Jen and Scott Sanders, owners of the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue, pride themselves on providing something for everyone. So any pop-cultural pimp worth his or her weight in Hot Topic gear will find something of interest at the joint, be it Argentinean tango lessons or alt-rock shows. Similar sentiments inspired the latest offering, the third annual "All Photographic Exhibit," highlighting the disparate collections of seven local shutterbugs. "We wanted to incorporate the diversity of different sources of photography, the differing outlets you can go with, like through digital enhancement or the more straight-on traditional shots," says Scott Sanders, describing the combination of strait-laced snapshots and edgy photos, some refined by artificial means.
Two showstoppers are Lori Bravo's chiaroscuro pictorial-in-blue of a haggard-looking woman, lightly pixelated through a computer printer, and David Whipple's sultry scarlet fantasy of two buxom Betties reclining with legs akimbo, created with an infrared lens. "I don't know where he finds chicks like that," Sanders says, laughing. "He's gotten lucky with the women, that's for sure."
The more commonplace offerings include Natascha Payton's close-ups of the ostentatious accessories of classic cars, like the oversize tail fins and twin-torpedo taillights on a pink 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. The irony of displaying such photos in this former car dealership turned art space is not lost on Sanders, who enjoys such multifaceted interpretations.
"That's the big thing with any sort of art," he says. "As a viewer, I'll see one thing, to whereas another viewer might get something completely different out of it."
A workout for the body and senses
Capoeira, the Brazilian-born form of martial arts and dance, requires participation from all five senses. With ears covered, only sweat and smiles are witnessed. With eyes closed, only drum patterns and floor vibrations are absorbed. So anyone present during a Tuesday or Thursday night "Capoeira a meia lua" class at Eastlake Park Recreation Center, 16th Street and Jefferson, should be aware at all times. Flaring kicks and deceptive sweeps characterize the percussion-fueled performance art that combines dance, acrobatics and music. Make sure your clothes allow you to move with ease at the free 7:30 p.m. classes. See www.phoenix.gov/parks/eastlak.html. -- Jonathan Winters
The finals of Comedy Slamfest
After 10 weeks of sweaty palms and chirping crickets, it all comes down to this for 10 amateur comics. On Wednesday, August 18, The Sets (93 East Southern in Tempe) hosts the finals of the Comedy Slamfest, or, as the promoters refer to it, a "Clash of the Titans." Erik Miller, Jeremy MacDonald, Jared Blake, Ruben Andrade and others vie for the $1,000 grand prize and a booking at MacAlpine's Comedy Show. And if the laughs aren't enough, the live music might lure you in, with Radiance Band providing the between-acts tunes as well as a post-competition show. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8. Call 602-953-2728 or see www.trashcity.com/comedyslamfest.htm. -- Joe Watson
Where the Bluegrass Grows
The 14th annual White Mountain Bluegrass Festival
Here's a real treat for your visiting kissin' cousins who've got their RV blocking your driveway. Send 'em off to the hills -- alive with the sounds of sweet-home, knee-slappin' bluegrass -- when eastern Arizona (not the backroads of Kentucky) hosts the 14th annual White Mountain Bluegrass Festival, Saturday, August 14, and Sunday, August 15, at the outdoor arena of the Hon-Dah Resort Casino, just outside Pinetop.
The festival's 11-band lineup includes the James King Band, Bluegrass Redliners, Flint Hill Special, New Family Traditions, and Fiddlemania, as well as gospel performers and cloggers. Admission is $8 each day; kids 12 and under get in free. Call 1-800-573-4031 or see www.pinetop-lakeside.com for directions. -- Joe Watson
Lend them an EAR
Sometimes our tinnitus-tinged eardrums grow weary of the thudding bass lines and synth-pop jangle of the local music scene. So we'll gladly cleanse our aural palate at Arcosanti on Saturday, August 14, when the aptly named EAR Unit rings the hippie hangout with its enigmatic stylings. Whether it's laying down musically mysterious, free-flowing existentialism or a cacophony of noise, summing up the sound of the six-member orchestra isn't easy. "It's stylistically very difficult to describe EAR Unit," says percussionist Amy Knoles. "We do every style of contemporary chamber music that's out there, playing everything from ancient exotic instruments to live electronics." Tickets, $30, include dinner at 6 p.m.; tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $15. Arcosanti is right off I-17 Exit 262 in Cordes Junction. Call 928-632-6217. -- Benjamin Leatherman
The American West via Carl Oscar Borg's artwork
If you like Carl Oscar Borg's paintings of the Southwest, thank William Randolph Hearst's mom. Phoebe Hearst sponsored Borg in the early 20th century, financing his studies in Paris and Rome, and also encouraged him to paint the landscapes and indigenous people of the Southwest. Borg's paintings of the Hopi and Navajo between 1916 and 1932 are renowned works in the Western genre -- colorful, dramatic representations in watercolor, oil, and drypoint etchings. A few of Borg's paintings are housed at museums around the country, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. -- and now dozens have come to town. "Borg's art of the American West reflects a deep spirituality, an understanding and artistic expression of the harmony between Native Americans and their surroundings," says Thomas H. Wilson, director of the Mesa Southwest Museum, 53 North Macdonald Street, where you can see nearly 50 of BorgÕs works as part of the museum's "In the Land of the Hopi and Navajo" exhibition. Museum admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students. Visit www.mesasouthwestmuseum.com. -- Niki D'Andrea