Coming at a time of growing curiosity and concern about the nature of the Valley's own emerging urban sprawl, ASU's Western Humanities conference will present a spectrum of bright talk about the cultures of cities, "Cities on the Edge," which will view city culture through the varied lenses of film, literature, art, design, history, ethnography, geography, anthropology and more, from Thursday, October 22 through Saturday, October 24. Conference keynoters include Mike Davis, a self-described truck-stop intellectual who recently received a McArthur Fellowship and has become a favorite chronicler of LA's fluctuating fortunes, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, October 23; in AED 60 of the School of Architecture's north building--corner of University and Forest, and other notables. The conference is free. For a full program, call 965-6747.
Everybody's favorite annual corn-dog fest, the Arizona State Fair kicks off at 5 p.m. Thursday, October 22, and continues daily through Sunday, November 8, at the fairgrounds, 19th Avenue and McDowell. Daily hours start at noon Mondays through Fridays; 10 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $7.50; $4.50 for seniors and $3.50 for kids between ages 5 and 13; free for kids under 5. Along with the usual attractions--rides and games on the revamped midway, livestock and ag exhibits--this year's fair includes the separately ticketed concerts series, that includes the likes of Third Eye Blind (7 p.m. Thursday, October 22); Billy Ray Cyrus (7 p.m. Friday, October 23); Alice Cooper (7 p.m. Saturday, October 24); and Randy Travis (7 p.m. Wednesday, October 28); at Veterans' Memorial Coliseum; Gallagher and Wynonna are among the acts slated for upcoming weeks. 268-3247 or 252-6771.
As in last year's "Arizona Round-Up: Western Pulp Paintings of the 1930s and '40s," Meyer Gallery serves up more "deadeye cowpokes, dastardly villains, war-painted 'savages' and busty temptresses" in "Gunmen, Gamblers, Horse Thieves & Heroes," an exhibit of pulp Western works on canvas and onionskin by Rafael de Soto, Gloria Stoll, Walter Baumhofer, Richard Lillis, Leslie Ross, R.G. Harris and others, culled from the covers of vintage cheapo serial rags like Ranchland Romances and Thrilling Western. The installation opens with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, October 22. Regular Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays (to 9 p.m. Thursdays), 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. 7173 East Main in Scottsdale. 947-6372.
Beethoven's Quartet, Opus 18 #3 in D major, the Quartet in F by Ravel, and Nightfields, a contemporary piece by Joan Tower, form the program when the all-distaff Cavani String Quartet takes the stage at 8 p.m. Friday, October 23, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Tickets are $15; half that for kids under 12 and students. Those who want to hear the foursome's sweet sounds, but can't afford it or aren't free in the evening, can check out the "Brown Bag Open Rehearsal" at noon Friday, in the same venue; admission is gratis. 965-3434 (Gammage), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
More sweet sounds: Phoenix Chamber Music Society opens its 39th season with a concert by Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra. The acclaimed ensemble plays a program including works by Mozart, Marcello, Bach and Brahms. Showtime is 8 p.m. Friday, October 23, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $20. 252-0095, 994-2787.
Halloween season is upon us--a full slate of "haunted houses" are up and running (see Events for a few selections), movies like Bride of Chucky and Dee Snider's Strangeland are in the multiplexes, and the Valley's own Chaos! Comics, publisher of such macabre favorites as Evil Ernie, is hosting "Fiend Bash '98," a public Halloween party, starting with an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, October 24, at the firm's Scottsdale offices, 7645 East Evans Road, Suite 6. The ghoulish fun resumes at 6 p.m. the same evening at Castles-n-Coasters, 9445 North Metro Parkway East (at Metrocenter), with a buffet dinner, an awards ceremony for Chaos! fans, a costume contest--the grand prize winner will be drawn into a future Chaos comic--a silent auction to benefit Phoenix Children's Hospital, a performance by the band Doomsday and unlimited rides at the park. Tickets for all of the above are $15; call 991-9080 extension 556.
"We'll fix those cats!" is the rallying cry of "Kinda Katty," a volleyball tournament held on Saturday, October 24, at the Pera Club, on Continental Drive, west off Scottsdale Road. The no-kill organization CHARM--its name stands for "Cat Help and Rescue Movement"--is the beneficiary of the event, which starts with registration at 8 a.m.; double-elimination pool play, for both recreational and competitive divisions, begins at 9 a.m. The cost is $80 for a four-person team, at least one member of which must be female. A $5 discount can be had with a donation of cat food or other supplies. There are prizes for first and second place, as well as a photo contest with prizes for "best-looking cat," "cutest pet," "ugliest pet," "biggest pet" and, my personal favorite, "most embarrassed pet." 970-3765; 921-7263.
There's nothing quite like a good long walk on a Sunday anyway, so why not join in one that's raising money for a deserving cause? Registration for the Walk for Hope Against Breast Cancer begins at 8 a.m. Sunday, October 25, at Papago Park, located off Galvin Parkway between McDowell and Van Buren; the trudge itself commences at 9 a.m. Walkers who raise at least $50 in pledges, for the benefit of City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute, get a commemorative tee shirt. Call 1-800-732-7309.