When those "I Want You" propaganda posters of Uncle Sam first came out, Will Stockdale must have thought ol' Sam was pointing at the grits on the porch behind him, because when the country bumpkin joins the U.S. Air Force in No Time for Sergeants, he's clearly clueless. After his first days of training, which Stockdale describes as "mashin' our tongues down with Popsicle sticks, whompin' our knees with little rubber hammers," he's assigned the position of PLO (Permanent Latrine Orderly). But for all his hillbilly ways, Stockdale is powerful and literal, and he throws the military for a loop while it tries to classify him in this comedy by Ira Levin (The Stepford Wives, Deathtrap). The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 25, and runs through October 8 at the Hale Centre Theatre, 50 West Page Avenue in Gilbert. Tickets cost $16 to $18. Call 480-497-1181 or visit www.haletheatrearizona.com.
There's nothing like groovin' to Tone-Loc's "Wild Thing" and watching a hot girl shake her stuff on one of the three dance floors at Blaze Nightclub, 2740 West North Lane (off I-17 at Peoria Avenue). And while she might want "50 dollars to make you holler" if she gets "paid to do the wild thing," one dollar would buy 100 premium drinks at Blaze. Since every Friday and Saturday night is "1 Cent Night," you could get the hot babe drunk on a dime and then barter with her for the booty. From 8 to 11 p.m., you can pick your penny poison from top-shelf booze like Hennessy, Hypnotiq, Tanqueray, Crown Royal, Kahlúa, and Courvoisier. DJs spin hip-hop, R&B, and reggaeton in the main room, and "Brick" and Latin pop in the third room. There's an $8 cover, which isn't bad considering that might buy you one drink at another club. Call 602-943-4646 or visit www.blazenightclub.com.
Do you wanna see Buckeye Chief of Police Dan Saban kick some butt, or what? Sure, he narrowly missed usurping Sheriff Joe Arpaio in last year's Republican primary, but Saban's sure to smoke at least some of the competition at the Stock Car Racing Association's "SCRA Memorial Race" on Saturday, August 27. The race honors the SCRA competitors of yesterday and today, and also raises funds for the 100 Club, an organization that provides financial support to families of fallen police officers. Saban will race the likes of David Gonzales, U.S. Marshal, District of Arizona; Chief Jack Lane of the Arizona Highway Patrol; Commander John Meza of the Mesa Police Department; and Bryan Soller, President of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police, in a factory stock "Public Safety Showdown" on the short track, while professional drivers burn rubber with the super stocks on the half-mile track. Start your engines at 8 p.m. at Manzanita Speedway, 3417 West Broadway Road in Phoenix. Tickets cost $10 to $12, and public-safety officers who show their badges at the ticket window the night of the race receive discounted admission. Call 602-276-7575 or visit www.manzanitaspeedway.us.
The Minstrel Show on Sunday, August 28, at the Clubhouse Music Venue, 1320 East Broadway Road in Tempe, is devoid of old-school minstrels (actors with cork-blackened faces performing racist caricatures). This show is a hip-hop diatribe featuring The Away Team, Legacy, Darien Brockington, Joe Scudda, and Chaundon. And since we're all sick of Big Brother breathing down our necks, we're glad to know that the headliner is Atlantic Records artist Little Brother, who finds a link between hip-hop and the minstrel shows of the past. "Black people are still performing in these shows, celebrating senseless materialism, excessive violence, and blatant misogyny," he says. "Only today, they aren't known as minstrels. They're now known as rap stars. Chicken and watermelon have been replaced with rims and jewelry, turning hip-hop into one big modern-day minstrel show." Hear what else Little Brother has to say at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $14.50. Call 480-968-3238 or visit www.clubhousegigs.com.
If you're like Todd Rundgren, and you don't wanna work, you just wanna bang on the drum all day, then march down to Bodyworks Studio, 1801 South Jentilly Lane in Tempe, for African Drumming for Beginners, a class that teaches not only the rhythms and rudiments of African drumming, but also its heritage (did you know, for example, that slave owners banned the drum from their plantations because it was considered a powerful tool of communication among slaves?). Hit the skins every Monday at 7:15 p.m. The class costs $10. Call 480-894-2090.
Any games that involve the words "cock" and "kicking" probably wouldn't draw many participants stateside, but in China, "shuttlecock kicking" is all the rage, as a single burg like Dandong City has more than 20,000 shuttlecock-kicking spots for its citizens' morning exercise (a "shuttlecock" is the projectile players hit in badminton). The game requires dexterity and swiftness, as do most of the Chinese sports we'll witness at the Taipei Youth Classical Folk Performances at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street. In addition to the aforementioned game, performers in vibrant costumes will demonstrate a variety of dance, rope skipping, and Chinese yo-yo techniques beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 30. Tickets cost $15 for general admission, $10 for students, seniors, and children under 12. VIP tickets are also available for $25. Call 602-418-8895.
Get ready for a downtown hoedown, as The Hacienda Brothers and Busted Hearts kick up their spurs and run through the bluegrass on Wednesday, August 31. The Hacienda Brothers have been riding a wave of critical acclaim for their self-titled debut album on Koch Records, an engaging mishmash of alt-country, rock, and soul, while Busted Hearts turned in a shit-kickin' performance at this year's New Times Music Showcase and continues to bring its banjo-addled "murder ballads" to Valley audiences. The two bands will tear it up at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road. Plowed Under opens the show at 9 p.m. Admission costs $8. Call 602-265-4842 or visit www.rhythmroom.com.