diamondbacks sponsor the baseball tournament this year; the finals will played at Bank One Ballpark at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Sunday, June 21. Admission to all events except the opening ceremonies is free. 517-9700.
The Father of Salsa--and a suspect in the shooting of Mr. Burns on The Simpsons--timbales great Tito Puente plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 18, at the Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets range from $23.25 to $32.50. See the story on page 99. Missing this one isn't advisable. 267-1600 (Celeb), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
The Jungian theory that coincidences aren't so coincidental is the subject of There Are No Accidents: Synchronicity and the Stories of Our Lives, a book by psychotherapist Robert H. Hopeke. Hopeke chats about and signs his work--the premise of which is that startling coincidences, particularly those that occur in transitional phases of our lives, have the potential to teach us valuable lessons--at 7 p.m. Friday, June 19, at the Tempe Square location of Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock in Tempe. The store, which is "young"--it's been open only a few weeks--is hosting a talk by a specialist in "Jung." Coincidence? Yeah, right. 730-0205.
The Phoenix celebration of Juneteenth--June 19, 1863, the day on which black slaves in some Southern states learned of their legal emancipation--wraps up with a parade and festival. The parade, which includes marchers, bands, city and state representatives, step groups and floats, starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 20, at Eighth Street and Jefferson, and continues to 15th Street and Jefferson, near the site of the festival, at Eastlake Park, 16th Street and Jefferson. The park will host food booths, arts and crafts, award and scholarship presentations, music and other entertainment, as well as the finals of a weeklong basketball tournament, through 4 p.m. Admission is free. 256-3113.
The Colly Soleri Music Center at Arcosanti holds its annual Jazz Night early this year, hosting the sounds of Milt Cannon and the Arizona Rhythm Section. A Cajun dinner is served at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 20, in the cafe at the "urban laboratory" of architectural visionary Paolo Soleri located off I-17 at Cordes Junction near the town of Mayer, about 65 miles north of Phoenix; the concert follows at 8 p.m. in the music center. Reservations are required; tickets are $25 for dinner and concert, $12.50 for the concert only. 1-520-632-7135.
Having survived a whole season in the Valley theater scene, the members of Essential Theatre may be justified in feeling they have something to celebrate. They wrap up their series of monthly performances on such abstract themes as hysteria, temptation and love on an appropriately upbeat note with Playback Theatre: Stories of Celebration. The troupe's technique is to take suggestions from audience members and transform them into improvised scenarios. The show is scheduled at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 20, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $12. 897-6711.
The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix presents ASU faculty associate Dr. Mandy Bratton, who speaks on the subject of "Domestic/Relational Violence" at 9 a.m. Sunday, June 21, in the Safari Dining Room of the Safari Resort, 4611 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. The cost is $4 and includes a continental breakfast. 802-4977.
President Clinton would no doubt approve of Sax in the Afternoon, a free concert presented by City of Phoenix Parks, Recreation and Library Department showcasing the clarinet's bad-boy first cousin at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 21, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. The Desert Wind Saxophone Quartet, SaxStravaganza, and Lynn Roberts and his Swinging Saxes are the featured artists. Tickets are available at all Phoenix libraries and at the Phoenix Civic Plaza box office (limit four per person). 262-4627.