The Prince of Motherfucking Darkness: That's the literary epithet that author John Gilmore has earned after a lifetime spent excavating the noirish underbelly of human existence. From his grim account of Charles Schmid, the homicidal "Pied Piper of Tucson," in Cold-Blooded, to his mortician-like dissection of Charles Manson's psyche in Manson: The Unholy Trail of Charlie and the Family, Gilmore penetrates deep into the minds and souls of his twisted subjects. Indeed, his unflinching portrayal of Los Angeles starlet-wanna-be Elizabeth Short's murder in Severed: The True Story of the Black Dahlia Murder remains one of the most chilling depictions of its kind. That's why a rare Phoenix appearance by Gilmore is not to be missed. On Friday, September 16, starting at 7 p.m., the diabolic scribbler will read passages from his sexually charged novel Crazy Streak, as well as portions from his latest true-crime tome, L.A. Despair: A Landscape of Crimes and Bad Times, five tales of real-life desperation and degradation. These address murderess Barbara Graham; Billy Cook, America's first hitchhiker killer; Spade Cooley, "The King of Western Swing," and Cooley's brutal manslaughter of his wife; Eddie Nash, John Holmes and the infamous Wonderland slayings; and '50s film star Barbara Payton and her slow descent into prostitution, drug abuse and squalor.
"As an artist, I'm most comfortable painting these bleeding sides of beef," says Gilmore of his predilection for the macabre and the perverse. "It can be very subtle -- it's not all gore and shit like that. It's psychological, as well. That's what I'm drawn to, the psychological darkness. It's very rich territory for a writer. The dark side of the moon, as it were."
"On the Raw and Dark Side: An Evening With John Gilmore" takes place at Perihelion Arts Gallery, 1500 Grand Avenue. Admission is free. Visit www.johngilmore.com or www.perihelionarts.com, or call 602-462-9120. -- Stephen Lemons
Box Is Tops at U-Haul of Fame
So step into it
Consider the lowly box. It's hurled around by moving dudes, used as a summer sled on grassy knolls, chewed on by dogs, disposed of in Dumpsters, and otherwise generally abused. However, our functional friends get extreme makeovers in the exhibit "Out of the Box," opening with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, September 16, at MADE art boutique, 922 North Fifth Street. Local artists including Sue Chenoweth, David Dauncey, and Sarah Hubbs show off wonderfully whimsical creations such as the "jewelry box," the "music box," the "prophylactic box" and the "idiot box." Viewing is free, and the art is available for sale. Call 602-262-5584. -- Clay McNear
Mexican boxing legend Julio Cesar Chavez knows his glory days are behind him. Still, we wouldn't want to take a punch from the 43-year-old slugger when he slips on the gloves for his final fight on Saturday, September 17. Experience history as Chavez headlines "Adios Phoenix: Julio Cesar Chavez Tribute to the Fans" at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Chavez faces off against super-lightweight Craig Weber on a card that also includes a match featuring Chavez's undefeated teenage son, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Bell time is 5:20 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $200. Call Ticketmaster at 480-784-4444. -- Craig Wallach
Finally, we get to meet the Polish Prince of Mayhem, who'll DJ a fashion show at Four White Walls, 1023 Grand Avenue, on Saturday, September 17. KD Designs, Camille Messina, and David Quintanilla's Dulce Couture will share the spotlight with the Prince, snacks from Gilbert's Egg'septional Cafe, and a short performance piece by Christalena Sparrow. "All three designers get to do whatever they want; it gives us a chance to really get our names out there," says Quintanilla, whose presentation will have "a political kind of feeling . . . statements to get you thinking." Admission is $5. The doors open at 7 p.m. Call 602-705-4936 or visit www.fourwhitewalls.net. -- Julie Peterson
Get the Events Newsletter
What's happening in town? From underground club nights to the biggest outdoor festivals, our top picks for the week's best events will always keep you in on the action.