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Pic Hits for the week

march 28
An Inspector Calls: Critic Harvey S.Karsten described Royal National Theatre's touring production of J.B. Priestley's thriller as "Mad Max meets Masterpiece Theatre." The Tony Award winner, a noir-inspired mystery set in Edwardian England, centers on a snobbish British family and itsmembers' indirect complicity in the suicide of a young woman. Final performances are at8 p.m. Thursday, March 28; 8 p.m. Friday, March 29; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, March 30; and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, March 31, at Gammage Auditorium, Mill and Apache in Tempe. Tickets range from $23 to $37, available at Gammage and Dillard's. Call 965-3434.

Cactus Softball Challenge: Hardballers Mark Grace and Robin Yount, Arizona Cardinals Seth Joyner and Garrison Hearst, Arizona Rattlers manager Danny White and many others join Phoenix Suns Charles Barkley, Danny Manning, Michael Finley, Wesley Person, Wayman Tisdale and Chris Carr in this annual battle, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, 5999 East Van Buren. Barkley and former teammate Danny Ainge are captains of the competing squads. Tickets are $10, $20and $25, available at the stadium and Dillard's; proceeds benefit Arizona Special Olympics. Call 230-1200 or 678-2222.

Spalding Gray: The obsessive-compulsive monologist, a.k.a. the "high priest of anxiety," gave us Swimming to Cambodia and Monster in a Box, and he returns to Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, to tweak his work-in-progress, Skiing to New England. Shows are scheduled on Thursday, March 28; and Friday, March 29, in the center's Cinema. On Saturday, March 30, the artist performs the improvisational piece "Gray on Gray: Everything Reminds Me of Something" in the center's main theatre. All shows are at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 for the Cinema performances, $25 forSaturday's show, available at the scene and Ticketmaster. For details call 994-2787 or 784-4444.

Phoenix Symphony: Guitarist Pepe Romero and mezzo-soprano Linda Childs join the ensemble, led by guest conductor Theo Alcantara, in a program that includes the U.S. premiere of Palomo's Nocturnos deAndalucia Suite Concertante for Guitar and Orchestra and two Falla pieces--"La Vida Breve (Life Is Short)" and "The Three Cornered Hat." Shows are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28; and 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, March 29, at Symphony Hall, 225 East Adams. Friday morning's program is a "Coffee Classics" concert; tickets are $11 and $15, and "La Vida Breve" will not be performed. Regular tickets range from $12 to $36, available at the symphony box office and Dillard's. For details call 264-6363, 262-7272 or 678-2222.

The Child Diego: Arizona State University's theatre department continues its season with Carlos Morton's free-associative take on the life of Mexican artist Diego Rivera. The work takes liberties with time and place, but begins and ends with Rivera's late-period painting of the masterpiece "Sueno de una Tarde Dominical en el Alameda Central (Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Central Alameda Park)." This week's performances are at 8p.m. Thursday, March 28; 8 p.m. Friday, March 29; 8 p.m. Saturday, March 30; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 31; 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 2; and 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, in Lyceum Theatre, located at the north end of Forest Mall on the west side of the ASU campus in Tempe. More performances are planned Thursday, April 4, through Saturday, April 6. Tickets are $11, $8.50 for ASU faculty and staff, $6 for students, available at ASU Fine Arts and Dillard's box offices. Call 965-6447.

march 29
Ben Johnson's Pro/Celebrity Weekend: The actor shares the spotlight with rodeo pros like Chance Baldwin and Kerry Kimbro, country singer/barrel racer Lynn Anderson and fellow screen stars Bo Hopkins, Dennis Farina, Tracy Shakespeare and many others in the annual good-cause hoe-down. This year's pro/celebrity roping and penning performances are slated for 7 p.m. Friday, March 29; and 9 a.m. Saturday, March 30, at Gilbert Rodeo Arena, Val Vista and Ray roads. A concert by Marty Stuart follows Friday's show at 9, and is included in the ticket price: $8 in advance, $10 the day of the competition, available at Ticketmaster (call 784-4444). A benefit dinner and auction are planned for 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Chandler's Sheraton San Marcos Resort, Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard; tickets are $80, $150 per couple (call 497-3542). A celebrity golf tourney tees off at 8 a.m. Sunday on the course at the Sheraton San Marcos (call 497-3542). Proceeds from the above events benefit Mesa's Sunshine Acres children's home, Child Crisis Center, and Apache Junction Boys & Girls Club.

Carol Fran and Clarence Hollimon: Pianist/vocalist Fran recorded a version of "Crying in the Chapel" that preceded Elvis Presley's, but she's best known for her work with the Joe Tex Revue. Guitarist Hollimon honed his technique with Bobby "Blue" Bland, Little Junior Parker, Charles Brown and BigMama Thornton. Tiring of roadwork, both musicians gravitated individually to Houston and, thanks to a providential series of recording sessions, to each other. The soulful duo performs Friday, March 29; and Saturday, March 30, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Dr. Fish Blues Band shares the bill. Showtime is 9 p.m. The cover is $4, free for Phoenix Blues Society members. Fordetails call 265-4842.

Paris Is Burning: Director Jennie Livingston's 1990 movie about the New York City drag-ball scene is one of the fine films of the firsthalf of the '90s, artfully mingling camp and tragedy. The unrated effort shows at7:15 p.m. Friday, March 29, at Kiva Hall, located in the University Center Building onthe Arizona State University West campus, 4701 West Thunderbird in Glendale; the screening continues ASU West Film Society's latest festival of free movies, which sports the theme "documentaries as weapons of change." The series continues through Friday, May 3. For more information, call 543-2787.

