Friday, July 11
Right in the midst of a sweltering summer, Desert Stages Theatre presents a production with the appropriate sizzle -- Cabaret. Opening Friday, July 11, Kander and Ebb's Tony Award-winning musical draws audiences into the smoky, seductive world of Berlin's Kit Kat Club, where American writer Clifford Bradshaw falls for sexy singer Sally Bowles. Outside the nightclub's glamorous confines, fascism is on the rise in a Germany devastated by World War I, posing problems not only for Clifford, but also for his landlady, whose fiancé is Jewish. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 6 p.m. Sundays, through August 17, at Desert Stages Theatre, 8473 East McDonald in Scottsdale. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 on the day of the show. For reservations, contact the box office at 480-483-1664, or visit www.desertstagestheatre.com for details.
Saturday, July 12
The folks from Samurai Comics are enthusiastic for all things anime (Japanese animation), and they share their abundant knowledge on Saturday, July 12, at a free Teen Central program. Geared toward kids ages 12 to 18, the afternoon features a screening of Spirited Away, the imaginative, Academy Award-winning movie by legendary anime filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, as well as contests, screenings of clips from other popular anime, and a discussion of the art form's history. Everything happens between noon and 6 p.m. at Teen Central, located inside Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central. Call 602-495-5114 for information.
Sunday, July 13
Willie Barcena might be one of the top Latino comedians in the country, but that doesn't mean he's lost touch with his roots. On the contrary, Barcena's childhood in an East Los Angeles blue-collar household has become a plentiful source of street-wise jokes for his mainly autobiographical standup show. His varied résumé of jobs ranging from plumber to limo driver hasn't hurt his act, either. Considering that Jay Leno and Will Smith have both seriously looked into developing a TV deal for Barcena, it's just a matter of time before the young performer busts out into full-fledged sitcom stardom. In the meantime, he's keeping himself in top form by sticking to the comedy club circuit. Barcena comes to the Tempe Improv, 930 East University, Thursday, July 10, through Sunday, July 13. Performances are at 8 nightly, with additional 10 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday. Tickets, $12 to $15, can be purchased by calling the box office, 480-921-9877.
Monday, July 14
Hot on the heels of Rain Fall, his successful 2002 debut crime novel, author Barry Eisler brings back hired assassin John Rain for an engaging sequel thriller, Hard Rain. Half American and half Japanese, Rain avoids any futile attempt to fit into mainstream Tokyo culture, preferring to lurk in the dark, shadowy underground of the metropolis' hostess clubs and whiskey bars. Faced with the challenge of taking out a brutal hit man in the name of cleaning up government corruption, Rain encounters all kinds of shifty and possibly dangerous characters -- yakuza gangsters, ruthless bureaucrats and shifty CIA agents -- in a complex, suspenseful yarn. Eisler signs copies of his new book at 7 p.m. Monday, July 14, at the Poisoned Pen, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale. To find out more, call 480-947-2974.
Tuesday, July 15
Expect a mosh pit like no other on Tuesday, July 15, when the Vans Warped Tour brings an overdose of punk, hard-core, screamo and aggressive rock to the Valley. Nearly 60 bands take the stage -- on eight stages, actually -- including Rancid, The Used, Pennywise, and Less Than Jake. Along with the sonic mayhem, the tour boasts a motorcycle stunt show, fanzine distribution, and, to work off your extra adrenaline, a slip and slide water attraction and rock climbing. Gates open at 11 a.m. and performances run from 1:30 to 9 p.m. at the Peoria Sports Complex, located on 83rd Avenue south of Bell Road. General admission tickets, $25.25, can be purchased through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or 480-784-4444. For complete details, visit www.warpedtour.com.
Wednesday, July 16
Whether you're looking for some intellectual stimulation over your lunch hour or you just need a cool escape from the daily grind, ASU Downtown Center's Brown Bag Lecture Series offers free, open-to-anyone lectures by professors, business executives and experts in a variety of fields, every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. The program continues on Wednesday, July 16, with Dr. Dennis Deaton's discussion of "The Ownership Spirit." Deaton, co-founder of Quma Learning Systems and a corporate educator of human performance and productivity, shares his insights on what workers can learn from owners, optimists and highly productive people. Seating is limited, so an R.S.V.P. is necessary. Call 480-965-3046 or visit xedreg.asu.edu to register. Participants are welcome to bring lunch. The center is located at 502 East Monroe; lectures are in Building C. Parking validation is provided for those who park in the Heritage and Science Park garage.