Ernesto Moncada wears a lot of hats in his downtown Phoenix adventures: writer, poet, comedian, performance artist. Each one contributes to his mischievous and raunchy alter ego Ernasty, the goth-eyed host of Firestage, the unpredictable variety show and open mic that celebrates its sixth anniversary on Friday, August 15.
Between jokes and quips, Ernasty doesn't so much control the chaos of the monthly mish-mash of music, stand-up comedy, poetry, belly dancing, and stage performance as he is its nimble tour guide. Early on, Firestage was heavy on poetry until, Moncada says, "Someone asked us if we could feature some touring bands that were scheduled to play at the new Willow House on Van Buren, a venue that was shut down that same night by their landlord." The go-with-the-flow flavor now stands as a hallmark of Phoenix's wiliest live show that's kept audiences returning each month for six years.
The Firestage's Sixth Anniversary Show is at The Firehouse Gallery, 1015 North First Street, and starts at 9 p.m. The suggested donation for admission is $5. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/firehousephoenix. -- Jose Gonzalez
Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. For those "stuck" in that glorified, taffeta prom dress of life, there's hope -- or at least, in the theater.
Fountain Hills Theater presents Always a Bridesmaid, a comedic tale of four friends enduring their own journeys down the aisle and the trials and tribulations of so-called wedded bliss. A hopeful romantic with a "perfect" marriage, a third-time's-the-charm favorite, a soon-to-be divorcee with an adulterous husband, and a scrupulous, steadfast single round out the cast of characters as they maneuver through marriage, both together and apart.
Performances run Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. through Sunday, August 24. Curtain is at 8 p.m. on Friday, August 15, at the Fountain Hills Theater, 11445 North Saguaro Boulevard. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for youth, plus a $3 handling fee for both. Call 480-837-9661 or visit www.fhtaz.org for tickets. -- Janessa Hilliard
If you want want some more insight on what dead people do, go talk to a medium. But if you want to know what alive people do, go check out Jamie Kilstein and his opening performer John Frusciante for an evening of interactive improv and comedy. Kilstein, a New Yorker who's appeared on Conan, Showtime, FX, Feministing, and Upworthy, will be delivering his progressive, left-wing material from his number-one comedy album, What Alive People Do, while Frusciante, a frequent Upright Citizens Brigade contributor and member of the comedy troupe AIRWOLF, will be generating laughs with the help of the audience.
Kilstein and Frusciante will preform at 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 16, at Playhouse on the Park, 1850 North Central Avenue. General admission is $30. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.tickets.phoenixtheatre.com or call the box office at 602-254-2151. -- Katie Johnson
It may not be what he's best known for, but during his time Ansel Adams was a staunch supporter of the photographic book. The famed nature photog may have been on to something.
The latest photography exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum, "The Process and the Page," explores some of the most celebrated photographic books produced between 1930 and 2013 by nine well-respected photographers, including W. Eugene Smith and Richard Avedon. The exhibition takes viewers through the five-step process typically involved in creating a photo book, and even offers the rare opportunity to flip through some of these books by hand.
This is the last week to catch "The Process and the Page" at the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue; the exhibition closes on August 17. On Saturday, August 16, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and general admission is $15. For more information, visit www.phxart.org call 602-257-1880. -- Katrina Montgomery
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If life reflects art, then those who watch soap operas must lead the most dramatically tangled webs of lives. While we'll readily admit to getting sucked into a soap or two on sick days, we have to say that our lives have never exactly reflected the, ahem, art we were enjoying. How tiresome it must be to deal with the torrid love affairs, secret children, and incessant scheming that daytime diehards' daily lives must require. We get a peek into one such story in Odilon Rocha's A Novela das Oito (Prime Time Soap). Set in Brazil in 1978, the film follows a high-class prostitute who's hooked on a telenovela and her sidekick maid as the duo flees a terrible accident. Exploring the need for escapism in both a literal and metaphorical sense, the dramedy explores its characters' love of disco, dancing, and the soap opera Dancin' Days, while living under a dictatorship.
The film screens in the Stage 2 theater at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street, at 2 p.m. Sunday, August 17. Additional screenings are scheduled through Monday, August 25. Tickets are $5 via www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org or by calling 480-499-8587. -- Becky Bartkowski