One of the stories I've heard all my life/Is about why a rancher takes a wife/So here's the facts that everyone knows . . . . If you're on the edge of your seat to know a) why a rancher takes a wife and b) what rhyme the author found for the word "knows," you'll have to head north for the answer. If the sound of spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle makes you want to go ridin' merrily along happy trails under starry skies above, you may have to consider a road trip--make that a "road mosey"--to Prescott's 1998 Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering. This 11th annual bards' confab is planned for this weekend at Sharlot Hall Museum, 415 West Gurley. Plans include multiple daytime sessions of storytelling, poetry readings, songs and more, plus evening performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 13; 8 p.m. Friday, August 14; and 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday, August 15; at the nearby Elks Opera House. The throbbing lyric above is by Barbara Hall of Hurricane, Utah; other participating cowpokes and pokettes this year include several from Arizona--Joette Conley and Vance Wampler of Phoenix, Rolf Flake of Gilbert, Carole Jarvis of Wickenburg, Dee Strickland Johnson of Payson, Ken Moore of Hereford and Cottonwood's Robert Ryan-Van, as well as meter-punchers from Texas, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado and California. Admission to daytime events is free; tickets for evening shows are $9 in advance, $10 at the door. 1-520-445-3122.
In the era of There's Something About Mary, Anthony Marriot and Alistair Fort's 1971 farce No Sex Please, We're British--which ran for well more than a decade in London despite bad reviews--will probably seem about as quaint a bit of mummery as you're likely to find. Mesa Little Theatre presents the tale of a young bride who inadvertently mail-orders "Scandinavian pornography," scandalizing her starchy bank-manager husband. Final performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, August 14; the same time Saturday, August 15; and 2 p.m. Sunday, August 16, at Mesa Arts Center Theatre, 155 North Center. Tickets are $8. 834-9500.
More naughty Brit high jinks: Scottsdale-based Is What It Is Theatre presents Ray Cooney and John Chapman's Not Now, Darling, another comedy of "unfaithful husbands, mistaken identities and airborne undergarments" set in an exclusive London furrier. The show, deemed suitable for those in middle school and older, opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 14; and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 15, in the Community Room at Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park, 4619 East Washington. Tickets are $5. The run continues through Sunday, August 23. 994-9495.
Beginning and experienced Lindy Hoppers alike can learn from dancer and teacher Steven Mitchell, who shows his moves to the sounds of the nine-piece Hollywood Hepsters at the Summer Swing Fling. Mitchell hosts dances at 8 p.m. Friday, August 14; and the same time Saturday, August 15, in the east-side gym of Shadow Mountain High School, 2902 East Shea; each of these includes a beginners' class. On Saturday, August 15, and Sunday, August 16, Mitchell conducts daytime classes, starting at 10 a.m. The whole weekend costs $120; individual classes cost $15; individual dances cost $10. 994-4637.
A silent movie accompanied by live music can be as vibrant as a sound movie, and sometimes more so. The Valley of the Sun chapter of the American Theatre Organists Society continues its uphill struggle to keep alive this part of our cinematic heritage with a Silent Film Festival. Three short comedies from before the talkie era are accompanied by Rob Richards, starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 15, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams. The bill includes James Parriot and Leo McCarey's 1929 Two Tars, with Laurel and Hardy causing trouble in a traffic jam; the great Buster Keaton in 1922's The Blacksmith; and Charlie Chaplin in The Cure, a self-directed vehicle of 1917 which gives a glimpse of Chaplin's favorite pre-Tramp vaudeville persona: "The Inebriate," or comedy drunk. Tickets are $10. 979-1100 (ATOS).
Barry Goldwater is honored by the new exhibit at Heard Museum North--"Cloud Messengers: Hopi Katsina Dolls" features upwards of 200 of the native figurines (the usual spelling of the word, "kachina," is said to be a less accurate reflection of the Hopi pronunciation), many donated by the late senator. It opens Saturday, August 15, and continues through July 1999. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission: $2, $1 for those ages 4 to 12, free for younger kids and Heard members. At el Pedregal at the Boulders, 34505 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. 488-9817.
If you're tired of keeping up with the Joneses, perhaps you'd rather keep up with the smiths: Arizona Bronze Fine Art Foundry holds a "public night pour and exhibition" showcasing the works of foundry artisans John Tuomisto-Bell and Jeff Wilson from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, August 15, at the foundry, 1820 East Third Street in Tempe. Tuomisto-Bell works in hanging mixed media; Wilson's sculptures combine castings with fabricated and found objects. There's also a sculpture garden. 968-4011.
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A "feis"--pronounced "fesh"--is a festival of competitive Irish dancing. A Phoenix Feis Fund Raiser, in support of the Phoenix Irish Feis to be held in October in Sun City, is scheduled for 2 p.m. through (at least) 7 p.m. Sunday, August 16, at Dubliner Irish Pub & Restaurant, 3841 East Thunderbird. Featured dancing ensembles will include The McMorrows, The Rambling Rovers, The Rogues and dancers from the McElligott Dance School, the Bracken Dance School and the McTeggard Dance School. The donation is $3 per person, $5 per couple; kids under 12 get in free. 273-7282.
It'd probably have been easier to get a seat at Princess Di's funeral than to get one this late for the Elton John concert, but for those who can find a ticket, the Pinball Wizard and in-the-wind-candlestick-maker is scheduled to play on Monday, August 17, at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. Tickets are officially $49.50; showtime is 8 p.m. 379-7800 (AWA), 503-5555 (Dillard's).
At 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month, the Phoenix Rose Society meets at the Valley Garden Center, 1809 North 15th Avenue. On Tuesday, August 18, the scheduled guest is Gary Patterson, who will speak on the subject of new technology in horticulture. Admission is free. 937-5713.
They say it's never too late to start exercising--some of us have been counting on this truism for a long time. Those over 60 who've decided not to put it off any longer can learn how to grow old healthily in the Introduction to Senior Fitness Workshop led by senior fitness instructor June Andrus at noon Wednesday, August 19, at Estrella Mountain Community College, 3000 North Dysart Road in Avondale. The fee for the two-hour, noncredit intro to strength training, cross-training and exercise is $40. Workout clothes are advised. 935-8400.