Swedish music exports never go out of style, whether we're talking old-school staples like ABBA, or new-school buzz bands like the Jessica Fletchers. Another up-and-coming Swedish outfit, Blindside, will play the Abandon Video Benefit Show at the Clubhouse Music Venue, 1320 East Broadway Road in Tempe, on Thursday, August 4, but you can get some one-on-one time with the indie-rock imports before the show, when Blindside does a 5 p.m. in-store performance and signing at Zia Record Exchange, 2510 West Thunderbird Road in Phoenix. The band is touring in support of its latest album, The Great Depression, which hits stores just two days before the band's Valley appearance. Call 602-866-7867.
If everything in the world is open to interpretation, then it makes sense that the most widely read book in the world, the Bible, has more interpretations than the Tower of Babel had languages. On Friday, August 5, a panel of Biblical experts, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, and gay Orthodox rabbi Steve Greenberg, offer their own interpretations of the oft-quoted Scriptures used to condemn homosexuality in For the Bible Tells Me So, a film by Daniel Karslake (award-winning producer of In the Lifeon PBS). The film, which makes its Phoenix première at Whiteman Hall in the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, weaves the commentary around the stories of V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, and Chrissy Gephardt, lesbian daughter of Congressman Dick Gephardt. After the Phoenix screening at 7:30 p.m., there will be a panel discussion with Karslake; Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign; the Reverend David Ragan; and Dr. Welton Gaddy, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance. Admission is free. Visit www.forthebibletellsmeso.org.
While it would be cool to see the original "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" dancin' up a storm (you know John Belushi would've done a mean Macarena), the Saturday Night Live Retro Dance Party at Anderson's Fifth Estate, 6820 East Fifth Avenue in Scottsdale, has nothing to do with NBC's classic sketch comedy show. This shindig is all about Devo, Prince, Wham!, and other purveyors of '80s hits. Every Saturday, Mix 96.9 radio personality AJ spins the retro platters, while everyone else gets too drunk on 2-for-1 U-call-it drinks to remember if "Karma Chameleon" was by Culture Club or from The Breakfast Club. The show, broadcast live on Mix 96.9, starts at 9 p.m. The cover charge varies from week to week, but averages about $5. Call 480-994-4168.
If a wealthy woman who looked like Isabella Rossellini really offered $25,000 to whoever could play the saddest music in the world, you can bet a bunch of whiny British pop singers would be right there, wailing about their broken hearts. But those boys have nothing on the slew of sad musicians who answer the call of Lady Port-Huntley (Rossellini) in Guy Maddin's 2003 expressionistic film The Saddest Music in the World, showing Sunday, August 7, at the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue. Apparently, being a rich beer baroness in Winnipeg during the Great Depression leads to boredom, melancholy, and a fondness for funeral dirges. See who hits the saddest note and nabs the cash at 2 p.m. Award-winning filmmaker Penelope Price (Pasa Un Angel) introduces the movie. Admission is free. Call 602-257-1880.
When magician and comedian Michael Finney arrived in the Valley in 1978, there was no such thing as the "Phoenix comedy scene." Finney's career started in the late '70s with a tenure as a "magic bartender" at the Golden Eagle Restaurant in Phoenix, where he was named one of the best bartenders in the city by none other than New Times. In 1986, Finney opened the Finney Bones Comedy Club here (it closed in 1993) and was a finalist on Star Search. In 2001, he performed at George W. Bush's presidential inauguration. Yet Finney's still very much a hometown hero, as he's hosted a variety comedy show and golf tournament every year to raise money for various local and children's charities. He's at it again on Monday, August 8, hosting the Dry Heat Classic Comedy Variety Show at the Dodge Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. The show assembles magicians and comics from all over the country, who come out and do their best "bits" in a fast-paced laugh-a-thon. Tickets cost $20 to $27.50. Call 602-379-2888.
When the owner of a baseball team winds up dead, an idiot detective must sort through six nutty suspects to find the killer in Alexx Stuart's Murder at Savings & Loan Ballpark, a "hysterical parody" of the Arizona Diamondbacks, set to play ball on Tuesday, August 9, at the Viewpoint Golf Resort, 50 North Hawes Road in Mesa. In this "interactive theater event," the audience helps Lieutenant Cloddumbo find the murderer of Piggybacks owner Col. Angelo. Was it the Big Eunuch in the locker room with a baseball bat? "Baseball Annie" in the dugout with a poisoned hot dog? And who is this Harry Carrot guy who just shows up in the seventh inning? Darknight Productions usually only stages this comedy for private events, but it made an exception for this one-time public show, which starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10. Arrive half an hour before showtime for a cash bar and meet-and-greet with the cast. Call 602-549-5933 for reservations.
National bands don't often play smaller venues in Phoenix, let alone play them for free. But thanks to Sauza Tequila's "Live All Summer" tour, we can see red-hot indie rockers OK GO! for free at the Hard Rock Cafe, 3 South Second Street. The band's latest CD, OH NO, won't be released until August 30, so we can be among the first to hear the new tracks, along with songs from the band's self-titled album, like "You're So Damn Hot" and "Hello, My Treacherous Friends." Maybe the band will even play its rendition of The Cure's "Lovecats." Local artist Jeordie opens the show at 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 10. Admission is free, but you must call 877-414-5859 to register.