If they paint it, we will come. And, after draining the supply of free wine and checking out our fellow First Friday scenesters, we very well may look at it. This Friday, September 3, Alexander S. Hughes, Scott Osteen and Clay Elliott join forces to build "Social Babel," a "three-man social commentary" at monOrchid, 214 East Roosevelt. Nodding to the ancient Babylonians -- who tried to stack a tower to heaven as a testament to their own coolness -- the local artists create their own "babble" through oil and acrylic "reactions to the stimuli of our society." In "Outcasts and Misfits," Hughes presents "portraits of pop culture icons, such as writers, musicians, and fictional characters who don't exactly fit into any social mold." Osteen's "Contemporary Expressionism" explores "human experience through an improvisational painting style that is directed by predetermined themes and contexts." And Elliott's "Psychedelic Animals" "represent the communication barriers and social constructs cultures face daily but overcome to create a society that lives in harmony." DJ MoshaOneHun lends a jazz set to the reception, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Nothin' but net? Put us on the volleyball court, and it's a sure thing. The bump-spike set'll have plenty of sand to kick in our faces -- some 120 tons -- at Upper Deck Sports Grill's three-day Labor Day Beach Party and Volleyball Tournament. Though the volleyball action starts Friday evening, September 3, we're more excited about the "special edition dodgeball tournament" that goes balls-to-the-wall Saturday, September 4, and Sunday, September 5. (It's like something out of a movie!) Upper Deck promises bleachers, a canopy, misters, and a full outdoor bar and grill, plus a DJ spinning tunes and radio personalities putting their spin on the action. Volleyball teams can enter in one of four categories ($80): "Bar Wars" for bar/restaurant staff, "Radio Station Battle" for station staffers and personalities, co-ed or open. Entry is $30 per five-member dodgeball team, and volleyball teams can enter the dodgeball tourney for no charge. A portion of proceeds benefits the ASU Women's Volleyball Team. Admission is free for spectators. Register by phone (480-941-9333) or in person at Upper Deck, 4224 North Craftsman Court in Scottsdale.
"Your Password Is Your Key" this Sunday, September 5, at the Old Brickhouse, 1 East Jackson. (If a word gets us into the concert, we're hoping that a kick-ass compound sentence gets us backstage.) YPIYK sees the Brickhouse close the tunnel on Central Avenue -- and add art, food and live music to the mix. While Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers and Los Straitjackets bring down the 'house, Bad Boy Bill, DJ Miss Lisa, DJ Radar and DJ Emile take charge of the tables in the tunnel. The Brickhouse party rages from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. for 'word smiths 21 and up. For tickets, $15, see www.eventvibe.com or stop by any Zia Records location.
Before the post-Olympic glow fades, make like Michael Phelps and feed the need for Speedo. Let it all hang out -- and suck it all in -- at Tempe's Kiwanis Recreation Center, 6111 South All America Way, where the unfit masses are invited to Come Out and Play. From Monday, September 6, through September 12, the community-wide COAP Week is all play, no pay. Exercise your right to free lap swimming, open gym time and drop-in tennis, plus free classes in yoga, water fitness, jujitsu, Pilates and tennis. The free-for-all culminates at the Come Out and Play Activities Expo on Saturday, September 11, where, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Tempe Parks and Rec offers demos, games, class discounts, refreshments and prizes, plus free wave pool admission. Also on tap: a Hawaii Kenpo karate demonstration, the "amazing basketball trick show of Joe Odhiambo," and the antics of Footz the Clown (bet he smells nice) and Sandy Sandwich. For a schedule of COAP classes and activities, call 480-350-5703 or see www.tempe.gov/pkrec/krc.htm.
An abandoned child. Hungry orphans cheated out of their workhouse wages. Pintsize pickpockets cheating death in London's underworld . . . cue the chorus! Charles Dickens and musical theater -- has there ever been a more natural combination? Slap an exclamation point on the title, set the misery to song, and watch the Tonys roll in! A musical adaptation of Dickens' 1838 novel The Adventures of Oliver Twist kicks off the new season of M&I Bank's Broadway in Arizona series at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 7. And the gang's all here -- Oliver, Fagin, the Artful Dodger -- so hold tight to your valuables; "Consider Yourself" warned. Oliver! continues through September 12 at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. See www.asugammage.com for tickets, $22.25 to $67.50 (you might have to pick a pocket or two).
WED 8 ,br> "What Is a Good Human Life?" You got us. We do, however, know what is a good Wednesday-evening lecture. It's free, it doesn't require reservations, and it starts early enough to allow us plenty of time to pound one-dollar you-call-its at Mickey's Hangover (Fifth Avenue and Drinkwater in Scottsdale, FYI). Oh, and it focuses on "establishing universal values in our multicultural world." Duh. Jed Allen -- poet, musician, MFA and co-director of Phoenix College's Creative Writing Program -- explores the ancient Greek question at 5:30 p.m. September 8 in the Willo Room on PC's Osborn Campus, located at 11th Avenue and Flower Road. Call 602-285-7305 for details.