Designer Michael Graves (of Target teakettle fame) cemented his household-word status in 1979, when he participated in the "Tea and Coffee Piazza" project sponsored by Italian design house Alessi. The next wave, "Tea and Coffee Towers," visits the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art beginning Saturday, September 3. Architects from 11 nations have interpreted the cultural ritual of hot-beverage service in a smorgasbord of materials and shapes. Maybe you're a contemporary-design buff, fascinated by human interaction with the domestic environment; perhaps you'll enjoy the application of cutting-edge materials and digital techniques to the lowly cup and spoon; or you might just want to play "Guess Which Piece Is the Sugar Bowl." The functional, elegant, sometimes whimsical exhibition runs through December 31. SMoCA is located at 7374 East Second Street. Admission is $7, $5 for students, free for members and children under 15, and free to all on Thursdays. Call 480-994-2787 or visit www.smoca.org. -- Julie Peterson
Video Games Live Ode to Joysticks
The Pong cycle
This ain't Pac-Man Fever, baby. During its 30-odd years of existence, video-game music has transmogrified from the bleeps and bloops of Pong into chart-busting soundtracks composed by maestros like Danny Elfman and Howard Shore. "Nintendocore" bands like local game boys the Minibosses have also fueled the gaming-music craze by transforming tunes from old-school carts like Castlevania and Metroid into indie rock. The genre's about to warp to the next level with Video Games Live, which visits Cricket Pavilion, 2121 North 83rd Avenue, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 6. This multimedia spectacle boasts a full symphony orchestra and choir -- backed by a laser light show and video projected onto three gigantic screens -- performing music from gaming's greatest hits, ranging from modern-day masterpieces like Metal Gear Solid and Halo to classics like Donkey Kong. A campy stage show consisting of live-action vignettes from each title will also take place, as will interactive game-play segments featuring audience members, costume contests and more. Tickets range from $20 to $55, and are available by calling 480-784-4444. Also see www.videogameslive.com. -- Benjamin Leatherman
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The "Twisted Growth" rave on Saturday, September 3, is so "underground" that we can't even tell you where it's taking place. What we can tell you is that some of the best subgenre DJs in the nation will be spinning on three stages: the "trance" stage, the "breaks" stage, and the "happy hardcore" stage. The breaks stage features national act Pharmacy, while the hardcore stage boasts Pittsburgh's DJ Starr and Vancouver's Punjabi beat master Reminisce. DJ Thee-O from Los Angeles performs on the trance stage along with the Valley's own CL McSpadden, who's been scratching wax since local clubs like Insomnia and The Werks were all the rage. "This event is bringing some positive vibes," says McSpadden. "It's less of a kegger vibe and more of a cool, underground vibe." The jam starts at 8 p.m., and admission is $15. For location information, call 602-209-8231 the day of the event. -- Niki D'Andrea
World Class Super Models
And now that we have your attention. . .
The adrenaline rush of power-shifting a Ferrari into triple-digit speeds is an expensive pleasure, but mere cost won't stop motorheads from salivating over the rides of their dreams at the Copperstate Model Car Championship. Hot car models, downsized to 1/25th of their actual dimensions, will be displayed Friday, September 2, through Sunday, September 4, at the Wigwam Resort, 300 East Wigwam Boulevard in Litchfield Park. "Admission is free to view over 50 classes of model vehicles that are judged on originality, detail, and craftsmanship," says organizer Jim Wood. Call 602-992-2110 or view www.hometown.aol.com/csmcc13/index.html. -- Douglas Towne