If genetic soda jerks made a milk shake of Allen Ginsberg's, Baxter Black's and George Carlin's DNA, they'd get JL Reed -- beatnik, cowboy, social critic -- who appears from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 11, at the Trunk Space, a First Friday stop on Grand Avenue's Bowery turned art strip. The gallery/cafe, owned by artists Stephanie Carrico and JRC, cultivates a fringe appeal, but that fringe rarely dangles from a cowboy's coat. JRC explains Reed's place among downtown's tragically hip: "When you meet JL, it quickly becomes clear that he isn't a hokey character. He's got a lot to say about modern life." Helping Reed deliver the message is "Gothic Cowboy" Buddy Greenbloom (pictured), whose original music, '80s hits and classic folk tunes make him the ideal sidekick for Reed's Frontier Man. And slam poet Stephen G. Roy throws his hat into the whirlwind, too.
Valley bands jam against domestic violence
Benefit shows are the perfect win-win situation -- bands feel good about playing, and we feel good about going. But in the heat of the summer, it can be hard to drum up the desire, or the dollars, to attend. On Saturday, June 12, swallow that apathetic lump in your parched throat and join World Class Thugs, Fatigo, and a throng of spoken-word artists at the Paper Heart Gallery and Studio, 750 Grand Avenue, as they rock and rhyme with a purpose. The $5 admission fee benefits the AZ Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Doors open at 4 p.m. Call 602-262-2020. --Megan Irwin
Local artist decks the walls
You might have seen the work of Jason Rudolph Peña, but probably not while sober. Many of the 25-year-old's head-shot-like paintings have graced such venerable venues as the Icehouse and the bygone Lucky Dragon. Peña's even painted a few live-demonstration pieces at local shows and even a private party or two. Now your bloodshot baby blues can check out his latest exhibition, "Boxy Modish," without all the double vision when the show opens at Tempe's reZurrection Gallery, 601 West University, on Saturday, June 12. But this exposition is less Cuervo and more cuerpo, as Peña incorporates conceptual sketches from local fashion and hair gurus -- including Jenny Wofford and Calaix Alexander -- into full-length figure studies and portraits. The exhibition runs through July 7. Call 480-377-9080 or see www.rezurrectiongallery.net. --Benjamin Leatherman