This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

THU 5
If your multi-tasking tendencies extend toward culture, you're in luck. Get a two-fer at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 5, when members of the Phoenix Symphony set up shop at the Phoenix Art Museum to perform works by Bach and Mozart -- heavy on the cello, clarinet and strings. Seating is limited, so you might want to buy your $10 ticket in advance by calling 602-254-1491. Or pick one up at the door for the same price. The museum is at 1625 North Central.

FRI 6
The Great Arizona Puppet Theater keeps Old Will's dream alive this weekend -- all the world's a stage, after all, and the puppets merely players -- with "A Midsummer Night's Puppet Slam," at 8 p.m. Friday, August 6, and Saturday, August 7. Part of its series of, ahem, adult entertainment, the GAPT, 302 West Latham, presents a "hot 'n' sultry selection of new short works by edgy local puppeteers." Rude Rabbit productions performs Three, "a wacky allegory about the meaning of that mystical number." Keep It Short Theater shares An Ode to Sheriff Joe, starring Itsy Bitsy and local celebrities "in true puppet form," and Elastic Theater presents QWERTY, "or the origins of life." Hosted by Blaster the Red and "musically underscored by the spinning genius of Professor Wacko," the show, we remind you -- in ominous capital letters -- is for ADULTS ONLY. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Call 602-262-2050 for reservations; see www.azpuppets.org for directions.

SAT 7
Rageaholics, take heed: Your next hit -- and head-butt, body slam and knee to the face -- comes this Saturday, August 7, courtesy of "Rage in the Cage 64: Heart & Soul." (Heart and soul? Is RITC going soft? Never fear. The next round, come September, is the more aptly named "RITC 65: Whoop Ass." Oh, yeah: That'sthe stuff.) Trying to topple RITC 63's impressive showing -- four knockouts made it a special evening indeed for some 2,000 attendees -- RITC 64 sees Tim McMullen "bring heavy hands, a granite chin and many supporters in a headline matchup against local favorite Bryan Pardoe." But wait -- there's more: "Shane `Battle Cat' Johnson, a top Tucson fighter, will try to stop Homer `The Rock' Moore, who has only one loss in 18 RITC fights." And that's not all: "Brodie Farber will put his RITC Middleweight title on the line against undefeated Hans Marrero." The fight card's 16 bouts, mind you, are subject to change. Doors open at 6 p.m.; fight time is 7:30 p.m. at downtown's Dodge Theatre, 400 West Washington. Tickets are $15 to $75, and (spread the rage!) kids under 12 sit free in the $20 and $15 sections. Order at www.ticketmaster.com; see www.rageinthecage.com for more bloody details.

SUN 8
Echo and his Bunnymen sang "bring on the dancing horses," but they didn't invite the dancing monkeys . . . and likely for good reason. But the beasts boogie in regardless, this Sunday, August 8, when Dance Monkies Dance Fest '04 swings into the Mason Jar, 2303 East Indian School. Sharing the hardcore bill: Evergreen Terrace, Full Blown Chaos, 100 Demons, Red Chord, A Life Once Lost, Through the Discipline, and Fear Before the March of Flame. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for the all-ages show; tickets are $10 at the door. Call 602-954-0455 or see www.masonjarlive.com.

MON 9
"On the rocks" ranks among our favorite phrases. We also like "straight up." Though we've never actually tried rock climbing, it sure soundslike good times . . . Scottsdale's AZ on the Rocks climbing facility just might turn us into barflies on the wall with a two-part Introduction to Indoor Rock Climbing class, from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, August 9, and Wednesday, August 11. Providing "a thorough knowledge of basic rock climbing safety and technique," the class targets novices as well as those who know the ropes, but could benefit from a few safety pointers. An $80 registration fee covers both nights on the Rocks, 16447 North 91st Street (two blocks east of Loop 101 and one block south of Bell Road). Reservations are required; call 480-502-9777 or see www.AZontheRocks.com.

TUE 10
As we stumble down our career path in a misguided (read: drunken) search for direction, we're bound to find pure gold this Tuesday, August 10. Continuing its "Flights of Fancy" wine and speaker series, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar presents Dr. Alison Arnold, sports psychology consultant for USA Gymnastics. Coaching the team on its mental game, Dr. Arnold speaks on "Olympic Training and the Corporate Athlete," sharing techniques to help working stiffs achieve their business goals. She takes the podium at 6:30 p.m. at the Chandler restaurant, 905 North 54th Street, as goal-oriented guests down two wine flights -- three two-ounce samplings -- and appetizers. Call 480-940-1900 for reservations, $25.

WED 11
To everything there is a season . . . and Witch Season comes August 17. Get a preview of The Court & Spark's new album this Wednesday, August 11, at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt. The San Fran band -- which has collaborated with former Byrd and Flying Burrito Brother Gene Parsons (the "Turn! Turn! Turn!" reference should now make sense) -- has built a small but rabid base of fans around its sound -- "as `western' in flavor as it is `country'" -- and racked up some pretty heady praise to boot: "Not since Wilco emerged from Uncle Tupelo has such a skillful group of what are, essentially, indie kids added so ambitiously to the alt-country canon," raves Sarah A. Sternau on Amazon.com. Consider our interest, uh, sparked. And now, a word from the band: "Please bring love, money, secondhand copies of Terry Southern books/Michael Hurley records, grass, and good spirits. We'll bring the good times . . ." (Hmm. If we had love, money, grass and good spirits, wouldn't we already havethe good times?) Well, we'll bring a fiver and change, since the cover is $6. Local acts The Ballad of . . . , and Tim McDonald open the show. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. See www.dreamchimney.com/theCourtandSpark for more info.

 
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