Last summer, public displays of lingerie were as plentiful as feral kittens and bad movies. Luckily, as temperatures plummet and sweaters appear, the Phoenix Art Museum is unveiling "Lingerie: Secrets of Elegance" -- a sociohistorical perspective on frilly things from the 18th century onward. So what is it about the silhouette of a Maidenform Chansonette bullet bra (pictured) that resonated with the 1950s worldview? And how did we come to fetishize something as practical as underwear? "The focus is on differentiating the sexes, and it centers on the bust, the waist, and the hips," explains Dennita Sewell, PAM's curator of fashion design. "One thing that's tantalizing is the idea that just a hundred years ago, everyone wore a corset, and now no one wears one. What are some of the things that happened? These garments form the ideal shape in terms of fashion, but also in terms of the attraction of a partner: seduction, the erotic role, the idea of revealing and concealing at the same time."
"Lingerie" opens Saturday, November 19, and continues through April 9, 2006, at PAM, 1625 North Central. Admission is $3 to $9, free to all on Thursdays. Call 602-257-1222 or visit www.phxart.org. -- Julie Peterson
Have an Ice Day
Igloo, do you?
Maybe because Eskimos inhabit a frigid, semi-liquid land that hasn't been rabidly fought over for centuries, it's difficult to imagine them as Native Americans, but so they are. And Eskimos have powwows, too, though their tribal celebrations are wildly different from the ones we're used to here in the Southwest. See for yourself on Saturday, November 19, as the Nunumta Yup'ik Eskimo Singers & Dancers pay us southlanders a rare visit. The show starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central, and is held in conjunction with the Heard's new "Arctic Transformations" exhibition. Admission ranges from $4 to $10. Call 602-251-0283 or visit www.heard.org. -- Clay McNear
Art, um, opening
Like Georgia O'Keeffe's vaginal flower paintings, the sculptures of Japanese artist Yuriko Nishimura demand a double take. Pieces like Manginas (a bronze casting of an anus) are subtle yet scintillating, part of a recent body of work that "explores the beauty of human sexuality from a spiritual perspective." See Nishimura's explorations in "The Art of Divine Sex," opening Friday, November 18, with a 7 p.m. reception that includes "tantric dance" performances by Internal Wisdom and Of the Earth Dancers. The two-woman show also features the works of artist and professional "surrogate partner therapist" Mukee Olan. The exhibition runs through December 4 at Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt. Admission is free. Call 602-253-7887. -- Niki D'Andrea
Pimp Your Tree
Branch out with ornaments d'art
Signs that your Christmas tree may need a serious overhaul: An angelic ornament has started to turn brown from years of angel dust; the edible reindeer decoration is missing its head; and a heart-shaped pendant of you as a fourth-grader is the "centerpiece." Find some new seasonal bling-bling on Saturday, November 19, during the free opening reception for the Ornament Show at MADE Art Boutique, 922 North Fifth Street. From 6 to 9 p.m., browse original designs like soy silk on glass by the folks at Elusive Designs, hand-sewn textile adornments from Cyndi Coon, and an elaborate seashell-and-dried-leaf creation by Ngyet Le. Each ornament costs $20, and all are ready to hang. Cindy Dach, MADE's owner and the show's curator, says, "We always want to give back to the community, and the Ornament Show will be our annual event to benefit the less fortunate." Net proceeds will help Hurricane Katrina victims with job placement. Call 602-262-5584. -- Steve Jansen
Ayurveda? Hindu, too
If you're in downtown Phoenix on Sunday, November 20, and can't find the 2005 Discover India Diwali Festival, just follow your nose. The subcontinental soiree includes spicy eats and other culinary treats, cooking demonstrations, and cultural fare such as traditional Indian wedding enactments, mind-and-body presentations about yoga and Ayurveda, children's activities, and an assortment of vendors selling books, music, jewelry and accessories. Sponsored by the India Association of Phoenix, the fest is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Heritage & Science Park, 115 North Sixth Street. Admission is free. Call 480-998-9325 or visit www.azindiaassociation.com. -- Clay McNear
Site kicks at Paper Heart
"We're producing the most creative and genre-bending comedy show in Phoenix," crows Ryan McKee. He and Modest Proposal magazine cohort Ron Babcock are co-creators of the "Myspace Show," which skewers the "in" Web site and new social hub of youth culture. "We mix all-new sketch, standup, music, and video comedy together, along with various special guests, and come out with something unique," McKee says. November's menagerie includes Chris Fairbanks from Comedy Central, local favorite Chris Bennett, and music by Male Pattern Radness. "Sometimes things work and sometimes they don't," says McKee, "but we're always trying to push boundaries and be original." Showtime is 9:30 p.m. Saturday, November 19, at the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue. Admission is $5. Call 602-262-2020 or visit www.thepaperheart.com. -- Douglas Towne