What if Spider-Man 2 or The Bourne Supremacy had skipped out on Phoenix movie theaters? Madness would take to the streets. Yet fans cope as independent films regularly bypass silver screens around the Valley. Beginning Friday, August 20, one of six indie flicks will premi're each week exclusively at Tempe Pollack Cinemas, 1825 East Elliot, as part of "The Movie Series" presented by One Night Cinema. "There are plenty of blockbusters out there," says Randy Montgomery, co-founder of One Night Cinema. "But there are a lot of good films not playing otherwise."
Worthy reviews helped Montgomery select the titles that were booked. The Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert called the first film in the series, Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself, "a warm comedy." Produced in the U.K., it focuses on two introspective brothers who inherit their father's bookstore after he dies.
Following Friday's feature, audiences within the 400-seat auditorium will join film critic Gayle Bass in an open discussion under the house lights. Admission to each show is $6. Ticket packages, $30, including 10 movie tickets and a coupon for free concessions, are available at the box office or online at www.onenightcinema.com. Call 480-345-6461. -- Jonathan Winters
Free artists' workshop
Workshops are infamous for poster boards and flip charts lacking artistic value. Shouldn't be the case at Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central, on Monday, August 23, when the Arizona Commission on the Arts hosts a free artists' workshop from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Artists will share career advice and learn about resources, including professional and project grants. Call 602-255-5882. -- Joe Watson
"Honeyboy" headlines the Rhythm Room
Don't trust anyone under 30, especially when it comes to the blues. After all, who's got more mojo -- some toe-haired upstart or a world-weary soul like David "Honeyboy" Edwards, who experienced the Delta blues scene firsthand? The octogenarian Edwards co-headlines "Back Porch Blues" on Sunday, August 22, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School, along with Alvin Youngblood Hart. The lineup also includes locals Bill Tarsha, Buddy Reed, and Uvon and the Amazing Blues Wizards. (Hart, by the way, will conduct a guitar workshop on Sunday, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., at the Holiday Inn, 4321 North Central.) "Back Porch Blues" starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $12. Call 602-265-4842 or see www.phoenixblues.org. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Queer As Folk goes Boom
Ever wanted to step foot into a nightclub like Babylon, the mainstay of the Showtime television series Queer As Folk? Well now you can, thanks to the Queer As Folk Future Babylon tour. The 18-city tour seeks to simulate what the Babylon club might look like in the year 2050. Rubio and Kidd Madonny, known as the RKM Future Boys, have designed sets for movies like The Birdcage, as well as decorating the private parties of P Diddy and Bette Midler. On Saturday, August 21, from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., the duo gives Boom Nightclub, 1724 East McDowell, a makeover for the show, which also features NYC DJ Mike Rizzo and local Energy 92.7 DJs Justin Dohman and Rod Carrillo (also the house DJ at Sky Lounge). Tickets are $10 to $16; tickets from the rescheduled June 12 date in Flagstaff will be honored. Visit www.futurebabylon.com. -- Niki D'Andrea
West Word, Ho
Poets get back in the saddle
Rustlers roost in the cool setting of Prescott for the 17th Annual Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, Thursday, August 19, through Saturday, August 21. The gathering showcases the works of more than 100 poets and "old-time singers," who'll perform for fellow cowboys from Oregon, Wyoming, California, New Mexico, South Dakota, Colorado and, of course, Arizona. Performances include public readings, as well as yodeling and ranch-style storytelling. Fourteen cowboys and girls, including New River's Joette Conley and Prescott's Lee Brimhall, are the featured poets whose works were selected by a panel of judges. Free performances will be held at the Sharlot Hall Museum, 415 West Gurley, beginning at noon Friday, and evening performances -- $16 a ticket -- will be held at Yavapai College Performance Hall, 1100 East Sheldon. Call 877-928-4253 or see www.sharlot.org. -- Joe Watson
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The 1950s were clad in bobby socks and hoop skirts, with shiny, happy people loving suburbia. Right?
Not so much, says local artist Deborah McMillion Nering, curator of "Retro-Daddio," an art exhibition that opens on Tuesday, August 24, at the Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural. In Nering's painting Desolation Angels (pictured), which takes its title from the Jack Kerouac book of the same name, three beatnik "pre-goth" girls live the life Nering says "wasn't all it was cracked up to be." "It was a really depressing lifestyle. It was counterculture avant-garde," says Nering, who grew up in the '50s and '60s. "We thought it was cool then, but when you're a kid, you don't know all the details."
The collection's realist approach to the decade keeps on keepin' on with works by 14 artists, including Roberta Hancock, Karen Stucke, Max Lehman and James Angel. The exhibition runs through December 1 and can be seen in the lower-level gallery of the library. Call 480-350-5500. -- Joe Watson