This Week's Day-by–Day Picks

Thursday, January 8
Commemorate the new year by cultivating a new understanding. On Thursday, January 8, BodhiHeart, a local nonprofit Buddhist organization, screens Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion, a documentary of the events that have shaken Tibet since China's "Peaceful Liberation" of the country in 1949. Ten years in the making, the film features a variety of voices: Tibetan survivors of torture and prisons, Chinese officials, a Chinese human rights activist and a warrior nun. Palden Gyatso -- a monk who took up arms to protect the Dalai Lama, and then endured 33 years of torture in prisons and labor camps -- will be on hand to sign his Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk. The film rolls at 7 p.m. at Harkins Camelview, 7001 East Highland in Scottsdale. Admission is $20; proceeds benefit Tibetan refugees. Call 602-808-9820 for reservations, or pay at the door.

Friday, January 9
He's gone from bass lines to story lines. Former Phoenician Arthur Edwards, co-founder of the Refreshments, who hit the charts in 1996 with "Banditos" (you know it: "Ev-er-y-body knows that the world is full of stupid people . . ."), returns to the Valley Friday, January 9, to sign Stuck Outside of Phoenix. Taking its title from a Dead Hot Workshop song, Edwards' first book finds 21-year-old bassist Josh "Hote" Hotle desperate to vacate the Valley. ("The heat in Phoenix keeps anyone with half a brain away," Hote grumbles.) After setting out for Seattle -- where he'll escape "his boring hometown, the catatonic Tempe music scene, the ashes of his recently defunct band, the sweltering Phoenix summer just around the corner" -- our hero is sidetracked by a series of events involving the lovely Lola. ("The orange Circle K vest, which Hote had seen all his life, actually looked good on her, even sexy." Egad. Love really is blind.) The signing is set for 6:30 p.m. at the Biltmore Borders, 2402 East Camelback. Call 602-957-6660 for more information.

Saturday, January 10
All quiet on the Western Tread front? Hardly. A "who's who" of up-and-coming Valley rockers takes the mike this Saturday, January 10, for The Western Tread Recordings Show Revue. Jim Adkins (of Jimmy Eat World fame), The Format, and Reubens Accomplice pool their tuneful talents for one unplugged set at the Celebrity Theatre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 8:30 show. Tickets, $11, are available at the Celebrity box office, 32nd Street and Van Buren; Stinkweeds Records, 1250 East Apache in Tempe; and www.ticketmaster.com.

Mad tidings they bring. Theater in My Basement spreads the post-holiday humbug with Angry Santa Claus Plays, a reading of five new short works: Christmas in America by C. Rusch, Operation Santa by Chris Alonzo, Think Tanks by Isabella Russell-Ides, Homo for the Holidays by Robert Shaffron, and Operation: Elfstrike by Jon-Paul McGowan. "In an era of unendingly surreal smiley-faces, we bring you genuine laughter, and some creepiness, too," promises Chris Danowski, TIMB's "artistic director/conspirator." The rage hits the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, January 10, at the TIMB/SW Annex, 1138 East Northview. Admission is free; see www.TIMB.org.

Sunday, January 11
It may be the same old song and dance, but it deserves another spin. This Sunday, January 11, the Symphony of the West Valley turns in A Tribute to Fred & Ginger. The orchestra supplies a soundtrack while Broadway stars Ron Raines and Debbie Gravitte -- with dancers Joan Hess and Noah Racey -- trace the steps of the silver screen's most agile duo. Nostalgic numbers include "Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails," "Crazy for You," "Shall We Dance" and "I Got Rhythm." Showtime is 3 p.m. at Sundome Center for the Performing Arts, 19403 R.H. Johnson Boulevard in Sun City West. Call 623-975-1900 for tickets, $10 to $38.

Monday, January 12
The fit and the flabby alike charge into every new year with resolutions to get more physical; Tempe's quest for a couch potato famine begins Monday, January 12, when the weeklong "Come Out and Play Tempe" Program invites the community to try out new exercise classes and fitness facilities, free of charge. Go from spud to stud at Tempe's Kiwanis Recreation Center, 6111 South All-America Way, where an array of activities -- yoga, Pilates, tennis, lap swimming, cardio mix aerobics, water aerobics, health and wellness seminars, and batting practice -- continues through January 18. Call 480-350-5711 for more information or a schedule.

Tuesday, January 13
Jazz up your Tuesday evening with a little night music, when "The Al Singer Presents . . . Jazz" series spotlights The Frank Darmiento Quartet, featuring Joel Robin on piano, Steve Milhouse on contra bass, Rob Wainwright on drums and Darmiento on trombone. The foursome swings into Scottsdale in support of its latest album, Sudden Impact, which mixes several standards -- "The Days of Wine and Roses," "My Old Flame," "I Thought About You" -- with original compositions. The all-ages, smoke-free show starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, January 13, at the Piano Jazz Showcase (formerly Yamaha Recital Hall) at Herman & Sons Piano Merchants, 15600 North Scottsdale Road. Admission is $5 at the door. Dial 480-488-4553 for details.

Wednesday, January 14
See some serious cat skills and doggie stylings at the Yavapai College Performance Hall, 1100 East Sheldon in Prescott, where Gregory Popovich's Pet and Comedy Theater takes the stage at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 14. A star of the Moscow Circus and a world champion juggler, Popovich came from Russia, with love -- for animals and acrobatics. Taking critters from shelters to show biz, Popovich travels with a brigade of cats, dogs and mice that jump through hoops, swing on bars and push each other in carriages. Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for students; call 1-877-928-4253 for reservations.

 
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