For politically active artists (redundant, we know), the presidential election is a bit like the Super Bowl, sans the beer commercials. Perfect time to gather like minds around the tube with some snacks, sodas and, in this case, a night full of satire. While election-watching parties on Tuesday, November 2, won't be sparse, we recommend hitting up the Trunk Space gallery, 1506 Grand Avenue, for a little something extra in your election coverage.
"Just as much as we love art, we love politics," says Trunk Space owner JRC. "Most people sit around and watch the election on TV, so we thought it would just be more fun to do it in a group environment."
The lineup of local performance artists and activists includes members of the Galapagos and Apollo 12 improv comedy troupes, standup comedian Ryan McKee of Modest Proposal Magazine, actress and member of the pARTy political action group Cindy Brown, and election volunteer Julie Peterson.
JRC will air ongoing coverage of the election until at least midnight, in addition to conducting random man-on-the-street interviews and making cross-country house calls to tabulate his own unofficial poll. "It won't be very scientific, but it's more interesting," he says.
The Trunk Space will open at 7 p.m. to all ages and political affiliations -- for free. Hey, it's a free country, after all. Check out www.thetrunkspace.com or call 602-256-6006. -- Ashlea Deahl>
Get your shamrocks off at the Arizona Irish Festival
Deal with it now. There won't be a single drop of green beer at the Fourth Annual Arizona Irish Festival. "We aren't all green beer and leprechauns," says Sean Lee, Irish Cultural Center executive board president. Instead, the event at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1106 North Central, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, October 31, will feature more authentic entertainment. The day will be filled with shenanigans like step-dancing and chowing on some corned beef and cabbage. Don't worry your wee little head: There will be plenty of dark beer and hurling (it's a game, not just a euphemism for vomiting). Visit www.azirishfestival.org or call 602-258-0109. -C. Murphy Hebert
Dream on at fantasy convention
Once upon a time, the heroes and villains portrayed in dark and light fantasy art and literature were the unofficial property of a small but devoted subset. Today, thanks to mass media franchises like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, fantasy and its purveyors have found an increasingly comfortable home in the mainstream. As evidence, we give you the World Fantasy Convention 2004, Thursday, October 28, through Sunday, October 31, at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, 60 East Fifth Street in Tempe. More than 150 of the biggest names in fantasy art and literature are expected to attend. Tickets are $160 for the weekend. Call 480-894-1000 or visit www.worldfantasy2004.org. --Craig Wallach
A real monster mash at Alwun House
It ain't pretty when monsters bawl, but ah, when there's a "Monsters' Ball," it's a beautiful bacchanal. On Saturday, October 30, every beautiful freak and no-wave artist will descend upon Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt, for a Halloween Eve ball chock-full of crazy costumes, brews, "spells dancers," underground grooves by Black Sugar and Masters, and politically charged performances by Artists' Theatre Project and Jeff Falk. There will also be a dramatic Poe reading ("MO-POE"), and videos by Bob Judd and Steve Gompf. The sociocultural soiree starts at 7 p.m., with revelries until 1 a.m. Tickets are $10. Call 602-253-7887. --Niki D'Andrea
Boo-tiful night at Mainstay
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As much as we dig First Fridays, sometimes the crowds are a little much, especially all those teens eager to bum our smokes and beer. So we'll bypass the throng at "Boo Fool," a joint venture by Mainstay Gallery and Se Vende Studio, 412 East Garfield, Nos. 1 and 3. This "art lounge party" and Halloween celebration gives you the chance to talk it up with artists like Isaac Fortoul, Bobby Castaneda, and Heather Gargon, and maybe purchase some of their work. DJs will work the wheels of steel both upstairs and downstairs at the two-level apartment building, and local rockers the Complainiacs and the Quad Laser will play in the cool night air. The foolios are coolio from 6 p.m. Saturday, October 30, to 6 a.m. Costumes are mandatory. Ladies get in for free, but men have to cough up $2. Call 602-253-0422. -- Benjamin Leatherman
What, exactly, can one find at a Horrorfind Weekend convention? The creatures of cinematic nightmares, that's what, as more than 35 celebrities from horror films (as well as authors, directors, and special effects masters) will be on hand for "Horrorfind: The Spookiest Show on Earth," at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa, 5350 East Marriott Drive. Guests include Doug Bradley (Pinhead from Hellraiser), Tony Todd (Candyman), Bill Moseley (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) and Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses). The "Ladies of The Evil Dead" are also slated to appear, along with Evil Dead FX guru Tom Sullivan. In addition, fright-flick fans can buy movies, Halloween props, books, posters, models, and more in the gigantic dealer's room. The event, which runs Friday, October 29, through Halloween, also includes a costume contest, free horror movies showing outside, prize giveaways (including a 52-inch big-screen TV), and Trick-or-Treat Stations. Single-day passes for the event are $20; weekend passes cost $40. Visit www.horrorfindweekend.com or call 480-293-5000. --Niki D'Andrea