We're amazed -- and subsequently quite pleased -- that the über-structured hierarchy of Arizona State University continues to keep the scattered and beautiful mind of Chris Danowski on its payroll as a theater professor. So we won't be greedy and lobby for a raise for the guy, but we will say his nonprofit performance company, Theatre in My Basement, could always use the cash flow. On Thursday, April 7, Danowski -- joined by performance artists Marcos Najera and Leslie Barton, standup comic Sheila R. Rose, video artist Steve Noettl, playwright Brandon Chase Goldsmith, and live music from Rob Wilson -- hosts the "Big Gnarly Art Party"as a fund raiser for TIMB at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt Street. The event also serves as a preview of TIMB's upcoming third annual Teatro Caliente festival, which showcases new experimental and alternative performances. The "Big Gnarly Art Party" continues through Friday, April 8. Tickets are $10 both nights. Call 602-462-5516 or see www.timb.org.
After doing the late-night circuit -- including a memorable appearance on The Daily Show (during which Jon Stewart asked her, regarding Middle Easterners, "Why do they hate us? Is it because we keep bombing them?") -- former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright returns to Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe, on Friday, April 8, at 7 p.m., to shove the paperback version of Madam Secretary in our pudgy little hands. The book recounts Albright's "experiences as a child refugee from Czechoslovakia, who fled Hitler's Nazi regime" to eventually become the highest-ranking female in U.S. government history. Call 480-730-0205 or see www.changinghands.com.
Throwing back a few with Ozzy's offspring sounds enticing, but we're outta luck when Kelly Osbourne makes an appearance at the Sports City Grill, 132 East Washington Street, on Saturday, April 9, to promote her new single, "One Word," along with Energy 92.7 DJ Rod Carrillo and their weekly "Flux" dance party. Osbourne's on the wagon these days after going through rehab last year; plus, mum and dad have hired a "24-hour minder," according to tabloid reports in Britain, to keep her on said wagon. But we don't need no stinking tequila to get our groove on with Osbourne, whose single is "one of the most requested songs" on Energy. Severed heads and a crucifix should make her feel right at home. Admission to "Flux," from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., is $15 at the door for those 21 and over. Call 602-332-3462 or see www.energyarizonafm.com.
"Spry" 75-year-olds aren't an abundant demographic. In fact, choreographer Maurice Bejart might just have the title all to himself. On Sunday, April 10, the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, along with ASU dance instructor Cynthia Roses-Thema, tries to divulge the secrets of such graceful aging, as the "creative process behind the fusion of music and dance" is explored in the film Bejart Into the Light, at 2 p.m. The 2002 documentary follows Bejart "during the creation of a new ballet, Lumiere . . . from rehearsals to opening night." Roses-Thema will introduce the film. The showing is free. Call 602-257-2178 or see www.phxart.org.
Borders already drums up enough business on its own. But on Monday, April 11, it takes the literal approach, featuring Phoenix Symphony percussionist Fred Marderness from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Borders Books & Music at 2402 East Camelback Road. Marderness, who's been with the symphony since 1980, will demonstrate complex paradiddles, as well as flams, flamacues, drags and pataflaflas, with a variety of percussive instruments in his presentation "The Nuts, Bolts and Paradiddles of Percussion." The event is free. Call 602-957-6660.
Don't be surprised if the food the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street, serves up at Second Act: Happy Hour from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, tastes like Alpo. You can either try a new delicacy, or you can summon the waiter to bring you some people food, since some of the eats are supposed to taste like doggy treats for this animal adopt-a-thon/monthly cultural event. The human appetizers will be provided by McCormick and Schmick's, as well as desserts by the Teeter House, while the canine cuisine is courtesy of PETsMART -- so try not to confuse them. The Sidewinders provide the live entertainment; Misty Mulleneaux displays her art; and Helene Renard presents a "felt fashion show." Cover charge is $15 ($10 if you're a "Friend of the Herberger"). Call 602-254-7399, extension 115, or see www.herbergertheater.org.
We've often heard about the supposed "talent" strolling around ASU's main campus in the springtime. And on Wednesday, April 13, a few of ASU's masters of fine arts theater students and alumni prove it with a "Festival of New Works," which begins at the on-campus Lyceum Theatre, 901 South Forest Mall in Tempe. The event includes five new works: two original plays and three performance-art pieces, including Lindsay Harman's Portal of Entry, "a theatrical deconstruction of the Valley's sex industry"; John Tang's Cloud 8.99, "one man's journey to find the meaning of life before his obsession takes him over the edge"; and Raw Footage, by ASU playwriting alum Laurel Haines, "a black comedic expos of a documentary filmmaker who manufactures his own version of heart-tugging 'reality.'" The festival continues through April 24. Tickets are $5 to $20. For showtimes and details, call 480-965-6447.