The first-rate Valley-based comic Mark Cordes, who has opened for the likes of David Sanborn, Kenny G, Ray Charles, Harry Connick Jr., and Little River Band, among many others, plays his hometown stage at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 15; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, July 16; and the same times Saturday, July 17; and Sunday, July 18, at the Tempe Improv Comedy Theater, 930 East University (at Cornerstone mall). 480-921-9877.
As the title "Fun With Flora, Fauna and Fruit" would imply, the new exhibition at Wilde-Meyer is on the lighthearted side. Featuring works by Linda Carter Holman, Jacqueline Rochester, Charles Davison, Ron Burns, L.A. Hecht, Rudi van Brussel, Stephen Morath and Patricia Hunter, it continues through Wednesday, August 4. Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays (to 9 p.m. Thursdays), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. 4142 North Marshall Way in Scottsdale. 480-945-2323.
The 24th annual edition of "Mighty Mud Mania" is slated for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, July 16, at Chaparral Park, 5401 North Hayden in Scottsdale; lineup at the starting line begins at 8:30. The main event of this detergent-challenging festival, which started in 1975 as the "Shout It Out Decathlon," is the "Original Mud Obstacle Course," in which children ages 7 to 13 compete to see who's the fastest and the grimiest; younger kids vie in the "Mini Mud Course." Old clothing and lace-up shoes are suggested (shoes and shirts are required), and parental permission is a must. A free swim at Chaparral Pool for all participants is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Although admission is free, a donation of a nonperishable food item for the Vista del Camino Food Bank, or of old eyeglasses for the North Scottsdale Lions Club, is suggested. Call 480-312-2771 or 480-312-2704.
The second annual AFPY--it's an acronym for "Arty Farty Party"--features a "big folk thing" called Clusterfolk, electronica by Casual Alien, and poetry by national slam poet Eirean Bradley and by local fave Mary McCann, "The Bone Mama." It's all-ages, it's free and it starts at 8 p.m. Friday, July 16, at The Vision Gallery, 80 South San Marcos Place in Chandler. Call 480-917-6859 for more information.
Have you noticed that, once again, it's been hot lately? For temporary relief of this annual condition, Downtown Tempe Community hosts the Downtown Cooldown from 7:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 17, at Tempe City Hall, located on Fifth Street and Mill Avenue. The fun includes an APS parade of more than 30 vehicles, a Storytelling Tent, arts activities, dunk tanks, slides, face painting and, as the main attraction, 25 tons of trucked-in snow to play in. All of the above is free. For details call 480-921-2300.
The eclectic Valley ensemble Meadowlark hosts the release party for its new Celtic/African/Mediterranean album, Legend of the Land, from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 17, at Borders Books & Music at Biltmore Fashion Park, 24th Street and Camelback, Suite 200. Admission is free. 602-957-6660.
In honor of its first decade, Phoenix Blues Society presents its 10th Anniversary Celebration, featuring such Valley acts as Sistah Blue, The Rocket 88s, Cold Shott and the Hurricane Horns featuring Small Paul, Chico Chism's Chicago Blues Band, The Hoodoo Kings, Midnite Blues Band and Hans Olson Band with guest Chuck Hall. The show starts at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 18, and runs throughout the day, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Tickets, available only at the door, are $5. For details call 602-252-0599.
Tickets will be tough to come by at this point, but Harry Connick Jr. and His Big Band, touring behind the new CD Come By Me, will play at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 18, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Tickets range, officially, from $27 to $47. Call 480-965-3434 or 480-503-5555.
The lineup for this year's edition of Lilith Fair, the annual caravan of topflight female singers/songwriters, includes, of course, Sarah McLachlan, along with Sheryl Crow, Martina McBride, Luscious Jackson, and Mya. Showtime is 4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 18, at Desert Sky Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue. Tickets range from $29 to $54. Call 602-254-7599 (Sky) or 480-784-4444 (Ticketmaster) for details.
Kids between the ages of 6 and 16 can rub elbows--provided they have a stepladder--with players and coaches from the Harlem Globetrotters at the Harlem Globetrotters Summer Basketball Camps, scheduled from Monday, July 19, through Friday, July 23, at North Phoenix Baptist Church, 5757 North Central. Tuition is $185, and gets you a week in either the 9 a.m. to noon session or the 1 to 4 p.m. session, as well as a tee shirt, a Globetrotters mini-basketball, an autographed team photo and a camp picture. Those who wish to register may go to the location the morning of the first session; call 1-800-641-4667 for more information.