This Week's Day-by-day Picks

THU 28
Though he failed to cement his place in history as the first pop star in space, *NSYNC's Lance Bass could always head down to the Challenger Space Center, 21170 North 83rd Avenue in Peoria, to see what he missed besides the Top 40 charts for the past three years. On Thursday, July 28, the center hosts its final Thursday matinee Simulated Space Flight Mission of the summer. Participants will spend two hours aboard the Challenger Space Center's Flight Deck, on a mission to rendezvous with a comet. The "flight" features more than a million dollars' worth of technology, including simulated flight crews, mission controllers, and scientists, as well as a control room modeled after the Johnson Space Center, a spacecraft designed after a room onboard the International Space Station, and an Earth Space Transit Module. Boarding passes cost $17.50 for adults, and $15 for students and seniors, with blastoff at 1 p.m. Call 623-322-2001 to register (required), or visit www.azchallenger.org.

FRI 29
International trance and house music DJ Kimball Collins has worked the wax stacks all over the world since 1987, beginning with a five-year stretch as resident DJ at Orlando's Beacham Theater. Collins was one of the first DJs from the U.S. to spin at famous U.K. nightclubs like Ministry of Sound, and Renaissance, and he was also chosen to mix the first United DJs of Americacompilation. On Friday, July 29, Collins mixes it up at Myst, 7340 East Shoeman Lane in Scottsdale, along with resident DJs MCB, Tim Heit, and Vance Rodgers. Tickets, $10, are available at www.mystaz.com and www.eventvibe.com, and also at Swell Records, 414 South Mill Avenue in Tempe. The beats start bumpin' at 9 p.m. Call 480-970-5000.

SAT 30
The words "psychic" and "free" don't often appear in the same sentence, but we predict a metaphysical markdown on Saturday, July 30, when the New Age gurus at Pandora's Box, 1949 West Ray Road in Chandler, host a psychic blowout from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., featuring free acupuncture and acupressure, aura photography and readings, massages, Reiki and polarity healings, reflexology, and herbal teas. More than a dozen guests -- including Vision Quest Bookstore psychic Richard Stratton, forensic ESP practitioner Melynda Frost, certified Reiki healer Tylene Romero, British clairvoyant Marie Priest, Joelyn Brandis of Air America's Radio Doctors, and naturopathic physician Dr. Valerie Wycoff -- will offer advice. Admission is free. Call 480-812-2900.

SUN 31
There's an adolescent adage that if you break open a fortune cookie and add the words "in bed" to the end of your fortune, your future will always sound good, or at least funny. Comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, however, would probably add "on a stick" to the end of his funny fortunes. Dunham, who has appeared on shows like The Tonight Showand Hot Country Nights, invented Jose Jalapeño, a sassy pepper of a puppet with a wry sense of humor who had an accident on a pogo stick at a county fair several years back, and now must forever describe himself as "a jalapeño . . . on a stick." Dunham's other characters, an old curmudgeon named Walter and a manic purple "woozle" named Peanut, will be in on the act, too, helping Dunham heckle the hell out of himself when he performs at the Tempe Improv at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 31. Tickets cost $20. The Improv is located at 930 East University Drive in Tempe. Call 480-921-9877 or visit www.onastick.com.

MON 1
Contrary to what people with names like "Billy Bob" might say, coffee houses aren't only for pacifist folkies anymore, and poetry's not just for pussies. Now, angry artists rail their rage in rhyme at spoken-word nights like WordSpoken at Mama Java's Coffeehouse, 3619 East Indian School Road, where the subject matter encompasses everything from motherhood to street hustling. Local storytellers Resa Ferreira and Barb Geiss co-host the weekly Monday night event, which started out as a casual meeting of writers who gathered to share their work. When the group outgrew people's living rooms, Ferreira and Geiss started WordSpoken and left the mic open. So be the bad-ass bard you've always wanted to be at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Call 602-840-5282 or visit www.mamajavascoffeehouse.com.

TUE 2
The Dead 60s consists of four lads from Liverpool whose garage-bred brand of Brit agit-pop makes young girls scream and skank. Sounds sorta like the '60s story of the Beatles, except that "skank" wasn't yet a dance move and Liverpool hadn't yet produced a "bigger-than-Jesus" band with whom they were constantly compared. On Tuesday, August 2, the Dead 60s brings its own innovative brand of non-Beatle-esque boogie (which bass player Charlie Turner describes as "spooky horrorcore ska" and "funk punk stuff") to the Old Brickhouse Grill, 1 East Jackson Street, in support of its self-titled debut album on Sony Records. Canadian hard-rock band Morningwood and edgy pop outfit Abandoned Pools (featuring Tommy Walter, formerly of The Eels) open the show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 to $12. Call 602-258-7880 or visit www.thedead60s.com.

WED 3
On a message board for the Web site reggaeontheriver.com, a user named "Sistalove" writes: "Has anyone heard of the Phoenix reggae band Kindread? Does anyone know the keyboard player? Any info. on him? Single? He looks really conscious and he's cute, too." Well, Sistalove, we can help you out here: The keyboardist for Kindread is Casey "Scratch" Walker, and unfortunately, word on the street is that he's not single. But you can still move to his grooves when Kindread plays a Reggae Party at the Sail Inn, 26 South Farmer Avenue in Tempe, on Wednesday, August 3. While Kindread cranks out original material, as well as covers of Bob Marley, Israel Vibration and Peter Tosh, you can slurp $2.50 Red Stripe bottles and $3 Appleton Rum drinks. The party lasts from 9 p.m. 'til 2 a.m., and there's no cover. Call 480-921-1775 or visit www.thesailinn.com.

 
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