It's an odd match-up at best, a pairing of two of the greatest control freaks in guitar history: B.B. King, who measures his solos with the precision of a diamond cutter, and Jeff Beck, who is as much a sound sculptor as he is a musician. King is a shouter -- a gospel-quality singer who has just released an album of standards which, to be fair, is a tad on the gooey side. Beck also has a new disc, due in August, which will likely be yet another collection of eclectic techno-tapestries, head-shaking stuff with one foot in the past and the other in the future. Together, the two acts are a combination of rock of ages and shock of the new.
Openers for this two-tier class act are the superfine Florida groovesters Mofro, and New Orleans funk jam-band ensemble Galactic. Audiences can expect a bit of guesting and crossing in the course of the night, though Beck has already admitted that he's struggled a bit to find the right common ground for the both of them. By now, though, they've likely got it all worked out.
It's the 12th Annual B.B. King Music Festival, and it lands at the Dodge Theatre on Tuesday, August 5. The show starts at 7 p.m., and tickets run from $35 to $100. Visit www.dodgetheatre.com for details. - Henry Cabot Beck
Festival looks to the sky
A bird mentality takes hold in Old Town Bisbee as the Southwest Wings Birding & Nature Festival -- "Celebrating Birds of the Grasslands" -- lands at the Convention Center at the Copper Queen Plaza. From Wednesday, August 6, through Sunday, August 10, workshops, exhibitions and keynote speaker Kenn Kaufman scrutinize the birds, bats, bugs and snakes of southeastern Arizona. Call 1-800-946-4777 or see www.swwings.org. - Jill Koch
Cool jazz opens concert series
Rouge your knees and roll your stockings down -- Chandler has got all that jazz. Local jazz trio Nuance (Devon Bridgewater, Dennis Sexton and Dick Curtis) shows off its sultry stylings to kick off Chandler's ninth annual Intel Summer Concert Series. "It's a great way to get out of the heat," says Michelle Paredes, the program coordinator. "And it's free." Catch Nuance, the first performance in a stellar slate of music, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 2, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue (at Chandler Boulevard). Doors open an hour before the performance, and no ticket is required. The series continues every weekend through September 14. For more information or a schedule, call 480-782-2680. - Quetta Carpenter
Novelist upholds family name
It's no mystery why Alafair Burke's first novel, Judgment Calls, is already getting rave reviews. Following in the footsteps of her famous father (acclaimed crime fiction writer James Lee Burke), Burke demonstrates a natural-born propensity for suspense. Grounded in her own expertise as a former assistant district attorney in Portland, Burke's legal thriller introduces young D.A. Samantha Kincaid, whose gut tells her to try a suspect for the attempted murder of a 13-year-old junkie prostitute who turned up raped, beaten, and nearly dead. But instead of getting an open-and-shut case, Kincaid gets wrapped up in a dangerous dilemma.
Burke signs copies of her book along with novelist Sarah Strohmeyer at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 31, at the Poisoned Pen, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale. Call 480-947-2974 for details. - Michele Laudig
YOU SPARE IT WELL
Get out of the gutter and into the fast lane
ONGOING If Judy Jetson bowled at Orbit City Lanes, the place might look something like this: Radiant balls streak like planets through the dark while strobe lights flash like lightning from the nebulae. And over the boom and crash of the galaxies, you hear . . . the Bee Gees?
No, you're not space trucking -- you haven't left Phoenix. But whether you call it "Cosmic" or "Xtreme," black-light bowling is way out of your father's Wednesday-night league. We asked some earthlings about glow-in-the-dark bowling's universal appeal. Jaime Veshi, a regular, explains: "It's funner in the dark. I suck when the lights are on." Hmmm. Why the difference? Black light, according to Veshi, offers fewer distractions: "Only the pins and the balls glow."
Hipster Ashley Dekarske digs the atmosphere. "It's really cool -- nothing but lights, loud music and smoke." And as fashionista Alex Merrill points out, "It's not every day you can dance to hot new tunes under a disco ball wearing the cutest shoes ever." She's right.
Glow bowling happens most anywhere on Friday and Saturday nights; check your local lanes for weeknight games. Strike while the summer is hot. - Kim Toms