With no bloody civil war immediately following the presidential election, it's probably time to dispel all the rumors of a would-be apocalyptic clash between the United States of Canada and Jesusland. Guess we all figured that if we atheists and born-agains can't all just get along, we might as well laugh about it. Enter local filmmakers Sean Anders ("a graphic designer and washed-up musician") and Chuck LeVinus ("a firefighter and washed-up football player"), who premiére their first independent film, Never Been Thawed, on Thursday, November 11, at the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue, at 8 p.m. The film, which just wrapped in October, is the story of a part-time dental hygienist/part-time frozen dinner collector/part-time punk rocker named Shawn who's just "converted" his band to Christian rock, and tussles with the band's bassist, Al, not only over the new direction of the band, but also for the love of Shelly, a "proud virgin" who worships Shawn's "Christian bad-boy image." Lord help us (if you believe in that sorta thing) if this is even loosely based on a true story. Never Been Thawed will show for one night only. The Christers, who also appear in the film, will perform after the showing. Admission is free. Call 602-262-2020 or see www.thepaperheart.com.
This ain't your mama's dance company. Which isn't to say that mama wouldn't be astounded by the high-flying, high-intensity hip-hop hydraulics of the Nebellen Dance Company, which stages its first-ever performance at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Adams, in the troupe's four-year existence on Friday, November 12, with its "Best of Nebellen" show at 7:30 p.m. After surveying the company's audiences at every show, Nebellen's co-artistic directors Ben Howe and Ellen Rath have put together a "collaboration of past and present" Nebellen dance pieces, as well as bringing back former Nebellen dancers performing old and new choreography. The troupe also performs a show on Saturday, November 13. Tickets to both are $10 to $30. Call 602-252-8497 or see www.nebellen.com.
For those of us who like to think we've had something to do with the revitalization of the downtown arts scene -- or, for that matter, getting the Smithsonian Institution to find the Valley worthy of its annual "CultureFest" -- remove that big hand from the back of your shoulder and realize this: We've got a long way to go. Shade Projects, which publishes the local arts mag shade, reminds us all of the hard work ahead on Saturday, November 13, when it hosts the second annual Shade Momentum fund-raising event at the MonOrchid building, 214 East Roosevelt, beginning at 6 p.m. Governor Janet Napolitano will be on hand to present her Arts Advocacy Award -- an oil painting by Tempe artist John Nelson -- to longtime Arizona congressman Ed Pastor. The fund raiser serves as the culmination of the five-day-long "CultureFest," and features performances by the Raindance troupe, and the Chadwicks, along with desserts from the Art Institute of Phoenix, and beer from Four Peaks Brewery. For tickets, $50 per person, call 602-288-3947 or see www.shademag.com.
Save for one lopsided loss in Buffalo a couple weeks back, we have to say we're mighty impressed with the new-look Arizona Cardinals, led by head coach Dennis Green. Sure, the Cards are sporting a 3-5 record going into their game on Sunday, November 14, against the visiting New York Giants at Sun Devil Stadium at 2:15 p.m., but considering Arizona's strength of schedule -- which included the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots -- we've got to hand it to Green for keeping the Big Red loose and optimistic each and every week when past coaches (yes, all of them) would have folded with the current personnel. At season's end, there might not be a playoff appearance, but at least we'll be able to say -- with a straight face -- that the Valley is home to a pro football team. For tickets, $15 to $150, call 602-379-0102 or see www.azcardinals.com.
Twin chicks with guitars? Tegan & Sara aren't those girls -- femi-Nazis who believe the world would be a better place if everyone owned a dildo rather than an SUV. Hell, they're not even American, which, we think, makes them even more kick-ass -- and not in that "Girls Kick Ass" mold. The Canadian doublemints, along with headliner Melissa Ferrick, bring their anti-DiFranco personae and chunky guitar riffs to the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School, on Monday, November 15, for a 9 p.m. show in support of their newest album, So Jealous. And, yeah, we are. Tickets are $14. Call 602-26-4842.
In a culture consumed with the knife -- going under it, that is -- who'da thought the very demographic obsessed with it would attempt to stop the madness? On Tuesday, November 16, the ASU Theatre for Youth stages the final performance of playwright and grad student Lauren Spear's I Missed My Identity at 8 p.m. at the Prism Theatre, on the northwest corner of Rural and Terrace roads in Tempe. The play, directed by fellow grad student Corrine McCawley, follows the journeys of four characters and "their intimate relationships with unattainable ideals" and explores "plastic surgery and make-over mania." Admission is $3. For reservations call 480-965-6447.
It used to be that ASU's once-underground improv show, Tiny Tinas, was a bit like Fight Club. The first rule of Tiny Tinas was, "You don't talk about Tiny Tinas." Well, that's all changed -- for the better -- now that the Tinas' Tempe-based theater artists have decided to collaborate with downtown Phoenix artists from Theater in My Basement for "an evening of new student work" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 17, at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt. Over the years, the Tinas have been known to delve into sensitive and controversial topics, as has TIMB. So there's every reason to expect a massive orgy of provocative performance. Admission is $5. Call 602-462-5516 or see www.modified.org.