This Week's Day-by-day Picks

 Thursday, April 8
Thanks to a big phat deal with rapper Bubba Sparxxx, the Yonder Mountain String Band is reaching an entirely new audience. Sparxxx's track "Comin Round" sends a shout out to the Colorado jamgrass band, sampling its 2001 tune "To See You Coming 'round the Bend." YMSB comes 'round to the Valley this Thursday, April 8, for an all-ages show at Tempe's Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill. Known for stretching conventional bluegrass arrangements -- and sweetening the sounds with four-part harmonies -- the band tweaks the traditional string quartet format as well, its members on guitar, mandolin, banjo and standup bass. Supporting its 2003 release Old Hands, a tribute to fellow Colorado musician Benny "Burle" Galloway, YMSB takes the stage at 8 p.m. See www.yondermountain.com for more information and tickets, $16.

Friday, April 9
Charged with a slightly modified mission -- to serve and collect -- Phoenix's finest work hard for the money on Friday, April 9, when Alice Cooper'stown and the Phoenix Police Department join forces for the "Tip-A-Cop" Fund Raiser. Starting at 5 p.m., officers from a handful of precincts and bureaus wait tables at Cooper'stown, 101 East Jackson; all tips and donations benefit some 7,000 special-needs athletes served by Special Olympics Arizona. In the name of charity, cop an attitude and make a pig of yourself: We suggest Alice's grilled pork chop, pulled pork sandwich and smoked pork quesadilla. BYO doughnuts. See www.alicecooperstown.com.

Saturday, April 10
It takes two hours to tango -- at this weekend's workshop, at least. Devote an afternoon to a hot new hobby on Saturday, April 10, when Ravi and Satya Khalsa teach a two-hour Argentine Tango Class at the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue. Certified master teachers in the Tango Discovery Method -- "the most forward-thinking tango training in the world" -- the duo forgoes memorized patterns and emphasizes the structure of the dance, which enables more natural movement and faster learning. Developed in Buenos Aires -- a.k.a. Tango Central -- the Discovery Method also allows dancers more opportunities for creative improvisation and (it is gettin' hot in herre) passionate expression. Don't let inexperience trip you up: The workshop is for beginning and intermediate dancers "who want to liberate their creativity and release their body's expression in tango." Liberate, release and repeat from 1 to 3 p.m.; an open dance session follows. Admission is $10 per person, no advance registration required. Singles and couples are welcome; call 602-678-0743 or see www.tangoaz.com/workshops/tdravi.html for details.

Sunday, April 11
See brushstrokes of genius at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, where an exhibition honoring one of Arizona's best-known modern artists closes Sunday, April 11. Through 40-some works spanning five decades, "Philip C. Curtis: Watercolors" follows the painter's progression from his social realist and Cubist-inspired imagery of the 1930s to his more mature works from the early '80s. Rarely exhibited, Curtis' watercolors reveal a lesser-known side of an artist celebrated for surreal depictions and fantastical scenes. Painting outdoors in the Arizona desert fostered in him a new artistic freedom, resulting in works praised as "loose, gestural and full of exuberance." Admission to SMoCA, 7374 East Second Street in Scottsdale, is $7 for adults, $5 for students, and free for children under 15. For more information, see www.scottsdalearts.org or call 480-994-ARTS.

Monday, April 12
Razing Arizona is the game plan for the ASU baseball team when it hosts the UofA Wildcats this Monday, April 12, at Tempe's Packard Stadium. With shortstop Dustin Pedroia at the top of ASU's hit list -- batting an impressive .443, he ranks among only 11 Sun Devils to hit over .400 and surpass 100 hits in a season -- the home boys of summer take the field at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 to $10; a portion of the proceeds funds stadium improvements and supports the Jim Brock Tribute Fund, honoring the coach who led the Sun Devils to two College World Series championships. Call 480-965-2381 to purchase.

Tuesday, April 13
Averse to rhyme without reason? Here's a good one: April is National Poetry Month. The City of Tempe helps spread the words with Poetry in April, a series of free poetry readings spotlighting local writers. The program's fourth season continues Tuesday, April 13, with a reading by Marianne Botos, followed by a discussion with poet and artist Catherine Hammond. An Arizona native, Botos earned her MFA in poetry from ASU and teaches creative writing at Paradise Valley Community College. In the poetic tradition of self-examination, she waxes lyrical about her limbs in "Naming My Feet": "I name my feet: Oblio, who wanders, Minuet, who dances like an eddy. I follow the river, naming my hands, one who claps, one who trails its fingers in the wet after . . ." Botos shares more from her body of work at 7 p.m. at the Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural. A different poet takes the podium each Tuesday through April 27; read their works online at www.tempe.gov/arts.

Wednesday, April 14
A strong body and serene mind? It's a stretch, but give it a go at "Tai Chi in the Garden" this Wednesday, April 14, at the Desert Botanical Garden. Placing the ancient Chinese practice in its traditional setting, each class begins with a warm-up before covering the elements of good movement -- balance, awareness, timing and breath -- and the 64 forms of the Kwang Ping style of tai chi. Instructor Elizabeth Keith leads the "celebration of the inner garden," teaching students a routine they can perform at home. The beginners' class, meeting from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m., has no prerequisite, but students attending the intermediate-level class, from 9 to 10 a.m., should have previous experience. Classes convene at the garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, every Wednesday through May 12. Admission is $36 for garden members, $45 for nonmembers. Advance registration is required; call 480-941-1225.

 
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