Going back to school sounds like a perfect reason to panic; if we remember the nightmare correctly, we show up late, ill-prepared and naked. This calls for a field trip to Anderson's Fifth Estate, 6830 East Fifth Avenue in downtown Scottsdale, where the panic! Back to School Party celebrates education through inebriation this Thursday, August 19. DJ Manchester spins "the best of Brit pop, indie, New Wave and '60s mod and soul," as the panic people toss out tickets to see The Cure and The Killers. Also in the goodie bag: Adam Sandler CD singles (sheesh -- are they prizes or punishment?). And to keep brain cells engaged, drink specials impart educational lessons: Well drinks are a buck before 10 p.m. (time management), Long Island iced teas are $2.50 (geography), and martinis are $3 all night (microeconomics). Cover is $5. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. -- Jill Koch
Though he's dabbled in democracy -- he moderated a "get out the youth" vote panel (with political paragon Ben Affleck!) at the Democratic National Convention -- D.L. Hughley may be more familiar with monarchy. Since starring in The Original Kings of Comedy in 2000, he's ruled the silver screen (Soul Plane and The Brothers), the small screen (The Hughleys, plus regular appearances on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher) and the standup circuit. This weekend, Hughley hits the Tempe Improv, 930 East University, as he preps for his own HBO special. Showtimes are 8 and 10 p.m. Friday, August 20, and Saturday, August 21, and 8 p.m. Sunday, August 22. Call 480-921-9877 for tickets, $25. -- Jill Koch
Hey, kids, here's a Pepsi challenge for you: The soft drink company is teaming up with the National Football League, the City of Chandler and Chandler Pop Warner from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, August 21, to sponsor Punt, Pass and Kick. The free competition will be held at the football field at Hamilton High School, 3700 South Arizona Avenue in Chandler, and it's open to boys and girls 6 to 15; just bring along a birth certificate or baptismal record as proof of age. Winners will advance to the next level of play; team finalists will compete at an Arizona Cardinals game (maybe a chance to make the team?); and ultimately, the national finalists will compete at an NFL playoff game in January. For more information, call 480-782-2704. -- Joe Watson
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We've been riding the white horse since we sucked down our first Pixie Stix on the playground. This Sunday, August 22, we see our sugar high reach a whole new level, courtesy of Sweet Summer Sunday at Cowboy Ciao, 7133 East Stetson in Scottsdale. Chef Tracy Dempsey "orchestrates a dessert feast of eight sweet and savory delights, paired with eight wines from around the world." The tooth decay commences with apricot sorbet on brioche French toast with local wild pecan honey. Then "the breakfast of real champions" -- blueberry bread pudding with maple crème anglaise and "a double side of bacon" -- makes way for the pi'ce de no rsistance: the trio of chocolate, which groups flourless chocolate cake with orange caramel and cinnamon milk foam, a chocolate Zinfandel pudding shot, and chocolate malted mini ice cream sandwich. The five remaining courses are too much for our glucose-addled brains to comprehend. Get in on the gluttony -- and spoil your dinner eight times over -- starting at 7 p.m. Call 480-WINE-111 for reservations, $75. -- Jill Koch
With so many manipulated subgenres of punk -- poppy punk, hardcore, straight edge, to name a few -- it's sometimes easy to forget it's an everyman's music, not originally meant to be sliced, diced and mass-marketed. Blue-collars and white-collars across this great land thrive in a mosh pit, here, there and everywhere. To illustrate, the Trunk Space, 1506 Grand Avenue, hosts an all-punk show of acts with coast-to-coast and in-between roots at 7 p.m. Monday, August 23, when New York's The Sleeping, California's Half Way Home, and locals No Right on Red thrash away for an adoring audience. Punk is as punk does. Admission is $5 at the door. Call 602-256-6006 or see www.thetrunkspace.com. -- Joe Watson
Worried that you barely have time to grab lunch, on your lunch hour? Don't be so dramatic. Leave that to the professionals. Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe, presents a Lunch Time Theater "double header" Tuesday, August 24, all within a 45-minute time limit. Catch two plays, If Men Played Cards As Women Do by George S. Kaufman and Poof by Lynn Nottage, for just $5. Poof may be over in 10 short minutes, but it's an award winner. And you won't even have to miss a meal. Lunch is another $5, if you call 602-254-7843 before 9 a.m. on the day of the show to reserve it. Play time is 12:10 p.m.; doors open at 11:40 a.m. The drama continues on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through September 2. For more information, see www.herbergertheater.org. -- Joe Watson
For the low-carb dieter, bread might be considered a four-letter word, but offer up some of those nasty low-carb products on the market, and you'll really hear some expletives (such as, "Pork off! You son of a motherless goat cheese!"). At 6 p.m. Wednesday, August 25, the Eurasia Bistro, inside the Scottsdale Athletic Club, 8225 East Indian Bend, is offering a chance to learn to low-carb the right way, with fresh meat and veggies and enough panache to please Julia Child, R.I.P. Save what few carbs you have, and learn to prepare chicken satay, roasted eggplant Napoleon, roasted salmon with goat cheese and tarragon, and glazed bananas. Call 480-991-1571 for reservations, $30 per person. - Joe Watson