The Japanese Friendship Garden is a place we love to relax and chill. But as a virtual dojo where we learn to kill? Okay, maybe "kill" is a bit harsh. But although the tenets of aikido maintain that the ancient martial art form is a vehicle for harmony, the swift and rapid movements do allow your hands, legs and feet to make war, not peace. And so it is that the Garden's final event before closing for the summer -- "Harmony of Movement," featuring demonstrations of both aikido and modern-day methods of personal safety -- will help us maintain our inner peace until the wretched heat lets us be. Members of the Arizona Aikido Educational Organization will demonstrate aikido, which "applies principles of circular force in harmony with an attacker's movement, speed, and timing," while officers from the Phoenix Police Department will be on hand to discuss personal safety and self-defense. The event, from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 3, is free. The Japanese Friendship Garden is located at 1125 North Third Avenue. Call 602-256-3204.
If six truly is four, then that whole "Mark of the Beast" thing just lost some of its menacing luster. And our favorite sexual position is, uh, 49?! Welcome to Scottsdale, where they ain't so good with numbers, but ad wizards apparently reign on Saturday, June 4, for the "Six Is Four" anniversary bash at the Old Town posh hot spot, 7316 East Stetson Drive. As many as 2,000 (not adjusted for local mathematicians) of Scottsdale's most beautiful people will gather inside the chic nightclub, and at Six's "Outdoor Party Under the Stars" -- occupying half a block of Stetson Drive in front of the club -- to spy VIPs, groove to New York City DJ Rocktakon, and imbibe frou-frou cocktails awkwardly sipped from martini glasses. Proceeds from the $20 cover charge benefit Scottsdale's Fraternal Order of Police. The party starts at 7 p.m. for VIPs, and 8 for the rest of us. See www.6az.com.
So Carrie Underwood gets a new Mustang, a recording contract and millions of adoring fans for singing other people's songs? Every grassroots performer across America, including Jill Cohn, should be pissed. But if she is, you'd never guess by the Seattle-based singer/songwriter's sunny disposition, which smiles and giggles (and, okay, occasionally whispers of mild heartbreak) on her sixth solo full-length CD, Seven Year Surrender. The one-woman band -- who's opened for Dave Matthews, Jewel, and Loudon Wainwright III since her career took off nine years ago -- brings her McLachlanesque voice to Fiddler's Dream Coffee House, 1702 East Glendale Avenue in Phoenix, on Sunday, June 5, for a 7 p.m. show. General admission is $6. Call 602-997-9795 or see www.jillcohn.com.
So what does Spawn creator and Ahwatukeeite Todd McFarlane know about "commerce"? Well, for starters, he now knows that infringement on publicity rights can cost you almost a third of your empire, thanks to a former hockey player named Tony Twist, who sued McFarlane for $15 million last year for McFarlane's use of the same name for a character in Spawn. Ouch. And double-ouch on the $3 million McFarlane spent on the baseball Mark McGwire sent into the Busch Stadium stands to set the then-single-season home run record back in 1998. (The ball has depreciated by as much as 200 percent by some accounts.) But, hey, McFarlane still knows what sells in the comic-book industry, which is why he and Tales of the Beanworld creator Larry Marder will discuss "The Art and Commerce of the Graphic Novel" at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe, at 7 p.m. Monday, June 6. Call 480-730-0205 or see www.changinghands.com.
He's appeared on Late Night With Conan O'Brien and Comedy Central's Premium Blend, and he's toured with such indie acts as the Shins, Modest Mouse, and Yo La Tengo. So it seems Eugene Mirman has found a way to keep comedy club crowds coming back for more, while being a hipster magnet for kids who normally avoid traditional standup venues. Mirman performs his seemingly everything-to-everyone act at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt Street. Admission is $7. Call 602-462-5514 or see www.modified.org.
It's not like the Greater Phoenix metropolis is a one-horse town where the movieplex premières such new releases as Star Wars: Return of the Jedi the same week the rest of the planet's watching Revenge of the Sith. But somehow, there are some art-house faves that have passed us by in the past year. Thanks to Tempe Cinemas' OneNightCinema Summer Series, which opens Wednesday, June 8, with the Senegalese film Moolaade, we've got some catching up to do for the next few weeks. Moolaade is a "vibrant, powerful, and poignant glimpse into the struggles of women in modern Africa," while the opening-night screening also features Africa Tam Tam performing before the film. Admission is $7.25. Tempe Cinemas is located at 1825 East Elliot Road. For the series schedule, see www.onenightcinema.com.