Thursday, May 29
Many celebrities owe their success to the early-'90s TV variety show In Living Color: the Wayans brothers, Jim Carrey, David Alan Grier, Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Lopez. Tommy Davidson can also include himself in that list, having launched to stardom as one of the comedy hit's original cast members. Although he's been keeping himself busy with the silver screen, including roles in Juwanna Mann and Spike Lee's Bamboozled, Davidson still knows how to wield his talent for standup comedy. Local audiences get a chance to laugh with the actor/funnyman starting Thursday, May 29, when he performs at the Tempe Improv, 930 East University in Tempe. Performances through Sunday, June 1, are at 8 nightly, with additional shows at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For tickets, $20 to $22, call 480-921-9877.
Friday, May 30
Local art scenesters head to Tempe on Friday, May 30, for Wet Paint Art Supply and Gallery's transformation into the B-Side Gallery for Final Fridays. The monthly party, held from 7 to 11 p.m., draws hundreds of revelers looking for an eclectic combination of visual art, performance and people-watching. This go-round features color pencil drawings, photography, paintings and graffiti art from local artists. Musical guests Antidote and the Wholesome Crew perform live "jazzy progressive hip-hop" for the all-ages crowd. Admission is free at Wet Paint, 203 East Seventh Street in Tempe. For more information, visit www.wetpaintaz.com or call 480-967-2002.
Saturday, May 31
Whether you're a wine dilettante, a beer snob, or somewhere in between, expand your mind and your palate at the 8th Annual Wine/Microbrew Tasting Festival on Saturday, May 31. Along with sampling beverages, guests can try food from Buca di Beppo and Jilly's American Grill, or peruse offerings from arts and crafts vendors. Sponsored by Beauchamp Law Office, the event is a fund raiser to benefit the Festival of Lights Association, the Phoenix Crisis Nursery, the YMCA and St. Mary's Food Bank. Everything happens from 7 to 10:30 p.m. at the Foothills Golf Club, 2201 East Clubhouse Drive in Ahwatukee. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door; call 480-460-6169 for more information.
Sunday, June 1
It's not all that often that a good surprise comes along, but on Sunday, June 1, Valley arts patrons can expect the unexpected for charity. Gourmetheatre, an event to benefit Actors Theatre, is one of the most original fund-raising ideas we've heard about lately. From 5 to 7 p.m., participants get to mingle, look at art, sip cocktails and sample hors d'oeuvres at Scottsdale's Calvin Charles Gallery. Then starting at 7 p.m., groups of eight go to a special dinner at a participating restaurant chosen at random. Sure, the suspense will be killing you, but rest assured that you will be rewarded for your patience: Among the 17 participating restaurants are such local hot spots as Cowboy Ciao, Élevé, Mosaic and Tarbell's. Individual tickets are $187.50. For more information or to make reservations, contact Michelle Wynne at 602-253-5838, extension 103.
No Festival Required has come a long way in its first year -- more than 80 works by 57 directors have been screened, and the event is so popular that it shows every first Sunday of the month at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt. (The public is always invited to submit short film and video works for possible inclusion in future events; call 602-265-9524 for details.) To celebrate No Fest's first anniversary, energetic organizer Steve Weiss has a lineup of 16 shorts, most created by local filmmakers. Due to adult content, this round is for mature audiences only. Admission is $5, and doors open 15 minutes before the 6 and 8 p.m. screenings.
Monday, June 2
Talk about an ancient Chinese secret -- t'ai chi has been keeping the bodies and minds of young and old alike in good shape for generations. Get an introduction to Taoist Tai Chi, a fluid series of motions that lead to all kinds of therapeutic results, from better strength and flexibility to improved balance and circulation, on Monday, June 2, at a free, informative demonstration. Conducted by the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA, the event is a sneak peak at a beginner's-level class starting later in the week that teaches all 108 foundation moves within a few months. The demonstration runs from 6 to 7 p.m. at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 8202 East Cactus in Scottsdale. Call 480-229-0450 to find outmore.
Tuesday, June 3
Mesa Contemporary Arts shows support for emerging local visual arts talent with "Two-Person Regional Exhibition: Nissa Kubly & Felicie Regnier," the final exhibition of the 2002-2003 season. Opening Tuesday, June 3, the show features Kubly's tiny, intricate camera obscuras and images created by them, as well as stark, contemplative installations by Regnier. An opening reception will be held June 13, and the exhibition is on display through July 12 at Mesa Contemporary Arts, located inside the Mesa Arts Center, 155 North Center in Mesa. Gallery hours are noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. To find out more, call 480-644-2242.
Wednesday, June 4
Don't think you've got The Datsuns' sound pegged just because their name starts with "the." Sure, these New Zealand rockers have plenty of garage punk roots in common with many of today's headlining bands-of-the-moment, but they're also referencing a lot of tough-strutting early-'70s glam and hard rock. Some of The Datsuns' faster moments even conjure up Motörhead and AC/DC, promising a sonic thrill ride for the musically fearless. The band comes to the Valley for an all-ages show with Forty Fives, and the Star Spangles on Wednesday, June 4. Showtime is 8 p.m. at the Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster, www.ticketmaster.com or 480-784-4444.