For every Penny Marshall, it seems, there's an anti-establishment, "no-romantic-comedies-for-me" female filmmaker out there. In fact, dozens make the cut this weekend at Scottsdale Community College, 9000 East Chaparral Road, where the SCC Women in Film club hosts the "Women in the Director's Chair" film festival beginning Friday, January 28. The touring showcase, based out of Chicago, is produced by an "international media arts and activists organization," according to Jen Johans, a member of the WIF club, who brought the festival to the Valley. "I think 'Women in the Director's Chair' wants to advance the use of alternative media for social change," Johans says. Among the films featured, most of them shorts no longer than 10 minutes each, are Lisa Hayes' LezBeFriends, Diane Nerwen's The Thief of Baghdad (a "sharp re-examination of the Hollywood classic . . . where Charlton Heston and George Bush bear remarkable resemblances"), and Abigail Severance's Come Nightfall, a 20-minute film about "a teenage boy [who] gets tangled up in his own curiosity when he discovers an old cowboy with a reverence for ladies' shoes." Showtimes are 6 and 8:30 p.m. The festival also runs on Saturday, January 29. Tickets are $8, $6 for students. Call 602-840-7800.
It was only a matter of time before Playboy took "fake boobs" to the next level, as in the fantasylands of X-Box and PlayStation gamers. On Saturday, January 29, 1998 Playboy Playmate of the Year Karen McDougal will appear at two Valley Fry's Electronics stores -- from 9 a.m. to noon at 2300 West Baseline Road in Tempe, and from 2 to 5 p.m. at 3035 West Thunderbird Road -- where she'll sign copies of Hef's first-ever video game, "Playboy: The Mansion" (released on January 25). Game players get to "rub shoulders with stunning women and celebrities as you pursue the ultimate Playboy lifestyle." Call 602-659-8500 or 602-467-2000 or see www.playhef.com.
So the Princess hooked up with the Criminal. The Basketcase got a sympathy lay from the Jock (or vice versa). And the Brain ended up with Jack -- squat, that is. Give your inner Brain, a.k.a. Brian Johnson (a.k.a. Anthony Michael Hall), a shot at redemption on Sunday, January 30, when you can mingle with the cool kids once again at the James Hotel's J-Bar, 7353 East Indian School Road in Scottsdale, for a free showing of The Breakfast Club at 7 p.m., part of the ongoing "Movie Nite at the J-Bar." But be careful not to raid Barry Manilow's wardrobe -- this is Scottsdale, after all. The film will be projected onto a wall on the J-Bar's outdoor patio, and free flavored popcorn (including truffle, barbecue, Southwest jalapeño, and Mexican salsa) will be served. Call 480-308-1100.
When a band proclaims its groundbreaking greatness and says it's often imitated but never duplicated, we usually don't hold our breath. But in the case of "legendary" death-metal mavens Suffocation, who'll trash the Mason Jar, 23rd Street and Indian School Road, on Monday, January 31, well, we'll play along. The New York quintet is touring in support of its newest album, Souls to Deny, the band's first release since reuniting in 2002 after the proverbial "internal conflicts" ripped, tore, gored and napalmed (hey, it's frickin' death metal) Suffocation's glorious path in 2000. Behemoth, Cattle Decapitation, natch, and special guests open the show, with doors opening at 7 p.m. General admission is $17. Call 480-784-4444 or see www.ticketmaster.com.
Word has it that the Z'Tejas restaurant chain -- you know, the Southwestern eatery that oozes chipotle -- actually has its roots in the creole capital, Louisiana. So don't be surprised beginning Tuesday, February 1, to see power-lunchers at any of the four franchises across the Valley munchin' on crawfish and begging for beads, as part of the Z'Tejas Bayou Bash, which benefits the local chapter of Share Our Strength. The Bash, which runs through Fat Tuesday, February 8, features a nightly "Hurricane Happy Hour" (as well as "Bayou Martinis") from 3:30 to 6:30, along with appetizers like Big Easy seafood gumbo, "Big Daddy's" voodoo steak and Queen K's jambalaya. For details visit www.ztejas.com.
The catch phrase in promoting performance art these days is "Cirque-like," as in the Vegas spectacle turned cultural phenomenon Cirque du Soleil. But Normand Latourelle is one guy, at least, who can use the superlative with a straight face. After all, he co-founded the Quebec troupe, along with Guy Lalibert, back in 1984. And now, Latourelle brings his man-and-pony show, Cavalia, to Scottsdale, on Wednesday, February 2, under the "White Big Top" next to the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (at Scottsdale Road and the Loop 101), starting at 8 p.m. In Cavalia, more than 40 horses "cavort with acrobats, aerialists and riders in front of a constantly changing background projected on a 200-foot-wide screen." Tickets are $29.50 to $75.50; $25.50 to $49.50 for kids under 12; and $29.50 to $65.50 for seniors Mondays through Thursdays. The show continues through February 20. Call 866-999-8111 or see www.cavalia.net.