What a glorious racket the Yamato: Drummers of Japan make -- glorious, that is, unless you happen to be the poor schlep who lives above them in Japan's notoriously cozy residential quarters. The 12-piece percussion ensemble makes joyful noise reminiscent of Stomp, only with hands instead of feet. Founded in 1993 in the "Land of Yamato" -- the traditional birthplace of Japanese culture -- the group bangs itself silly on taiko/wadaiko drums, which were invented in China but perfected by the Japanese. The smaller drums are made of wood from the trunks of zelkova trees, which are native to the island kingdom; the larger ones use cowhide for the drum "heads." The result is a percussive wall of sound that'll sweep you off your seat. The Drummers perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 20, in the Virginia C. Piper Theater at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $38. Call 480-994-2787 or visit www.scottsdaleperformingarts.com.
Buck up, y'all; the country's top cowboys and cowgirls are coming to town, and that ain't no bull. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Southwest World Championship Rodeo and Super Jaripeo de Lujo is a warm-up for the upcoming National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, and entrants aim to earn points toward the Vegas championship. The cowpokes battle "rank" beasts beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 21, and Saturday, October 22. The Jaripeo de Lujo, which takes place at 1 p.m. Sunday, October 23, is an after-party of sorts featuring trick ropin' and ridin' and live music by Paquita la del Barrio. Get down 'n' dirty this weekend at Glendale Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue. Tickets range from $10 to $55. Call 623-772-3200 or 480-784-4444, or visit www.glendalearenaaz.com.
Carlos Mencia has a lot to say, though you might not like the way he says it. The Southern California comedian is a fearless purveyor of politically incorrect humor who's equally adept at skewering nitwits and performing seriocomic bits about race relations and cultural hypocrisy. You might think of him as a cross between Richard Pryor at his most crass and those suave comedic killers Bill Maher and Dennis Miller. Touring in support of his new DVD, Carlos Mencia: Not for the Easily Offended, and his Comedy Central show, Mind of Mencia, the comic performs at 7:30 and 11 p.m. Saturday, October 22, at the Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets are $28.50 and $32.50. Call 602-267-1600 or visit www.celebritytheatre.com.
Yamato: Drummers of Japan
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To many folks, modern dance can be as intimidating as opera, so it's refreshing to see an imaginative and accessible program like Center Dance Ensemble's Fancies and Goodnights, which should appeal to both mods and "cotton tops." The program consists of two pieces, Evening Primrose and Dance of the Spider Woman. The first, devised and choreographed by CDE artistic director Frances Smith Cohen, is set in a department store, where the mannequins come alive after store hours. The second is billed as a collection of "Twilight Zone-style stories." The run's closing performance on Sunday, October 23, features guest appearances by the Footwork Dance Project and Physical Graffiti troupes. Showtime is 2 p.m. in Stage West at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Tickets are $20, $17 for seniors, $9 for students. Call 602-252-8497 or 480-784-4444, or visit www.herbergertheater.org.
Giligin's Sand Bar is a happily scrappy place that revels in its clam-dig depravity. Weekly features include appearances by DJ Fat Fuck and Chuey the Rock 'n' Roll Midget, Non-PETA-Approved Gold Fish Racing, the wildly popular Wheel of Fear Factor, and Trailer Trash Karaoke. The latter is kinda like Ginger the Movie Star performing a boa dance to "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" or Jethro and Elly May crooning "Jest set rot back and you'll heer a tayle" while chooglin' black-gold Texas tea. You, too, can unleash your inner indigence each Monday night while croaking out white-trash faves from the club's mammoth karaoke song collection, which a Giligin's spokesdude (i.e., the guy who answered the phone) estimates at 30,000 to 40,000 tunes. Admission is free, and the Monday-night drink special is two-fer-$5 Bud Light Pounders. Giligin's is located at 4251 North Winfield Scott Plaza in Scottsdale. Call 480-874-2264.
Jaune Quick-To-See Smith is both Native and American, and she attempts to bridge the cultural gap with her abstract and representational work, which one critic has described as "amphetamine art." Smith is equally inspired by the likes of Picasso, Klee, and Rauschenberg, and by Native American compatriots such as George Longfish and Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds. The Montana-born Smith falls somewhere in between, viewing herself as "a harbinger and a mediator. My art, my life experience and my tribal ties are totally enmeshed. I go from one community with messages to the other, and I try to enlighten people." Get aesthetically high when Smith's exhibition "Jaune Quick-To-See Smith: Paintings and Prints" opens on Tuesday, October 25, at ASU Art Museum at Nelson Fine Arts Center, 51 East 10th Street in Tempe. The exhibition continues through January 28. Viewing is free. Call 480-965-2787 or visit www.asuartmuseum.asu.edu.
Free movie. Cool night. Open lawn seating. Environmental awareness. Bitchin'. Tempe Parks & Recreation's "Reels & Wheels: Movies on the Waterfront" series features screenings of second-run films each Wednesday through November 9 at Tempe Beach Park, Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway. Friday Night Lights, the Billy Bob Thornton vehicle about the triumphs and travails of a Texas high school football dynasty, is shown on Wednesday, October 26. Upcoming films are Hitch on November 2, and Raiders of the Lost Ark on November 9. All screenings start at 7 p.m. Moviegoers who bus or bike to the Beach are eligible to win prizes donated by Ehrhardt's Schwinn, Wal-Mart, and IKEA, among others. Call 480-350-5200 or visit www.tempe.gov/pkrec/movies.htm.