Once the sun comes up, the average gamer has little more to show for 18 straight hours of virtual reality than a dozen empty cans of Mountain Dew. But on Friday, April 15, your hand-to-eye coordination -- and obsessive-compulsive personality -- finally pays off when DeVry University, 2149 West Dunlap Avenue, hosts the FlatOut Video Game Challenge. Competitors over the age of 17 go head-to-head playing -- for free -- Empire Interactive's new racing game, FlatOut (which won't be officially released until the summer), for prizes including game packs, a computer, and the Grand Pooh-Bah: a new Scion xB. Preregistration is recommended, since a limited number of walk-ins will be allowed on game days (from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 16), at www.devrygameday12.com. Call 602-870-9222.
If Keith Jackson -- who'll play live with both the Beat Angels and Glass Heroes at "St. George's Day" at the George & Dragon Restaurant on Saturday, April 16 -- can't take the heat, there's always the kitchen. The G&D manager, along with Gilby Clarke (best known for his brief stint with Guns N' Roses), Steve Larson, and Hell on Heels, to name a few of the acts, will rock all day in the warm sun, beginning at 11 a.m., to benefit Positive Family Services. "Thank God I don't wear makeup," Jackson says. Admission is $5. Call 602-241-0018. The George & Dragon is located at 4240 North Central Avenue.
We searched long and hard for this gem: the 10th Annual New Times Music Showcase, which takes the stage (actually, nine stages, including the big one at Hayden Square, Fourth Street and Mill Avenue in Tempe) on Sunday, April 17. See 42 acts -- including 35 bands and five DJs, all competing for your vote, and headliners Z-Trip and The Samples -- up and down Mill Avenue at venues like The Library, Ra, Rúla Búla and the Owl's Nest. Local faves like The Necronauts (competing in the Best Indie Rock category), Batter the Drag (Hard Rock), Sweet Bleeders (Pop), Last Action Zeros (Punk), Pokafase (Hip-Hop), Rum Tenor (Americana), Terminal 11, and Peachcake (Electronic) all vie for your affection from 5 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $8. See www.phoenixnewtimes.com/musicshowcase/2005.
As kids, we thought of the Guinness Book of World Records as a tribute to superfreaks: Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr. Olympia titles, Michael Jackson's album sales, and the woman with the world's longest fingernails were immortalized in its pages in the late 1970s and '80s. Since then, Guinness has gone a little more geek than freak, prompting us to ponder our own "in" within the pages of the annual compilation. Steven Church, author of The Guinness Book of Me, took it a step further. On Monday, April 18, Church makes an appearance at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe, to discuss his memoirs, inspired by the "flawed and strange heroes" of the original. Growing up in Lawrence, Kansas, in those very same '70s and '80s, Church saw the record-holders as "archetypal sorts of characters for his generation -- people struggling with identity and body image, success and failure, ambition and destiny" -- and uses both the freaks and geeks to reflect on "his own life and his relationships with his father and brother." The signing and discussion, at 7 p.m., is free. Call 480-730-0205 or see www.changinghands.com.
We've been down with the whole "cock-rock" thing for a while. Okay, so we never knew what "cock-rock" really was -- it sounds so vile and pugnacious, we couldn't help but pose, yo -- that is, until we heard Boyjazz's Gary Glitter-meets-Devo kick-ass stadium rock anthem "Stank on the Halo," and we finally got it. We'll now cock-rock with confidence on Tuesday, April 19, when Boyjazz plays the Emerald Lounge, 1514 North Seventh Avenue, at 9 p.m. The San Francisco quintet is on tour -- with a heavy schedule -- promoting its debut album, In the City Tonight, and already has Dance Dance Revolution, MTV's Road Rules and Urban Outfitters using Boyjazz sounds as catchy, promotional hooks. Call 602-256-9705 for admission price.
It's 4:20 on 4/20 (Wednesday, April 20, that is), and no, you cannot use this page as rolling paper! But once you find some ZigZags, and subsequently get the munchies, we suggest making a trip to Cheba Hut, 960 West University Drive in Tempe, or the Mesa location, 1710 West Southern Avenue, for a commemorative celebration of International Pot Smoking Day. Both locations are selling eight-inch sandwiches, chips and a drink for $4.20, with live music (an acoustic solo performance by Crawl at the Tempe Cheba's), Frisbees and prize giveaways. Put down the pipe, dude, and call 480-446-0088 or 480-649-7827.