It's one way to get a jump on the competition. The title character of FrogWoman, a new production by Theater in My Basement/SW Annex, "has her whole body changed in order to become famous," explains director Ilana Lydia. "She has her skin dyed green and her legs extended and her mouth elongated so that she looks like a frog." The play -- "about celebrity and how we distort ourselves" -- debuts at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 28, and Sunday, June 29, at Scottsdale's Stagebrush Theatre, 7020 East Second Street, and resurfaces Thursday, July 10, through Saturday, July 12, at the Icehouse, 429 West Jackson. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door, and students get 2-for-1 admission. Following the June 28 show, 15 wordsmiths compete in a poetry slam; a $6 cover and entry fee includes a wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres. Call 602-278-9255 or see www.timb.org for reservations.
Knife and Folk
Have an active lunch
Think outside the lunchbox -- the City of Phoenix Faces of Diversity Brown Bag lunch series can help. On Friday, June 27, two cultural dance troupes shake things up inside the Phoenix City Council Chambers, 200 West Jefferson. From noon to 1 p.m., Folklorico Lindo-Y-Querido's 50 colorfully costumed dancers -- ages 5 to 20 -- share regional rhythms from Veracruz, Jalisco and Chiapas, while young performers from the Arathi School of India present traditional Indian dances. BYO lunch -- no reservations required. For more information, call 602-261-8242. - Jill Koch
Moon Dance Theatre Fest shines at ASU
6/26-6/28 There's no business like glow business for ASU students and alums, whose third annual Moon Dance Theatre Festival -- a collection of plays, staged readings and comedy shows -- continues through Saturday. Productions range from social commentary (written entirely in verse, The Bridge on 149th Street shares the stories of six homeless people) to sociopathic comedy (in Fit to be Tied, a lonely man kidnaps the guy of his dreams, who turns out to be a narcoleptic, kleptomaniac Rockette). Shows run at 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and midnight Thursday, June 26, through Saturday, June 28 -- with readings set for noon and 2 p.m. Saturday -- at ASU's Prism Theatre, 851 East Tyler in Tempe. Admission is free. See http://theatre.asu.edu/home.html for a schedule. - Jill Koch
Dance troupe spins the "Generations"
"Generations," the title piece of Off-Center Dance Company's upcoming concert, is based on the work of artist David Manjae. "The piece deals with the differences between generations," says Off-Center director Marlina Kessler. Several of the other works were choreographed by Kessler's students, such as Emily Davis' "Looking Beneath the Surface" and Carrie Castillo's "All That Jazz," inspired by the hit musical Chicago. Now in its fifth season, Off-Center Dance Company comprises 12 to 16 dancers. Its repertoire is mainly modern dance-oriented, though Kessler says the group encompasses all styles. And this weekend's concert, featuring pieces Off-Center has performed throughout the year, is audience-friendly. "We try to involve the audience, so they see a story in the dances," says Kessler, "instead of people up there jumping around."
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 27, and Saturday, June 28, at the Mesa Arts Center, 155 North Center. Tickets, $5, will be available at the door. Call 480-644-2902 for group reservations. - Quetta Carpenter
Chapman speeds into the Valley
Though Tracy Chapman didn't loiter in the pop culture limelight after her 1988 debut album reached the multiplatinum mark -- its single "Fast Car" bumming out MTV's first generation with its frank description of poverty and substance abuse -- the singer-songwriter has been enthralling critics ever since. Her most recent release, last fall's Let It Rain, has been lauded as "an awesomely crafted folk-soul creation." Chapman charms her Valley fans this Thursday, June 26, at downtown's Dodge Theatre, 400 West Washington. eastmountainsouth opens the 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are $27 and $37; call 480-784-4444 or see www.ticketmaster.com. -- Jill Koch
Former MTV star looks for laughs
If Bill Bellamy were a baseball player, he'd be the ultimate utility man. From his beginnings as a standup comic and MTV personality through numerous movie roles and a starring turn on the FOX series Fastlane, Bellamy has showcased a unique ability to fly just under the radar while remaining in plain sight. In an era when attention spans have been reduced to the size of an atom, it is such versatility upon which careers are made.
For all his incarnations, Bellamy is still at his best when freed from the chains of Hollywood scriptwriters and engaged in full-on standup mode. Catch the jack-of-all-trades in his natural environment when he touches down Thursday, June 26, through Sunday, June 29, at the Tempe Improv, 930 East University. For tickets, $24 to $27, call 480-921-9877 or visit www.tempeimprov.com.
- Craig Wallach