Get your drink on, get your freak on, and get your strap-on, because the 22nd annual Exotic Art Show is back again. "People who like to dress crazy and sexy can come here, and nobody gives them a problem," says Baron Dixon, one of 60-plus artists exhibiting work in the show, which opens Friday, February 11, at the Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt. "The people are the show. The paintings and sculptures just decorate the event." More provocative decorations would be hard to find. There's Dixon's Anaya: Lethal Lingerie, a painting depicting an exotic, heavyset woman's breasts through a sheer negligee; Roger Thomas' Barbie Ann, a ceramic, porn-star-ish doll, forever posed in the act of, uh, wanking; Mark Greenawalt painting live, topless women in the basement; and the multilayered assemblages of Moline O'Tucson, composed of porn-mag cutouts and more dolls doing dirty deeds.
Every imaginable medium, from bronze to papier-mâché to photography, is represented. This year, there are leather casts of muscular men's torsos, and, uh, stuff. "There have been penises in every medium we could possibly conceive," says Kim Moody, Alwun House co-owner. "But it's more than just a nasty sideshow. We work with artists that want to express something out of the ordinary, and that something doesn't have to be erotic."
Some pieces, like Spyder Yardley-Jones' Saturday Beating Post, a spoof on Rockwell Americana that reflects the current climate of police brutality, are more sociological than sexual. Anything's possible in such a large exhibition, which also includes works by Alan Lowry, Larry LoPresti, Sarah Clemens, Elliot Everson, Peter Votichenko, Pete Petrisko and Mel Rose.
If all the art doesn't pique your peepers, check out the fire dancing, snake dancing, burlesque from Voodoo Betties, live jazz, trance mixes by DJ The Mixtress, buffet spread, Lezbosagogo, or the girls doing Kamasutra above the bar. The feast of the senses starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $25, and you must be 21 or older to get some. The first 200 people through the door receive "special" grab bags. The show runs through March 11. Call 602-253-7967. -- Niki D'Andrea
Toss My Salad While You're At It
Kiss the cuke -- or maybe the kohlrabi -- at Whole Foods' Valentine's event
If you can't seem to keep your hands off other people's tomatoes, check out Whole Foods Market's Valentine's Day Kissing Contest. Customers who visit the 5120 South Rural location in Tempe from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, February 13, can be blindfolded and encouraged to plant a big, fat, juicy kiss on an unsuspecting vegetable. This behavior might get you slapped if you tried it in a bar, but in this case, it could get you a 10 percent discount at the store. But you must correctly guess which veggie you accosted. There's also a raffle for a romantic dinner for two and a dozen roses. Call 480-456-1400. -- C. Murphy Hebert
All things fresh and funky in a new urban spot
The antidote to the chain-store epidemic may well be an unassuming gravel parking lot in downtown Phoenix. Each week, beginning Saturday, February 12, budding entrepreneurs will transform the southeast corner of Central Avenue and McKinley Street into a cornucopia of indigenous food and crafts for the Downtown Phoenix Public Market, which "features produce raised in Arizona as well as crafts and prepared foods emphasizing materials native to the region," says coordinator Cindy Gentry. She jokes that, "[We're] experiencing difficulty locating Arizona-grown coffee, but we'll compensate by offering fair trade java." The grand opening takes place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 602-493-5231 or see www.foodconnect.org. -- Douglas Towne
Year of the Rooster brings festival to crow about
Get a taste of the Far East -- without leaving east Phoenix -- and celebrate the 15th annual Chinese Week at the Culture and Cuisine Festival starting at 9 a.m. Friday, February 11. This three-day Sino celebration, which runs through Sunday, February 13, at the Chinese Cultural Center, 668 North 44th Street, includes a presentation of a traditional Dragon boat to Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, as well as cultural events, including folk dancing, martial arts demonstrations, and a food pavilion offering delicious delectables from six different cities and regions of China. Admission is free, but parking is $3. See www.phoenixsistercities.org for a full schedule and complete lineup of Chinese Week events. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Requiem wants your bloody valentine
If you prefer Bauhaus to Britney, or think Cupid would look better with that arrow through his fleshy little septum, drop those dinner reservations and don the gothic garb for Requiem's second annual Black Hearts Anti-Valentine's Day Party on Friday, February 11, at Club Incognito, 2424 East Thomas. The industrial and dark '80s music will spin as you sip specialty drinks, feast on black wedding cake and scribble your devilish thoughts on conversation hearts pasted on the walls throughout the club. Two separate drawings could win you a gift basket of luscious goodies or a framed print by fairy artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith. Mingle in dusky delights beginning at 9 p.m. Admission is $3 from 9 to 10 p.m. and $6 after. Enjoy $2 well drinks, wine and draft beer from 10 to 11 p.m. Call 602-955-9805 or see www.azgoth.com. -- Amy Young
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LUV You Don't Find Every Day
Things look Swell at the Icehouse
It seems like Swell lost that ravin' feeling, whoa-oh, that ravin' feeling. But the local DJ/clothing store is getting it back -- and just in time for Valentine's -- with the LUVDUP extravaganza on Saturday, February 12, at the Icehouse, 429 West Jackson. "We're known for throwing huge-ass raves, but it's been a while," says Swell's Benny Rosen. "I think [LUVDUP] is an example of what's starting to happen with the rave scene here. I think it's coming back." DJ Monk (pictured), who'll spin his "house/breaks/jungle . . . whatever the fuck he wants to play," co-headlines LUVDUP with Chicago's Josh "The Funky 1," and up to six projections of "visual overload" from Hallucination on Film, Frygoblin Films, and Tunnel Vision. LUVDUP also features live ice sculptures and paintings by Jason Rudolph Peña, as well as free massages, "chill areas," and two documentary film crews rolling all night. Advance tickets are available through www.deserttrance.com for $10 each; at Swell for $15; or at the door for $20. Call 480-945-3898. -- Joe Watson