For art aficionados distressed by the poseurs who've made First Fridays all about the liquor and the lookers (as if that could be any fun), Third Friday's a charm. A handful of downtown's hot spots open for another go-round, including the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue, where an 8 p.m. artists' reception for "H2O" treats the wet set to music by jazz/funk outfit Variegated. See www.thepaperheart.com. Up the street, a 6 p.m. artists' reception at the Trunk Space, 1506 Grand Avenue, touts "Cobwebs & Cats," which melds paintings by Michele Bledsoe and Baron Dixon and sculpture by Julian Vandercook into "fall colors, surreal images and subconscious stirrings." Get details at www.thetrunkspace.com.
The lowrider takes an academic turn this Saturday, September 18, when the Mesa Southwest Museum, 53 North Macdonald, hosts a Lowrider Symposium. "Take a little trip, you and me . . . to the 'gathering of enthusiasts and experts' . . . ah yeah, oh shit, aw shit, uh, yep." Our thoughts precisely. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., demonstrations and displays deconstruct the lowrider -- "transformed from the drawing board and factories of automakers to the creations of street art in Latino communities across the country." Guest speakers include Ralph Fuentes, automotive editor, Lowrider Magazine; Cory Seiler, vice president of the Old School Car Club of Phoenix; and Richard Ochoa, founder of the Society Car Club of Arizona and Senior Car Show Judge for Lowrider Magazine. Organized to complement "Chicano Art for Our Millennium" -- which wraps its run Sunday, September 19 -- the symposium is free with museum admission, $6 for adults, $3 for children 3 to 12. See www.cityofmesa.org/swmuseum/lowrider2004.asp.
It would make for a more festive afternoon were the venue named "Bound to Be Victorious Eventually Restaurant and Brewery," but unfortunate semantics are unfortunate semantics . . . so cheer on the Arizona Cardinals with Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery this Sunday, September 19. Rock Bottom's four Valley locations are loading up the fans for a Cardinals Tailgate Party. For 60 bucks, foam- and football-lovers get a lift from the Scottsdale, Desert Ridge, Ahwatukee and Arrowhead breweries to Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium, where Bottom feeders score food and "fresh handcrafted beer" at a parking lot tailgate party, plus a ticket in section 25 to watch the 1:15 meeting with the New England Patriots. After the game, everybody hits Rock Bottom. Gets a safe ride back to the starting point, that is. See www.rockbottom.com, or call Dawn at 623-202-6433 to join the party.
Boy, do we love a good story. But sometimes (and Gloria Estefan shares our sentiment that books can get so tiresome), the words get in the way. Lucky us, we shall have our stories -- through no efforts of our own -- this Monday, September 20, when South Mountain Community College begins a new series of free public performances. Liz Warren, Mythology and Storytelling professor at SMCC's Storytelling Institute, shares ancient myths from around the world in "Myth Informed." Warren starts at the beginning -- the verrry beginning -- with the Mesopotamian tale of Gilgamesh. Preserved on clay tablets dating back 4,000-plus years, "the world's oldest epic continues to fascinate with timeless themes of family, friendship, duty and, most importantly, our struggle with death." The once-upon-a-time rolls at 6:30 p.m. and concludes with a discussion in the Studio Theatre of SMCC's Performing Arts Center, 7050 South 24th Street, just north of Baseline. The series continues with "Theseus, the Minotaur, the Labyrinth and Beyond" on October 18. Call 602-243-8022 for the rest of the story.
Sloth ranks among the seven deadlies, but slacking? Merely venial, so dig in -- slack with the best of them this Tuesday, September 21, when The Slackers loll into the Old Brickhouse, 1 East Jackson. "Experimenting with mixes of ska, raggae, soul, swing, garage rock and jazz for over 10 years" (hmm . . . sounds like rather ambitious slacking), the New York seven-piece visits the Valley in support of its seventh LP, Close My Eyes. (Seven records? What kind of slacking is this? Even more suspicious, the band has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered. We choose to focus on the boys' "ganja-choked" remake of "Wanted Dead or Alive." Seen a million faces. Rocked 'em all.) Story Changes, and Captain Squeegee and the Soapsuds open the 8 p.m. show. See www.luckymanproductions. tickets.musictoday.com for tickets, $13.