ZooLights: Phoenix Zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway, in Papago Park, is garbed in its usual Technicolor dreamcoat of lights--600,000 strong--during this glorious annual event. The after-hours fun continues from 6 to 9 nightly (except Christmas Eve), through January 27. New this year: "The Enchanted Forest," including the Santalike "Mountain Father," costumed characters and nature workshops. Coming in January: Super ZooLights, featuring a football-themed sound-and-light display. Special admission is $4, $3.50 for members, free for kids age 3 and under; discount tickets are available at Fry's. Call 273-1341, extension 7810.
Juilliard String Quartet: Violinist Robert Mann founded and still leads the multiple-Grammy-winning quartet, which celebrates its golden anniversary in '96. Thursday's program includes Beethoven's Quartet in B-flat major, Opus 18, No. 6; Schubert's Quartet in C major, D. 46; and Dvorak's Quartet in Aflat major, Opus 105. Showtime is 8 p.m. at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $18, $5 for students, available at the center and Ticketmaster. Call 994-2787.
Snow Queen: Center Dance Ensemble's annual presentation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale, adapted by Prokofiev, opens with aperformance at 7 p.m. Thursday in Stage West at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. The remainder of this week's performances are at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The production continues through December 17. Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors, $7 for students and kids, available at Herberger and Dillard's. For details call 252-8497 or 678-2222.
Arizona International Auto Show: Next year's models--and a few from the next millennium--are displayed in the annual vehicular extravaganza, slated for noon to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday in exhibit halls A through E at Phoenix Civic Plaza, Second Street and Adams. Tickets are $6, $4 for seniors, $1 for children ages 7 to 12, free for younger kids. For details call 262-7272 or 1-800-345-1487.
Nutcracker on Ice: A quartet of figure skaters enacts the major roles in this glitzy touring version of Tchaikovsky's Yuletide chestnut. Peggy Fleming plays the Sugar Plum Fairy, Nicole Bobek portrays Clara, and Todd Eldredge and Brian Orser skate the roles of the Nutcracker Prince and Drosselmeier, respectively. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Thursday at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Tickets are $20, $32.50 and $42.50, available at arena and Dillard's box offices. For details call 379-7800 or 678-2222.
Lynn Linton's "Gift of Love": The Valley songsmith, notable for her good work with and for children, presents this holiday concert for kids of all ages at 8 p.m. Thursday at KerrCultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. She and her band--Peter Storn, Ted Sistrunk, Michael Frassetti, Devon Bridgewater and Step Raptis--perform a mix of Linton originals and seasonal standards. Tickets are $10 and $11, available at Kerr and Dillard's. For details call 965-5377 or 678-2222.
Boston Pops: Keith Lockhart, 35, is only the third conductor this venerated symphony has had since the Hoover administration. Lockhart's predecessors? Arthur Fiedler and John Williams. The young conductor leads the ensemble in a performance of orchestral and choral works and carols at 7:30 p.m. Friday at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Tickets are $15 and $25, available at arena and Dillard's box offices. Call 379-7800 or 678-2222.
A Christmas Carol: Actors Theatre of Phoenix's traditional production of Charles Dickens' ghost story, adapted by Richard Hellesen and featuring music by David de Barry, opens with a preview at 8 p.m. Friday in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. The official opening is at 8 p.m. Saturday. The rest of this week's performances are at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Wednesday. The show continues through December 23. Tickets range from $10 to $23.50, available at Herberger and Dillard's; call 252-8497 or 678-2222. A "priceless matinee," in which patrons pay what they can afford, is planned at 2 p.m. December 22; call 253-6701 for reservations to that show.
Babes in Toyland, and Season to Risk: Call this the "Anti-Christmas" tour, and don't expect either act to cover "The March of the Wooden Soldiers"--at least, not politely. Minneapolis' Babes, led by guitarist/vocalist KatBjelland, are known for their ferocity. Kansas City, Missouri's equally savage Season held its own as the opener on July's skullcrunching Corrosion of Conformity/Monster Magnet bill. Mount Shasta opens the all-ages show at 9 p.m. Friday at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $10 in advance, $11 the day of the show, available at the club and Ticketmaster. Call 968-8664 or 784-4444.
Ruby Christmas: Planet Earth Multi-Cultural Theatre, 909 North Third Street, continues its season with this offbeat holiday entry by Sarah Dreher about a tradition-bound mother and her lesbian daughter trying to stake out a plot of common ground during a Christmas visit. This week's performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday; those who wear a real or faux ruby ring to Sunday's show receive two-for-one admission. The production continues through December 23. Tickets are $9, $7 for students and seniors. Call 241-1828. See the review on page 63.
Marlboro Country Nights Dance Showdown featuring Toby Keith: The finals of the national showdown, pitting the winning couples from the five regional championships in a hoof-off for the $10,000 grand prize, start at 8 p.m. Friday at Rockin Rodeo, 7850 South Priest inTempe. Judges Dawn Blorstade and Dean Garrish, reigning United Country Western Dance Council Division I champs, perform an exhibition prior to the concert by Polydor recording artist Keith, which commences at about 10. The cover is $5. Call 496-4336.
The Tempest: Ethington Theatre at Grand Canyon University, 3300 West Camelback, continues its 45th season with composer Lee Hoiby's operatic take on one of the Bard's most dramatic works. The play is the latest installment in Ethington's "Reconstructing Shakespeare" series, which includes upcoming presentations of Richard II and a musical revue titled Shakespeare and Friends. Final performances of The Tempest are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $8, $6.50 for seniors and kids. Call 589-2871.
