Friday, February 6
Even though June 19 marks the official date when, in 1865, African-Americans in the Southwest first learned about the Emancipation Proclamation, the Valley observes Juneteenth in February. After all, it's not only Black History Month, but also a far better time of year to hold outdoor festivities. "Saluting Our Youth," the 36th Annual Juneteenth/Black History Month Celebration, brings a host of family activities to Eastlake Park this week, all free or cheap. A free youth rally kicks off the party at 4 p.m. Thursday, February 5, followed by a youth talent show at 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 6; admission is $2 for adults and $1 for kids. Then at 10 a.m. Saturday, February 7, a parade heads down Jefferson Street, starting at Eighth Street and leading to the park, where a free festival offers live music and dance, storytelling, games and food until 4 p.m. Eastlake Park is located at the intersection of 16th Street and Jefferson. Call 602-261-8069 or 602-672-3570 for further details.
Saturday, February 7
Lately, the local sports scene has been dominated by big-deal, big-ticket events, from pro golf to pro boxing. But now it's time for some really off-the-hook action, thanks to young athletes who take their skills to the extreme at Desert Rampage on Saturday, February 7. Watch high-flying jumps by professional BMX-ers K.C. Badger and John Parker and BMX team The Stuntmasters, and then check out skateboarding demos by Jim Gagne, Billy Marks, Anthony Shelter and the OSA Skate Team. To get fans amped up, the event has an incredible lineup of 20 bands, including Trik Turner, Oktober, No Gimmick, and Redfield. An amateur skateboarding trick contest, extreme sports expo, DJs and graffiti artists keep the action at fever pitch from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are only $10, and can be purchased from Axis Boardsports, Pulse Skateboards, Westside Records and Zia Record Exchange. To find out more, visit www.desertrampage.com or call 602-413-2035.
Sunday, February 8
Super Bowl Sunday might be a beer-hazed memory, but that doesn't mean that local football fans are going into withdrawal. For the Arizona Rattlers, Phoenix's Arena Football League team, things are just starting up. On Sunday, February 8, get a double dose of gridiron action when the Rattlers play their season opener against the Los Angeles Avengers. Preceding the 1 p.m. kickoff time, the Arizona Caliente (from the Women's Professional Football League) presents an exhibition scrimmage. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster at 480-784-4444. For more information, visit www.azrattlers.com or www.arizonacaliente.com.
Monday, February 9
RetroGirl, the heroine of her own short film series of the same name, is like a comic book character brought to life, curves and all. "She's a co-ed by day and a go-go-boot-wearing sexy superhero by night," explains her creator, local producer and director Andy Rodriguez. Played by Arizona State University grad Megan Redstone, RetroGirl is sort of like Spider-Man's female counterpart, using her time manipulation power (and tight leotard) to save the day. Watch her latest adventures on Monday, February 9, when Rodriguez's New Phoenix Filmworks presents the première of RetroGirl Episode Four: Nightmare at the Arizona Center AMC 24 Theatres, 565 North Third Street. Showtime is 7 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance, $12.50 at the door. For more information, visit www.newphx.com or call 602-703-3123.
Tuesday, February 10
Get a firsthand feel for the exciting sounds of the "Latin Tinge" -- a vein of jazz coined by Jelly Roll Morton for its Afro-Cuban, Mexican and Brazilian influences -- when Al Singer's Piano Jazz Showcase presents "The Latin Tinge & More" on Tuesday, February 10. Headlining the event are the Raul Yanez Liberados, with an exotic variety of percussion by Dom Moio and Joe Garcia, Bob Lashier on Fender bass, plus Yanez himself on the nine-foot Steinway Grand Piano. Showtime is 7 p.m. at Herman & Sons Piano Merchants, 15600 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. All-ages admission is $5. Call 480-488-4553 for details.
Wednesday, February 11
With waiting lists getting longer for the popular Mini Cooper, home design shows mushrooming on cable TV, and mass retailer Target ushering in each season with goods from different designers (Isaac Mizrahi, Todd Oldham and Philippe Starck, to name a few), 21st-century pop culture has an insatiable appetite for new designs. But in spite of our throwaway consumerism, some iconic designs endure, from the VW Bug to the Parthenon. On Wednesday, February 11, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a discussion of "What Makes a Classic Design?" by George Ramsay, professor emeritus at Wittenberg University. Starting at noon, the free brown-bag lecture is part of the museum's Contemporary Art Encounters series. Following the lecture is a docent-led tour of the current exhibitions. SMoCA is located at 7374 East Second Street in Scottsdale. Visit www.smoca.org for additional information.