To Jeff Dunham's usual repertory company--fuzzy "Woozle" Peanut, crotchety old-timer Walter and pepper-on-a-stick Jose Jalapeno--the comedian and ventriloquist has added two new characters: Larry, who's all a-jitter over the Y2K problem, and Bubba, a bucktoothed, freckle-faced rustic type. The lot of them takes the stage at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 27; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, May 28; 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, May 29; and 8 p.m. Sunday, May 30, at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, 930 East University (at Cornerstone mall). 480-921-9877.
Touring behind his Warner Bros. CD Body Language, smooth-jazz guy Boney James performs two shows, with Rick Braun, at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday, May 27, at the Red River Music Hall, Mill and Washington in Tempe. Tickets are $34.50. 480-829-6779, 480-503-5555.
Not so smooth--to her credit--are the blues-rock sounds of guitarist-vocalist Debbie Davies. The L.A. native, a 1997 W.C. Handy Award winner, takes the stage at 9 p.m. Thursday, May 27, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Her new Shanachie CD Round Every Corner is full of plain, soul-soothing blues cuts ranging from a fine, mournful rendition of "Blue & Lonesome" to the amusing j'accuse "Scratches" to the feminist anthem "Little Sister" to the sly Chicago-style "Backstreet Driver" to a cover of "Who'll Stop the Rain?" The cover is $6. 602-265-4842.
The one-man show You've No Business Near Show Business, written by and starring S.A. Hopkins and directed by Nicolas Glaeser, is a gallery of vignettes about the state--woeful and pernicious, in Hopkins' view--of the contemporary entertainment industry. Hopkins incarnates characters from "the Hollywood player to the Broadway ticket scalper, the Euro-trash fashion designer to the burned-out theater professor. All have no business near show business, some because they care too little, others because they care too much." The show, presented by No Drama Productions, is performed at 8 p.m. Friday, May 28; the same time Saturday, May 29; and 4 p.m. Sunday, May 30, at On the Spot Theater, 4700 North Central. Tickets are $12. Call 480-855-6792 for more information.
The Scottish-American Military Society hosts its observance of Memorial Day--as opposed to the day off from work--with a Memorial Day Pageant starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 29, at Wesley Bolin Plaza, 15th Avenue and Washington. The Honor Guard from Luke Air Force Base presents a pageant of flags, and there will also be a "massing of colors," a presentation by the Arizona Civil War Council, and original music by Jackie Marx. Call 602-277-4168 for more information.
Also in Memorial Day observance, tenor James Crowley, fronting a chamber orchestra made up of members of Phoenix Symphony, belts out the rousing strains of American military music in honor of the U.S. Armed Forces, as a finale to a program titled "A Salute to Broadway!" featuring tunes from Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Carousel, Jesus Christ Superstar and other musicals, as well as the hard-times standard "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 29, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. Tickets are $26. 602-262-7272 (Phoenix Civic Plaza), 480-503-5555 (Dillard's).
When it comes to association with peaches, Arizona can't exactly compete with Georgia. But apparently there's enough production of the fuzzy fruit to warrant the fourth annual Queen Creek Peach Festival, held from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 29; and the same hours Sunday, May 30; and Monday May 31, at Schepf Farms, located on Rittenhouse Road, 11 miles off the Superstition Freeway and Ellsworth Road in the small community located in the far southeast Valley. Fun includes peach picking, arts and crafts, hay rides and train rides, a tractor display, various kids' activities including a petting zoo, live entertainment and all manner of peach-oriented yummies. Admission is $5; a portion of revenues goes to three local charities. A pancake breakfast is served daily until 10 a.m. Call 602-987-3333 for more information.
The hand-colored nudes of California-based photographer Bruce Pharr are featured in a group show at 11 East Ashland, as are mixed-media assemblages by Moline o' Tucson, human-body photography by Jacqueline Purcell Callister of Las Vegas, and ink and graphic mix works by Kate Frshlic Bell. It opens with a reception from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, May 29, and continues through Saturday, June 26. 11 East Ashland (off Central, two blocks south of Virginia). 602-257-8543.
Boston-based author of How the Irish Became White, editor of Race Traitor magazine and head of the New Abolitionist Society Noel Ignatiev speaks in favor of the abolition of the "white race," defined as "all those who partake of the privileges of the white skin in this society." The talk, sponsored by The Ruckus newsletter, is slated for 7 p.m. Sunday, May 30, at Modified, 407 East Roosevelt, and is free. Call 602-241-6353 for more information.
Michele Kwan, Surya Bonaly, Todd Eldredge, Nicole Bobek, Elvis Stojko, Brian Boitano, Victor Petrenko, Sergei Ponomarenko, Oksana Baiul and Rudy Galindo are among the strong-ankled types scheduled to tie on the blades for Champions on Ice at 7 p.m. Monday, May 31, at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. Tickets range from $25 to $55, available at the arena and Dillard's. 602-379-7800, 480-503-5555.
Two vintage biplanes, collectively known as the Red Baron Premium Stearman Squadron, fly into the Valley for a two-day visit at Deer Valley Airport, 702 West Deer Valley Road. The planes will be on display from 1:30 to 5:15 p.m. Monday, May 31; 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, June 1; and the same hours Wednesday, June 2. No rides are being offered to the public, but there will be take-offs and landings, as well as some stunt and aerobatic flying. Admission is free. Call 602-869-0975 for more information.
The wide-screen film To Be an Astronaut, depicting the experience of working for NASA as a steely-eyed missileman-or-woman, shows at noon and 3 p.m. daily (except holidays), starting Tuesday, June 1, and continuing through Tuesday, August 31. The Irene P. Flinn Theater at Arizona Science Center, 600 East Washington. 602-716-2000.
Local troubadour David Grossman plays and sings from 8 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, June 1; and every subsequent Tuesday, at Coffee Plantation at Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback. For more information, call 602-553-0203; or check out Grossman's Web site at http://www.davidgrossman.com/
They reside in the south of France, play combustible flamenco and move zillions of discs worth of the stuff--some might argue that The Gipsy Kings have a better gig even than the Stones. Others might even suggest that the Gipsies' superb version of "Hotel California" ("Velcome to zee 'otel Cal-ee-forn-ee-ah . . .") makes a case justifying the existence of the Eagles. The group performs Wednesday, June 2, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18, $33 and $48. 602-254-7599 (Sky), 480-784-4444 (Ticketmaster).