This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

 THU 18
The NHL's on strike, or haven't you noticed? We can't blame you, unless you've got some underage hockey-lovin', howlin'-at-the-moon misfits itching to get out of the house and onto the ice tugging at your heartstrings. If so, we know of just the right remedy, thanks to (and because of) the Phoenix Coyotes, who've got plenty of free time -- and space -- to help. The Coyotes host "99 Hours of Hockey" beginning Thursday, November 18, at Glendale Arena, 9400 West Maryland, a free weeklong event to help satisfy the longing. Through Wednesday, November 24, players from the Arizona High School Hockey League, Arizona Youth Hockey Association, Luke Air Force Base, ASU's men's and women's hockey teams, police and fire department teams, and numerous Valley adult hockey teams will take to the open ice and provide some semblance of normalcy during the NHL work stoppage. The Coyotes will even bring the Stanley Cup to the arena on Saturday, November 20, for fans to get up close and personal with the "sporting world's most famous trophy." And take a long look -- this thing won't be hoisted any time soon. Call 623-463-8800 or see www.phoenixcoyotes.com.

FRI 19
Next time we've got a friend on crutches, we promise not to point, laugh, or call them "gimpy," lest they get pissed, spring a cartwheel on our asses, and sport moves we could only hope to flash even at our most coordinated, non-disabled best. Think that's far-fetched? Then take a gander at "gravity-defying, urban freestyle dance artist" Bill Shannon, who performs Friday, November 19, at Thought Crime's "Organic" Third Friday event. Shannon, the so-called "CrutchMaster," will perform his underground hip-hop and club dance -- on a pair of crutches -- as part of the "Organic" festivities, which include poetry, music, storytelling and performance arts, beginning at 7 p.m. Thought Crime is located at 1019 North Central. Admission is a $3 donation. Call 602-254-6397.

SAT 20
Live to ride. Ride to live. But that's easier said than done on the Valley's congested freeways, with suburban sprawl making it almost impossible to find some open road to get away from it all. Valley bikers will have their peace on Saturday, November 20, when the Desert Moon Run departs the Indian of Mesa Motorcycle Shop, 833 South Country Club Drive, with a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office entourage, headed for the Buffalo Chip Saloon in Cave Creek, beginning at 6:30 p.m. At the end of it all, Buffalo Chip barbecue, along with live bands, dancing and volleyball, awaits easy riders of all motorcycle makes and models. Preregistration costs $20 per person; $25 day of the run. Call 480-668-7969 or see www.indianofmesa.com.

SUN 21
Looking for a little inspiration? (Or maybe just a respite from the grueling preparations being made for Turkey Day?) The artists of the Sonoran Arts League wave their paintbrushes your way on Sunday, November 21, and beckon you for a visit to some 40-plus studios in Cave Creek, Carefree and north Scottsdale for the eighth annual Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free self-guided tour includes a record 139 artists who'll demonstrate their talents for nosy art voyeurs, and hopefully generate some newfound collectors along the way. SAL will provide free maps, available at the Carefree/Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce, 748 Easy Street in Carefree. Call 480-488-3381 or see www.sonoranartsleague.org.

MON 22
You knew in your heart that the voting was rigged. You clung desperately to rumors of fraud that found their way into the mass media, hoping against hope that the results would somehow be reversed . . . at least in that American Idol showdown from a couple years ago (you know, the one between spiky-haired songster Clay Aiken and hefty-yet-soulful singer Ruben Studdard). Turns out that all your hand-wringing was for naught, as Aiken proved he was the real winner as his singles shot up the Billboard charts and outsold Studdard's. So join your fellow Claymates in celebration at the Dodge Theatre, 400 West Washington, on Monday, November 22, when Aiken makes a stopover on his "Joyful Noise Tour" to croon out hits like "This Is the Night," "Solitaire" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." (Now if Hollywood would only get cracking on that From Clay to Ruben flick, you could die happy.) Tickets are $32 to $72. Call 480-784-4444 or see www.ticketmaster.com.

TUE 23
Lately, it seems we've all got a love affair with the Apocalypse. Take, for instance, the mammoth box office take of The Day After Tomorrow, in which creepy ice crystals chase unsuspecting eco-warriors to their deaths. And now, signaling an even more ominous sign we've become infatuated with the Mark of the Beast, a Phoenix-born-and-raised author, Adam Johnson, is getting kudos for his book Parasites Like Us, "both eerie and evocative -- simultaneously the story of the end of the world and the beginning of a new way of life." The author will be at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock in Tempe, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 23. Call 480-730-0205 or see www.changinghands.com.

WED 24
Going to Grandma's house might have been the thing to do . . . when you were 12. But since you've graduated to adulthood, sonny, that green bean casserole dish and gummy stuffing just won't cut it anymore. So rather than traveling over the river and through the woods, head to the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School, for its Thanksgiving Eve Party on Wednesday, November 24. SoCal roots rockers Big Sandy and His Fly Rite Boys will be bringing their trademark yellow school bus filled with vintage equipment and swinging country sounds to the joint. All five members, including pompadoured guitarist and front man Robert "Big Sandy" Williams, will jam out jumpin' rock-steady hits like the swinging "It's Time," fit for dancing. While you're there, fill up on the meaty wood-fired selections from the Rack Shack Blues BBQ, which beats Granny's tryptophan-laden turkey any old day of the week. Admission is $10. Call 602-265-4842 or see www.rhythmroom.com.

 
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