Michaleen Kringle describes the "Big Boys & Their Toys" Arizona Men's Expo, which she's co-organizing with founder Gary Glava, as "family-friendly." Right. We know better. As if any self-respecting man's man could peel his eyes and attention away from more than 200 exhibitions of SUVs, luxury cars, speedboats, motorcycles, sports gear and video games -- not to mention Hooters girls -- long enough to have quality time with his wife and children.
"No, really," Kringle says. "You see a lot of single guys, but you see just as many with their kids."
Okay, live in denial, if you must. But we'll be too busy -- starting Friday, June 10, through Sunday, June 12 -- playing with the gadgets and games on display at Phoenix Civic Plaza, 111 North Third Street.
"When we first did this eight years ago, we started with just one hall [in the convention center]," Kringle says. "Now, we take up the entire Civic Plaza . . . and we're looking for more room."
The expo gives visitors a chance to see high-priced vehicles, scooters, pinball machines, and ultralights. In addition, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane will be there, joined by current Arizona Cardinals players, and Phoenix Suns alumni.
Admission costs $5 to $15. Call 602-331-4744. -- Joe Watson
Fashion show struts sweet styles
Face it: Looks matter. No one cares how charming you are if you look like you went thrifting through Dumpsters for your party dress. Better bump labels with the beautiful people at Candylicious on Thursday, June 9, and get your look together. Sophistikatz, a "full circle media image and styling consulting" company, will host a fashion show and a "Best Dressed" contest, so don't even think about wearing those yellow paisley denim pants if you wanna be a winner. DJ Mantis Claw will spin New York house and funk. Kick up those heels at 7 p.m. at the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue. Tickets cost $7 to $10. Call 602-262-2020. -- Niki D'Andrea
Rave New World
What to do if you look like an anime character
Grab the glowsticks and get ready for a dance dance revolution on Saturday, June 11, at "Animenation," going down at the usual "undisclosed location" in Phoenix. Turntablists such as Infinity, Defcon4, and Tranzit will spin trance, breakbeats and more on two stages. Admission is $15 (or $10 before 10:30 p.m. if you dress like an anime character). Call 602-208-4752 for directions the night of the event or see www.azinfoline.com. -- Joe WatsonMonsters Ink
Everything to fear
Unspeakable horror and paralyzing terror await the unlucky souls who dare experience "The Monster Show," which brutalizes reZurrection Gallery, 601 West University in Tempe, starting Saturday, June 11. The works of seven artists -- including the campy creations of Mike Maas, the fantastical furniture paintings of Hell on Heels' Chela LaRue, and the creepy comic-book art of Tony Richey -- transmogrify the chic boutique into a roll call of freaky fiends. Thomas Adams also provides a few demonic digital images offering glimpses of the scariest creatures of them all: mankind. Pieces like Priest, a nightmarish portrayal of a sinister minister in hell, and Bad-Bod, a human torso with bloody grooves carved into it, reveal how the Boston-based artist draws as much inspiration from horrors of humanity as he does from denizens of drive-in double features. "We're an inherently evil people," says Adams. "No matter what we do as human beings . . . we're still animals, driven by our instincts. After the bomb goes off, we're still gonna be fighting each other for that last scrap of meat." The monster mash lasts until July 6. Call 480-377-9080 or see www.rezurrectiongallery.net. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Herberger goes psycho for summer
Nothing says summer like a beach-blanket bloodbath. How about Annette Funicello on electroshock therapy? It's that kind of sun-warped, bikinied-babes-in-straitjackets aesthetic that will be in effect Tuesday, June 14, at the Psycho Beach Party at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. For the oral pleasure, the theater will serve up cocktails, Maui Wowi smoothies and food from Baja Fresh. Aural stimulation comes in the form of crazy tunes from the band Nineball, featuring the former guitarist from Flotsam & Jetsam. Artist Helen Renard and performance troupe The Black Opal Dance Company take care of the visuals. Theme dress is not required, but you could loosen up for once, you know. The wacky shindig happens from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Cover charge is $10 to $15. Nonperishable food items or toothpaste to benefit Homeward Bound gets you in for half-price. Call 602-254-7399. -- Amy Young