Down-home country comic Rodney Carrington--sort of a cross between Tim Allen and Garth Brooks--spends his Independence Day weekend in the Valley at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 1; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, July 2; and the same times Saturday, July 3 at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, 930 East University (at Cornerstone mall). There is no show on Sunday, July 4. Tickets are $12 and $15. 480-921-9877.
Touring behind his Lilly Pad Records CD Soul Simple, Valley-based acoustic R&B man Frog performs from 8 p.m. to midnight Thursday, July 1, at the Higher Ground Cafe, 1032 South Terrace in Tempe; from 9 p.m. Friday, July 2, to 1 a.m. at the Monastery, 4114 North 28th Street; and from 8 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, July 6, at the Willow House, 149 West McDowell. There's no cover for any of these shows. Call 480-829-8687 (Higher Ground); 602-840-7510 (Monastery); or 602-252-0272 (Willow House) for more information.
A lecture by Rosemary Lonewolf, titled "An Invitation to 'Feast Day,'" explores the Pueblo holiday's significance. It's scheduled, as part of the "Thursday Lunch Talk" series, from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, July 1, in the first-floor lecture room at the Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central. Admission is free; attendees may bring a lunch. Call 602-543-0604 for more information.
In a burst of patriotic feeling, Valley faves Phunk Junkeez play shows this weekend on Friday, July 2; and Saturday, July 3, at the Bash on Ash, 230 West Fifth Street in Tempe. Doors open at 7 p.m. both nights; showtime is 8 p.m. Friday's show is for ages 21 and up and features guest artists Chet, Surf Ballistics, and 5 on 1. The Saturday show is all-ages, and is hosted by 103.9 Party Radio's Dead Air Dave. It features Orange County's Dial-7, P.H.D., and Lik Shotz. Both shows will feature a DJ and other fun. Tickets, available at The Bash, Headquarters and Vans locations, are $10, $12 at the door, if any remain. 480-966-8200.
The City of Phoenix gets the rockets' red glare rolling for the weekend with two shindigs/fireworks displays: "Light Up the Sky," which also offers rides, extreme sports, games, food and merchandise and other fun from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 2, at Maryvale Sports Complex, 51st Avenue and Indian School; and an Independence Celebration, featuring the same sorts of diversions, as well as a fireworks spectacle, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, July 2, at Paradise Valley Park, 40th Street and Union Hills Drive. Admission to both events is free. For other fireworks and Independence Day fun throughout the weekend, see the features at left and right. For more information, call 602-534-6449 (Maryvale) and 602-495-3777 (Paradise Valley Park).
A road trip to cooler climes may be in order for Native American-art buffs: Flagstaff's Museum of Northern Arizona hosts the 66th annual "Hopi Marketplace," featuring native arts and crafts ranging from pottery to sculptures, katsinas, baskets, textiles and fine arts to jewelry by artists ranging from Henry Shelton to Dee and Pauline Setalla to Richard Dawavendewa to Bennet Seutopka to Sidney Sekakuku Jr. The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 3; and Sunday, July 4, at the museum, located three miles north of downtown Flagstaff on Highway 180. Traditional dances, kids' activities and pikki bread makers are also featured, and a sales exhibit called "Enduring Creations: Masterworks of Native American and Western Traditions," with works by Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, Pai, Hispanic and Western artists, continues through Sunday, September 19. Admission is $5, $4 for seniors, $3 for students, $2 for children between the ages of 7 and 17. Call 1-520-774-5211 for more information.
Lamps are the theme of a group show called "Go Towards Da Light--Flying in the Face of Convention" at 11 East Ashland. The exhibition of mixed-media lamps by Erastes Cinaedi, Joe Hendricks, Dion Allen and Casey McKee opens with a reception from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 3, and continues through Saturday, July 24. The artists will be present at the reception, and McKee's band, Bumpergoat, will provide the musical entertainment. Regular hours are from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and by appointment. 11 East Ashland (off Central, two blocks south of Virginia). 602-257-8543.
If you'd prefer to hide from tunes like "Stars & Stripes Forever" played by brass bands, you might consider checking out the five-piece acoustic act Cannon and Price, slated to perform at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 4, at Borders Books & Music at 1361 South Alma School in Mesa. Admission is free. Call 480-833-2244 for details.
New Orleans-style jazz is performed by Desert City Six at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 5, on the southwest side of the lake at Kiwanis Park, Mill Avenue and All-America Way. The show continues Tempe's "Concerts in the Park." Admission is free. The series continues through Monday, July 12. 480-898-5665, extension 2679.
It's hard to imagine that anyone could watch it straight-faced after Bill Murray's delicious send-up of it on his most recent visit to Saturday Night Live, but that's no reason not to see the Broadway version of Footloose when it comes to the Valley this week. The show adds nine songs to the hits--among them such artifacts as "Let's Hear It for the Boy," "Holding Out for a Hero," "Almost Paradise" and the Kenny Loggins title anthem--from the hit '80s film, in which a rebellious teen played by Kevin Bacon brings (gasp!) dancing to a small Bible-belt town where it previously has been illegal. If it's been just too darn long since you heard "Let's Hear It for the Boy," then step right up: Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 6; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 7. The run continues with shows at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 8; 8 p.m. Friday, July 9; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, July 10; and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, July 11, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Tickets range from $27.50 to $47.50. 480-965-3434 (Gammage), 480-503-5555 (Dillard's).