Seventeen of the Valley's top harp-blowers--Bill Tarsha, Dave Trippy, Roy Pinn, The Root Doctor, Mississippi Catfish, Bill Frain, Gypsy, Mark "Moose" Mallet, Dave Tank Taylor, George Pappas, Diana Lee, Big Nick, Dwight Miles, Harmonica Mark, Sarge Lintecum, Larry Dee and venue honcho Bob Corritore--take the stage for a Harmonica Party at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 29, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The Rocket 88's are the host band. The cover is $4. 602-265-4842.
The City of Phoenix-hosted Phoenix Center Sights 'n' Sounds series of free lunchtime entertainment events continues each weekday (except holidays) at Patriots Square, Central and Washington. Most shows start at noon. On Thursday, April 29, the featured act is Haggis, the popular local rock band named for a stuffed Scottish stomach bag. The series then wraps up for the month with honky-tonk country by the Revenants on Friday, April 30. 602-262-4627.
The 11th annual "Taste of Greece" fest features--as the name would suggest--tastings of Greek foods and wines, live music, folk dances, games and more. It's scheduled for 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 30; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 1; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, May 2, at St. Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church, 10320 North 84th Avenue in Peoria. Admission is a donation of $2; kids under 12 get in free. Proceeds benefit the church's ministries. 623-486-8665.
Twenty-three bite-size works from around the country are featured, alfresco, in the third annual Arizona State University Art Museum's Short Film and Video Festival, scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, April 30, in the back plaza behind the ASU Art Museum. Admission to the outdoor, picnic-style event is free; audience members bring their own seating. At the end of the evening, the audience members get to vote for their favorite project. Tenth Street and Mill, on the ASU campus in Tempe. Call 480-965-2787 for more information.
National acts like the great Lou Rawls, Roberta Flack, Freda Payne, The Manhattans, The Drifters, Plas Johnson, Dan Papila and Indigo Swing (see Sunday) are joined by Valley music faves like Dennis Rowland, Sherry Roberson, Laura Olivia Anderson, Desert City Six, Young Sounds of Arizona, Latin ensemble MAS! and event coordinator C.C. Jones in a two-day bash called simply the Arizona Music Festival. The inaugural event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 1; and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, May 2, at Symphony Hall Terrace, Second Street and Adams. The fun also includes more than 30 booths featuring arts, crafts, and upscale and ethnic cuisine including Italian, Spanish, Asian, Southwestern and Cajun. Daily passes range from $30 to $100. Call 602-997-6403 for more information.
A "Book Brigade Run"; food tastings and book signings by cookbook authors Barbara Fenzl and Suzanne Schultz; kids' readings; an improvisational performance by Playback Theatre; and musical performances by such acts as Craig Ramsell, Boomwhackers Tuned Percussion Tubes, Debbie Elman, Pinna Joseph and Zum Zum Zum are all on the agenda of the Changing Hands Anniversary Celebration. The Tempe bookstore commemorates its 25th birthday with this daylong event, scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 1, at 6428 South McClintock in Tempe. Admission is free. 480-730-0205.
For the third month of May in as many years, the Central Arizona Museum Association and Robinsons-May co-sponsor "Museum Month," which begins on Saturday, May 1. A "museum passport" is available for free (no store purchase necessary) at the check-out counters of each Valley Robinsons-May. The passport allows the bearer one free admission during May at 36 participating Valley museums; free mementos are given to bearers at those that normally charge no admission. Participating facilities range from such heavy hitters as the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, the Arizona Museum for Youth, Mesa Southwest Museum and the ASU Art Museum, to small fry like Deer Valley Rock Art Center and Tempe Historical Museum. Call 480-644-2468 for more information.
Fresh from touring Europe with The Brian Setzer Orchestra, jive band Indigo Swing returns to the Valley on Sunday, May 2, at the Bash on Ash, 230 West Fifth Street in Tempe, in support of its Time Bomb Recordings CD All Aboard!. Though the San Francisco-based outfit is one of the vanguards of the neo-swing movement, rock elements are thrown into the mix of its sound, as they are in Setzer's. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.; showtime is 9. Tickets for the all-ages show are $10 in advance, $12 the day of the show. 480-966-8200.
The silent era's version of Leonardo DiCaprio, Rudolph Valentino, stars in 1926's Son of the Sheik, the famous heartthrob's last film. Ron Rhode, who handles a Wurlitzer like Valentino handles leading lady Vilma Banky, accompanies the classic swooner at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 2, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. Tickets for the Orpheum Theatre Foundation-sponsored screening are $10. 602-262-7272 (Phoenix Civic Plaza), 480-503-5555 (Dillard's).
ASU's Harry Wood Gallery hosts the annual Summer MFA Exhibition, a juried show of graduate-student work in all media. It opens Monday, May 3; and continues through Sunday, September 26, in the space, located in the School of Art Building on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. 480-965-3468.
The last film in the fledgling Scottsdale Independent Film Fest, a low-budget verite work from director Carlos Marcovitch called Who the Hell Is Juliette? chronicling the adventures of a teenage orphan girl (Yuliet Ortega) in modern-day Havana, Cuba, is screened at 7 p.m. Monday, May 3, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Director Marcovitch is scheduled to be present. Tickets are $8. 480-994-2787.
Conceived by playwright George C. Wolfe and dancemaster Savion Glover, the Broadway hit Bring In 'da Noise, Bring In 'da Funk is a revue made up of tap routines by Glover, poetry by Reg E. Gaines, and music by Ann Duqesnay, Zane Mark and Daryl Waters. Opening performances of this tour, which features Derick K. Grant's re-creations of Glover's choreography, are at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 4; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. The run continues through Sunday, May 9. Tickets range from $27.50 to $45. 480-965-3434, 480-503-5555.
A woman who steadfastly believes in bringing in da noise and da funk--provided it has a parental advisory label on it--Tipper Gore is the recipient of this year's Sandra Day O'Connor Award, and the keynote speaker at the like-titled luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, at the Arizona Biltmore, 24th Street and Missouri. Tickets for the event, sponsored by the Arizona Foundation for Women, range from $60 to $400; for details call 602-221-4666.
Arizona Museum for Youth observes Cinco de Mayo by hosting a fiesta in connection with its display "Tres Americas: Traditional Art of Latin America" on Wednesday, May 5. Ballet Folklorico Mexico Linda performs at 3:30 p.m.; a performance by Trio Picoso, the ensemble of the Guerrero family (a mom and two children), follows at 4:30 p.m. Mexican goodies and Latino-oriented hands-on crafts and activities are included in the celebration, which is free with regular admission. "Tres Americas" continues through Friday, May 28. 35 North Robson in Mesa. 480-644-2467.