Willie Nelson's career has evolved from silky-voiced crooner in the 1960s to pot-smoking hell-raiser in the 1970s and '80s to critically acclaimed country legend in the aughts. You might figure that's a semi-natural progression for artists who've been around for the span of five decades. But that's just the way it's supposed to happen; Willie actually did it. (And, who are we kidding? Willie's still a pot-smokin' hell-raiser!) On Sunday, May 8, Nelson and his 72-year-old flowing locks (the genetically blessed bastard!) appear onstage at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, at 7:30 p.m. to perform songs from his earliest days in Nashville -- fresh off the bus from Abbott, Texas -- including "Crazy" and "Touch Me," to his universally known hits "Always on My Mind," "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys," and "On the Road Again," to songs from his latest album, It Will Always Be, which Rolling Stone called his "strongest album" since 1996's Spirit. Tickets are $45 to $65. Call 602-267-1600, extension 1, or see www.celebritytheatre.com. -- Joe Watson
Rhythm and Blues
Dance performance rolls with riffs
On Friday, May 6, and Saturday, May 7, the dance department at Scottsdale Community College -- 9000 East Chaparral -- presents "Brush With the Blues," a dance and multimedia performance. Dancers perform to Jimi Hendrix's and Louis Jordan's "Let the Good Times Roll"; "Little Drops of Water" by Edith Johnson; and Alberta Hunter's "You Can't Tell the Difference After Dark." In between routines, video projections of B.B. King, Muddy Waters and Stevie Ray Vaughan complement the piece. Tickets are $8, $6 for students and seniors. Call 480-423-6600. -- Joe Watson
Mucho DeGrazia in new play
It's been said that indifference is an artist's greatest enemy. Suffice it to say that it was never a problem for Ted DeGrazia. The product of a poor Arizona mining family, DeGrazia grew up to become an artist whose works became definitive statements on Arizona and the Southwest. The boldness of his work and sheer force of his personality also made him a controversial and provocative figure. Award-winning playwright Terry Earp captures the life and times of a true original in the artist's own words in Ted DeGrazia: The Eccentric, which runs Tuesday, May 10, through May 19 at ASU's Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Zarco Guerrero stars in the play that captures DeGrazia's irreverence and unapologetic zest for life on his own terms. Tickets are $19.50. Senior and students discounts are available. Call 480-596-2660 or visit www.asukerr.com. -- Craig Wallach
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Inaugural Jazz & Blues fest takes stage
The heavy hitters are in town this weekend -- and we're not talking about the bats of the Diamondbacks. Beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, and noon Sunday, May 8, 10 world-class performers of blues and jazz will convene at Steele Indian School Park, Third Street and Indian School, for the inaugural Phoenix Jazz & Blues Festival. The event features more than 12 hours of music. On Saturday, legendary 32-bar blues master Taj Mahal headlines the Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute concert with his trademark style of gritty roots blues. The cadences resume the following afternoon during the Ray Charles jazz tribute, as Grammy Award winner Arturo Sandoval closes out the festival with his supercharged Cuban trumpet. Tickets are $35 to $145. See www.phoenixjazzandbluesfestival.com. -- Steve Jansen
Great, White Stanhope
"Curiously likable" comic stops by
While his former The Man Show co-host, Joe Rogan, plays it safe and currently resides in syndication hell on Fear Factor, comedian Doug Stanhope is living in purgatory, somewhere between life on the road and Girls Gone Wild DVDs. (Although we're sure Stanhope would argue that exposing naughty college girls showering with other naughty college girls is downright heavenly.) On Friday, May 6, and Saturday, May 7, Stanhope -- who's supposedly "not for everybody" (read: we dare you to prove you can handle Doug Stanhope and buy tickets to his show) -- takes the stage at The Comedy Spot, 7117 East Third Avenue in Scottsdale. Labeled as "vulgar, opinionated, brutally honest and shockingly uninhibited, yet manages to remain truly, if not curiously, likable," we figure he'll either fall flat on his face in a pool of his own vomit, or he'll really piss someone off and get his own show. We predict the latter. Tickets to the show are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. See www.thecomedyspot.net. -- Joe Watson