Probably the single greatest American contribution to the canon of world opera, George Gershwin's 1935 Porgy and Bess, is presented in a full concert version by Phoenix Symphony, with the ASU Choral Union and several distinguished soloists: James Butler as Porgy, Priscilla Baskerville as Bess, Theresa Hamm-Smith as Serena, Curtis Rayam as Sportin' Life, Phyllis Lewis as Clara, and Lawrence Craig as Crown. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 4; 8 p.m. Friday, February 5; and 8 p.m. Saturday, February 6, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Tickets range from $15 to $39. 262-7272 (Phoenix Civic Plaza), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
Having been chosen as a regional contestant in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, the Glendale Community College/ASU West production of August Wilson's Fences, directed by Don Horton, is to be performed twice more in the Valley--at 8 p.m. Thursday, February 4, at the Performing Arts Center on the Glendale Community College campus, 6000 West Olive; and the same time Friday, February 5, at Second Stage West, located in the University Center Building on the Arizona State University West campus, 4701 West Thunderbird. Tickets for both performances are $7, $5 for students. 435-3713 (GCC), 543-2787 (ASU).
The monthly human rights discussion group Between the Lines struggles with the issues of whether the Holocaust is a suitable subject for "entertainment"--i.e., as the theme and backdrop of such films as Schindler's List and the current Life Is Beautiful--at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 4, at Borders Books & Music at Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback, Suite 200. David Chorlton facilitates. Admission is free. 957-6660.
Paintings by Alberto Aguilar, mixed media by Sandi Long, works on wood and paper by Lee Renninger and an installation by Jeff Schmuki called "The Rind Series"--which appears to be exactly what the title would indicate; that is, a series of rinds--all open with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, February 5, at MARS Artspace, 126 South Central, in the Luhrs building, and continue through Saturday, February 27. 253-3541.
Okay, so the 11th annual "re-creation" of a medieval village at the Arizona Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace is about as authentically medieval as the musical Once Upon a Mattress. Thank heaven--most of us would have a hard time working up much enthusiasm for bubonic plague, lack of general anesthetic, the firmly held belief that bathing more often than annually is bad for the health and, of course, the Inquisition. The fest's cast of royals, peasants, thespians, equestrians, maidens fair, rogues, jousters, etc., make for much better, if ersatz, company. Attractions this year include people-powered amusement rides, a Gutenberg press, jousting, Morris dancing and many other performances and diversions, along with food and drink. The fest runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, February 6, and the same hours Sunday, February 7; and at the same hours on the same days every subsequent weekend through Sunday, March 28. The festival grounds are located off U.S. Highway 60 east of Apache Junction. Tickets are $12, $5 for children ages 5 to 12, available at Fry's stores; they're $1 more at the gate. Kids under 5 get in free. 1-520-463-2700.
Local singles-biz czar Dave Gorman is the coordinator for the 1999 Singles Fair, a confab of dozens of the Valley's unattached with dozens of Valley single services--dating and matchmaking businesses, psychics, seminars, raffles, games and so forth. The Better Business Bureau will be there to keep an eye on things. It starts at noon Sunday, February 7, at La Posada Resort Hotel, at the southeast corner of Lincoln Drive and Tatum Boulevard in Paradise Valley. Admission is $10, $6 with a canned food donation for AIDS Project Arizona. Call 230-4172 for more information.
Valley poet Sheila Murphy is set to perform at this month's edition of the Divergent Arts Poetry Series, at 7 p.m. Sunday, February 7, at Long Wong's Live, 3623 East Indian School. Open-microphone readings follow. Admission is free; donations are accepted. 947-0371.
Your prodigal Suns at last begin regular-season home play against the Denver Nuggets (presumably including once and future Nugget Antonio McDyess) at 6 p.m. Sunday, February 7; and against the Sacramento Kings at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 9. The next home game is at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 11, against the Utah Jazz. If available, tickets range from $11 to $75. America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. 379-7900 (Suns), 379-7800 (AWA), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
Elizabeth Buck, principal flutist with the Phoenix Symphony, discusses and performs at 7 p.m. Monday, February 8, at Borders Books & Music at Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback, Suite 200, as part of the free, ongoing Phoenix Symphony Close-Up series. The Juilliard grad and veteran of performances at Carnegie Hall, the New York City Opera National Company, the Houston Grand Opera and Lisbon's Nova Filhormonia Portuguesa joined the Valley ensemble in 1994. 957-6660.
The "roots-rock/Western swing/hillbilly boogie" ensemble Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys performs at 9 p.m. Tuesday, February 9, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The Hollisters open for the California-based fivesome. Admission is $5. 265-4842.
Jerusalem: Sacred & Profane continues the Armchair Traveler Series, a film program for sedentary wayfarers, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 9. Tickets are $6. The Sundome Center for the Performing Arts, 19403 R.H. Johnson Boulevard in Sun City West. 975-1900.