This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

THU 17
The iPod Nation has a seemingly insatiable craving for larger-than-life gaming. What's The Amazing Race but a high-stakes Easter-egg hunt? What's Fear Factor but an over-the-top game of chicken? The latest overgrown-kid craze is RoShamBo/Rock-Paper-Scissors, an extreme makeover of the kiddy contest that's morphed into a fiercely competitive "sport." The California winery Roshambo -- named in honor of the game -- invented its own version of the contest (which, sadly, doesn't involve getting soused while you play). This year, the winery has taken its annual tournament on the road with the inaugural Southwest RPS Showdown, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 17, at Scottsdale's Tapino Kitchen & Wine Bar, 7000 East Shea Boulevard. While the age-old rules remain the same -- rock beats scissors, scissors beat paper, and paper beats rock -- the game has captured the imagination of young adults because it's intense, strategic, and just about anyone can do it. "The only muscle that matters is the one in your head," says Roshambo Winery president Naomi Brilliant. Viewing is free. Participation costs $10 in advance, $15 at the door. A prize (to be determined) awaits the winning whiz kid. Call 480-991-6887 or visit www.tapino.com.

FRI 18
We've often wondered whether salsa, the Latin dance style, was named after the hot sauce, or the other way around. It's a puzzle, to be sure, but one we won't have time to ponder on Friday, November 18, as we'll be too busy shaking our moneymakers at "For Salsa Maniacs" -- a dance-floor-scorching weekly do hosted by VJ Ramiro El Rumbero. On any given weekend night, Rumbero is likely to reel out vids by the likes of Celia Cruz, Fania All Stars, Marc Anthony, Oscar D'Leon, Los Van Van, and Rubén Blades. The party starts at 9:30 p.m. each Friday and Saturday at Pepin, 7363 East Scottsdale Mall. The cover is $7. Call 480-990-9026.

SAT 19
The world's full of folks who get their kicks climbing big-ass mountains, but the goal of the true hard cases is to scale all 14 of the world's 8,000-plus-meter peaks. The Phoenix Seven Summits Challenge isn't quite that ambitious, but it still sounds like a rock heap of fun. Participants in the two-day event, scheduled for Saturday, November 19, and Sunday, November 20, have their pick of four competitions. The most physically demanding is the Single-Day Challenge, wherein hardy hikers attempt to conquer the seven highest peaks in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve -- Lookout Mountain, North Mountain, Shaw Butte, Piestewa Peak, Camelback Mountain, the Gila Valley Lookout at South Mountain Park, and the West Buttes at Papago Park -- in an 11-hour time span. In-person preregistration is required; entry fees range from $10 to $30. All challenges begin and end at the REI store at 12634 North Paradise Village Parkway. Call 602-996-5400.

SUN 20
Consider the tuba, wretched waif of the instrument world. It's unappreciated by everyone but lederhosen-clad oompah outfits and marching-band nerds. Right? Wrong -- at least according to Texas rockers Drums & Tuba. While obviously influenced by the drum 'n' bass movement, D&T has pushed the envelope with its brassy brew of funk, bop, emo-punk, navel-gazing jam-rock, King Crimson-style prog, and loopy samples. Touring in support of Battles Olé, its tubular new disc for Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe label, D&T performs on Sunday, November 20, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road. Doors open at 8 p.m. The cover is $8. Call 602-265-4842 or visit www.rhythmroom.com.

MON 21
The down-to-earth dudes behind the Gadabout Traveling Film Festival lug their cinematic wares around the country in a van. Though we hesitate to call them hippies, they're much more likely to don tie-dye than Pierre Cardin. In fact, Gadabout is proudly non-mainstream -- a self-defined "distribution avenue for truly indie filmmakers who distrust Hollywood and the commercial film-festival circuit." The 15-odd shorts featured in this year's fest include Trina's Collection (an homage to the founder of Go Girl! Comics); Nelson: Rock and Roll Detectives (featuring fictional versions of hair-pop stars Matthew and Gunnar Nelson as intergalactic private eyes); and Robot Boy, which is about a lad whose parents "try to improve his less-than-perfect human parts with robot parts." Showtime is 8 p.m. Monday, November 21, at the Trunk Space, 1506 Grand Avenue. Admission is $5. Call 602-256-6006. A second showing is scheduled on Tuesday, November 22, at Counter Culture Café, 2330 East McDowell Road. Call 602-231-0762. For general information, visit www.gadaboutfilmfest.com.

TUE 22
Thank God Wyatt Earp wasn't shootin' blanks at the O.K. Corral, or we might all be livin' next door to a buncha rowdy rednecks named Clanton right about now. The cowpokes and -girls at the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association World Championship do shoot blanks -- black-powder cartridges -- at balloons strategically placed between barrels. They're scored on accuracy and time, and the best in various divisions earn world titles and cold, hard cash. The shooters wear authentic 1800s-period clothing and take aim with .45-caliber single-action revolvers like those used in the Old West. Competition begins Tuesday, November 22, and continues through Sunday, November 27, at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road. Visit www.cowboymountedshooting.com for a complete rundown of daily events. Call 480-312-6802.

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