Believe it or not, we capitalist pigs get it right once in a while. For example: a little thing called electricity, the assembly line, and, uh, belly-dancing. True, belly-dancing was originally a gift from the Turks, but it took American innovation in the form of Hollywood know-how to get hip-shakers to bare their midriffs and don golden bras for our visual stimulation. On Thursday, March 17, Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, feeds our nefarious nationalism with a screening of American Bellydancer: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Dance at 7:30 p.m. The film, directed by Jonathan Brandeis, focuses on the critically acclaimed, touring American belly-dance troupes Desert Roses and Bellydance Superstars, both of them being the "brainchild" of Miles Copeland, the "music business mogul" and older brother of ex-Police drummer Stewart Copeland. In American Bellydancer, the women of both troupes discuss the empowerment of belly-dancing and "life on the road." Tickets are $7.50. Call 480-994-2787 or see www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org.
So, you save a guy's life and almost wish you never had. That's the premise of The Nerd, anyway, which opens at 8 p.m. Friday, March 18, at the Fountain Hills Community Theater, 11445 North Saguaro Boulevard. Written by Larry Shue, a playwright who served in the Army in the early 1970s and was killed in a commuter plane crash in 1985, The Nerdis the story of an architect who's visited by the man he saved in Vietnam, and then can't rid himself of the "hopelessly inept, incredibly stupid" freak who wears out his welcome "with a vengeance." See, this is why we don't do good deeds. The comic tragedy -- well, it's always tragic when someone invades your personal space -- runs through April 3. For tickets, $15 for adults and $11 for kids under 12, call 480-837-9661, extension 3.
Our fear of flying is so paralyzing that we can't even chow on a Red Baron pizza without a barf bag nearby. (No slight to Red Baron, of course.) But there's no way we're missing Luke Days 2005 at Luke Air Force Base, at Litchfield Road and Glendale Avenue, beginning Saturday, March 19, and continuing on Sunday, March 20. The air show extravaganza includes the aerial artistry of the USAF Thunderbirds, the Red Bull MiG-17, parachutists Wings of Blue, the "Tora! Tora! Tora!" re-creation of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Red Baron Pizza Squadron. Considering the Squadron's probably on contract to down a few slices in public, we're hoping they take some Dramamine first, lest pepperoni be puked down upon us from 15,000 feet high. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. each day with performances beginning at 10. For admission prices and further details, see www.luke.af.mil/Lukedays_2005/ie.html.
We love a good show tune -- but not as much as a freakin' revue of show tunes! On Sunday, March 20, it's your last chance to catch us saying that in public, when Phoenix Theatre, 100 East McDowell Road, presents the final performance of Beguiled Again: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart with a 2 p.m. matinee. The show, conceived by J. Barry Lewis, Lynette Barkley and Craig D. James, explores the 24-year relationship between Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart by way of song and dance to such R&H standards as "My Funny Valentine," "The Lady Is a Tramp" and "Blue Moon." For tickets, $32 to $34, call 602-254-2151.
They keep playing the smaller, intimate gigs around town -- whether it's a First Friday at Holga's, ASU's Memorial Union, or their upcoming in-store performance at Stinkweeds -- conning us into thinking we're tight buds. But eventually (and maybe much sooner than you might think), The Necronauts will bid us adieu and kick us to the curb like every other genius music act to break out of the desert. Especially now that they've signed on with Vacant Cage Records -- the small but feisty label with just four signed bands, two of which are from Arizona -- who just inked a new deal with distribution heavies Redeye, who'll ship out Necronauts CDs to major chains around the country. In the meantime, we'll catch the 'Nauts on Monday, March 21, at Stinkweeds, 1250 East Apache Boulevard in Tempe, where the boys play for free with Black Mountain at 10:15 p.m. Call 480-968-9490 or see www.stinkweeds.com.
Rupert Holmes is a master of multimedia marketing. The author of Swing, a "musical murder mystery novel," makes an appearance at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, at the Poisoned Pen, 215 East Grant Street, to promote the book and CD that accompanies it, with music composed and performed by Holmes himself. But the CD isn't just for your listening enjoyment -- it contains a "crucial clue" to the whodunit you might need; that is, if you're not one to read the last page once the frustration and anxiety of not knowing whodunit takes over. Holmes' last novel, Where the Truth Lies, is now in motion picture post-production land, and stars Kevin Bacon -- yet another way for Holmes to cover the mass marketing bases in that whole "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" nonsense. Call 602-252-0663 or see www.poisonedpen.com.
For a men's magazine that hasn't quite taken Manhattan, Scottsdale-based Razor certainly plays like the big boys, with plenty of star-studded "VIP" parties packed with enough honeys and handsome dudes on hand to make Maxim and FHM (almost) envious. Founder and editor-in-chief Richard Botto continues his push toward the Big Show when he hosts -- along with 2004 Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby -- the fourth annual Razor Magazine Baseball Preview Party on Wednesday, March 23, at the Fox Sports Grill, 16203 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mingle with the Boys of Summer -- in town for the spring -- including Nomar Garciaparra, Kerry Wood and Mark Loretta, as well as NFL, NHL and NBA players. Tickets are $25. Call 480-596-3218 or see www.razormagazine.com.