Thursday, April 29
Shakespeare scholars love this labor lost. Touted as the Bard's great lost -- and possibly last -- drama, Cardenio surfaces this weekend at the Tempe Performing Arts Center. The Southwest Shakespeare Company makes something old new again, presenting the Southwestern première of the work, also known as The Second Maiden's Tragedy. Believed to have been suppressed by the Bard's editors in the early 1600s because of its dicey subject matter -- "0seduction, swordplay, grave robbery, suicide, madness and murder" -- the play reintroduces Cardenio, a character from Cervantes' Don Quixote. Credited to John Fletcher as well as Old Will, the work weaves suspense, horror and "love run amuck" into a tale of a king's obsession with an eye-catching woman. He'll have her -- over her dead body. Cardenio runs Thursday, April 29, through May 8 at the Center, 132 East Sixth Street in downtown Tempe. A director's orientation precedes each show, and post-play discussions follow most performances. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and $10 for seniors/students. Call 480-990-4404 or see www.swshakespeare.org.
Friday, April 30
We've seen it, say, oh, 60 times before, but it's still all the rage. The brains behind the brawls continue their relentless assault on our senses (or lack thereof) this Friday, April 30, when Rage in the Cage 61: "Relentless" lets loose at the Dodge Theatre. Some of Arizona's maddest, baddest competitors are set to channel their anger in the showcase of "Ultimate Xtreme Cage Fighting." Foremost on the fight card: "Diesel" (Vin?) vs. "Battle Cat" (He-Man's feline sidekick?). Our pick for most entertaining match: The battle of the Eddies (Eddie Sanchez vs. Eddie Estrella). Go time is 7:30 p.m. at the Dodge, 400 West Washington. Proving that violence is golden, rageaholics will cough up 65 bones to sit cage-side. Call 602-379-2888 for tickets.
Saturday, May 1
These are head games of a most painful sort. Promising to "slap audiences right across their collective cerebral cortexes," the Paper Heart presents SOUND+VISION 2 this Saturday, May 1. The heady mix of "live art action and accidental entertainment" continues its two-night run, launching performance art, spoken word, video works and music "like an artistic juggernaut out of control." Leading the "challenging, original and extremely obtuse" lineup: Leslie Barton, YATE, Steve Gompf, Jack Evans, TRISH(JusTrish), LAST WAVE, Jeff Falk, AZUL, Steve Weiss, and Bill Campana. The noggin floggin' -- not for the faint of heart -- commences at 8 p.m. at the gallery, 750 Grand Avenue. Admission is $8. Check out www.thepaperheart.com for more info.
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Sunday, May 2
We'll have plenty of bones to pick this weekend, when the Arizona State BBQ Championships pit the sweet versus the spicy at Tempe Town Lake. Celebrating "the art of putting meat to flame," the third annual B n' B Festival (BBQ & Balloons) wraps up three days of art appreciation this Sunday, May 2. Find out who's got the meat to beat in four categories -- beef brisket, chicken, pork ribs, and pork shoulder/butt -- as entrants seek to smoke the competition for 10 grand in prize money. After hitting the sauce, foodies can catch a bowl game: The fest also features the Arizona Men's & Women's Open Chili Championship. Get served from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; live music and a hot-air balloon glow follow the feast. Admission is free with a canned food donation to St. Mary's Food Bank. See www.eventswestaz.com for the dish.
Monday, May 3
The Thrills come relatively cheap -- 12 bucks a ticket -- this Monday, May 3, when the Dublin band blows the lid off the Mason Jar. Pimping their 2003 debut album, So Much for the City, the rockers continue to fuel their fame with sunny San Diego-style rock, all the while earning comparisons to a major influence: the Beach Boys. And stepping into the spotlight after backing N.E.R.D., Minneapolis band Spymob shares the bill. The all-ages rock gets rolling at 8 p.m. at the Jar, 23rd Street and Indian School. Tickets are $12 in advance, $13 day of show; see www.ticketmaster.com.
Tuesday, May 4
We're off to see the whizzers this Tuesday, May 4, when Urinetown: The Musical rushes into ASU's Gammage Auditorium. Dealing with a wee bit of "greed, corruption, love and revolution," the comedy spins the story of two kids who find love in a city suffering a water shortage. Conceived during a trip through Europe's pay-toilet network -- where change can do you good indeed -- Urinetown was "resoundingly rejected by theaters, agents and development organizations" until the 1999 New York International Fringe Festival agreed to go with the flow. The show then conquered Broadway, winning the 2002 Tony Triple Crown: best direction, best book, and best music and lyrics. Part of the M&I Bank Broadway in Arizona series, Urinetown continues its, uh, run through May 9 at ASU's Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Tickets are $22.25 to $62.50; call 480-965-3434 to order.
Wednesday, May 5
It's a labor-intensive week at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, where Friday's Birth of the Cool (see "Joe Cool" on page 43) gives way to Wednesday's birth of the hot. Performing excerpts from its recent production, Nacimiento ("birth"), Calo Flamenco: Ballet de Martín Gaxiola storms the stage for a 7 p.m. show on Wednesday, May 5. Channeling the heat hinted at in its name ("calo," short for "calor"), the local troupe is introducing Arizona audiences to flamenco, a dance form fusing "rhythmic footwork, fiery energy and alluring body movement." This go-round, the company's 15 dancers and musicians fan the flames for the greater good; ticket proceeds benefit Justice for Children, a nonprofit agency providing legal assistance to children in abusive situations. Stop by the SCA box office, 7380 East Second Street, or call 480-994-ARTS for general admission tickets, $25. VIP tickets, $75 and $100, include a post-show reception with the performers; call 602-954-7672 for reservations.