With a star-studded roster including George Clinton, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, India.Arie, Kansas, Naughty by Nature, Billy Bob Thornton, and the Village People, it's either a benefit concert or a Sweeps Week episode of The Simpsons. This weekend, it's the former, as Off the Hook Productions sponsors a concert benefiting the Amber Alert Project, the Prevention of the Exploitation of Children Via the Internet, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Rocking Tempe Beach Park, north of Rio Salado and Mill, the family-oriented affair also features Smooth Bee, War, John Kay and Steppenwolf, B2K, DMX, and the Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards. Get down (with, or without, O.P.P.) from 5 p.m. to midnight Saturday, July 26, and 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday, July 27. Tickets are $25 and $40. See www.offthehookTVshow.com. - Jill Koch
Standup and Deliver
A "King of Comedy" comes to the Valley
"One of the most beautiful things in the world I've seen or heard is people laughing, even when there seems to be so little reason for them to laugh," says comedian D.L. Hughley. Best known for his lead role on The Hughleys, a sitcom based on his life, Hughley was originally thrust into the spotlight by standup; he's been showcased on Def Comedy Jam and Evening at the Improv. Hughley performs at the Tempe Improv, 930 East University, Thursday, July 24, through Sunday, July 27. Performances are at 8 nightly, with additional 10 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $22 to $25; call 480-921-9877. - Quetta Carpenter
We Got the Beak
"Amazing Show" spotlights chicken rockers
A truly freaky Friday, July 25, promises to be a pivotal night in the Valley music scene, as "The Amazing Show" reveals, for the first time, "the secret lives and personal tragedies of chicken rock stars." Play that funky music, white meat. According to event promoter and performer JRC, the entertainment showcase also delivers "post-modern tango dancing, and levitation so amazing it can only be performed under the mysterious glow of blacklight."
The freaks and beaks take the stage at 8 p.m. at downtown's Paper Heart Gallery and Studio, 222 North Fifth Avenue. Admission is $5. Call 602-262-2020 for more information. - Jill Koch
Playhouse debuts with Kindergarten
Apparently, the decision was elementary. For its première production, the North Valley Community Playhouse presents All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Based on Robert Fulghum's best-selling book, the play explores the profound in everyday life through monologues, dialogues and narration. We can only hope that intermission involves graham crackers and a nap. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 25, and Saturday, July 26, at the Ridge Cafe inside North Ridge Community Church, 6363 East Dynamite in north Scottsdale. Call 602-301-8199 for tickets -- $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and children. - Jill Koch
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Sturm und Twang
Bluegrass leads the celebration
Founded in 1998, the Nitpickers perform their own blend of bluegrass and are a damn impressive group of musicians. Dave Insley, Jeff Farias, Steve Borick, Tom Post and Jim Bolek have played in such bands as the Trophy Husbands, Politics or Pontiacs, the Bathtub Virgins, and Dorkestra, to name a few. Billing themselves as "white trash balladeers" and a "hillbilly string ensemble," the Nitpickers gracefully reenter the music scene this Friday, July 25, after a brief hiatus to pursue other projects. Founder Dave Insley explains that the band reunited to celebrate the third anniversary of the roots radio show Jukebox Cantina on KRXS-FM 97.3.
The Nitpickers convinced the bands Tramps & Thieves and Matt the Electrician out of Austin, Texas, to join them for the show, making for a night we won't soon forget. The music begins at 8 p.m. at the Clubhouse, 1320 East Broadway in Tempe. Call 480-968-3238 for more information. For details on the radio show, check out www.jukeboxcantina.com. - Maidi Terry