Friday, November 14
Robert Schimmel's comedy is an exuberant, mischievous take on sex and relationships -- a determined kind of joie de vivre that he maintained even after receiving the frightening news on June 6, 2000, that he had cancer and would only live six months. But three years later -- to the day -- Schimmel became the proud papa to a healthy baby boy. (Schimmel was originally told that chemo would leave him sterile, but apparently a steady dose of laughter helped him through it all.) Returning to the Tempe Improv for a weekend of outrageous humor, the inspirational comedian performs at 8 nightly from Thursday, November 13, through Sunday, November 16, with additional 10 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday. Tickets, $18 to $20, can be purchased by calling 480-921-9877. The Improv is at 930 East University in Tempe.
Saturday, November 15
It's one of the hippest fund raisers of the season: the first Shade Momentum Art Auction on Saturday, November 15. Sponsored by the nonprofit Shade Projects, proceeds from the event will support community arts education outreach programs, from lectures and seminars to gallery exhibitions and film screenings. Starting at 6 p.m. at monOrchid Gallery, 214 East Roosevelt, the soiree includes silent and live auctions, a dance performance, and a fashion show. Among collectible items being auctioned during the evening are a colorful Andy Warhol print, an early 1930s Donald Deskey bedroom set, and an electric blue, 1976 Triumph Spitfire. Tickets are $25. For further information, call 602-288-3974.
A cheeky response to the Valley's overwhelming abundance of Western art, Eleven East Ashland hosts the First Annual Non-Cowboy Art Exhibition, opening Saturday, November 15. Works in a variety of media by 11 artists from across the country provide a nontraditional take on Arizona's most traditional themes. A 7 p.m. reception kicks off the show, which continues through January 3. Eleven East Ashland is located two blocks south of Virginia. For details call 602-257-8543.
Robert McGrath creates unforgettably delicious cuisine at his celebrated restaurant, The Roaring Fork. But in his cookbook, American Western Cooking From The Roaring Fork, he generously shares his expertise for culinary adventurers who want to try their own hand at making his signature dishes. And as a James Beard Award winner, he's also featured in The Winning Styles Cookbook. At 2 p.m. Saturday, November 15, McGrath signs copies of the books at Barnes & Noble at Chandler Fashion Center, located at the intersection of Loop 101 and Chandler Boulevard. Call 480-792-1312 for information.
Sunday, November 16
It's easy to log a lot of miles when you're antiquing, trekking from one side of the Valley to the other. But you can save that tank of gas this weekend when The Arizona Antique Show comes to the Arizona State Fairgrounds at 19th Avenue and McDowell. Browse the wares from dozens of vendors, get a $5 verbal appraisal from members of the Valley of the Sun Antique Dealers Association, and even sample wines from Fort Bowie Vineyards. The show runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, November 15, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, November 16. Admission is $3, and fairgrounds parking is $5. Call 602-717-7337 or visit www.azantiqueshow.com for details.
Monday, November 17
"Cutting-edge" and "banjo" rarely go in the same sentence, but the music of Béla Fleck & The Flecktones, led by world-class picker Fleck, is truly revolutionary, blending traditional bluegrass sounds with everything from jazz to world beat. The group plays at the Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill in Tempe, on Monday, November 17; doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. performance. Tickets for the all-ages show are $33 and can be purchased from the box office, 480-829-0707.
Tuesday, November 18
Talk about sour grapes. If you're really into wine, you've likely had an unpleasant run-in with the law -- that is, the Arizona law forbidding direct shipments from out-of-state wineries to consumers. Hear all about the case for direct wine shipments at "Trading Grapes," a Goldwater Institute policy forum featuring State Senators Ken Cheuvront and Barbara Leff, Clint Bolick, vice president of the Institute for Justice, and Mark Brnovich, director of the Goldwater Institute Center for Constitutional Government. And in the spirit of the evening, the discussion, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, November 18, is followed by a wine reception. An RSVP by 5 p.m. Friday, November 14, is required for this free event at 500 East Coronado; call 602-712-1144 for information.
Wednesday, November 19
Beyond the strip malls and McMansions blanketing the Valley, you'll find stunning examples of world-class architecture, including "inhabitable sculptures" by 20th-century architect Alfred N. Beadle V, whose legacy is explored in Beadle Architecture. The documentary film includes footage of the late Beadle, who was included in the famous Case Study Program, as well as interviews with those who worked with him when he created his stark Modernist masterpieces. Screenings of the film take place at 6 and 8 p.m. Wednesday, November 19, at Modified Arts. Admission is $6. To find out more, visit www.gnosisltd.org or call 602-265-9524.