You'll have to dig out your fuzzy ear muffs for "The Beat Before Christmas" -- a high-decibel dance rave that invades the Arizona Beach Club on Friday, December 2. "This kind of event is long overdue in the Phoenix area," says DJ Rod Carrillo, one of a slew of national, international, and local performers who'll be displaying their sonic wares. "I'd like to see people from all walks of life: dance music fans, boys with their shirts off, drag queens running around, and a bunch of kids with glow sticks going crazy." Other gifted performers who'll be tripping the Christmas lights fantastic include live acts Deborah Cox, Kristine W., Amber, Judy Torres, Lucas Prata, Lola, and QED, and a DJ posse that includes Sweden's Stonebridge, Peter Presta, Lysa D, Perry, and Greggy D. The doors open at 7 p.m., and the festivities continue 'til 3 a.m. The club is located at 430 North Scottsdale Road in Tempe. Admission is $35. Call 800-838-3006 or visit www.energyarizonafm.com.
Those living in cramped quarters and decorating their Charlie Brown-style trees with sad little ornaments can see how the other half lives at the F.Q. Story Historic District 21st Annual Home Tour. This year's event showcases nine houses on West Willetta Street from Seventh Avenue to 15th Avenue, all of which will be dolled up for the holidays. The architectural styles on display include Tudor, Spanish Revival, Bungalow, and English Cottage. Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, December 3, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, December 4. Tickets are $10, $9 with the donation of a nonperishable food item; they can be purchased at the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Willetta. Call 602-258-9282 or visit www.fqstory.org.
The Internet provides endless alternatives to stuff that's no longer alternative, such as FM radio before Big Brother took the mic. Here at home, we've got Radio Free Phoenix, a virtual station with an 8,000-song library spanning four decades, a freeform rotation that supports indie artists who produce their own music, and specialty programming like Radio Freedom, which allows listeners to play DJ for an hour and program their own 15 faves. According to the RFP mission statement, "You will not struggle through the repetitive madness that greets you at most commercial radio stations. Instead, you will hear rock 'n' roll with a heart and a conscience, brought to you by those who understand the music and the connection to it." The Radio Free Phoenix folks will be at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe, for an informal meet-and-greet from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, December 4. Admission is free, but canned goods for donation to Hurricane Katrina victims are encouraged. To access the station, visit www.radiofreephoenix.com.
The Sea Inside, winner of the 2005 Oscar for Best Foreign Film, is a beautifully rendered docudrama detailing the true story of a fisherman who was paralyzed from the neck down following a diving accident, and spent the next quarter-century seeking legal permission to commit assisted suicide. The film was directed by Spain's Alejandro Amenábar, who also wrote and helmed the moody 2001 hit The Others, starring Nicole Kidman. The Sea Inside screens at 7 p.m. Monday, December 5, at the Cactus Shadows Fine Arts Center, 33606 North 60th Street in Carefree. Scottsdale Community College film professor Wendy Myers introduces the film and leads a post-show discussion. Admission is a suggested donation of $8. Call 480-488-1090.
Texas' Robert Earl Keen is the best songwriter you've never heard of, and he hauls around a pickup-truck load of tunes ranging from the sublime ("Paint the Town Beige," "Love's a Word I Never Throw Around") to the sublimely ridiculous ("Then Came Lo Mein" and "Swervin' in My Lane" -- sample lyric: "You keep a-swervin' in muh lane, and it's causin' lots of daaaanger/You keep turnin' on your bright lights, and I'm shootin' you the faaaaanger"). Inside his home state, Keen regularly draws rowdy crowds of thousands. Now he's bustin' the Lone Star borders with a tour in support of his new and highly acclaimed Americana-crossover CD, What I Really Mean. The 21-and-over show starts at 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 6, at Martini Ranch, 7295 East Stetson Drive in Scottsdale. Tickets are $20 in advance, $22 at the door. Call 480-784-4444 or visit www.eveningstarproductions.com.
Flight attendant Rene Foss has seen it all -- first-class jerks with wandering fingers, squealing babies raising hell in coach, people retching in those little paper bags, claustrophobics with the screaming-meemies, you name it. In response, Foss penned a book detailing her 20,000-foot travails, then transformed the tome into a comic farce titled Around the World in a Bad Mood!, which is touring nationally after an extended off-Broadway run. The one-woman show opens with a performance at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 7, at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street. The production continues through December 31, with shows scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $30 and $35, $120 for the closing New Year's Eve performance, which includes dinner, party favors, and a champagne toast. Call 480-644-6500 or visit www.mesaartscenter.com.