Will 2005 finally be the breakthrough year for the Arizona Cardinals? We're (cautiously) optimistic, and some pundits have even picked the team to win the weak-sister NFC West. The Cards have new jerseys and a slightly altered logo, new quarterback Kurt Warner is a former National Football League and Super Bowl MVP who may yet have some gas in the tank, and head coach Dennis Green has a deft drafting touch that should start paying dividends sooner than later -- possibly sooner with the arrival of rookie running back J.J. Arrington, a potential game-breaker. Check it out as the redbirds wrap up the preseason with a game against the Denver Broncos and former Cardinals quarterback Jake Plummer. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday, September 2, at Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium. Call 602-379-0102 or 623-266-5000, or visit www.azcardinals.com.
The sages prophesied that technology would save us -- time, money, peace of mind, you name it -- but we all know that was a load of bunk. If your computer goes blooey, you're screwed, as anyone who's tried getting through to tech support on a weekend can attest. Monique Prieto, on the other hand, twists high-tech to her own ends, as you'll see in the exhibition "southwestNET: Monique Prieto," opening Saturday, September 3, at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. "Monique Prieto" showcases new works by the Mexican-American Renaissance woman -- a full-time mom who creates computer "blobs and blips" between diaper changes. Prieto terms her abstract creations "funky biomorphic forms," and she wields her desktop buddy as a painter would wield a brush, bridging the ever-widening gap between digital and traditional art. Hey, it works for Prieto -- much better than tech support works for us. The exhibition continues through December 4 at the museum, 7380 East Second Street. Admission is $7, $5 for students, free for SMoCA members and those under 15, and free to all on Thursdays. Call 480-994-2787 or visit www.smoca.org.
Mondays -- blah, humbug. But as you face traffic snarls and snarling bosses at the beginning of the week, you can savor that sweet buzz you picked up at Hidden House's "Muck Fondays" party the night before. The House, which ostentatiously bills itself as "The Best Bar on the Planet," kicks out the Sunday jams with a quartet of DJs (Delikacy, Darrel-D, Gizmo, and Astonish) and drink specials to die for: $2.75 Fat Tires, $4 Stoli martinis, etc. The Stolis alone would be worth the price of admission if there was one. "Muck Fondays" happens each Sunday. The Hidden House is located at 607 West Osborn Road. Call 602-266-1763.
Break out the sunscreen and the tropical beachwear on Monday, September 5, and head to Eldorado Park, 2301 North Miller Road in Scottsdale, for a Labor Day Luau. The free, family-style event will feature Polynesian dancers, lifeguards in leis and grass skirts, and various games, including limbo and "How Long Can You Hula?" contests. Festivities start at 2 p.m. and continue 'til 4. Free swimming at the Eldorado pool is also offered from 1 to 6 p.m. Call 480-312-2484.
Armchair thrill-seekers much prefer the works of Karin Slaughter to, say, bungee jumping down a glacial crevasse or getting stuck on the bottom of a roller-coaster loop. In fact, Slaughter's fan(atic)s have kept the author's suspense novels (Blindsighted, A Faint Cold Fear, etc.) on the New York Times best-seller list for many moons. Slaughter will have you on the edge of your seat when she discusses and signs copies of her latest book, Faithless, which explores the dark side of human nature. The free event starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 6, at the Poisoned Pen, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale. Call 480-947-2974.
Arizona filmmaker Penelope Price documents the death of a generation -- as well as the uncharted depths to which mankind can fall -- in her unflinching documentary Artist of Resistance. Price made the one-hour film, detailing the murder of 131 children by El Salvadoran soldiers, over the course of four years and three trips to the village of El Mozote, where the atrocity occurred. The filmmaker approached the killings (and subsequent exhumation of the bodies) from the viewpoint of Berkeley, California, artist Claudia Bernardi, who painted a series of murals to memorialize the innocent victims of war. "The story transcends El Salvador. It is a parable of colonization," says Price, who will be in attendance to discuss the film, post-screening. The documentary starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 7, and is presented in conjunction with the Paper Heart's "Film Nuit à la Paper Heart" series. Admission is $3. The gallery is located at 750 Grand Avenue. Call 602-262-2020 or visit www.thepaperheart.com.