Like a belated but welcome valentine, Arizona Opera brings Gaetano Donizetti's opera The Elixir of Love to Symphony Hall starting Thursday, February 27. The romantic comedy portrays a young villager's pursuit of a wealthy beauty, and the mishaps that occur when he procures a mysterious love potion. Set in the idyllic Tuscan countryside and sung in Italian with English subtitles, this production sounds like a sure-fire formula for romance, on stage and off. Performance times are at 7:30 p.m. through Saturday, March 1, and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 2, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Tickets, $25 to $110, can be purchased through Arizona Opera, 602-266-7464, or Ticketmaster, 480-784-4444.
Witness Darwinism at work in the world of comedy on Friday, February 28, when The Comedy Spot at Farrelli's launches its new weekly standup contest, The Comedy Survivor. Audience members determine who gets the last laugh, voting for two out of five competing comedians to go on to the finals in the event's eighth week. Expect the punch lines to be fierce; winning contestants receive not only cash and prizes but opportunities to be booked at the club as a future standup act. Admission is $10 with a $10 food and drink minimum at The Comedy Spot, located inside Farrelli's Cinema Supper Club, 14202 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. To find out more, visit www.thecomedyspot.net or call 480-905-7200.
The weather's getting warmer, and it's almost time to put your cashmere and tweed back into storage. Before you break the bank on a closetful of skimpy new outfits, get a glimpse of this year's newest styles at Label, a monthly first-Saturdays fashion event at Axis/Radius. On Saturday, March 1, a spring break fashion preview will feature cutting-edge looks for day and night, plus swimsuits and beachwear – something we suspect will attract as many horndogs as fashion hounds. Admission is $10 at Axis/Radius, 7340 East Indian Plaza, located one block south of Camelback Road and Buckboard in Scottsdale. To find out more, call 480-970-1112.
Phoenicians have an insatiable urge to watch extreme fighting, apparently, so Rage in the Cage is simply giving the people what they want. On Saturday, March 1, the action-packed mixed martial arts event moves to a new, bigger location – Dodge Theatre, the high-tech downtown venue with a capacity of 5,500. To start things off right, the evening will feature a new cage and a high-stakes triple main event, with Edwin Dewees versus Homer Moore, Travis Fulton against Joseph Riggs, and Travis Wiuff taking on Andy Montana. There will be 12 fights in all, starting at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. at the theater, 400 West Washington. Tickets to the all-ages event, $10 to $40 in advance ($5 extra on the day of the event), can be purchased by calling 602-379-2888. Visit www.rageinthecage.com for additional details (and a cruisin'-for-a-bruisin' heavy metal soundtrack to put you in the right mood).
No Festival Required, Modified Arts' popular short film and video event, now regularly features two evening screenings on the first Sunday of every month. "It just keeps getting better," raves organizer Steve Weiss. This time around, the roster of featured filmmakers includes University of Arizona professor Beverly Seckinger, who received a 2002 Arizona Commission on the Arts Media Arts Fellowship. Seckinger's 1997 short Mommie Queerestwill be accompanied by a 10-minute excerpt from her current work-in-progress, Laramie Inside Out. Doors open 15 minutes before the 6 and 8 p.m. showings, and admission – recommended for mature audiences only – is $5. For information about submitting work for future screenings, call 602-265-9524 or visit www.candidlandscapes.com/nofestivalrequired.html. Modified Arts is located at 407 East Roosevelt.
Whether you're getting ready to make a bid or you're just browsing, Monday, March 3, marks the first art preview day for ARTstravaganza, presented by the Arizona Artists Guild. Original works of art created by guild members will be on display at Kerr Cultural Center through March 28, when the event culminates with a silent and live auction to benefit the guild's scholarship fund. Admission is free at the center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. To find out more, call 602-400-3369.
Phoenix Art Museum's grand new exhibition, "El Greco to Picasso," is full of breathtaking masterpieces from Washington, D.C.'s acclaimed Phillips Collection. But works by many of these same legendary artists from the show – Rodin, Rousseau, Monet – are part of Phoenix Art Museum's own permanent collection. "Collection Connection" ArtBreaks, offered weekly through May 1, bring selected pieces into the spotlight, with 30-minute talks offered by docents at noon on Tuesdays and by museum staff at noon and 8 p.m. on Thursdays. On Tuesday, March 4, the topic is Jean Baptiste Camille Corot's Souvenir de Ville d'Avray. Talks are free with museum admission ($7 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, $2 for ages 6 to 17, free for children under 6). Located at 1625 North Central. Call 602-257-1222 for details.
We love foreign films, but our DVD budget is slim and we've already exhausted the selection at our local video rental shop. So Arizona State University's Asian Film Series, presented by the Center for Asian Studies, comes not a day too soon for us. Starting at 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday from March 5 through April 9 (except March 19, during spring break), movie lovers can kick back to watch comedies and dramas from China, Korea, Japan and India, all introduced with insight from various faculty members. First up on the schedule is director Stephen Chow's Cantonese action comedy Shaolin Soccer.Admission is free, and all screenings will be held in Room 101 of the Nursing Building, located on the ASU Main Campus in Tempe. For further information, visit www.asu.edu/clas/asian/cas.html or call 480-965-7184.