This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

THU 3
Objects, the Biltmore's newest men's and women's clothing and home furnishings boutique, is already known for its global thinking, snatching up apparel and merchandise from around the world, including Africa and southeast Asia. And now it's acting locally, with the "Bella Notte" charity galato benefit the American Red Cross International Response Fund, "which will help victims of the tsunami as well as victims of other disasters that occur outside of the United States every year." For every purchase made between now and June 10 at the Biltmore Objects, 24th Street and Camelback Road, 10 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the cause. The "Bella Notte" event, from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 3, also features a fashion show by James Mobley, the works of New York painter (and ASU grad) Johnny Swet, and samples of Absolut cocktails. Admission is free. To RSVP, call 480-247-8090.

FRI 4
Late-night cartoons might never have been were it not for a couple of sickos named Spike and Mike. So pull yourself away from Adult Swim for at least one evening and pay homage to the pioneers by taking in "Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation" at the Valley Art Theatre, 505 South Mill Avenue in Tempe, beginning Friday, March 4. This year's touring festival includes 23 brand-new flicks with only two repeats from last year -- No Neck Joe and Dr. Tran. Three new Happy Tree Friends episodes, and films like Proper Urinal Etiquette and Frog, dot the lineup. The fest continues through March 10. Tickets are $7.50 for adults, $5.50 for students, $5 for seniors, and $4.50 for children. Call 480-446-7272 or see www.spikeandmike.com.

SAT 5
Kim Ware's received only "one hateful e-mail" this year regarding ASU's long-running annual interpretation of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, which takes center stage beginning Saturday, March 5, at ASU's Neeb Hall on the main campus in Tempe. "I've not gotten much of that resistance to it, whether it's in the form of people tearing down signs [promoting the event] or anything else," says Ware, the organizer of ASU's "V-Day" events. "And just that one e-mail . . . I suppose that's pretty good." Yes, pretty good considering the Monologueshas been characterized as "feminazi" and "man-hater" propaganda in the past, its press long since evolving into the worthwhile cause of "raising awareness towards ending violence against women." ASU's production, which also runs Sunday, March 6, features a fresh batch of readers, including the mother-daughter duo of Linda and Ashley Stubbs, as well as "a few ASU alumni." Saturday's performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets -- day of the show -- are $15 for students and $17 for the general public. See www.asuvday.com for details.

SUN 6
Hey! Over here! Don't forget about little ol' us in Scottsdale during downtown Phoenix's Art Detour extravaganza. On Sunday, March 6, the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, hosts its Sunday A'Fair from noon to 4:30 p.m., with live entertainment, local artists displaying and selling their works, kids' crafts, and guided tours of the outdoor sculptures. Bossa nova, samba and Brazilian music get their due with Jeff Jones and Briza-Brazil, followed by the apropos musings of the Dave Matthews-esque Sunday Afternoon (from Tucson). Admission is free. Call 480-994-2787 or see www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org.

MON 7
It worked so well for first-time novelists that Changing Hands' Cindy Dach figures libations and literature are a dandy match no matter the genre. After the huge success of Dach's First Fiction Tour -- which is now barnstorming the East Coast -- Dach has paired three "40-something" authors and their memoirs with vino makers and merchants in seven different locales for the Wine & Words Tour, which hits Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock in Tempe, at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 7. Karen Spears Zacharias (Hero Mama: A Daughter Remembers the Father She Lost in Vietnam -- and the Mother Who Held Her Family Together), Steven Sorrentino (Luncheonette), and Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life) will discuss and sign their books. Chandler's Red Kangaroo Wines offers a free wine-tasting immediately following the authors' Q&A session. Call 480-730-0205 or see www.changinghands.com.

TUE 8
At first glance, Barrage-- a performance troupe made up of mostly Canadian and British musicians (seven violinists mixed up with a guitarist, bassist, a pair of singers and a drum kit) -- could pass for a revival of Dexys Midnight Runners. And while everyone loves 'em some "Come On Eileen," we're not so sure we could bear the sight (and stench) of a dozen bouncy, filthy blokes with sweaty pits, clad in ratty overalls, for an entire evening. Luckily, Barrage, which features an attractive, squeaky-clean cast that resembles a Mickey Mouse Club of Britney and boy-band wanna-bes in their 20s and 30s, has our eyes and noses in mind. The troupe, which debuted in 1996, opens an eight-show gig at the Orpheum Theatre, 200 West Washington, on Tuesday, March 8, performing its "fresh new show," Vagabond Tales, which "vividly illustrates the adventures of a musical wanderer." The show continues through March 13. For tickets, $33.50 to $39.50, call 602-262-7272 or see www.theaterleague.com.

WED 9
If ASU's "Noche de los Diablos (Night of the Devils)"bash, on Wednesday, March 9, goes off without a hitch, promoter Russ Perry says the Valley might welcome a new -- and much-needed -- music venue. "It's probably the first time the [ASU Arboretum] has been used for a concert," Perry says about the "mini-Cricket Pavilion" on the east side of Sun Devil Stadium, an outdoor amphitheater that usually plays host to tailgate parties for ASU and Cardinals games. "If this show's a success, it could pave the way for more concerts there." The pre-spring-break fiesta -- with a $20K price tag -- features indie bands RX Bandits ("They used to be Drug Bandits, but then went corporate and had to go to just RX Bandits," Perry says about the San Diego sextet), Ryanhood, Firescape, Asleep in the Sea, and Before Braille, which opens the show at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free, with food and prizes for those in attendance. See www.asasu.org/pab for more information.

 
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