This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, October 2
Steve Martin's first full-length play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, debuted off-Broadway to critical acclaim in 1995. Set in 1904 in a Parisian cafe, the humorous play tells the story of a hypothetical meeting between two 20th-century geniuses, Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein, when they were both on the verge of international renown. Ben Brittain directs four special performances of the show at Phoenix College from Thursday, October 2, through Saturday, October 4, at the John Paul Theatre Main Stage, located on the northwest side of campus at 1202 West Thomas. Curtain time is 7:30 nightly, with a 1 p.m. matinee on Thursday. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for students. Contact the box office at 602-285-7300 for tickets.

Friday, October 3
Since the dawn of time, the easiest way to insult a man has been to tell him that he throws like a girl, plays like a girl -- does anything like a girl. Meanwhile, the other half of the human species has been left to wonder what's so bad about that. In 1998, Sherrie Medina curated "You Draw Like a Girl," a co-ed art exhibition, to challenge the negative connotations of "girl" in a world where men and women are increasingly in healthy competition. Now Medina revisits that dialogue with "You STILL Draw Like a Girl," featuring not only drawing, but works of art in a wide variety of media from more than two dozen local and national artists, male and female alike. The show opens with a reception from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, October 3, at Sixth Street Studios, 918 North Sixth Street, a renovated historic home recently established as an artist live/work space by Greg Esser and Cindy Dach. Viewing hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays, through November 1. For information, visit girldrawing.typepad.com.

Saturday, October 4
Heritage Square transforms into a lively African village on Saturday, October 4, when the African Association of Arizona presents African Festival 2003 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the African king's palace, sample traditional foods, and let the youngest members of the family have fun in the Kid Zone. A special performance by Toby Foyeh and Orchestra Africa headlines an afternoon of entertainment, including live music and dance performances from several African cultures. There's even a marketplace on site, offering arts and crafts, books and souvenirs. Best of all, the whole thing is free. And later that evening, the African Festival Gala benefits the African Association's various programs. Tickets are $8 at the door or $5 in advance, available during the day at the AFASA booth. To find out more, visit www.afasa.org or call 602-561-4800.

Sunday, October 5
Daytime temperatures are finally perfect, and the whole Valley's coming out of its unique summertime hibernation. If you want to revel under the blue autumn skies, there is truly no better place to enjoy the weather than the Desert Botanical Garden. And starting Sunday, October 5, the garden launches the fall series of Music in the Garden, held every Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. on the Ullman Terrace. Meadowlark's New World music kicks off the concert lineup; upcoming performances through November 16 include blues, jazz, Native American, Latin and big band. Admission is $10 for members, $16 for nonmembers, $8 for kids up to age 12, and free for children under 3. Advance tickets are recommended, and can be purchased by calling 480-941-1225 or by visiting the garden admissions booth. Log on to www.dbg.org for more information.

Monday, October 6
Ballet Arizona's season preview isn't just free of charge. It's also accessible, thanks to scheduled performances all around the Valley from Monday, October 6, through October 10. "Ballet Under the Stars" features outdoor performances of excerpts from several upcoming classical and contemporary ballets. While the dancers work their magic onstage with professional lighting and costumes, audiences can watch while relaxing on blankets and lawn chairs. The program starts at 7:30 nightly. Ballet Arizona appears at Historic Sahuaro Ranch in Glendale on Monday; Ahwatukee's Desert Foothills Park on Tuesday, October 7; Chandler's Arrowhead Meadows Park on Wednesday, October 8; Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix on Thursday, October 9; and Tempe Town Lake on Friday, October 10. To find out more, visit www.balletaz.org or call 602-381-0184.

Tuesday, October 7
Phoenix sports fans might've been temporarily heartbroken that the Arizona Diamondbacks didn't get the wild card for postseason play, but bygones are bygones -- now it's time to get excited for a different kind of action in the new NBA season. On Tuesday, October 7, the Phoenix Suns play their first preseason game against the New Jersey Nets. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. Tickets can be purchased from the arena box office, or from Ticketmaster, 480-784-4444. For more details about upcoming games, visit www.nba.com/suns.

Wednesday, October 8
The lengthy waiting line makes Alice Cooper's Nightmare scary indeed, but fear not -- this high-tech scream factory is definitely worth the wait. Besides, it's fun to people-watch before going into the Valley's most popular annual haunted house. Our favorite part? Seeing people flee the building with one final shriek. (They see the chain-saw-wielding ghoul before they enter the dark and creepy premises, but somehow folks are still surprised when they get chased out the door.) You're welcome to Cooper's Nightmare Wednesday through Sunday nights, through November 2. Starting October 27, it's open daily. Tickets are $15, but $20 gets you a VIP Fast Pass to stroll right past the line. Alice Cooper's Nightmare is located at 141 East Jackson. To find out more, call 602-307-0600 or visit www.frightened.com.

 
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