Some time ago, the nice folks at Mesa Southwest Museum sent this reporter a chocolate coin with a roasted cricket in it, and invited me to join the "I Ate a Bug Club." I did--it tasted not unlike a Nestle's Crunch--and, as a proud member of that august organization, I feel it is now my duty to report to you that this is the last weekend during which you can check out "Arizona's Bizarre and Beautiful Bugs," which presents more than 150 specimens of our state's indigenous creepy-crawlies. The exhibit continues daily, wrapping up on Sunday, March 21. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $4, $3.50 for students and seniors, $2 for kids ages 3 to 12, free for kids younger. 53 North Macdonald. 644-2230.
As if the Literacy Volunteers of Coconino County weren't busy enough already, they've gone and organized Flagstaff's Northern Arizona Book Festival, the third-biggest such fest in the country--"the only major literary event in the U.S. organized entirely by an adult education organization." On the bill are such wordy heavyweights as Michael Ondaatje of The English Patient fame, Dorothy Allison, Russell Banks, Grace Paley, and locals Ron Carlson and Demetria Martinez, among countless others. The event continues with readings, signings, poetry slams and the like, slated every day, all day through Sunday, March 21. Events are held at various locations around Flagstaff. For an official schedule, call 1-520-556-0313 or visit www.weeklywire.com/nabookfest/
Accordionist, comedienne and Diet Dr Pepper "Spokes-Goddess" Judy Tenuta brings her wacky dominatrix-lite persona to the Valley at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 18; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, March 19; 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, March 20; and 8 p.m. Sunday, March 21, at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, 930 East University (at Cornerstone mall). 921-9877.
After a few years' absence, Harkins Theatres returns to Metrocenter with a spanking-new multiplex, the Metro 12 Luxury Cinema at the southwest end of the mall, off I-17 between Peoria and Dunlap, near the food court entrance. Opening festivities this weekend include a "Reel Countdown" at 6:45 p.m. Friday, March 19--featuring marching bands, a "larger-than-life film reel" dropped from the sky and the announcement of the winner of an annual pass for two--and a "Family Film Fest" benefiting Valley Youth Theatre starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 20; see Kid Stuff for details, or call 955-2233 (Harkins) or 253-8188 (Valley Youth Theatre).
Women's wrestling babe and Playboy cover gal Sable is among the guests at the Tri-Star Collectors Show, along with National League Rookie of the Year Kerry Wood, American League Rookie of the Year Ben Grieve, future Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith and more than a dozen other athletes from all the major league sports--NHL, NBA, NFL, WNBA and even the WWF. Sports memorabilia, Beanie Babies and more will be on display and sale at the event, slated from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 19; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 20; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 21, in Exhibit Hall A of Phoenix Civic Plaza, Second Street and Adams. Admission at the door is $6 per day, $4 for kids 6 to 12, free for kids 5 and under. For more information, call 941-6865, 262-7272.
The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels Jet Demonstration Team and monster vehicles like Gravedigger are the big draws at the annual Air Show Spectacular, scheduled on Friday, March 19; Saturday, March 20; and Sunday, March 21, at Williams Gateway Airport, 6001 South Power in Mesa. Tickets range from $9.50 to $27 at the gate. 988-1013.
Country guitarist Roy Clark's pop-culture hokiness--a semiregular role on The Beverly Hillbillies, co-host of Hee Haw--may obscure his musical virtuosity. But this child prodigy from Meherrin, Virginia, can pick like few others, and his vocals, on singles like his cover of "Yesterday When I Was Young" or his country-chart No. 1 hit "Come and Live With Me," have their own brand of soul as well. He's been named Entertainer of the Year, twice, by the Academy of Country Music, Instrumentalist of the Year, three times, by the Country Music Association, and Country Music Star of the Year by the American Guild of Variety Artists. He performs his "Branson on the Road" show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 20, at the Sundome, 19403 R.H. Johnson Boulevard in Sun City West. Tickets range from $7 to $24, available at the Sundome and Dillard's; call 975-1900 or 503-5555.
Native performers in classes ranging from teen to senior jump through hoops to win the ninth annual World Championship Hoop Dance Contest slated from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 20; with final rounds commencing at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, March 21, at Heard Museum, 22 East Monte Vista. Admission to the competition is $4, $1 for kids 4 to 12, free for kids 3 and younger. With Heard admission, tickets for the competition are $7, $6 for seniors, $3 for kids 4 to 12, free for kids 3 and younger. 252-8840.
Ninety-six panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt, many of them dedicated to Arizonans lost to AIDS, are displayed as part of the nationwide "Quilt in the Capitols" observance from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 21, in the West Lobby of the Arizona State Capitol, 17th Avenue and Washington. Call AIDS Project Arizona at 265-3300 for more information.