So much for not speaking ill of the dead. Whenever celebrities head to the great beyond, vicious rumors tend to fly (see Hudson, Rock). To wit: Gadabouts have speculated for years on the sexual orientation of Rudolph Valentino and his second wife Natacha Rambova, alleging their "lavender marriage" was merely a beard. Regardless, both were gifted individuals, and Rambova, in particular, was an innovative artist and fashion designer who created the art deco look of 1921's Salomé, one of several silent films to be shown at 2 p.m. Sunday, September 26, at the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central. In conjunction with "Personality and Style: The Fashion Career of Natacha Rambova" -- an exhibition of embroidered velvet and chiffon ensembles used in her silent films -- the screenings will be followed by a discussion led by local movie hound Fred Linch and Dennita Sewell, the museum's curator of fashion design. Gossip-mongers needn't bother showing up, though. "This is an art museum," Sewell says. "Their sexuality isn't really relevant to this discussion."
Raise your jazz hands in Sedona
"Music has charms to soothe a savage breast/To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak," wrote William Congreve. Best wear a hard hat to Sedona Jazz on the Rocks, Thursday, September 23, through Sunday, September 26. The most hazardous affairs: Saturday's Benefit Jazz Fest featuring Dave Koz, Vanessa Rubin, T.S. Monk, and Fattburger; and Sunday's Jazz Brunch with Chris Calloway, Cab's daughter. See www.sedonajazz.com for a schedule and tickets. -- Jill Koch
The "noir," the merrier
Tucson artist Sam Esmoer sees death a little differently than do the rest of us. And he's put a twist on the notion of Mexican folk art, too. In "Tequila Noir," on display at Tempe's reZurrection Gallery, 601 West University, through October 6, Esmoer uses his punk-rock roots to create fantastical images tied to the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Esmoer uses "an odd mix of the Southwest and lowbrow style tattoo imagery," says Darci Johnson, owner of the gallery, to create a style truly his own.
Midday siestas, mermaids, taco stands, creepy cats, devils, crosses, lowriders and fish-head soup are scattered through his colorful works. For more information, call 480-377-9080. -- Erika Wurst
Dionne talks religion and politics
For those who've been wondering, "What Would Jesus Do?" (in the voting booth, that is), your prayers have been answered. E.J. Dionne, Washington Postcolumnist and NPR political analyst, can help you decide whether Dubya or Kerry is the divine choice this November. After all, Dionne's preaching is backed by his stint as co-chair of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and as the New York Times' correspondent to the Vatican. If you weren't blessed enough to nab tickets to his two lectures at ASU this week, catch Dionne as he signs copies of his latest tome, Stand Up and Fight Back, at noon Tuesday, September 28, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock in Tempe. Admission is free. Call 480-730-0205 or see www.changinghands.com. --Benjamin Leatherman