Bob Log III once described his music as "poo-party, tit-clapping, techno blues." But the 35-year-old bluesbilly, who sings through an old telephone glued to the front of a motorcycle helmet, spouts "Mom" similes these days. "I'm just trying to sound like your mama calling up with some recipes for cookies," says Log, who plays a show at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School, on Thursday, July 21. But most mamas don't write songs like "Big Ass Hard On" and "Boob Scotch," or play slide guitar while bouncing people on their knees as they play kick drums. How does he do it? "You know when you're a mother and a bus runs over your baby and you can pick up the bus because your baby's under the bus? That's what it's like when I play guitar," Log says. "I get that bus-pickin'-up Mom strength." Flathead opens for Log at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $8. Call 602-265-4842. -- Niki D'Andrea
To the Moon
Room for improv-ment
Don't space the details Wednesday, July 27, when the Trunk Space, 1506 Grand Avenue, hosts a night of improv comedy with troupes Catorce and Apollo 12, the short-form masters of NP Comedy Theater, "Arizona's answer to the alternative theater question everyone forgot to ask." Show starts at 8 p.m. Call 602-256-6006 or see www.thetrunkspace.com. -- Joe Watson
New play reading at Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix Theatre kicks off its eighth annual "New Works Festival" on Friday, July 22, at the Little Theatre, 100 East McDowell, with a staged reading of Dale Wasserman's "thought-provoking" Players in the Game, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $8, with a discussion that follows. Call 602-254-2151. -- Joe Watson
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Just plain folklorico
Just when you hipsters think you've seen everything there is to see in this town, the Ballet Nacional de Guatemala shows up and blows all your expectations out of the water. For 40 years, this prestigious folklorico group has toured Europe and the United States. In Los Angeles earlier this month, "there were people standing outside" the sold-out performance, says Otto Ruano, vice president of the Comité Guatemalteco Arizona (COMGUAZ). "This is the first time they are performing in the Valley." On Friday, July 22, at 8 p.m., the dance company brings The Spirit of the Mayas to the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. The program illustrates the history and diverse cultures of our Central American neighbor. (Hey, they're just the other side of Mexico -- take them a pie, already!) Tickets to The Spirit of the Mayas cost $15 to $25. Call 602-262-7272 or see tickets.com. To contact COMGUAZ about programs for the Guatemalan community, including GuateExpo and the Guatemalan Mobile Consulate, visit siemprelatinos.com. -- Julie Peterson
And other rhymes at Essenza
Poetry is often portrayed as the fertile ground of sensitive types for whom the cruel world is best dealt with in words. Thank whatever god you believe in, then, for the creation of the "poetry slam," the vehicle by which words on the page became a full-blown, competitive, contact sport. Of course, some poems are born better than others, so allow yourself to sit in judgment when the best of the best square off at the Anthology Poetry Slam, Thursday, July 21, at Essenza Coffee House, 1350 South Longmore in Mesa. Known as the Valley's preeminent poetry event since 1994, this oratorical battle features poetic heavyweights from across the Valley and nation squaring off in three rounds of action to determine the champion of the verbal onslaught. Admission is free. Call 480-461-0445 or visit www.anthology.org. -- Craig Wallach