Could you ever have imagined a world where the sight of someone with facial hair and a mortgage spending quality time with a good comic book would actually be considered cool? Welcome to the 21st century, a brave new world where comics have transcended puberty and become must-read material for fans of all ages. Those who haven't engaged comic book culture in a while might be surprised at the depth, quality, and even maturity of the genre, all of which are certain to be on display at the Atomic Comics 50th Anniversary Celebration from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, December 12, at Atomic Comics' Mesa location, 1120 South Country Club Drive, No. 105. Fans can take in a daylong Godzillafest, enjoy a Kids' Art contest, or indulge with the requisite birthday cake while perusing the Southwest's most complete comic book collection. With more than one million comics in stock, you'll have no trouble making a day of it. Call 480-949-0807 or visit www.atomiccomics.com. -- Craig Wallach
Arizona Motorcyle Expo comes to State Fairgrounds
In a simpler time, the word "biker" conjured up images of leather-clad hell-raisers cruising America's highways on a mission of personal freedom and rebellion. Today, the rider of that Harley is as likely to be the CEO of your company as a Hells Angel, proof positive of the motorcycle's secure place in the mainstream. This weekend, channeling your inner Easy Rider is simple at the third annual Arizona Motorcycle Expo, Friday, December 10, through Sunday, December 12, at the State Fairgrounds, 19th Avenue and McDowell. Arizona's biggest motorcycle extravaganza features the latest in bikes, quads, RVs and gear in addition to a Biker Build-Off, Spectator Choice Awards, prizes and giveaways. Admission is $10; children under 13 get in for free. For details visit www.azmotorcycleexpo.com. -- Craig Wallach
Second Act is a holiday affair
Don't find yourself muttering "Bah! Humbug!" at the thought of sitting through another production of A Christmas Carol. Strangely enough, the remedy may be a trip to the theater . . . lobby, that is. "Scrooge's Ball" is the theme of this month's Second Act Happy Hour at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe, where practically every art form is offered, sans a play. Enjoy excerpts from the Snow Queen by the Center Dance Ensemble, music by 10 Downing Street, Christmas carols by Harmony High and holiday songs performed by May Anne Ascuitto. Or perhaps just indulge in holiday drinks and find meaning in the abstract ornaments on display. The cover charge is $15, though half-price admission is available by bringing an unwrapped gift for Toys for Tots. Festivities run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 14. See www.herbergertheater.org. -- Douglas Towne
Lucky Break corners the downtown market
Like balls and racks? Then take a cue to the grand opening of the Lucky Break Game & Grill, 3 South Second Street, on Friday, December 10. The 10,000-square-foot building houses nine Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables, tended by an in-house "Billiard Hostess." For those who dig spectator sports, there are 37 TVs. For those who dig smoking: tough break. You gotta smoke outside on the patio. Music fans can check out Little Ditty's inside the building, where Pete Wilson and Jeffrey Taylor tickle the ivories of their "dueling pianos." Dave Andrea, co-owner of Lucky Break, says the new venue is filling a hole in downtown Phoenix. "We believe in the future of the downtown area and want to be one of the first to offer a level of service and entertainment currently missing in the downtown core." Call 602-307-5825. -- Niki D'Andrea
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House of Gain
Alwun House, Art Awakenings team for show and sale
Although some claim to suffer for their art, those at Art Awakenings view their creative expressions as a powerful medium for growth and healing. The program, which fosters recovery and empowerment through art for adults afflicted with serious mental illness, has its annual Art & Gift Sale at the Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt, beginning Friday, December 10. A $4 donation gets you into the opening reception that runs from 7 p.m. to midnight. While you shop among the acrylics, watercolors, and hand-painted ornaments, enjoy poetry readings by AA members and performances by their legendary Java Jam Band. Proceeds from sales go back to the artist, according to program director Camille Smith. She wields a thick file of heartfelt testimonials from participants attesting to the value of Art Awakenings. These tales of artists overcoming tremendous odds will inspire you to take home a work as a talisman. If you miss the reception, sales will continue Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. until December 31. See www.alwunhouse.org. -- Douglas Towne