This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

 Thursday, March 25
Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, and Kate Bornstein is from somewhere else entirely -- Fargo. The author and performance artist, who "identifies herself as neither a man nor a woman," was born male and raised as a boy. After undergoing gender reassignment surgery, Bornstein "discovered that being a woman didn't work for her any better than being a man had worked. So she stopped being a woman and settled into being neither." Bornstein -- who has shared his/her insight in books including My Gender Workbook ("a practical guide to living with or without a gender") and Gender Outlaw ("part coming-of-age story and part mind-altering manifesto on gender and sexuality") -- unleashes his/her gender-blending ideas on the Valley this Thursday, March 25. Bornstein performs an autobiographical signature piece, On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us, at 7 p.m. at ASU's Lyceum Theatre, 901 South Forest on the Tempe campus. Admission is free; see rainbow.asu.edu for details.

Friday, March 26
Old Blue Eyes shines "In the Blue of the Evening" at Estrella Mountain Ranch, where Phoenix Theatre stages a lakeside production of My Way this Friday, March 26, and Saturday, March 27. Paying homage to Frank Sinatra, the moonlit serenade showcases 50-some songs from his 60-year career -- from "High Hopes" and "I've Got the World on a String" to "Here's to the Losers" and "Drinking Again." Take a bipolar stroll down memory lane at 7:30 p.m. at the Ranch's North Lake Park amphitheater, 9760 South Estrella Parkway in Goodyear. Attendees can haul in their own chairs or rent seats on site. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the gate; call 602-254-2151 for reservations.

Saturday, March 27
Ricky Martin's "She Bangs." A tone-deaf guy who thinks he's got skills. Painful proof that two wrongs don't make a right. But if American Idol exile William Hung can score a record deal, even we have a shot at the title at the state finals of the World Karaoke Contest USA. We'll put the "howl" in Goodyear's Hoot & Howl Grub and Pub, 55 North Litchfield Road, where the competition commences this Saturday, March 27. Anyone can enter at no cost; winners pay $30 to advance. The path to world domination tears through regional rounds in Utah, national competition in Washington state, and -- dare to dream -- international finals in Finland. Sign-up starts at 8 p.m. Warbling breaks out at 9. See karaokedj.8k.com/contest.html for details.

Sunday, March 28
Insanity runs (and swims and bikes) in the family. See the go-getter gene in motion this Sunday, March 28, when Tri-Family Racing presents the Scottsdale Adult & Youth Sprint Triathlon & Duathlon. Kids as young as 7 can enter the youth triathlon (200-meter swim, 4-mile bike ride and 1-mile run), and everybody comes out a winner: All participants receive a ribbon, no matter where they finish. The adults, however, are shown no such mercy, whether competing in the triathlon (400-meter swim, 12-mile bike ride, 3.25-mile run) or duathlon (3.25-mile run, 12-mile ride, 1-mile run). The family that pulls hamstrings together stays together, so register between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, March 27, at the event's site, Scottsdale's Eldorado Aquatic & Fitness Center, 2301 North Miller. Entry fees range from $48 to $110, no race-day entries accepted. Visit www.trifamilyracing.com and click on "events" for the run-down.

Monday, March 29
Giving it the old community college try, 25 budding artists meet their public on Monday, March 29, when the SCC Art Department unveils its 2004 Spring Painting Exhibition. Positing "painting as life experience," the collection of acrylic and oil works hangs through May 14 in the art building at Scottsdale Community College, 9000 East Chaparral. Viewing hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Admission and parking are free. Call 480-423-6344 for more information.

Tuesday, March 30
Representing the rhythms of a country where harmony has proven elusive, South African master hand drummer Baba Shibambo beats "Drums of Compassion" this Tuesday, March 30. Also featuring jazz vocalist Michelle Carney and her trio, the concert benefits the Blinding Hope Foundation, which serves orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged children in South Africa, where Shibambo grew up under the oppressive arm of apartheid. A Shangaan Zulu, he plays an array of indigenous instruments -- African djembe, uudu, conga, marimba, mbira (finger piano) and the Bushman's bow -- on his forthcoming CD, African Skin on Skin: Reflections of an African Hand Drummer. Backed by his World Beat Band, Shibambo takes the stage at 6 and 8 p.m. at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $35 in advance, $45 at the door; visit www.blindinghope.org for details.

Wednesday, March 31
First, water into wine. Now, the Bible into box-office gold. Is there anything this guy can't do? See what all the buzz is about as Jesus the Christ, the planet's largest outdoor Easter pageant, celebrates the season at the Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors' Center. Through music, dance and drama, a cast of 400 volunteers -- plus assorted farm animals -- reenacts Jesus' life, from birth to resurrection. The pageant's 66th run begins with an open dress rehearsal this Wednesday, March 31 -- in English at 7 p.m., en espaŮol at 8:30. Spanish-language performances continue at 8:30 p.m. April 1 through 3; English performances follow at 8 p.m. April 6 through 10. Witness the seating of the 10,000 (that's right: 10 thousand chairs) on the Temple's north lawn, 525 East Main in Mesa. Admission is free -- no tickets required, no donations accepted. Call 480-964-7164 or see www.easterpageant.org for additional information.

 
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