The Aluminum Can Man (see Thursday) would probably fit right in among the dramatis personae of Actors' Renaissance Theatre's 1998 Absurd Theatre Festival--an evening of one-acts designed to amuse you at the same time they make you say "huh?" The bill includes an original work by ART's artistic director James K. Barnard called Puck's Resignation; Michael Frayn's Blots; Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter; and Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound. Opening performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 21; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 22; and 2 p.m. Sunday, August 23. Tickets range from $7 to $12. The run continues through Sunday, August 30. Tempe Performing Arts Center, 132 East Sixth Street. 632-0409 (ART), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
More theater: Director Wes Martin's snappily paced, well-trimmed modern-dress version of Richard III, built around the buoyant performance of Nicolas Glaeser in the title role, plays Shakespeare's tale of royal homicide into a jolly black comedy. This fledgling production of The Shakespeare Theatre has some obviously inexperienced supporting players, but Glaeser just turns them into his straight men (and women), and Steven J. Scally is a fine, milquetoast Buckingham. Final performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, August 20; the same time Friday, August 21; and Saturday, August 22; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, August 23, at Cactus High School Auditorium, 6330 West Greenway Road in Glendale. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors and those under 18. 503-5555.
And still more: Valley Youth Theatre takes to the hills with The Sound of Music, the Rodgers & Hammerstein favorite about the novice who broke things off with her fiance, God, to work as a governess for, and then marry into, the wealthy Austrian Von Trapp family. The story then details the family's escape from the Nazis. The schmaltzy but undeniably pretty numbers include "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi," and "Edelweiss." Opening performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, August 21; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, August 22; 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, August 23; 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 25; and 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 26. Tickets are $11 and $13. The run continues through Sunday, August 30. Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. 253-8188; 252-8497 (Herberger).
Photographer Duane Michaels sings the body electric of the great free-verse bard of Long Island in his 1996 Salute, Walt Whitman, a narrative photo-with-text exhibition that opens Saturday, August 22, at Arizona State University Art Museum at Nelson Fine Arts Center, 10th Street and Mill, on the ASU campus in Tempe, and continues through Sunday, November 29. The show includes about 80 examples of Michaels' work in all, among them a 1996 self-portrait, as well his 1998 series about the Civil War. 965-2787.
If you missed The Mystical Arts of Tibet show in Scottsdale this past February, you may want to head to Prescott to check it out. Featured performers on the soundtrack of the recent film Seven Years in Tibet, this troupe of Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery performs a Tantric ceremony of traditional "multiphonic" song and dance, complete with costumes and masks. Tibet-phile Richard Gere is a co-producer of this tour, which performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 22, at Prescott Mile High Middle School Hendrix Auditorium, 300 South Granite Street in Prescott. Tickets are $15, $10 for students and seniors, available at the door, or by calling 1-602-808-9820.
Like other immortal moments--JFK in Dallas, the moon landing, Nixon's resignation--won't you always remember where you were when you found out that Ginger Spice had left The Spice Girls? Anyway, the tattered remnants of that lineup play the Valley at 8 p.m. Saturday, August 22, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Tickets range from $23 to $48. 254-7599 (Sky), 784-4444 (Ticketmaster).
You'd think the Valley would have had enough flute music for a while after last week's 26th annual convention of the National Flute Association. But Native American flutist Saggio performs at 1 p.m. Sunday, August 23, at Borders Books & Music, 1361 South Alma School in Mesa. Admission is free. 833-2244.
Chef Jeffrey Beeson teaches the one-day cooking class, "From Morels to Chantrelles: The Fungus Among Us," a crash course in the variety of edible mushrooms, and in preparing an exotic mushroom dinner for two. It starts at 6 p.m. Monday, August 24, at Different Pointe of View in the Pointe Hilton Resort at Tapatio Cliffs, 11111 North Seventh Street. The tuition is $65 per person. Reservations are required. 863-0912.
At least as much ghoulish speed metal as you can stand is dished up by New York's classic gee-maybe-Tipper-Gore-has-a-point outfit Anthrax; especially with Life of Agony sharing the bill. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Tuesday, August 25, at Club Rio, 430 North Scottsdale Road in Tempe. Tickets are $18, and are available at Dillard's. 503-5555.
John Popper's Blues Traveler, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Barenaked Ladies, Fastball, and Alana Davis are the main-stage acts at H.O.R.D.E. Festival '98, the seventh annual neohippie jam--and "jam" is the word, as most of the participating performers are wont to kick off their Birkenstocks and wail a while, à la the fest's patron saint, the late Jerry Garcia. Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise, Bran Van 3000, Box Set and Honey Child share second-stage duty. In case you're wondering, H.O.R.D.E. stands for "Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere." The show starts at 4 p.m. Tuesday, August 25, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Tickets are $28.50 and $33.50, available at Ticketmaster. 784-4444.
Tucson's ever-interesting Borderlands Theatre presents Once on This Island, a musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty based on Trinidadian author Rosa Guy's allegorical tale My Love, My Love. Previews are scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 26, and the same time Thursday, August 27, at the Proscenium Theatre at Pima Community College, 2202 West Anklam. Tickets range from $7 to $18. The run proper begins at 8 p.m. Friday, August 28, and continues through Sunday, September 6. 1-520-882-7406.
Okay, so she's got 16 gold singles, so she starred, opposite Tupac Shakur, in the title role of John Singleton's Poetic Justice--as Chris Rock observed, for some of us, Janet Jackson will always be Penny on Good Times. She takes the stage on Wednesday, August 26, at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.; tickets range from $26.95 to $75.05. 379-7800 (AWA), 503-5555 (Dillard's).