It always seems during this time of year the religious right starts jawing off about how the Almighty needs to be emphasized more during the holiday season. Less fun and more fundamentalisms, they say. Well, they'll get their wish -- sort of -- on Friday, December 17, as local rockers Playing God perform at the Merry Fucking X-Mas Bash at the Clubhouse, 1320 East Broadway Road in Tempe. Though it's a safe bet this isn't the brand of minstrels they were looking for to herald their cause, perhaps Holy Rollers can console themselves with the pop-punk sounds of Mink Rebellion or any of the other locals slated to perform, including the Cover Up, Blue Collar Prophecy, History in the Making, and ShovelHead Handsome. Hey, it probably beats listening to Michael W. Smith's Christmas album for the billionth time. Doors open at 8 p.m. and admission is $6. Call 480-968-3238 or see www.clubhousegigs.com.
We're used to hanging with cold-blooded, slimy snakes. (You should meet some of our ex-boyfriends and girlfriends.) On Saturday, December 18, we'll brave a (slightly) less sentient species at the Arizona Reptile Show at Three Palms Hotel, 7707 East McDowell Road in Scottsdale. Professional breeders and national retailers will be on hand thanks to the expo's organizers, who sport the unofficial motto: "Be a breeder, not an inbreeder." The show is the "lowest priced reptile show in Arizona," with just a $4 admission price, according to the organizers' Web site, and the "longest continually running reptile show" in the state. Scale the booths from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, December 19. See www.azreptileshow.20m.com.
We've seen enough shitty cinema to shake a shtick at. And while the organizers of Talk Cinema won't tell us what's featured on Sunday, December 19, at Harkins Camelview 5, Goldwater Boulevard north of Camelback Road in Scottsdale, we'll give 'em the benefit of the doubt that they aren't dragging our asses out on a Sunday morn' for a screening of Hot Shots! Part Deux. In fact, we can assure you that the final film of Talk Cinema's seven-film series, which begins at 10 a.m. with doors opening at 9:30, will be an upcoming independent and/or foreign film that has yet to hit the art-house circuit. But that's it! We ain't sayin' no more. Admission is $20. Call 800-551-9221 or see www.talkcinema.com.
Come out! Come out! The water's fine -- especially for gays and lesbians -- at the downtown YMCA, 350 North First Avenue, on Monday, December 20, when the Phoenix Sunfish, a "mostly GLBT masters swim team," makes its weekly splash to practice for upcoming triathlons and U.S. Master's Swimming competitions. While the team has its fair share of legit strokers who travel the country to compete, the Sunfish are primarily made up of "fitness enthusiasts," meaning all abilities are welcome in the pool, "so long as you have at a minimum a basic grasp of the front crawl stroke, a.k.a. 'freestyle.'" The team also sponsors social events monthly -- or more often. Monday practices begin at 7 p.m. until 8, and are free to all first-time swimmers. Thereafter, the fee is $5 per practice with a $15 quarterly membership fee to join the Sunfish team. See www.phxsunfish.org or contact Coach Marty at email@example.com.
Call the National Enquirer! Elvis has reentered the building. Nah . . . it's just Elvis Presley wanna-be and "rockabilly retro-rocker" Colin Winski, who performs with C.C. Jerome and local rockabilly trio Toomstoners, fronted by "Scary" Gary Amann, celebrating 50 Years of Rock 'n' Roll at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road, on Tuesday, December 21. Back in 1954, Big E began recording at Sun Records in Memphis with producer Sam Phillips, eventually exposing Elvis' pelvis as he shook, rattled and rolled to "That's Alright, Mama." Expect Winski to do his best pseudo Elvis impersonation beginning at 9 p.m. Admission is $6. Call 602-265-4842 or see www.rhythmroom.com.
Emotionally tinged ballads sung by waiflike songstresses are fine by us. The careful, measured strumming of an acoustic guitar helps to soothe our jangled, world-weary nerves. It's the pretentiousness and self-importance that's packaged with your garden-variety folk artist that we can't abide by. Every song is gonna ch-ch-change the world, they say. Balderdash. That's why Alexis Thomason -- who visits Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt Street, on Wednesday, December 22 -- and her act are a breath of fresh air. The title of her latest album, emotional blah blah blah, helps illustrate how this Bronx-born singer -- raised by disillusioned ex-hippie parents -- pushes the posturing from her performance. Working subjects such as Elvis and cigarettes doesn't hurt, either. Local psychedelic art-rockers Tremulants open the show, which starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $5. Call 602-462-5516 or see www.modified.org.