We're not the major metalheads we used to be, but we were still saddened by the senseless slayings of former Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Lance Abbott and three others at an Ohio nightclub back in December. So we'll happily wear our old Warrant tee shirt and hold our Zippo aloft at the Dimebag Darrell Tribute Show on Friday, January 7, at Minder Binder's, 715 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. Our five-spot will go toward helping to pay for the funeral and medical expenses for the victims and buy us the opportunity to watch local metal maniacs Red Tear Memory, Howitzer, Andalusha, Rebirth, Slaves for Scores, Dither, and specials guests Motive play sets that'll include at least one Pantera or Damageplan (Dimebag's most recent band) song. The madness starts at 6 p.m. Call 480-966-1911 or see www.azhardcoremetal.com.
Good news if your birthday happens to fall on Saturday, January 8, since you've got something in common with royalty, namely the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Good ol' Elvis Presley would have turned 70 this week, and if you'd like to celebrate in Viva Las Vegas fashion, consider a trip to Casino Arizona at Salt River, 524 North 92nd Street in Scottsdale, to sample the Showstoppers Live gig at 7 and 9 p.m. This two-hour showcase of lip-synching superstars features a copycat hepcat who dons the sequin-lined jumpsuit for a primo send-up of the pompadoured one, complete with tinted sunglasses and a bevy of bountiful go-go dancers. Showstoppers also includes tributes to the Temptations and Gloria Estefan, and weekly performances run Sundays and Tuesdays through Fridays. Tickets are free, but only a limited number are available, and there's a two-drink minimum. Call 480-850-7777 or see www.casinoaz.com.
In most parts of the country, you'd have to wait months for festival weather. Here you can enjoy it year-round. So consider heading outdoors to the Sunday A'Fair on Sunday, January 9, at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall adjacent to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. This mini-festival, which runs from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., will feature free guided tours of the various outdoor Civic Center sculptures -- like Love by Robert Indiana, and Imagination Gives Us Wings by Larry Kirklandin -- in addition to performances by jazzy guitarist and singer Joel Anderson, and the rollicking blues artists Big Nick and the Gila Monsters, local artisans hawking their wares, food vendors, and children's craft activities. Additional a'fairs will occur on select Sundays until April. Admission is free. Call 480-994-2787 or visit www.scottsdalearts.org.
Not content with running the weekly Blunt Club show at Priceless Inn in Tempe, promoter and graffiti artist Adam Dumper (a.k.a. Dumperfoo) is breaking new ground with Other Ground starting Monday, January 10, at The Loft, 420 South Mill Avenue in Tempe. Along with DJ Nasty Nate of Swell Records, and DJ Hyder, Dumper will present a weekly destination for turntablist fanatics to visit, with plenty of down-tempo breakbeats, hip-hop, and drum 'n' bass being spun. Future nights may even see some live art demonstrations, b-boy dance displays, or similar activities. The needle drops from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., and there's no cover. Call 480-967-8188.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. It's been 12 years since Shaquille O'Neal first visited the Valley with the Orlando Magic (unleashing a monstrous basket-collapsing slam dunk in the process), but even after more than a decade of NBA titles, team changes and bad movies, the superstar center's free-throw percentage still blows, he's once again playing in Florida, and your Phoenix Suns are again holding on to the league's best record. Shaq's back, and this time he's brought along guard Eddie Jones and forward Christian Laettner as the Miami Heat take on the Suns on Tuesday, January 11, at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street, in what could possibly be a preview of the NBA Finals. Tip-off is at 7 p.m., and tickets, $10 to $600, are available by calling 602-379-7800 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com.