"Abstracted Water," a show of startling photographs of shrouded human figures in natural settings by Ann Simmons-Myers, opens with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, January 7, at Vanier Fine Art, and continues through Wednesday, January 27. Also displayed are western landscapes--emphasizing river and stream scenes--by Genevieve Reckling. 7106 East Main in Scottsdale. 946-7507.
Another opening: With the no-nonsense title "Must See--1999," Wilde-Meyer kicks off the penultimate year of the 20th century. Works by Melinda K. Hall, Steven Morath, Rudi van Brussel and Barbara Gurwitz are featured in the exhibition, which opens with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, January 7; and continues through Wednesday, January 20. Regular hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays (to 9 p.m. Thursdays), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. 4142 North Marshall Way in Scottsdale. 945-2323.
Matthew Mazuroski directs Before It Hits Home, Cheryl West's drama that explores the black community's denial of the AIDS epidemic through the story of a jazz musician who is diagnosed HIV-positive. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, January 7; 8 p.m. Friday, January 8; 8 p.m. Saturday, January 9; and 3 p.m. Sunday, January 10, at Helen K. Mason Center for the Performing Arts, 333 East Portland. The run continues through Sunday, January 24. Tickets range from $14 to $16. 258-8128.
Star of the upcoming indie film Harlem Aria, comic and actor Damon Wayans takes the stage at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater at 8 p.m. Thursday, January 7; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, January 8; the same times Saturday, January 9; and 8 p.m. Sunday, January 10. 930 East University (at Cornerstone mall). 921-9877 (Improv).
A new program called "Slide Slam!" features Arizona artists informally discussing their own work to the accompaniment of slides, in the cinema theater at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The first such presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, January 7, with artists Eric Gonzales, David MacPherson, Richard Shrewsbury and Steven Yazzie. Admission is free; light refreshments are served. 7380 East Second Street. Regular viewing hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays (to 8 p.m. Thursdays), noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. 994-2787.
According to the press materials, Nick Newberry's new play Sam "is about the struggle between the private Sam Clemens and the public Mark Twain. . . . Like Mark Twain, the play is filled with humor and ideas. And, like Sam Clemens, it is darkly haunted with ghosts and phantoms." Intriguing. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, January 8; and the same time Saturday, January 9, at On the Spot Theater, 4700 North Central. Tickets are $12, $10 for students and seniors. The run continues through Saturday, January 30. 564-6606.
Poet and KZON-FM 101.5 personality Mary McCann, the "Bone Mama," completes her 10-month series of interactive poetry events at the Vision Gallery with a staged presentation of her one-woman show My Pleasure at 8 p.m. Friday, January 8; and the same time Saturday, January 9, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Tickets, available at Chandler Center or Ticketmaster, are $12; proceeds benefit the Kidz Art Programming at Vision Gallery. 786-2680 (CCA), 784-4444 (Ticketmaster), 917-6859 (Vision Gallery).
The Valley theaters are really cranking up after the Christmas season--Ensemble Theatre presents Baby With the Bathwater, Christopher Durang's acid comedy about gender identity. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, January 8; 8 p.m. Saturday, January 9; and 2 p.m. Sunday, January 10, at Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre, 100 East McDowell. Tickets are $14, $10 for students and seniors. The run continues through Sunday, January 24. 970-9951 (Ensemble), 254-2151 (PT).
The paintings of Robert Anderson, which explore "the creepier side of growing up in the suburbs," are featured in "A Suburb Called Walden," an exhibition that opens with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, January 8, at MARS Artspace. The evening includes paintings, collages and performance art by Mike Michuta, Jack Evans and Jeff Faulk, as well as an unplugged performance by the band Womb. 126 South Central, in the Luhrs building. 253-3541.
Gourd, hoop and quail dancing, bird singing, flute music, food, drink, raffles and other fun are all on the agenda for the Lehi River Peoples Pow Wow 1999, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, January 9; and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, January 10, on the Lehi Community Ballpark, located at Stapley and Oak Street on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, north of Mesa. All drums and dancers are welcome. 844-2681.
The acoustic California Guitar Trio, which performs everything from Beethoven's Fifth to the Pulp Fiction theme "unplugged"-style, plays a free show at 6 p.m. Sunday, January 10, at Borders Books & Music at 7320 West Bell in Glendale; and again at 7 p.m. Monday, January 11, at Borders Books & Music at 1361 South Alma School in Mesa. 487-9110 (Glendale), 833-2244 (Mesa).
Author Stephanie Barron signs Jane and the Genius of the Place, the fourth in a series of mysteries featuring Jane Austen as the heroine, from 4 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, January 10, followed by a "Jane Austen tea" from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., at the Poisoned Pen, 7100 East Main, Suite D, in Scottsdale. Admission is free. 947-2974.
Valley poets David L. Byrn, Harold N. Byrn and Paul M. Dlouhy are scheduled to read their own work at 1999's first edition of the Divergent Arts Poetry Series, at 7 p.m. Sunday, January 10, at Long Wong's Live, 3623 East Indian School. Admission is free; donations are accepted. 947-0371.