Being the hard-core culture warriors we are, we've considered joining the annual pilgrimage of peculiars to Burning Man in Nevada. But roasting in 127 degrees at the late-August mecca of eccentricity is daunting. We're down with the bohemian spirit, but not a killer case of heatstroke. We're more than happy, though, to head to Chiaroscuro, 7160 East Main in Scottsdale, on Thursday, May 13, for the opening of "Box People at Burning Man," an exhibition of more than 25 photographs documenting the freaky-deaky denizens who populate the playa. It's all the fun of people-watching -- without the grime and glowsticks.
Local photog John Romero snapped sepia-toned snapshots of "burners" sitting in a four-foot-square metallic cube built by fellow artist Bill Tonnesen. All the usual suspects are here: Buddha-like nudists, Mad Max rejects, even the Spork Woman (pictured) -- a lithesome lass clad in a full-length white dress covered in the plastic utensils. She'll also be at the opening reception, along with the box, to add "sort of a performance element to the show," says William Lykins, gallery director. "Those sporks might come in handy, because it's the same night as the 'Bon Appetit' Artwalk."
The exhibition runs through June 25. See www.chiaroscurogallery.com or call 480-429-0713 for details. -- Benjamin Leatherman
When in Jerome . . .
Explore the history of the old mining town on the mountain
Hey, wuss, can't handle the heat so early in the game? Jerome's got a cooler alternative, Saturday, May 15, and Sunday, May 16, when the old mining town, about an hour and a half north of Phoenix, hosts its 39th annual Home and Historic Building Tour. Witness Jerome's bohemian rhapsody of artists and galleries -- $12 for adults, $6 for kids over 12. See www.jeromechamber.com for details and directions. -- Joe Watson
SCC film fest makes its pitch
"We'd like to make the Valley a hotbed for indie filmmaking," says Penelope Price, a film instructor at Scottsdale Community College, detailing her plot to transform Phoenix into the next Austin or Park City. The next mise en scène in this art house drama is SCC's 24th annual MP/TV Film and Video Fest on Thursday, May 13, at Harkins Centerpoint, 730 South Mill in Tempe. Does this plot have box-office legs? "Probably not," says Brice Myracle, a student cineaste who's ditching SCC next semester for Southern Cal. "Phoenix needs to want it bad before the scene develops into anything substantial." More than 25 student films are on the sked, including Myracle's The Date. Showtime is 8 p.m. Admission is $5. Call 480-423-6273. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Mayor says "so long" to All-American Tempe
Don't expect Tempe's outgoing mayor, Neil Giuliano, to get all choked up at the city's All America celebration on Sunday, May 16, at Tempe Beach Park, Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway. But he just might deliver a fat, wet raspberry to the naysayers of Mill Avenue's so-called homogenization, as Tempe commemorates its designation as an "All America City."
"People who complain about Mill Avenue just don't like change," says Giuliano, who won't officially leave office until July 15. "And if they don't like change, they should go live in the middle of Wyoming." Famous last words of an outgoing mayor.
The free party lasts from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and features live entertainment and food. Call 480-350-8625 for details. -- Joe Watson
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Save the Date
Dr. Val shares her intimate wisdom
Finally, you've got a date. So don't be late to Dr. Valerie Peters' (a.k.a. Dr. Val's) Dating Venture on Saturday, May 15, at the Scottsdale Community College Airpark Campus, 15011 North 75th Street. The dating-challenged will get a full day's worth of lessons in love and lust (six seminars total) starting at 8 a.m. Rick Griffin, a "personal life coach," gets the program started fittingly with his workshop titled "Establishing Rapport." After a brunch mixer, Tim Davis, the Valley's supposed "answer to Seinfeld," will give a seminar on "Humor and Dating." (Just who are the marketing wizards who came up with this thing?) Peters gets past the dry-humping and closes out the event with her advice on "Sex and Dating." Each seminar is $25; the inclusive package costs $130. To register, call 602-368-9477. -- Joe Watson
Soo Far, Soo Good
Artist finds treasures from trash
It would be easy to characterize the work of Korean sculptor Jin Soo Kim with clichés referring to "trash" and "treasure." But according to Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art assistant curator Erin Kane, using such words would be an injustice. "Her work is so much more than that," Kane says. "Not only does she find and use recycled materials, but she also recycles her own work. Kim's work is not a static thing." And neither is SMoCA's mid-career survey of Kim's art, "Jin Soo Kim: Twenty Years, 1983-2003," which fills two of the museum's large galleries from Saturday, May 15, through September 19. In her most famous works -- Tacit Transit, Prepositions and what next?, all on display -- Kim combines the industrialism of cages and metal fragments to channel women's issues and question capitalism. SMoCA is located at 7374 East Second Street. Admission is $7 for adults, free for kids under 15, and free every Thursday. Call 480-874-4630 for details. -- Joe Watson