If you are what you drink, then Glendale will have a cosmopolitan. Home to more than just antiques shops and cowboy bars, "Glendale's got rhythm... and blues, reggae, alternative, folk, pop and Latin fusion," says special events coordinator Vern Biaett. And that's just a sampling of the lineup at Glendale's World Music Festival this Friday and Saturday, March 28 and 29, at Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management, located at 59th Avenue and Greenway Road. The "capitalist UN" makes a perfect venue for music, dance, food and drink from around the world.Starting at 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, two stages will showcase alt-band the Scones, reggae group Azz Izz, Fab Four tributeers the Rave/Apple, as well as Japanese Taiko, Latin and Australian pop acts. At 8:30 each night, legendary headliners take the stage. On Saturday, hear David Clayton-Thomas with Blood, Sweat & Tears, and on Friday, meet Spencer Davis, who proved he was The Man when he led the British (who'd been pissed at America since 1776) in taking it out on the Beach Boys.
Between performances, browse world wares at the bazaar while Bedouin and Caribbean dancers wind through the crowd. Try Thai, Greek, Mexican, Italian, French and Bavarian yummies, and stay wet with tropical smoothies and Asian bubble drinks. Naturally, at this "big bidness" school, you must accessorize, so make a Mardi Gras-style party hat for cheap, then show your bonhomie by drinking your way around the World Pub, well-stocked with imported beer and wine.
Admission to the festival, parking and the services of a double-decker London shuttle bus are free. (Please leave pets, coolers and large umbrellas at home.) For a $5 cover, party after-hours in the Activity Center adjacent to the festival, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. One in the morning?
"W.J. Murphy's little temperance colony has come a long way," Biaett says. Sounds like it. Join Glendale's global block party and tell the world, "I love you, man." It's how diplomacy is born. For details call 623-930-2299. – Kim Toms
For the Records
Once upon a time, technologies that we now can't live without – music-sharing Web sites, MP3s and even CDs – were akin to science fiction, and vinyl was the order of the day. The gentle dance of placing a record on a turntable and dropping the needle onto its grooves suggested something communal, an experience lost the day vinyl went the way of the dinosaur.
Join a host of true believers to buy, sell, trade and otherwise channel the spirit of vinyl at the R.A.R.E. Record Swap Meet, from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 29, at Monkey Mambo, 9201 North 29th Avenue. Admission is free. For details call Mary at 602-279-1528. – Craig Wallach
If you're a contestant in The Paper Heart's "Beat the Buzzer!" talent competition, said buzzer means one thing: You suck. Talk about a buzz kill.
The first 10 participants to sign up at the March 27 event get five minutes each to wow the judges. After two elimination rounds, the winner is showered with cash and prizes, which, according to the buzz, just might include future performance slots. Co-host JRC expects to see "traditional entertainers like musicians and poets, and less easily defined types such as contortionists, magicians and performance artists." Doors open at 7 p.m. at the gallery, 222 North Fifth Avenue, with a $2 cover to watch and/or perform. Call 602-262-2020 for details.– Jill Koch
Sales of Switchfoot's latest CD, The Beautiful Letdown, indicate that it's anything but a disappointment, lovely or otherwise. On the road in support of the album – its first to boast major-label backing – the California quartet hits the Bash on Ash this Thursday, March 27.
Considering the predominance of music that rages against something, anything, Switchfoot's "thought rock" is a risky departure. But Jonathan Foreman's lyrics express positivity without preaching and – as in Letdown's first single, "More Than Fine" – convey hope without being hokey.
Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Bash, 230 West Fifth Street in Tempe. Noise Ratchet, and Denison Mars open the all-ages show. Advance tickets are $10 through www.ticketmaster.com or 480-784-4444. – Jill Koch
Mugs and Kisses
Here's to good friends–this weekend's kinda special
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Attributed to Ben Franklin, the above quote is among the most compelling examples of the man's genius. The love and happiness will flow freely this weekend, as the Great Arizona Beer Festival floods downtown's Arizona Center. The 10th annual "celebration of beer" will showcase 400-some microbrews, imported beers and alcohol-free bevs, as well as food vendors and live music. More than 115 breweries from across the U.S. are on tap, with suds flowing from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 29, and Sunday, March 30.
Tickets, $30 in advance and $35 at the gate, include a souvenir mug and 24 beer sample tickets; $60 VIP tickets add first entrance rights, access to a VIP area with catered food, and VIP rest-room lines (not a bad privilege at a beer party). Ticket outlets include AJ's Fine Foods and Rock Bottom Brewery locations, and proceeds benefit Sun Sounds of Arizona, which provides the visually impaired with access to printed information. See www.azbeer.com or call 480-449-0467 for festival details. – Jill Koch