This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Thursday, January 15
He jokingly refers to himself as "the Diaper Master" these days (ever since parenthood has given him a whole new source for jokes) but comedian Craig Shoemaker still knows how to conjure up his notoriously funny character "The Love Master" for maximum laughs. Feel the love on Thursday, January 15, when Shoemaker begins a four-day gig at the Tempe Improv, 930 East University in Tempe. Showtime is 8 nightly, with additional 10 p.m. performances on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $15 to $17; call 480-921-9877 for details.

Friday, January 16
Creative downtown duo JRC and Stephanie Carrico made a huge show of support for art in all of its incarnations with the launch of their new gallery and performance venue, The Trunk Space, which debuted on First Friday. Now just two weeks old, the hangout hosts a Grand Opening Celebration on Friday, January 16, with a "benediction" by poet Jack Evans, live music by Aron Bron and Fatigo, and improv from Galapagos (the comedic talents formerly called The Barrow Gang). Still on view through January is work from local artists Jimi Girdner, Roberta Hancock and Julian Vandercook. Showtime is 8 p.m., and admission is $5 at The Trunk Space, 1030 Grand Avenue, located at the southeast corner of 11th Avenue and Grand. For further details, visit www.thetrunkspace.com or call 602-462-1030.

Desert Foothills Theater's latest production, the world première Buzzard Ball, took its inspiration from playwright and former sports writer Alexx Stuart's love for softball. The comedy follows a bunch of retirees in the Arizona Senior Men's Softball League, whose lives and losing streak are transformed by a stranger who joins the team. On the sidelines, the players' wives have an equally wacky dynamic, helped along by Stuart's real-life wife, Diedre Kaye, in the role of Ginger. From Friday, January 16, through February 1, performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays at the Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center, 33606 North 60th Street in Cave Creek. All seats are reserved; call 480-488-1981 for ticket information. Visit www.desertfoothillstheater.com for more information.

Saturday, January 17
Up until now, some of the most historically significant works of art in the Valley have been appreciated only in private, at the homes of local collectors. But now the general public can see a dazzling display of pieces usually kept behind closed doors, in the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's new exhibition, "Pioneering Spirits: Modern and Contemporary Art From Area Collections."Opening Saturday, January 17, the show includes nearly 60 works from acclaimed artists such as Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman and Kara Walker. A reception will be held on January 23, and the show continues through May 16 at SMoCA, 7374 East Second Street in Scottsdale. Visit www.smoca.org for details.

Sunday, January 18
Fido finally gets his day in the sun on Sunday, January 18, when the fifth annual Bark in the Park takes over Papago Park. Sponsored by Rescue a Golden of Arizona, the daylong canine convention includes games, training, booths, sport demonstrations and contests, all for golden retrievers and their owners. There's a requested donation of $10 per family, and visitors are encouraged to bring a dish for the potluck brunch. Everything happens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Papago Park, located at the intersection of Van Buren and Galvin Parkway. For more information, visit www.golden-retriever.org.

Monday, January 19
Unlike Thanksgiving or Independence Day, Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday doesn't yet have a traditional way of being celebrated. Why not do something you'd never get to do on a typical Monday? One suggestion is to attend the first Arizona King Day Festival and Raise the Roof Kids Place Motorcycle Run. Proceeds help Kids Place, a nonprofit community center in south Phoenix, to repair roof and interior damage so that it may resume its programs for at-risk youth. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, January 17, through Monday, January 19, the free festival boasts live music, vendors, a car show and an all-you-can-eat soul food brunch for $20. On Monday, Team Lost Boys Motorcycle Club holds motorcycle event staging from 9 a.m. to noon, and sign-in starting at 10 a.m. at Kids Place, 1245 East Broadway. From there, the run heads to Kiwanis Park in Tempe. Minimum donation per rider is $5. For more information, call 602-232-5884.

Some of Phoenix Theatre's top talents -- Natalie Ellis, Beth Ann Johnson, Dennis Rowland and Katherine Todd -- come together for a special one-night cabaret performance, From Broadway With Love, a musical revue of stage's best-known love songs. Showtime is 8 p.m. Monday, January 19, at Phoenix Theatre, 100 East McDowell. Contact the box office, 602-254-2151, to purchase tickets, $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

Tuesday, January 20
Wrestling fans who've stumbled across Assault, Impact Zone Wrestling's outrageous Saturday night TV show (at 8 p.m. on Channel 53 or Cox Digital channel 409), will be pumped to know that the pro wrestling operation offers free admission to its taping events. On Tuesday, January 20, head to Pitic Bar and Lounge, 1580 East Pima Street, to see two weeks' worth of action live and for free. Bell time is 7 p.m. All ages are welcome. To find out more, visit www.impactzonewrestling.com.

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