This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, August 14
Gravity Games, the national extreme sports competition, culminates two months from now in Cleveland, but excitement is already building with the FUEL and Skateboarder Magazine D-Tour, hitting the Valley on Thursday, August 14. Watch skateboarding demos by professionals such as Ray Molinar, Paul Otvos, Rob Gonzales and Aaron Artis, as well as promising amateur skaters, to the beat of live music at the Desert West Skatepark, 6602 West Encanto Boulevard. The action starts at 11 a.m., and admission is free.

Friday, August 15
Get a double dose of cutting-edge Latino theater on Friday, August 15, and Saturday, August 16, when Colores Actors-Writers Workshop presents encores of two one-act plays, American Latino Redux and Borderlines. Redux, "a satiric look at the state of hmulti-Latinoism' in America," features a slew of colorful characters, from a slam poet to a newscaster. Borderlines, which recently debuted at the Herberger Lunch Time Theater, is a dark comedy about a reporter who's adjusting to a move from Chicago to Nogales. Both pieces were written by the group's founder, James E. Garcia, whose play The Crossing recently placed first in the Ten-Minute Play Festival at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for 8 p.m. performances both evenings at Playhouse in the Park, located in the Viad Building, 1850 North Central. Tickets are $12 at the door or $10 in advance; call 480-460-1267 for reservations and further details.

It's hard to be indifferent about tequila -- lots of people either love it or hate it. For those in the latter group, we always have to ask, "But did you try the good stuff?" If you want to go cheap on your beer, go ahead and crack open a PBR. But it's probably a bad idea to skimp on your tequila budget. So school yourself a little on Friday, August 15, and Saturday, August 16, when Barcelona hosts the Cuervo Clasico Tequila Tasting Party, with tequila samples, tequila history, and Chef Bria's appetizers inspired by the liquor of the evening. The free reception kicks off at 6:30 p.m., and an after-party starts at 8:30 p.m. at Barcelona, 15440 Greenway-Hayden Loop in Scottsdale. For details visit barcelonadining.com or call 480-603-0370.

Saturday, August 16
Discover your writing voice and learn about how it can make an impact on the world at a free workshop, Writing As a Tool for Social Change, held on Saturday, August 16. Led by Laraine Herring, an award-winning novelist and member of the Phoenix College Creative Writing Faculty, the session gives writers an opportunity to "experiment with words, dialogue with fellow participants and create social art." The workshop runs from 9 a.m. to noon in Building B, Room 159, at Phoenix College, 1202 West Thomas. Registration is required; call 602-285-7345 for details.

Sunday, August 17
Call it Sunday night fever: Salsa Night at the Bash on Ash, held every Sunday, is one of the Valley's hottest dance events. If you've never tried this sensual style of fancy footwork, don't worry -- doors open at 7:30 p.m. for an hourlong salsa lesson starting at 8 p.m. Then at 9 p.m., the doors open up to a regular crowd that's eager to show off the dramatic moves. One reliable source tells us, "Hundreds of people show up, and they dance like they just came out of the movies." So whether you want to train to be a salsa dancer or just look like one, you'll find plenty of inspiration at this high-energy night. Admission, $5, is open to ages 18 and up at the Bash on Ash, 230 West Fifth Street in Tempe. For more information, call 480-966-8200.

Monday, August 18
Giving Phoenix night owls yet another reason to get out of the house on weeknights is Movie Mondays at My Favorite Lounge, a new weekly event featuring two cult classic films on a 64-inch screen. Every Monday at 9 and 11 p.m., catch free screenings along with conveniently cheap drink specials. My Favorite Lounge is at 4809 North 27th Avenue, located just south of Camelback and off of I-17. Visit www.myfavoritelounge.com or call 602-230-4346 for more information.

Tuesday, August 19
Coming straight from the Great White Way, Tregoney Shepherd brings a Big Apple-style cabaret show to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre-West on Tuesday, August 19, to benefit the Friends of Mesa Arts Center. A Mesa native and Arizona State University alumna, Shepherd honed her musical skills in Les Misérables on Broadway, and later in the show's national tour. She recently completed a tour with The Phantom of the Opera. For the fund raiser, Shepherd performs an hourlong revue of classic Broadway songs that revolve around the story of a young woman seeking fame and romance in Manhattan. Dinner starts at 6 p.m. and the performance begins at 8 p.m. at the theater, located at 5247 East Brown in Mesa. Tickets are $50. To find out more, e-mail nancy.wolter@cityofmesa.org or call 480-644-4307.

Wednesday, August 20
You're hanging out on a tropical island, drinking exotic cocktails and meeting dozens of other single folks -- sounds like the premise for another TV reality dating show, right? Well, it might not be a show, but it could be reality if you check out the Done in a Night Dating Celebration on Wednesday, August 20, at Drift Lounge, the Valley's own little slice of Polynesian paradise. The free event launches a series of Done in a Night mingling parties; upcoming themes cater to singles with interests such as wine, fitness, salsa or photography. Everything starts at 7 p.m., and registration is not required. For further details, visit doneinanightdating.com or call 480-361-3830. Drift is located at 4341 North 75th Street in Scottsdale.

 
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