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Calendar for the week

thursday
november 6
The Food Chain: Though Nicky Silver (Pterodactyls; Free Will and Wanton Lust) is one of America's more promising comic playwrights, his writing sometimes straddles the line that divides standup patter from subtler characterization; there's surely no little connection between that and men having an en masse attraction to Silver's humor that mostly eludes those of the more reflective/less reflexive sex. In the off-Broadway hit Chain, Silver strip-mines for yuks in the deep, dark holes of dysfunction and narcissism; the largely unlikable characters here sift through largely unresolvable issues of physical and mental despair by gorging, purging, preening and obsessing. But there is an upbeat ending, of a wretchedly excessive sort. D. Scott Withers of the Valley's In Mixed Company, the troupe presenting the show, says Silver actually wrote two finales to Chain, and "we picked the happier one, because we thought it was even more pathetic." Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, November 6; 8 p.m. Friday, November 7; 8 p.m. Saturday, November 8; and 2 p.m. Sunday, November 9, at PlayWright's Theatre, 1121 North First Street. The run continues through Saturday, November 22. Thursdays are "barter nights"; those who bring in $15 worth of nonperishable food items get a price break, and St. Mary's Food Bank gets the donation. Sunday's matinee is a two-for-one special. Regular tickets are $16.50, $14.50 for students and seniors, available at Herberger Theater Center and Dillard's (252-8497, 503-5555).

Phoenix Symphony's "Resurrection": It's not Gustav's great Ninth, but Mahler's "Resurrection" Symphony (his Second) is a bracing, complex work of classical existentialism that proved to be the Austrian composer's professional breakthrough; it was also the first of many Mahler works to incorporate vocals. Soprano Margaret Jane Wray, mezzo-soprano Claudine Carlson and the 280-member Arizona State University Choral Union join conductor Hermann Michael and the symphony for performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 6; 8 p.m. Friday, November 7; and 8 p.m. Saturday, November 8, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Tickets range from $14 to $38, available at the symphony box office and Dillard's (495-1999, 503-5555).

Miss Coco Peru: Drag king Clinton Leupp (To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar) wrote the one-man/woman Miss Coco Peru; Leupp also enacts the title role, a chatty wench of depth, warmth and conviction who breaks the fourth wall with abandon--and charm. New York's Captive Audience Productions presents final performances on Thursday, November 6; Friday, November 7; and Saturday, November 8. All start at 8 p.m. at Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre, 100 East McDowell. Tickets are $17.50. 254-2151.

friday
november 7
The Rolling Stones: We dubbed these guys the "Rolling Bones" nearly a decade ago, during the Steel Wheels tour, and our cynicism has ballooned along with the group's collective prostate. Fine wine and mountain ranges age well; gallon jugs of Night Train and British rock bands don't. The Stones are now as old as the hills but not half so wise, if their latest disc, Bridges to Babylon, is any indication; their last album to share space in the same sentence with the word "greatness" was Tattoo You, 16 years ago. So what's the lingering attraction? As advertised, the Stones were the "World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band" for the first half of their 35-year existence, and they've earned the right--at least in their minds--to piddle away the remainder by releasing a passable album every few years and doing a spectacle-filled support tour. Fleetwood Mac's reunion is mostly about cash flow, and so are the more frequent rebandings by the Stones--but, hey, it's your money. Dem Bones are scheduled Friday, November 7 (a.k.a. el Dia de los Muertos Muchachos); see the related story on page 8. Third Eye Blind opens; showtime is 7:30 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium, College Avenue and Stadium Drive in Tempe. Tickets are $41.25 and $61.75, available at Gammage Auditorium and Dillard's (965-3434, 503-5555).

"Fire & Ice '97": Ravers and techheads unite at this DJ shindig, whose main event features dancing "under a huge chandelier of burning fire and melting ice." Teri Bristol, Earl Pleasure and Ralphi Rosario of Chicago's Crobar kick-start the affair with an outdoor show from 8 p.m. Friday, November 7, to 2 a.m. at Tovrea Mansion, 4633 East Van Buren. "Fire & Ice" proper features New York's Michael Fierman and Atlanta's Darin Arrowood; it's slated for 8 p.m. Saturday, November 8, to 6 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom at Phoenix Civic Plaza, Second Street and Adams. NY's Warren Gluck spins at "Meltdown," scheduled for 8 p.m. Sunday, November 9, to 1 a.m. in the Great Hall at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central. Proceeds benefit Phoenix Body Positive. 1-800-494-8497.

Thunderbird Balloon Classic and "Desert Glow": The 23rd annual event kicks off with a new draw, "A Taste of the Glow," at 5:30 p.m. Friday, November 7. The Classic--slated for Saturday, November 8; and Sunday, November 9--features about 125 balloons competing in "hare and hound"-style races; "hare"-bag launches are planned at 7:15 and 8:30 each a.m., with "hound" waves pursuing at 7:30 and 8:45. The "Desert Glow," which starts at dusk Saturday, features about 80 of the big bags of hot gas lined up in a row and hot-firing against a backdrop of the McDowells; the effect is like a fistful of fat diamonds cast onto black velvet and illuminated with a baby spot. Lovely and highly recommended--as is early arrival. The scene is WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road. Admission to each event is $5 in advance, $8 at the gate, free for kids under 12; all proceeds benefit the scholarship fund at Glendale's Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management. 978-7790.  

Ghetto: Phoenix Theatre, 25 East Coronado, breaks out of its cash-cow rut with this morality play by Joshua Sobol, updated by David Lan and based on a true story. Set in Vilna (the "Jerusalem of Lithuania") in 1942, Ghetto centers on a Yiddish theatrical company whose raison d'etre is the amusement of the ghetto's commanding SS officer but whose troupers use their limited freedom of expression to examine the life-and-death issues confronting them. This week's performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, November 7; 8 p.m. Saturday, November 8; 2 p.m. Sunday, November 9; 8 p.m. Tuesday, November 11; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, November 12. The production continues through Sunday, November 23. Tickets are available at the scene and Dillard's (254-2151, 503-5555).

