This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

THU 31
Who knew it would take 25 self-proclaimed "idiots" to end an 86-year-old curse? Or that it would take almost eight years to get the Boston Red Soxto visit Bank One Ballpark? Anchored by former Arizona Diamondback and 2001 World Series co-MVP Curt Schilling, the world champs make their first trip to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks in a two-game spring training finale beginning Thursday, March 31, at BOB, 401 East Jefferson Street, with a 6:40 p.m. scheduled first pitch. So what if it doesn't really count? For tickets, $11 to $116, call 602-514-8400 or see www.azdiamondbacks.com.

FRI 1
If you're heading to Icon Studio, 1205 West Pierce Street, on Friday, April 1, for Ashland Arts' eighth annual "Adults Only" show hoping to satisfy your libido, well, the joke's on you, April Fool. While Ashland's Dave Cook admits that Alwun House's long-running "Exotic Art" show was the inspiration for "Adults Only," he doesn't want gallery-goers expecting what he calls the "titillating shock art" they're accustomed to from Alwun. "People ask me, 'Where is the lewd stuff, the pornography? Can't you just have a small corner of it?'" Cook says, laughing. "It's not that I have anything against that stuff, it's just that we're going for something different, classy kinda stuff you'll see at the big museums." Still, the show does include nudes and "strong adult content" from local artists and others from around the country, including San Francisco and Illinois. Live music from the Rhythm Dragons from 7 to 9 p.m. is followed by U >Bang< E until 11. The First Friday opening begins at 7, and the show -- for, of course, adults only -- continues through May 31. Call 602-257-8543.

SAT 2
If you're reading this, the folks who opened Phoenix's first public library -- the Carnegie Center -- back in 1908 would be proud of your accomplished literacy. Now, get your ass back to the library (don't you have some overdue fines to pay?), or at least the grounds on which it once stood, on Saturday, April 2, for the eighth annual Arizona Book Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The ABF features four stages of presentations: the main, children's, teen, and "Cornucopia" stages. On the main stage, see authors Luis Urrea (The Hummingbird's Daughter), Pat Mora (Confetti), Brad Dimock (Sunk Without a Sound), Patricia MacLachlan (Plain and Tall), and others discuss and sign their books, while you and more than 10,000 other bookworms thumb through thousands of new and used books for sale. Admission to the ABF is free. The Carnegie Center is located at 1101 West Washington Street. Call 602-257-0335, extension 28, or see www.azbookfestival.org.

SUN 3
We might be bloodthirsty bastards here, but if competitive fencers would only trade in those flimsy sabers for some top-of-the-line, limb-trimming swashbuckling, the Ultimate Fighting Championship would have a pay-per-view challenger. But these folks aren't going for the kill, thank goodness -- it's about the sport. For a spectacle of quick-wristed, split-second scores, we'll head out to the Grand Canyon State Games' fencing competition on Sunday, April 3, at the Arizona Fencing Center, 535 West Iron Avenue in Mesa, where fencers in men's, women's, youth and junior divisions will lunge and poke for medals and glory. Call 480-288-7834 or see www.gcsg.org/events/wintergames/fencing.html.

MON 4
For most of his career, Kevin Pollak has been known as the comic relief, but rarely as the comic. Whether it be as Tom Cruise's sidekick counsel in A Few Good Men or a shifty crook to Kevin Spacey's Keyser Soze (sorry if we spoiled it) in The Usual Suspects, Pollak is always quick with a cocked eyebrow and a smart-ass remark. But on Monday, April 4, it's all comedy, all Pollak, all by himself when he finishes up a gig at the Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive. The actor/comedian, on tour to promote his latest flick with Bruce Willis, Hostage, takes the stage at 8 p.m. For ticket information, call 480-921-9877 or see www.tempeimprov.com.

TUE 5
We're not sure when our touchy-feely tendencies became creepy. Scratch that -- it was last week at an after-work party, and somebody was feeling a tad bit affectionate. Anyway, it's unfortunate that a pat on the back is as unwanted as a pat on the ass these days, but we've found a venue where our hands-on approach will be appreciated. On Tuesday, April 5, the Tony Award-winning musical contact opens at the Orpheum Theatre, 200 West Washington Street, at 8 p.m. and continues through April 10. The production includes "three sensual stories told entirely through dance about people in the wild pursuit of love." A cast of 24 dancers and actors performs to a "wide range of music" -- from Rodgers and Hart to Tchaikovsky, the Beach Boys and the Squirrel Nut Zippers. For tickets, $36.50 to $42.50, call 602-262-7272 or see www.theaterleague.com.

WED 6
Hump day has been pretty packed lately, especially with March Madness and the latest round of caterwauling contestants from American Idol clogging up the tube. So, with the NCAA champ finally crowned and our yearly sampling of the snarkiness of Simon Cowell complete, we're gonna head to Charlie's, 727 West Camelback Road, to check out the catty cowboys, er, girls of Claudia B. & the Hee Haw Honeys starting at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6. The seven drag queens light up the down-home digs of the landmark central Phoenix country and western gay bar by lip-synching homespun hits by country divas like Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, and Shania Twain (thus bringing new meaning to the song, "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"). Admission is free. Call 602-265-0224 or see www.charliesphoenix.com.

 
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