Danny Ochoa has a secret identity he wants to keep on the down low. As a judge for Lowrider Magazine, the 37-year-old isn't worried about any potential diss he may have dealt at any of the 16 events he visits every year, but he's been on the receiving end of a few bribe attempts.
"We've been offered alcohol or cash before, and sometimes you don't know whether it's a joke or not," says Ochoa, who's also president of the Mesa-based Society Car Club. "But the integrity we have is worth far, far more than somebody's bribe. I wouldn't jeopardize it for 20 bucks or something like that. It's not worth it."
Luckily, Ochoa won't have to worry about potential kickback artists at the 26th Annual Arizona Super Show on Saturday, September 4, and Sunday, September 5, at the Phoenix Civic Plaza, 111 North Third Street. He'll be representing the Society Car Club and the eight rides it'll be pimping for more than 175 awards in categories like "best custom interior" and "best hydraulics."
Much like the other members in his crew, Ochoa prefers vintage slow-rides -- like his candy apple red 1964 Chevy Impala -- rather than the fast and furious imports popular among newcomers to the lowriding scene.
"There's some kids that turn 21, get a job, and right away they go out and they buy some wheels and a stereo system, and they lower their ride," Ochoa says. "Then they get married and realize they can't afford this hobby anymore."
The car show also serves as an epicenter of Chicano culture, with vendors offering everything from clothes to novelties. Latino music sensation Juan Gotti and a slew of DJs will provide a bangin' backbeat at the show. Tickets are $20 for adults; kids 10 and younger are admitted free with a paid adult. Call 602-262-7272. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Seems Vietnam has reared its ugly head, yet again. And, yippee, just in time for an election! Scottsdale's Civic Center Library, 3839 North Drinkwater Boulevard, seizes the opportunity with its free showing of 2003's The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara at 6 p.m. Wednesday, September 8. The first film of "Politics at the Movies," a two-month series dedicated to educating its audiences, rather than scaring the bejesus out of them, The Fog of War, directed by Errol Morris, is mostly interviews with the former Secretary of Defense for presidents Kennedy and Johnson, mixed with archival Vietnam War footage. Call 480-312-2474. -- Joe Watson
Take a groovy art trip
If you're seeing cannibalistic puppies scarfing sausage, cows posing with hamburgers, or random flying fruits, you're probably on something we'd love for you to share. These images are a daily occurrence, however, for artist Anne Coe, creator of the "Domestic Bliss" exhibition at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Admittedly, Coe's work is "perfect for paranoid schizophrenics," but she adds that she wasn't put on this Earth to be rational -- and, obviously, neither is her work. Take a trip and check it out; the free exhibition is open from Friday, September 3, through October 16. Visit www.chandlercenter.org. --C. Murphy Hebert
No hippies, just hotties
The Summer of Love, circa 1967, better watch its back, because the Summer of Love '04 Music Festival and Expo -- on Saturday, September 4, and Sunday, September 5, at the Radisson Resort and Spa, 7171 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale -- wants to kick its ass. Instead of Haight-Ashbury hippies and Jefferson Airplane to back it up, this posse's equipped with a pool full of hotties and the likes of Sistah Blue and Fred Green, who'll perform at the two-day pool party and pamper fest. Between sets, MTV-style dating games and karaoke competitions will go down. Tickets, $10 for each day, $15 for the weekend, are available at www.summerofloveaz.com. --Benjamin Leatherman
Tarot reader makes a deal
To Bob Fazio, psychic reading is fundamental -- which is a fairly familiar riff at the Glendale Public Library, where Fazio presents "Tarot: The Spiritual Messages of the Tarot's Major Arcana." Check your crystal ball to see if you're free from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 8, and get in touch with your inner archetypes. Magicians and empresses, hanged men and hermits will learn to use the cards for "soul growth and evolution." Fazio ought to know -- no lie-back-in-the-La-Z-Boy mystic, he uses the cards not to see the future as much as to shape it. Join the buds from the collective unconscious in the Roadrunner Room at the Foothills Branch Library, which houses knowledge arcane and plain at 19055 North 57th Avenue in Glendale, just north of Union Hills. For more information, call 623-930-3846. (Ah, but you knew that.) --Kim Toms
Labor of Love
"We Built This City" was never a good song
On Mondays at the Emerald Lounge, 1514 North Seventh Avenue, Andrew Lockwood is the Piano Man. But don't expect Lockwood to reprise the Billy Joel sing-along as part of Emerald's "Love Lounge," a weekly piano show from 10 p.m. to closing time. Lockwood, decked out in a tux amid "lots of candles," turns counterintuitive songs of devotion by the Ramones, Radiohead, the Clash, and the Pixies (among others) into more traditional fare. You don't have to like the music -- Lockwood does. "Take 'Sister Christian' by Night Ranger, for example. There's actually something there worth rendering," says Lockwood, who splits time with co-pianist Erin Crawford (she wears a formal gown). For fans of dueling pianos at second-rate bars, Lockwood says "Love Lounge" isn't for them. "That would be an evil doppelgänger version of what we do," he says. "Those are for the same people that thought 'We Built This City' was good when it first came out." Request menus -- which double as portfolios of "tasteful erotic photography" -- are available. No cover charge. Call 602-256-9705 for details. --Joe Watson