Phoenix Roadrunners: Arizona's International Hockey Leaguers host the Kansas City Blades at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Veterans' Memorial Coliseum, 19th Avenue and McDowell. Tickets range from $10 to $19, available at the coliseum and Ticketmaster. Call 340-0001, 258-6711 or 784-4444.
Chris LeDoux at the New Celebrity: The singer and real-life cowpoke, a Grammy nominee (for "Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy," his duet with Garth Brooks) and a former bareback-bronc world champeen, is the first national act scheduled at the resuscitated and restored Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. The theatre-in-the-round, a Valley landmark that fell on hard times in the early '90s, is now owned by Toolies Country honcho Bill Bachand. Mogollon opens the all-ages show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $18.50 and $25, available at Toolies, Dillard's and Zia Record Exchange. For more information, call 267-1600 or 678-2222. For details about the new Celebrity's true debut, Tim & Willy's "Celebrity KMLE Christmas Breakfast Show" on Friday, see the Events listing.
Tumbleweed-Tree-Lighting Ceremony: A stranger driving through the bedroom community of Chandler wouldn't believe that a virulent strain of mischief lurks beneath the suburb's bland facade. Veteran Valleyites know better. Chandler's annual Doo Dah Days Parade is butterfly-net nutty, and its traditional Tumbleweed celebration also displays a touch of that signature Western otherness. Started in1957 by relocated Indianan Earl Barnum--who, bless his heart, saw a need--the free ceremony features the lighting of a 40-foot-tall tree constructed of chicken wire, adorned with about 1,000 tumbleweeds and doused with white and green paint, flame retardant and 50pounds of silver glitter. The fun begins at 3p.m. Saturday at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, located on Arizona Avenue between Buffalo and Boston streets, and continues 'til 8. The seminormal Parade of Lights starts at 6:15, traveling south on Arizona Avenue from Buffalo Street to Chicago Street, and the tree is plugged in immediately afterward. Call 786-2518.
Project Bandaloop: The death-defying Oakland, California, troupe performs what it calls "vertical dance"--an odd-duck marriage of ballet and rock climbing--at noon and 3 p.m. Saturday at McDowell Mountain Ranch, located at the intersection of Pima and Bell roads in Scottsdale. Admission is free. Call 585-7600.
Phoenix Suns: Charles Barkley and company host the Miami Heat on Saturday and the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday. Both games start at 7 p.m. at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. A free party at Symphony Hall Terrace, Second Street and Adams, precedes Saturday's game; it starts at 5 and continues 'til 10:30 (call 262-6225). A free tipoff party is planned prior to Tuesday's game; it starts at 6 on the Grand Staircase at Arizona Center, 455 North Third Street (call 949-4353). If game tickets are available, they're at the arena and Dillard's. Call 379-7867.
Korn: Since its Valley debut in early June, the Orange County, California, quintet--vocalist Jonathan Davis, guitarists Brian Welch and James "Munk" Munkey, drummer David Silveria and bassist Fieldy--has made national waves with its funky, punky wall of sound and its eponymous Immortal/Epic debut. Fellow Orange County staple Sugar Ray--which falls somewhere between Metallica and Britain's New Romantics--shares the bill. Cradle of Thorns opens the show at 3 p.m. Sunday at Party Gardens, 5555 East Van Buren. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster. Call 231-0488.
Milagros de Navidad: Phoenix Bach Choir and Vancouver-based Ancient Cultures join forces for this concert, which features traditional songs of the Americas. Shows are at 3 p.m. Sunday at La Sala, in University Center Building on Arizona State University West campus, 4701 West Thunderbird in Glendale, and at 8 that night at First United Methodist Church, 5510 North Central. Tickets are $16, $14 for students and seniors, $8 for children, available at Ticketmaster. Call 543-2787 or 264-2224.
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Green Day: The California trio's third album, Dookie, was the Thriller of punk. It sold God knows how many units, corrupted God knows how many callow youths, established vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe as a poster boy for the '90s attitude (whatever it is, it's not very nice) and, no doubt, brought a sneer to the lips of Mr.Joe's hero, Sid Vicious, still rotting down there in hell. Billie, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool, touring in support of their Dookie follow-up, Insomniac (Reprise), perform Monday at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Riverdales share the bill. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, available at the arena and Dillard's. Call 379-7800.
Jeffrey Siegel's "The Youthful Brahms": The pianist continues his 17th season of "Keyboard Conversations" with this program at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Siegel performs and discusses the F-minor Sonata, which Brahms wrote at age 19, and six of the composer's waltzes. Tickets are $20, available at the center and Ticketmaster. Call 994-2787 or 784-4444.
Sublime: The Long Beach, California, trio contributed tracks to Capricorn's Hempilation sampler and to the Mallrats soundtrack. The "hard ska" group's second full-length platter, Robbin the Hood (Skunk), is now on aretail shelf near you. In support of same, Sublime iscurrently on its "Snowcore" tour of icebound dives in the high-mountain West; itsgigs on Tuesday at Mesa's Nile Theater, 105 West Main, and on Wednesday in Albuquerque represent a short break from collective altitude sickness. Ziggens, and Kongo Shock share the Nile bill. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Alternatix locations. Call 649-2766 or 266-8111.
The Poetry of "Holography": Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, commissioned five poems in response to specific works included in its current exhibition "New Directions in Holography: The Landscape Reinvented" (see the Art Exhibits listing). Arizona poets Tenney Nathanson, Lois Roma-Deeley, Theodore Christ, Virginia Ikeda and Marion Black unveil the resultant verses at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the center's Cinema. Admission is free. Call 994-2301.