With an abundance of screenwriting requests, a plethora of awards, and multitudes of speaking engagements, it seems that everyone wants a piece of Suzan-Lori Parks. She was the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Drama with her dark comedy Topdog/Underdog, which is about two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, whose names shape their past and future. She also wrote the screenplay for Spike Lee's 1996 film Girl 6 and penned the movie adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's classic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Parks has also stirred up controversy with her cutting-edge social commentary. The New York Times once informed her that she needed to change the name of her play _Fucking A_ if she wanted the title to appear in the newspaper. But the name -- a literary allusion to Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter -- was not negotiable, and the work went on to receive critical acclaim, Times be damned.
After two decades of writing -- and speaking about writing -- Parks hasn't run out of things to say. At 7 p.m. Saturday, November 19, she'll read from her work and lecture on "The State of Theater in America." The location is ASU's Paul V. Galvin Playhouse, 51 East 10th Street in Tempe. Admission is free, but tickets are required; there's a limit of two per person. Call 480-965-6447 or visit www.asu.edu/asunews. -- Rebecca Zumoff
The Reel Thang
"The State of Theater in America"
There's the true West and the West of the imagination -- a mythic, iconic place that never really existed except, perhaps, in our dreams. No Festival Required shows us the West as it really was (and is) on Sunday, November 20, with screenings of the documentaries American Cowboys and Cowgirls: Portraits of American Ranch Women. The first focuses on two cowboys, Native American Jackson Sundown and African-American George Fletcher, who broke the rodeo color barrier at the beginning of the 20th century. Ranch Women details the triumphs and travails of three ranching families in Nevada, Wyoming and Oregon. Showtime is 2 p.m. at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central. Admission is free. Call 602-265-9524 or visit www.nofestivalrequired.com. -- Clay McNear
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Every third week in November, bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau arrive from France, and the wine world gets a little drunk on the buzz. Try a taste yourself at 2 p.m. Saturday, November 19, when Scottsdale's Mes Amis Bistro and Bar hosts a tasting of the new vintage with Paul Eiserloh of Alliance Française. Mes Amis is located at 7704 East Doubletree Ranch Road. Admission costs $20. Reservations are required. Call 480-607-1145. -- Niki D'Andrea
Let It Bee
Whisper words of wisdom
Chances are, you thought you'd left the world of book reports and spelling bees in the rearview mirror at the onset of puberty. Now you can do it all again without all the grade pressure at Book Report and Spelling Bee Night, which starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, November 17, at the Trunk Space, 1506 Grand Avenue. In hour one, the floor will be open for anyone to take the mic and share his or her thoughts on a particularly cool piece of media, play a song, read a book, or show people where they can go to find media that move them. In hour two, you can revive your inner geek by taking part in a good, old-fashioned spelling bee. Admission is free. Call 602-256-6006 or visit www.thetrunkspace.com. -- Craig Wallach