The giant squid may have eluded scientists for decades, but Phoenix artist Pete Deise has been capturing them for years -- in metal, that is. Deise creates steel sculptures (including one at the airport and another in front of My Florist Cafe) with characteristic tentacles. His latest exhibition, "Ascension," opening Friday, December 2, at the Icehouse, 429 West Jackson, features six new works. Dozens of squirming feelers writhe at the top of each piece, conjuring images of deep-sea creatures, amoebas or rising flames. The jagged edges actually represent something that has been "torn out and rebirthed in steel," explains Deise. "It's about the forces of nature acting on living bodies." His large-scale creations are impressive, but practical concerns come with installing such heavy sculptures. "I don't want to jinx myself," Deise says, "but I'm hoping they don't fall off the crane and crash into the Icehouse." Viewing is free. Call 602-257-8929. -- Wynter Holden
Read her like a book
Poker's always been affiliated with the cigar-chomping testosterone crowd, but author/gambler Cat Hulbert is trying to change that perception with her new book, Outplaying the Boys: Poker Tips for Competitive Women. Poker Tips outlines some of the secrets of Hulbert's success, which include 1) don't bet with a broken heart; 2) don't take your cards too seriously; and 3) "know how to handle the four types of men you're likely to encounter at the table: Macho Man, Daddykins, Mr. Nice Guy, and the man who refuses to be wrapped around anyone's pinky." Hulbert signs the book at 7 p.m. Monday, December 5, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock in Tempe. Admission is free. Call 480-730-0205 or visit www.changinghands.com. -- Clay McNear
Ghana tell you about it
What does a white guy teaching papermaking workshops in Ghana do during his free time? "I gave out my phone number to many asylum-seeking Ghanaians who were after U.S. sponsorship. If not that, 'Money would do just fine, thank you,'" says Chicago book artist and paper engineer Shawn Sheehy. The nationally recognized bookbinder spent this past August in a village just outside Ghana's capital, Accra, and the artist was amazed by the natives" craft-making abilities. "There is a core group of teenagers who are very competent in terms of process," says Sheehy. "We made paper by hand on a dirt floor with sheep, goats and a pet monkey running around." On Friday, December 2, Sheehy shares his African experiences, shows his original pop-up books, and talks about his life as a letterpress printer, art professor, gallery curator, and working artist. The lecture begins at 7 p.m. at The Paper Studio, 520 East Southern in Tempe. Admission is free. Call 480-557-5700 or visit www.paperstudio.com. -- Steve Jansen
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Fest Feet Forward
Individuality can be exhausting. Sometimes you just want to hang with 250,000 other people, like at the Tempe Festival of the Arts, a tumbleweed of fun that's been rolling down Mill Avenue since 1968. As you stroll between University Drive and Rio Salado Parkway, the work of hundreds of artists, handpicked by a local jury, will make you feel all counterculture and hip despite the crowds. Hans Olson, Walt Richardson, Santa Claus, and the Grinch are among the entertainers on tap. Get festive from 10 a.m. to dusk Friday, December 2, through Sunday, December 4. Call 480-921-2300 or visit www.tempefestivalofthearts.com. -- Julie Peterson
SIX's winter mix
Henry Rollins once alleged that DJs weren't real musicians because they didn't create their own music, they just played other people's songs. Superstar San Francisco spinner Chris Clouse would beg to differ. The East Bay DJ mates others' tunes with his own original music, layering his live acoustic-guitar playing over looping pop, funk, and house beats. Hear Clouse's brand of turntable-charged folk-rock on Saturday, December 3, when he headlines "Wünderland," a fund raiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix. The soiree at SIX Lounge, 7316 East Stetson in Scottsdale, includes food from RA Sushi and Chelsea's Kitchen, as well as tasty winter cocktails like vodka and mint chocolate. Admission to the bash costs $25. The doors open at 7 p.m. Call 480-663-6620 or visit www.6az.com. -- Niki D'Andrea