Tempe Spring Festival of the Arts: Mill Avenue Merchants Association's 19th annual fest, featuring the usual array of arts, crafts, music and exhibits, is scheduled Friday, March 29; Saturday, March 30; and Sunday, March 31, on Mill from Third Street to University. Daily hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free. For details call 967-4877.

Phoenix Suns: The Suns host the Milwaukee Bucks Friday, March 29, and the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday, April 2, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Both games tip off at 7 p.m.; a free party at Fat Tuesday, located at Arizona Center, Third Street and Van Buren, precedes Tuesday's match (call 949-4353). The team's next home game is at 7p.m. Thursday, April 4, against the Utah Jazz. If tickets are available, they're at the arena and Dillard's. For details call 379-7867, 379-7800 or 678-2222.

The Child Diego: See Thursday.
Spalding Gray: See Thursday.
An Inspector Calls: See Thursday.
Phoenix Symphony: See Thursday.

march 30
Don Rickles at Union Hall: The well-preserved comedian, who's nearing 70, has remained young at heart by firing his patented salvos of insults over the bows of deserving targets the world over. Lately, he's branched out into feature films--he provided the voice of Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story and portrayed a pit boss in Casino--but those barbed one-liners still pay thebills, baby. Rickles is the inaugural booking at therejuvenated Union Hall, Phoenix's longtime home of the arts at Sixth Street and VanBuren. Showtime is 8p.m. Saturday, March 30. Tickets are $19.25 and $27.75 in advance, $22 and $29 the day of the show, available at Dillard's; call 678-2222.

The Child Diego: See Thursday.
Carol Fran and Clarence Hollimon: See Friday.
Spalding Gray: See Thursday.
An Inspector Calls: See Thursday.
Ben Johnson's Pro/Celebrity Weekend: See Friday.
Tempe Spring Festival of the Arts: See Friday.

march 31
Cesar Chavez Memorial Peace March and Rally: The culmination of a larger, City of Phoenix-sponsored homage to the Arizona-born human- and civil-rights activist, the march starts at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, March 31, at Immaculate Heart Church, 909 East Washington, and ends at Cesar Chavez Plaza, Second Avenue and Washington. The rally, featuring speakers, music and a car show, follows at Patriots Square, Central and Washington. Both events are free. For details call 495-0573.

Lowrider Magazine 20th Anniversary Tour and "Latinpalooza": Hundreds of the hopped-up, low-down autos are on display in this nationally touring show, scheduled for 11a.m. to 5p.m. Sunday, March 31, at Mesa Centennial Hall, 201 North Center. Also on the agenda: the "Latinpalooza" concert, featuring scheduled performances by Slow Pain, JV, Laura Martinez, Rocky Padilla, L.A.D., and MC Magic. Tickets are $14, available at Dillard's; kids under 10 are admitted free. For details call 892-6249 or 678-2222.

The Child Diego: See Thursday.
An Inspector Calls: See Thursday.
Ben Johnson's Pro/Celebrity Weekend: See Friday.
Tempe Spring Festival of the Arts: See Friday.

april 1
Bad Religion: The perpetually pissed-off L.A. band's birth predates Ronald Reagan's first stint in the Oval Office; thankfully, the Raygun's turned off and Bad Religion's trademark sonic fury isstill with us. These hard-core antiheroes are theowners of the longest sustained case ofanger on record--pun intended. Dance Hall Crashers, and Unwritten Law share the bill. Showtime is 7 p.m. Monday, April 1, atMesa Amphitheatre, Center and University. Tickets are available at the scene and Dillard's. For details call 644-2560 or 678-2222.

april 2
The Fugees, and the Roots: The words "rap" and "band" generally don't mix--think about it. But these worthy groups bust many of the standing rules and built-in limitations of hiphop, infusing the often-gabby genre with shots of soul and real musical ability. Two of New Jersey's Fugees (the name isshort for "refugees") are of Haitian descent, butthe trio points to the late Jamaican Bob Marley as the main influence on its real-time sound; see the story on page 89. Philadelphia's Roots also deep-six the samples, with rappers Black Thought and Malik B. jamming to the live beats of drummer B.R.O. the R.? and bassist Hub. Either one of these bands could wipe up the floor with the sorry likes of Onyx. Goodie Mob shares the all-ages bill. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, at Electric Ballroom, 1216 East Apache in Tempe. Tickets are available at the club and Ticketmaster. For more information, call 894-0707 or 678-2222.

The Child Diego: See Thursday.
Phoenix Suns: See Friday.

april 3
81/2 Souvenirs: Named after Fellini's film 81/2, this group is fronted by guitarist/vocalist Olivier Giraud, who fashioned a fabulous new strain of cafe jazz out of two things that don't normally go together: a French musical education and immersion in the indie mindset of Radio Free America: i.e., Austin, Texas, where Giraud migrated by accident, as so many musicians do. Austin encourages the sort of noodling that allowed Giraud and his cafe-jazz-illiterate cohorts to develop their odd, but delectable, oeuvre, which they call "stray swing"--"Because it really wanders," Giraud says--and which includes revamps of classics by late genre demigod Django Reinhardt and some estimable originals. Touring in support of their Continental debut, Happy Feet, the Souvenirs perform Wednesday, April 3, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Friends of Dean Martinez share the bill. Showtime is 9 p.m. For details call 265-4842.

The Child Diego: See Thursday.


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