We moved to Arizona for the cowboy cachet, but the dusty trail has been paved over by cities' mean streets. Cowboys still live and work in the West, though. Listen to their poems borne of solitude and the open range at Prescott's Cowboy Poets Gathering, Thursday, August 14, through Saturday, August 16, when 125 cowboy performers present tall tales, stories, poems and songs. Hear Dennis Gaines explain how cowboys can nurture cattle and still eat beef, and Chris Isaacs recite the story of horses that mistake herb for alfalfa. Swing to Western music by the Gillette Brothers and the Desert Sons and, for 20 bucks, take home a commemorative poster by Western artist Ray Swanson, on hand for autographs Saturday night. Admission is $15 to the Thursday-, Friday- and Saturday-night shows at Yavapai College Performance Hall. The reception at 5 p.m. Friday at Phippen Museum and the daytime sessions at Sharlot Hall Museum are free. Find the Phippen Museum north of Prescott on Highway 89, Sharlot Hall Museum at 415 West Gurley and Yavapai College at 1100 East Sheldon. For a complete schedule, see www.sharlot.org or call the museum at 1-928-445-3122. - Kim Toms
Expo brings businesses together
Do the right thing: Embrace diversity at the Arizona Black Expo, Saturday, August 16, at Phoenix Civic Plaza, 111 North Third Street. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the civic booty flows from 150 vendors. Also on tap: career services, health screenings, kids' activities and a fashion show, plus keynote speaker (and Oprah squeeze) Stedman Graham (pictured), comedian H.B. Sanders and American almost-idol Rebecca Bond. Admission is $5; call 602-262-7272. - Jill Koch
It's a matter of time at Shemer Art Center
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Time, the most intangible of measurements, is brought into focus in a new exhibition at Shemer Art Center, 5005 East Camelback. Addressing the relationship between photography and the passage of time, "Process of Time" explores the photographic methods -- including Polaroid transfer, silver gelatin, bromoil and platinum/paladium -- employed by eight Arizona artists. A reception at 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 19, unveils the works, and the juried exhibition remains on display in the center's Main Gallery through September 12. On the same timetable, local artist Tim Timmerman's mixed-media assemblages fill the Front Gallery (sneak a look at www.bluechocolate.com). Call 602-262-4727 for more information. - Jill Koch
Stylish fund raiser addresses decor issues
It's a win-win situation: We learn how best to complement our home's design scheme of inflatable chairs and Chia Pets and, in so doing, aid the even less fortunate. Décor 2003: "The Magic of Color" -- the second annual fund raiser benefiting Grand Canyon Mutual Housing's affordable housing programs -- sets up house Sunday, August 17, at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, 5350 East Marriott Drive. Jan D'Atri, host of KAZ-TV's Heart and Home, serves as honorary chair for the showcase, which, from 3 to 6 p.m., features exhibits by 22 local design firms, Q-and-A sessions with interior experts, raffle prizes and the most beautiful of domestic concepts: a buffet. Registration is $20 in advance, $25 at the door; call 602-745-1744 or e-mail DecorPhoenix@hotmail.com.- Jill Koch