Face it -- the invite to Sunday's 76th Academy Awards wasn't lost in the mail. So instead of spending a king's ransom on Vera Wang couture or an Armani tux in hopes of sneaking in, better go with Plan B. The Oscar Night America Gala at the Ritz-Carlton Phoenix, 2401 East Camelback, offers a chance to strut down the red carpet, watch the ceremonies and glad-hand local celebrities (some so secretive that organizers won't divulge their identities). Tickets are $275, with proceeds going to the Arthritis Foundation. Call 602-264-7679 or see arthritis.org for reservations. For more frugal fashionistas, there's the Third Annual Academy Awards Gala at Farrelli's Cinema Supper Club, 14202 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. For $60, attendees get a similar red-carpet experience, a four-course prix-fixe menu and chances to win gift certificates. Reservations are required; call 480-905-7200. Both events start at 5 p.m. and last until the final Oscar is handed out. -- Benjamin Leatherman
A night of fashion in Scottsdale
Enjoying the nightlife in Scottsdale has always been as much about what you're wearing as where you're going. It was only a matter of time before some innovative souls combined the dual passions of shopping and clubbing, and that watershed moment is upon us. Scottsdale clubs meet designer duds when Labelhorde magazine presents Pret-a-Porter Thursdays, 8 to 11 p.m. at Mickey's Hangover, 4310 North Brown in Scottsdale. Each Thursday will feature the clothing of three Labelhorde designers, a live makeover, live music, and a green light for shoppers with the urge to keep going long after the stores have closed. For details call 480-425-0111. -- Craig Wallach
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Win, Lose or Ska
AZ Awards honor the sounds and the fury
Arizona's music scene gets ska-punk'd this Saturday, February 28, when those about to rock beyond the local level are saluted at the 2004 Arizona Ska-Punk Awards. Presented by Laundromat Productions and Bad Stain Records, the show singles out the genre's standouts at downtown's Old Brickhouse Grill, 1 East Jackson, where 20 bands pack the bill, including Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Girl Kicks Boy, and Stood Up Shot Down (nothing passive about this aggression). Pre-show performances by No Such Number, Work Shirt Wonder, and Spaz Kitty bring in the punk at 5 p.m. Admission is $12 at the door. See badstainrecords.com/index3.html to cast votes in 17 categories. -- Jill Koch