The Food Chain: See Thursday.
Miss Coco Peru: See Thursday.
Phoenix Symphony's "Resurrection": See Thursday.

saturday
november 8
"Masters of Hip-Hop" featuring Run-D.M.C., Big Daddy Kane, and Doug E. Fresh: Make that "Past Masters." What an illin' bill this would've been in '88, to use the parlance of the day. But in these postgangsta times, it just feels bubblegummy, though Run and Kane still carry cachet with today's musical youth--mostly white punks, though, not blacks. Showtime is 7 p.m. Saturday, November 8, at Mesa Amphitheatre, Center and University. Tickets are available at Mesa Community Center and Dillard's box offices (644-2560, 503-5555).

"Art on the S.A.L.T. Trail": The second annual, self-guided tour of East Valley artists' studios, sponsored by the Superstition Area Land Trust, includes stops at the workplaces of Anne Coe, Joel Coplin, Jo-Ann Lowney, Betty Braig, John Dawson and others. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, November 8. Tickets are $15, available at East Side Art, 9919 East Apache Trail in Mesa; a reception, which costs an extra $10, follows from 5 to 7 at East Side. Proceeds go toward the "purchase or lease [of] state lands under the Arizona Preserve Initiative." 982-0473, 983-0837.

10,000 Maniacs: As the heat-stricken idiots who attended the Maniacs' show outside the Arizona State University Activity Center on a blazing day in early September can attest, this is not the band whose lyrical mix of pop, poetics and politics made it one of the best acts of the mid-'80s to early '90s. The poetry and politics exited with former vocalist/songwriter Natalie Merchant in '93, leaving us with the gleaming but faceless pop of the reconfigured group--comprising all of the original members except Natalie, plus new singer/violinist Mary Ramsey. Biohazard warning: Mary on the Spot and the Maniacs try like hell to re-create a number of Merchant-era standards, and they really shouldn't. Alana Davis shares the all-ages bill; showtime is 9 p.m. Saturday, November 8, at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $16, available at Ticketmaster. 967-1234, 784-4444.

"Fire & Ice '97": See Friday.
The Food Chain: See Thursday.
Ghetto: See Friday.
Miss Coco Peru: See Thursday.
Phoenix Symphony's "Resurrection": See Thursday.
Thunderbird Balloon Classic and "Desert Glow": See Friday.

monday
november 10
It's a Woman's, Woman's, Woman's World View: Ani DiFranco; Tanya Donelly: What these alt divas don't have in common would fill a book, but one of the significant qualities they share is the ability to veil the impurities of sometimes middling material with deep charisma. Militant folk/punker Ani (pronounced "AH-knee"), mortal enemy of chauvinist pigs and corporate record labels, sports a pissy, pigheaded nature and a baby-doll soprano incongruously mated to a hacked-off Weltanschauung. Donelly, after years of solid service with Kristin Hersh's Throwing Muses, Kim Deal's Breeders and her own Belly, is touring behind her solo debut, Lovesongs for Underdogs. Unlike her work with those groups, nothing from Underdogs slugs you in the skull; the title of the first single, "Pretty Deep," is an unfortunate summation of the disc's result, if not its ambitious intent. But forget the songs--you will, anyway--and sharp-focus on Donelly at the mike; she's a rockin' exhibitionist with real stage presence. DiFranco returns for a show on Monday, November 10, at Club Rio, 430 North Scottsdale Road in Tempe; Rory McLeod opens at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $19, available at Ticketmaster; call 894-0533 or 784-4444. Donelly plays Monday at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Black Lab shares the stage; the all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 the day of the show, available at Ticketmaster; call 967-1234 or 784-4444.  

tuesday
november 11
Bug Buster World Premiere: The producers of this indie creature feature from Hollywood's DMG Entertainment are apparently intending to capitalize on the long-awaited landing of Starship Troopers (also opening this week) and the similar summer entry Mimic. Bug Buster's pretty obviously B-rate, but perhaps in that bad-meaning-good way that New Times movie maven M. V. Moorhead detailed in his recent review of James Dean: Race With Destiny. Begging the bigger question: Why launch it here? The answer, paraphrased: Why not? The plot: Big cockroaches run amok in a small town. The director: Italy's Lorenzo Doumani (biggest credit to date: co-producing The Cotton Club). The cinematographer: Hanania Baer (Ernest Scared Stupid; several Henry Jaglom films, including Eating). The cool, if surreal, cast: Randy Quaid as bug-ass-kicking General George S. Merlin, George Takei and James Doohan (Star Trek), Bernie Kopell (The Love Boat), "Downtown" Julie Brown (MTV), Katherine Heigl (King of the Hill; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory) and Ty O'Neal (D2/D3: The Mighty Ducks). Bug Buster meets the world on Tuesday, November 11, at the Harkins Camelview 5, located on Goldwater Boulevard north of Camelback in Scottsdale; Doumani, Takei, Doohan, Kopell, O'Neal and others are scheduled to attend. The stars come out at 6:30 p.m.; the screening starts at 7:30. Tickets are $15 in advance at Ticketmaster (784-4444), $20 at the scene. A cast party follows from 9 to midnight at Scottsdale's Axis, 7340 East Indian Plaza; the cover is $35 (970-1112). All proceeds from the above events benefit Cowboys for Kids. For details about prepremiere doings, see the Events listing. For general info, call 864-8718.

Ghetto: See Friday.


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