If you're looking for an alternative to Hollywood's seasonal onslaught of high-concept blockbusters, you'll find it at "Video Slam!" -- a digital offshoot of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's popular "Slide Slam" series. "Video Slam!" features experimental offerings by Tony Ash and Steve Gompf and a screening of the acclaimed documentary Artist of Resistance, which was conceived and directed by Scottsdale Community College professor Penelope Price. No Festival Required's Steve Weiss hosts and leads a post-show discussion, which is followed by a reception. Showtime is 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 16, in Stage 2 Theater at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Admission is free. Call 480-994-2787 or visit www.ScottsdaleArts.org. -- Clay McNear
It's a Wet Heat
The forecase is chile and hot
The thrill of a blistering habanero-capsaicin rush will bring revelers flocking to Desert Botanical Garden on Saturday, November 12, and Sunday, November 13, as habit-forming samples are handed out at the garden's annual Chiles and Chocolate Festival. Gluttons for punishment will see just how high they can go on the Scoville Heat Index as they sample a multitude of foods laced with sinus-clearing, tear-inducing hot peppers. Those with less-masochistic tendencies can indulge in the festival's other culinary delight, chocolate, whose decadent flavor might bring tears of another type to some eyes. Daily hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. DBG is located at 1201 North Galvin Parkway. Tickets are $10. Call 480-941-1225 or visit www.dbg.org. -- Douglas Towne
The Queens of Kings at E-Lounge
You could kick the boys of the Albuquerque Kings Club right in their bulging crotches and they'd just laugh it off. The eight members of AKC are all drag kings (women who perform as men), and their bulges are probably just rolled-up socks. Their convincing mustaches, goatees and beards are faux, too. It's all fake, in fact, but it's all fun.
"[Drag] is transformative. It gives us an opportunity to explore our masculine sides fully," says AKC manager and performer Renee Dotson, a.k.a. Flynnt. "We are all masculine women often mistaken for men in our daily lives. Being in drag allows us to go there without people feeling embarrassed about saying, 'Excuse me, sir . . .'"
The troupe will "go there" here on Saturday, November 12, when it performs at E-Lounge, 4323 North Seventh Avenue. Dotson/Flynnt, along with fellow performers Seymour, Luke, Bo, Brooks, Rocco, Dustin, and Mac, will dance and lip-synch to a variety of individual and group numbers as their testosterone-fantasy selves. "You can expect anything from Elvis to Usher," says Dotson. "There is something for everyone in our performances."
Croissant-country road trip
Who knew that French history was only a short car trip away? No, we're not talking about the fake Eiffel Tower or the cheesy, beret-wearing waiters at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel. We're talking about the French Trail Scavenger Hunt, which begins at 9 a.m. Sunday, November 13, at La Madeleine, 3102 East Camelback. Teams of two to four search for local French-related icons -- murals, historical monuments, etc. -- using provided clues, and meet back at the cafe about 12:30 p.m. to compare notes. Prizes are awarded for accuracy, not time; drivers actually have to sign a waiver saying they won't speed. The event is held in conjunction with ASU's "C'est la Semaine du Français 2005" celebration. "We do [scavenger hunts] a lot in France. It's a kind of cultural rally," says event coordinator Brigitte Terseur of New Acropolis, a nonprofit cultural organization with centers in 45 countries around the globe. The cost is $10 per car. To register, call 480-756-3910. For info about other "C'est la Semaine" events, visit www.asu.edu/languages/fre/FrenchWeek.htm. -- Wynter Holden