While it's been said that Thomas Gibbons' "provocative and fearless drama" Permanent Collection does a lot of preaching to the choir, we hear that these are the salad days for religious symbolism, anyway, so why not? The play, produced by the Arizona Theatre Company in its Southwest premi're on Thursday, March 24, at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe , at 8 p.m., is loosely based on real events at the Barnes Collection in Philadelphia, and tells the story of a "freethinking art collector" (now dead) who left his "priceless collection . . . to a predominantly black college." What ensues is a clash over "race, art and personal power." Tickets are $25 to $46. Call 602-256-6995 or see www.aztheatreco.org.
The San Diego Invasion continues on Friday, March 25, when lowcloudcover, four Padres who claim to belong to this ever-expanding unofficial fraternity of "prog-rockers" around the country, touch down at The Sets, 93 East Southern Avenue in Tempe, for an 8 p.m. show with locals . . .and guppies eat their young. The quartet -- bassist Dario Izarraras, drummer Jay Richardson, guitarist Greg Russell, and Bekkah Walker on keyboards and samplers -- plays a moody kinda rock once described as "very good music for chasing lunar eclipses." They also happen to be buds with Phoenix's own Colorstore, a bond that helps dispel the fear that lowcloudcover is forming an army of indie bands intent on destroying capital letters. Cover is $6 for this 21-and-over show. Call 480-829-1822 or see www.thesets.com.
Local fashion designer Susan Di Staulo says she loves "anything Brazilian," a proven fact on display when Di Staulo and fellow swimwear designer Sommer Christine present their "Carnival-Rio" redux at Four White Walls Gallery, 1023 Grand Avenue, on Saturday, March 26, starting at 7 p.m. In re-creating their South American-themed runway show of sexy swimsuits and vibrant, colorful summertime garb -- which debuted last month in Scottsdale -- Di Staulo and Christine have recruited local designers Lacie Murphy and Lisa Jacobs to join them for the sequel. And, for now at least, Di Staulo says a "Carnival" trilogy isn't in the works. "This is the last one," Di Staulo says, "until I go to Brazil for the real thing." Call 602-705-4936 or see www.fourwhitewalls.net.
Guys, there might be just one place in town where you can call a woman a "Size 14" to her face and not get a large boot to the groin: the Trunk Space's free Knitting Group, started by local artist Lisa Takata, which continues Sunday, March 27, and every Sunday thereafter from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at 1506 Grand Avenue. The "Size 14," of course, refers to the girth of her needle, in case you're a novice. Don't worry, you'll have plenty of chances to polish those knitting pickup lines with the group's four-to-one female-to-male ratio. Call 602-256-6006 or see www.thetrunkspace.com.
Page the Village Idiot has finally tied the knot. "Yeah, Page just got married! Sorry, ladies," says Yvette Hathaway, a self-proclaimed slacker doubling as a bartender at Mesa's Hollywood Alley, 2610 West Baseline Road. The "local legend," as Hathaway refers to Page, has been 86ed from virtually every venue in town but has locked up a home at Hollywood Alley for more than seven years. On Monday, March 28, Page continues his weekly "Variety Show," this time as a married man, performing shtick and political comedy and playing a plethora of original tunes on his acoustic guitar and ukelele, such as the now-classic "Fuck You, Joe Arpaio." Page takes the stage around 9:30 p.m., followed by locals Blanche Davidian. Cover is $5. Call 480-820-7117 or see www.hollywoodalley.com.
Suddenly, we feel like we're pimping out Latin-American men and women (see Saturday) as film directors from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico take part in Phoenix College's Latin American Film Festival, which begins Tuesday, March 29, at PC's main campus, 1202 West Thomas. But if that's what it takes to get folks to see "films depicting global contemporary issues that not only affect Latin Americans but all citizens of the world," well, we've made our tiny planet a better place. The festival begins with Bernardo Cañizares' 2004 film Como Voy a Olvidarte (How Can I Forget You?), from Ecuador, with a 7 p.m. screening. The film "transports viewers to the most beautiful Ecuadoran landscapes" and follows our heroine, Aurora, as she exposes "the truth about her father, a leading politician." A Q&A with Cañizares and each of the festival's remaining directors on hand -- Sonia Fritz (El Beso Que Me Diste), Luis Alberto Restrepo (La Primera Noche), and Maria del Carmen de Lara (En el Pais de No Pasa Nada) -- follows each film throughout the week, through April 2. The films are intended for mature audiences. Admission is free. Call 602-285-7416.
Among the various performances on display at the Counter Culture Café's inaugural edition of its Speak Up! spoken word series on Wednesday, March 30, one intrigues us most: "Yelling." We're not sure whether we're in for Sam Kinison-style humiliation, or catcalls and "Hoo-ahs!" But, as the organizers proudly proclaim, "Anything goes!" And that includes live music, MCs, "rants, rhymes, diatribes, comedy instruction, beats, strings [and] drums." Performers include Cleopache, Mr. Frip, Joey Z, Manu Styles, Brad B, Paul Dlouhy, and MC Mz Missingirl. The "most raw spontaneous" action begins at 9 p.m. Counter Culture Café is located at 2330 East McDowell. Call 602-231-0762 or see www.countercultureaz.com.