Firebird International Raceway's been good to Larry Dixon. Then again, there are few, if any, racetracks around the country that the driver of the Miller Lite Top Fuel dragster hasn't conquered. Beginning Friday, February 25, Dixon -- who's won the National Hot Rod Association championship three out of the last four years -- returns to Firebird (20000 South Maricopa Road in Chandler), where he won his first career victory back in 1995, for the CSK Nationals through Sunday, February 27. The second of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series hosts competitors in three different professional categories: Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock. General admission, with a pit pass, is $31 to $45; reserved seating (including a pit pass) is $41 to $84. Call 602-268-0200 or see www.ticketmaster.com.
Whoever first said to "follow your heart" should be shot. Really, did this guy have the faintest idea what he was talking about, or did he just see a future for Celine Dion and greeting cards? Because, as far as we can tell, the heart makes some pretty lame decisions and should not be depended upon as a leader. Apparently, there are some who agree -- namely, local artists and poets Leslie Barton, Chris Danowski, Jeff Falk, Steve Gompf, and The Klute, who make the aforementioned point loud and clear on Saturday, February 26, when they host "Dark Heart" at (how apropos) the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue. Through performance art, video and spoken word, Barton, Danowski and company will "reveal the heart for what it is: an organ of love, desire, hope and sometimes downright strangeness." Admission is $5 at the door. Call 602-262-2020 or see www.thepaperheart.com.
The stylists at the Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy, 15210 South 50th Street, are still technically in training (okay, so they don't have a little thing called a license!). Hopefully they've seen enough Blow Out to make up for their lack of real-salon-world experience. Because even though this event is for charity, every customer who walks through that door on Sunday, February 27, for Toni & Guy's Tsunami Relief Cut-A-Thon will want the same hair stylist gossip and the same hair stylist attitude they could get for four times as much money. Now, we're not so worried about the students' scissors skills here (not with T&G's licensed instructors standing by), but the stylists might wanna have the specs on the new Ashlee Simpson 'do at the ready. All haircuts (along with free coffee and doughnuts) are just $10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting tsunami survivors. Call 480-940-5300 for more details.
If there's ever a day of the week that we require a pep talk, it's Monday. And while we're not so sure Channel 12 sports guy Tom Zenner's the one to get us to Tuesday, much less give us the keys to financial success, we can at least show up at Living Word Bible Church, 3520 East Brown Road in Mesa, at 5:30 p.m. February 28 to check out what dancin' shirt Zenner sports for Motivational Millionaire Monday. But there's more to it than Zenner, who's just window dressing for the main attraction: a group of strong black men who've surely sipped from a bottle of Cristal in their lifetimes, including former Arizona Cardinal Seth Joyner (okay, his success came while playing for the Denver Broncos), former pro athletes Norris Thomas and Ray Perkins, and the "Master of Motivation" Les Brown. Of course, most every successful man is backed by an even greater woman -- in this case, local spoken-word performer Divine, whose performances have been likened to a Southern Baptist church revival. For tickets, $35, see www.ticketweb.com or call 866-468-7621.
Sand, sweat, and balls collide on Tuesday, March 1, at Steele Indian School Park, Third Street and Indian School Road, where the Arizona Gay Volleyball League sets up for four-man play starting at 7 p.m. On Court 1, it's Chaos vs. Jesse's Girls, with the Goonies, What, and No Diggity teams waiting to make their kill. Court 2 action pits Manimals against the Goonies, before Roscoe's and 2Fierce2Fabulous get in on the man-on-man competition. The matches are free for spectators. To join the league, or for more information, call 623-326-5378 or see www.azgv.org.
An agonizing 126 days after the Fall Classic delivered an instant classic on October 27, 2004, pro baseball is finally back. Not in Florida, where the Boston Red Sox still get another day to enjoy their first title in 86 years; and not in the Valley, where Sammy Sosa is no longer a winter visitor with the Chicago Cubs. For the first head-to-head Major League Baseball game of 2005 (calling it exhibition is such a cheap shot), we need only trek an hour and a half south to Tucson Electric Park, 2500 East Ajo Way, where the Chicago White Sox take on the Colorado Rockies in Cactus League action. Game time is 1:05 p.m. Tickets are $4 to $15. Call 866-672-1343.