The above scenario, of course, presumes that you're not the one stuck preparing the meal, or cleaning up the aftermath. If you wish to dodge these chores, you might consider going out for the meal--the restaurants at the various Pointe Hilton locations and at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale are among those offering higher-end pig-outs. Prices hover between $20 and $50 per person; less for kids under 12. Alas, if you're reading this, it's probably too late to get a reservation, but you can try by calling 431-6474 (Rustler's Rooste at the Pointe Hilton on South Mountain); 997-5850 (Lantana Grille at the Pointe Hilton at Squaw Peak); 870-1977 (Hole-in-the-Wall at the Pointe Hilton at Squaw Peak); 863-0912 (Different Pointe of View at the Pointe Hilton at Tapatio Cliffs); 991-3388 (Hyatt Regency).
Of course, both of the above scenarios presume that you have a roof over your head, and a buck or two in your wallet. If you don't, check out the column on your right for some hard-times Thanksgiving options, or give Community Information and Referral a call at 263-8856.
How often, in the world of opera, can you get a double feature? Grand Canyon University's Ethington Theatre presents "Two One-Act Operas," the first a comedy by no less a fellow than Puccini, the second based on a classic piece of Americana. Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, based on an anecdote recounted in Dante's Inferno, is a farce in which a bunch of greedy relations hire the title grifter to impersonate a departed wealthy man in order to revise his will. William Schuman's Casey at the Bat is based on Thayer's famous mock-epic poem about a rough day for the Mudville Nine. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, November 27; 8 p.m. Saturday, November 28; and 2 p.m. Sunday, November 29, at 3300 West Camelback. Tickets are $8, $6.50 for students and seniors. 589-2871.
Often cited by critics as one of the heirs to Lenny Bruce's mantle, comedian Robert Schimmel brings his intelligent raunch to the stage at 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, November 27; the same times Saturday, November 28; and 8 p.m. Sunday, November 29, at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, 930 East University (at Cornerstone mall). 921-9877.
The third annual Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights kicks off with a party, featuring carnival games, goodies, craft booths, a parade and the like, throughout the afternoon on Saturday, November 28, at Desert Foothills Park. The bounteous, white-lights-only bonanza can be viewed from 5:30 to 11 p.m. through Friday, January 1. On Chandler Boulevard about three and a half miles west of I-10. 460-6169.
Not to be outdone, Chandler hosts the 41st annual Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, located on Arizona Avenue between Buffalo and Boston streets. The event features the same sort of festivities as the Festival of Lights (see above), and includes the lighting of the "tumbleweed tree," a community tradition since 1957, when the first such tree was fashioned, as a matter of Southwestern expedience, from a chicken-wire cone and tumbleweed boughs. 786-2518.
"Dark Circus," an exhibition of works created by New Times staff photographer Doug Hoeschler "during a three-year, fantastic and inexplicable journey . . . to dammstrange places and to some amazing faces," opens on Saturday, November 28, at 11 East Ashland, along with another photographic show, "Prostitutes, Porn Stars and Mobsters" by Howard Levenson, and Erastes Cinaedi's "Selections of Jesus Pizza." All three continue throughout December; a reception is slated from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, December 4. Regular hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. 11 East Ashland (off Central, two blocks south of Virginia). 257-8543.
Five local church choirs are featured in the sixth annual "Sounds of Thanksgiving" Gospel Festival, as is a revival of the second act of Langston Hughes' Black Nativity performed by members of the Phoenix-based Black Theatre Troupe, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, November 28, at Mesa Amphitheatre, Center and University. Admission is $1 or a nonperishable food item (or both, cheapo); donations go to United Food Bank and other local charities. Bring blankets or lawn chairs; concessions will be available for sale. 644-2242.
Although he wrote "What Am I Doin' Hangin' Around" for the Monkees, Texas-born Michael Martin Murphey is far better known as a singing cowboy. It's in that role that he comes to the Valley for a "Cowboy Christmas" concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 29, at the Sundome, 19403 R.H. Johnson Boulevard in Sun City West. Tickets range from $7 to $24. 975-1900 (the 'dome), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
The title "A Smooth Jazz Christmas" sounds like what Santa brings you if you haven't even behaved well enough to rate a lump of coal. To each his or her own, however. Dave Koz, David Benoit, Peter White, and Brenda Russell perform at 7 p.m. Monday, November 30, at the Red River Music Hall, Mill and Washington in Tempe. Tickets are $34.50 and $47.50. 829-6779, 503-5555.
An exhibition of colorful ceramic sculptures by M.F.A. candidate Amanda McIntyre opens with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, November 30, at Harry Wood Gallery and continues through Friday, December 4. Located in the Art building on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. 965-3468.
Works by Gustav Holst, Mao Yuan and George Gershwin are on the program when ASU Symphonic Band takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 1, at Gammage Auditorium. Also on the bill is Antonio Capuzzi's Concerto for Bass Tuba, featuring tuba soloist Samuel Pilafian, and the premiere of a work called On Ancient Erin [Ireland], by Edward Madden--the composer also serves as guest conductor for this piece. Admission is free. Mill and Apache in Tempe. 965-3434.
Around the Valley throughout December, free cataract and radial keratotomy screenings are offered through a program called Vision Reach, employing the same testing equipment that the Department of Motor Vehicles uses. The first such screening is scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, December 1, at the Deer Valley Senior Center, 2001 West Wahalla. Call 974-9375 for more information.
"Music chameleon" Gaynel Hodge, fronting the Phoenix Jazz Ensemble, performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 2, at Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Hodge, who has performed with the Platters, the Flamingos and the Ink Spots, has recently returned from a European tour, and is soon to release his first all-jazz CD. Tickets for the show, part of Jazz in AZ's "Concerts at Kerr" series, are $12, $9 for seniors, $6 for students. 965-5377 (Kerr), 503-5555 (Dillard's).