Arthur Edwards, the ex-Refreshments' bassist turned novelist, provides a diversion for summer-scorned Phoenicians in his book Stuck Outside of Phoenix. With triple-digit temperatures quickly approaching our soon-to-be-burning hell, escape sounds like heaven on Earth. Sadly, though, engaged readers who participate in Edwards' intricate plot will be taken far, far away -- to Tempe. On Thursday, March 24, Edwards performs a musical rendering of his novel at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt. The hourlong set will involve readings of selected book passages juxtaposed with sound effects "to help give the reading sections more of an old-time radio show feel," Edwards says. The book chronicles the struggles of a young musician who longs to escape the opaque Phoenix-area music scene, circa 1990, for the fledgling grunge rock movement of Seattle. In the end, the protagonist travels more internally than geographically -- though we won't completely spoil it for you. The show starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $5. See www.modified.org or call 602-462-5516. -- Steve Jansen
'Baag o' Tricks
PHiX brings in the Sküm
Words of wisdom from Glendale Community College professor Doug Nottingham to his music students: "If you're going to do a reggae tune that ravages the reggae culture, you gotta do it well." And he's talking from experience, kids. Nottingham and his Skümbaag bandmates have played that gig all too often -- with surprising success. And that goes for their "death metal version of an old Carpenters' tune," as Nottingham describes it, and the Eagles/Don Henley spoken-word portion of the show. "Our bass player toured with a Greek wedding band, so in the middle of a song we can go from Greek wedding style, then switch to metal, and the bridge will be country," he says. Feel the Skümbaag experience on Saturday, March 26, when the quintet plays a rare Phoenix show (Nottingham's bandmates live in New Mexico, Wisconsin and Massachusetts) of mostly original songs at the PHiX, 1113 Grand Avenue, starting at 8 p.m. Admission is $8. Call 602-252-7449. -- Joe Watson
Major League Dance Troupe
Extra innings at SCA
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A dancer dressed as a giant baseball bounds onto the stage as another takes the plate and swings. Others clad in striped tights and baseball caps sensuously flex and gyrate with baseball bats in hand while lights and smoke creep and flash across the stage. No, you're not watching SportsCenter on acid. This is Baseball, MOMIX style. The group of "dance illusionists" fuses Cirque-style performances with props and visuals, creating an 18-part tribute to America's favorite pastime. Head to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts on Friday, March 25, and Saturday, March 26. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Virginia G. Piper Theater, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $36. Call 480-994-ARTS or see www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org. -- Lynh Bui