Friday, May 23
A drama critic writes a negative review of the latest Broadway show, which happens to be the work of his playwright wife. Sounds like a recipe for marital trouble, right? Without a doubt. But in the case of Critic's Choice, which opens Friday, May 23, this kind of relationship drama also happens to make for a thoughtful comedy. As its final production of the season, Is What It Is Theatre performs the show through June 7 at Studio One Performing Arts Center, 4520 East Thomas. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students, seniors and military personnel. For details contact the box office at 480-994-9495.
The local renaissance of independent film isn't limited to grown-ups toting fancy film school credentials; the D.I.Y. attitude is just as popular with the high school set. On Friday, May 23, see what teenage creative types are doing with their time at New School for the Arts' Second Annual Film Festival. The screening starts at 7 p.m. at the New School for the Arts Theatre, 1216 East Apache, located between Rural and McClintock in Tempe. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students. To find out more, visit www.aznsa.com or call 480-481-9235, extension 0.
Saturday, May 24
As anyone who's ever attempted to make pad thai knows, the secret to making homemade Thai food taste as good as what you get in a restaurant is in the spices. Old stir-fry standbys like soy sauce and garlic just won't cut it when you're trying to get a convincingly authentic taste. Learn how to come up with those complex flavors on Saturday, May 24, when favorite Scottsdale restaurant Malee's on Main offers its Thai Cooking Class from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Along with instruction on preparing classic dishes, participants get lunch, wines with each course, and a gift bag. The class is $50 per person; call 480-947-6042 for reservations. Malee's is located at 7131 East Main in Scottsdale.
Sunday, May 25
Admittedly, the temperatures haven't been above a hundred long enough for Valley dwellers to start complaining (that'll happen when the first electric bill comes after cranking up the A/C for the first time this year). But that doesn't mean Phoenicians have no excuse to venture north to the milder, still-springy climes of scenic Sedona. Along with the refreshing weather, this weekend boasts the Red Rock Fine Art & Wine Festival, a gathering of 100 juried artists from around the country who will display their works in a variety of media. Just like its name promises, the second annual event also features wines from the world's best labels. Native American artists offer demonstrations of pottery, weaving and carving techniques, and several musical acts provide live entertainment. Festivities run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, May 23, through Sunday, May 25. Admission is $5 at the gate at Sedona Cultural Park, located on Highway 89A in west Sedona. To find out more, call 1-928-284-9627.
Monday, May 26
For the lucky ones among us, Monday, May 26, kicks off the summer picnic season with a glorious day off work, mainly spent hanging out by the grill and drinking beer with family and friends. But in the immediate aftermath of wartime, when even adamant protesters waved flags insisting that they still supported U.S. troops, Memorial Day means more than just a three-day weekend. Commemorate the valor of Arizona veterans young and old at a free 9 a.m. Memorial Day Ceremony at Pioneer and Military Memorial Park, 1317 West Jefferson. The event includes a flag presentation, cannon salute and a tour of the historic Smurthwaite House. To find out more, call 602-534-1262
Three local writers who served in World War II bring the wisdom of their personal trials and triumphs to Borders Books & Music's commemoration of Memorial Day, Veteran's Tribute: Writers of WWII. The evening's guest authors will discuss and sign copies of their books: Long March to Nowhere by Jack A. Gylyas of Prescott, Counterspy Mission in World War II by Tempe's Bradley Vaughan, and Arizona's Hispanic Flyboys, 1941-1945 by Rudolph C. Villarreal, also of Tempe. Admission is free and the signing starts at 7 p.m. at Borders, located at Biltmore Fashion Park, 2402 East Camelback. For more information, call 602-957-6660.
Tuesday, May 27
With haunting, breathy male vocals, deep, dark bass lines and melancholy guitars, Brooklyn-based trio Calla plays slow, moody music for all of your late-night impulses -- going for a moonlit drive, making out, or just lying in bed, feeling too introspective to fall asleep. The band performs at Modified Arts on Tuesday, May 27, with opening act The Necronauts. Doors open at 8 p.m. for the all-ages show. Admission is $6 at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt. For more information, call 602-462-5516 or visit www.modified.org.