There's arguably nothing inherently funny about being a Latino immigrant struggling in America. So forgive us if a one-man show of monologues chronicling immigration hassles and low self-esteem under a post-September 11 backdrop doesn't immediately lighten our mood. Unless that comedic romp happens to be the follow-up to the off-Broadway hit Men on the Verge of a His-Panic Breakdown, which opens with a "pay-what-you-can" preview at 8 p.m. Friday, September 10, at Playhouse on the Park, 1850 North Central. Andres Alcala returns in the Teatro Bravo production of the Guillermo Reyes play, directed by Joseph Megel. Alcala, as he did in the first Men on the Verge, plays a variety of Latino immigrant men "on the verge" of personal crises, such as dealing with sexual identity and same-sex weddings. After the preview night, tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors. The show runs through September 24. Call 602-258-1800. -- Joe Watson
For A Song
Symphony lets freebies ring
For fans of free music, this is a symphonic score. The Phoenix Symphony pipes up for two free "fun and informal" Season Preview Concerts at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 10, and Saturday, September 11. Conductor Robert Moody leads the orchestra through selections from each symphony series (Classics, Pops, Family, etc.), and this musical movement really moves -- from Gershwin's An American in Paris to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker to the Harry Potter soundtrack to Beethoven's Fifth. No tickets are required; doors open at 6:15 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. See www.phoenixsymphony.org for details. The Phoenix Police Chorus joins the symphony for a free People's Pops Community Concert -- The Olympic Dream -- at 3 p.m. Sunday, September 12, at the Civic Plaza Ballroom, 33 South Third Street. Tickets are required and can be picked up at any Phoenix public library. -- Jill Koch
Off to See the Wizards
College professor is a performer, too 9/10-9/11
If you've attended a Valley college over the past 30 years, you've probably run into Dr. Yuvonne Brooks. As a professor at several Maricopa Community Colleges, Brooks has inspired students to learn, but this weekend, she'll inspire them to dish over some cash to the Mesa Community College Stagedoor Scholarship Fund. Brooks transforms from academic to UVON, a "vocasto" (vocalist/storyteller), and, backed by the Amazing Blues Wizards, uses tunes, vignettes and spoken word to weave a musical history of blues and jazz. The Blues & Jazz Revue hits the stage at MCC's Theatre Outback, 1833 West Southern in Mesa, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 10, and Saturday, September 11. Tickets are $10. For more info, call 480-461-7170. --Erika Wurst
Festival highlights culture
Showcase your grasp of the Spanish language by running through the bill of the Sixth Annual Chandler Mariachi Festival on Saturday, September 11, at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Mariachi los Arrieros, Pasión, Juvenil Guadalupano, and Folklórico y Cultura perform from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $25. Call 480-782-2680. --Joe Watson
Reno's Rebel rouses Scottsdale
Better late than never for comedic performer and Manhattan native Reno, whose one-woman show, Rebel Without a Pause: Unrestrained Reflections on September 11 -- a first-person account of the destruction of the World Trade Center -- was to be performed in Scottsdale more than a year ago. "But that was right about the time of the whole 'shock and awe' thing," she says, hinting that her show was axed because of political pressure. "They wouldn't come out and say it was because of politics . . . but it's awfully coincidental."
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Although still annoyed, she's bringing the acclaimed off-Broadway show to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, for two performances, Thursday, September 9, and Friday, September 10. The show is raw, political and impromptu. Reno says no one has ever walked out of a performance because of the content, but she admits it usually doesn't attract pro-President Bush audiences. Republicans are invited, nonetheless. For tickets, $28, call 480-994-2787 or visit www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org. -- C. Murphy Hebert
She's got it all
Sat 9/11 She's a mother, advice columnist, punk icon, former porn star, and now a blues and rockabilly songstress/vixen. Candye Kane proves she's every woman -- with plenty to go around -- on Saturday, September 11, when she performs at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 602-265-4842. --Joe Watson