Queers and steers live in harmony once again -- for the 20th time, in fact -- beginning Friday, January 14, when the Arizona Gay Rodeo Association hosts the 20th annual RoadRunner Regional Rodeo at Rawhide Wild West Town, at Scottsdale and Pinnacle Peak roads, through Sunday, January 16. The het- and homo-inclusive buck fest includes the usual rodeo fare with bull riding, barrel racing, and calf roping competitions, as well as a "drag" race, and steer-decorating and goat-dressing contests. "Ms. AGRA" for 2005 will be crowned Friday night with "party and dancing" until 11 p.m., and live entertainment is featured from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Rodeo contestants must register between 6 and 9 p.m. Friday, with the competition beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $12 at the gate; kids 12 and under get in free. Call 602-265-0618 or see www.agra-phx.com.
They've had their computer-driven, groundbreaking music and animation on exhibition at the Aoyama Spiral in Tokyo, the Biennal de Valencia in Spain, the National Museum of Art in Rome, and the Dream Sphere in Taipei. So where did Aoineko, featuring lead artist Ben Steele and vocalist Sonja, decide to present their first-ever solo exhibition in the United States? At Modified Arts, of course, in that modest little art space at 407 East Roosevelt Street, through Saturday, January 15. Aoineko will present their first film, Fragile Machine, featuring several digital representations of Sonja, at the show, as well as more than a dozen exclusive art prints produced by the group. New music and interactive kiosks featuring many of Aoineko's award-winning digital art exhibits will also be featured. Doors open at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Admission is $5. Call 602-462-5516 or see www.modified.org.
We hate to admit it, but Grandpa always had a bit of the ol' dirty bastard in him. We'll give Gramps the benefit of the doubt and blame the burlesque girls for long ago pollutin' his frayed and withered mind. And now it's our turn, as the Trunk Space, 1506 Grand Avenue, treats us to "Lollies Follies" Burlesque Show through Sunday, January 16, at 8:30 p.m. Downtown Phoenix's "resident burlesque strip-teaser," Lolita Haze, headlines a sneak peek of her new revue, along with "oh so naughty, but always nice" performances by Mother Fakir, RiRi Syn Cir (of the Voodoo Betties), and the debut of burlesque duo the Bosom Buddies. Scandalesque opens the show, which is emceed by Dr. Reverend Stephen D.F. Strange. The show is open to those 18 and over only, and cameras and other recording equipment are strictly prohibited. While "Lollies Follies" features dancing and stripping, total nudity ain't happenin'. Tickets are $10 at the door. Call 602-256-6006 or see www.thetrunkspace.com.
Check the standings and you'll see, the Celtics can't run with the Suns this season (then again, who can?). But The Chieftains, the six-time Grammy winners who've sold millions of Celtic (pronounced with a "k") albums worldwide, will make a fast break for the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, on Monday, January 17, en route to a 31-date North American tour through St. Patrick's Day. Original members Paddy Moloney, Matt Molloy, Sean Keane and Kevin Conneff will be joined by guest artists Carlos Nuñez and Irish harpist Triona Marshall. And Canadian acrobatic dancing brothers Jon and Nathan Pilatzke, along with Cara Butler and Donny Butler, will perform traditional Irish dancing. Tickets are $40. Call 480-994-2787.
Our idea of "extreme" has become a bit watered down, what with so-called "extreme" feats like eating hissing cockroaches and wading through 100 feet of wildebeest poop being hyped for our mind-numbing pleasure by the broadcast networks. Extreme? Feh, you don't know extreme, baby, until you hear Dr. Kenneth Kamler speak at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe, on Tuesday, January 18, as he signs and discusses his new book, Surviving the Extremes: What Happens to the Body and Mind at the Limits of Human Endurance, beginning at 7 p.m. In Surviving the Extremes, Kamler "recounts how a 17-year-old, armed with nothing more than a handful of candy, survived a plane crash in the jungle," and how "a marathoner, lost in the Sahara for nine days with no food and only a few drops of water, managed to stagger back to civilization." For more information, call 480-730-0205.
Luis Prado realized a "lifelong dream" back in September when his Into the Bean coffee shop opened up across the street from Mesa Community College at 1710 West Southern Avenue. But in the competitive java house market he's in, Prado knows he's got to offer something different: hookups. Okay, we're not talking about a meat-market-style coffee shop here, just a bit friendlier confines where the lighting is just right and "the conversation flows," Prado says. "It's just a lot more friendly environment," he adds. And that goes for exhibiting artists, as well, including Tony Jackson, who'll debut his newest acrylic works in his show "Innerverse" beginning Wednesday, January 19. "The coffee shop doesn't make any money off the artist," Prado says. "We want the art to be as affordable as possible, and we don't want the artist to have to jack up his prices." Live jazz and free hors d'oeuvres will accompany Jackson's opening, beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Call 480-890-0579 or see www.intothebean.com.