It's game time for local painter David McPherson. If pro athletes can summon the power of the Almighty -- you know, "God was on our side today . . ." -- McPherson can draw upon his Zen teachings and the blessing of the Venerable Norbu Lama with the hope that all goes well with McPherson's opening of his latest exhibition, "Ghost Paintings," at Victoria Boyce Galleries, 7130 East Main Street in Scottsdale, on Thursday, February 17. Before unveiling his show of acrylic paintings and oil pastel drawings (many of which "were guided by using ghost marks from previous paintings"), McPherson will have Lama, of the Bodhi Heart Center, offer an ancient tantric blessing "calling on the forces of good to be present" at the gallery, starting at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Call 480-941-2494 or see www.vboycegalleries.com.
Majestic steeds are the mane attraction at the 50th annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show at WestWorld, 16601 North Pima Road, beginning Friday, February 18. But the show's organizers have ponied up plenty of other options for visitors who might grow weary of the tense $500,000 competition and just wanna horse around. More than 300 vendors, both local and from around the country, will peddle their wares throughout the event (which runs through February 27), from jewelry and clothing to boots and saddles. And don't forget the international cuisine courts, demos and educational seminars that serve as the background to around 420 Arabians from around the world. General admission is $10 each day; $7 for seniors; and free for kids 12 and under. Call the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona at 480-515-1500 or see www.scottsdaleshow.com.
Be advised: Thankfully, there's no nude beach at Gabriel's Angels Walk for Kids and Doggie Beach Party on Saturday, February 19, at Tempe Kiwanis Park, 6111 South All American Way. So don't think you're being clever by having your pooch show up in his birthday suit. This is a family event, after all, and no one wants to see your mutt's pink lipstick! Besides, slapping a Speedo on Sparky could win your dog top honors in the "Best Doggie Body," "Best Doggie Beachwear," and "Best Doggie Bathing Suit" competitions. Of course, the canine beauty contest plays second fiddle to the two-mile fun walk throughout the park, which benefits Gabriel's Angels, a "non-profit foundation whose mission is to end the cycle of violence that affects children who are victims of abuse and neglect" via pet therapy. The walk begins at 9:30 a.m. and is followed by "doggie games," like a limbo and doggie basketball. On-site registration (which includes a tee shirt for the first 600 registrants) is $20 for adults, $5 for kids 4 to 16, and free for kids 3 and under. Call 480-460-5333 or see www.petshelpingkids.org.
Silly wabbit -- you thought Beatrix was for kids? Sure, she gave us Peter Rabbit as a child's fable way back in the day. But maybe old man McGregor was Beatrix Potter's symbolic representation of every 19th-century hunk o' man love who had just one thing on his mind: huntin' some tail. On Sunday, February 20, ASU theater professor Barbara Acker explores Potter's many struggles "against obstacles faced by young Victorian middle-class women" in the one-woman play Loves of Beatrix Potter, at the Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. The play begins at 3 p.m. For tickets -- $12.50 for adults, $9.50 for seniors, and $7.50 for students -- call 480-596-2660 or see www.asukerr.com.
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He's come a long way, baby (or maybe full circle, considering his Super Bowl XXXIX spots) since those "Wasabi!" Bud Light commercials from a few years ago. But Cedric the Entertainer hasn't forgotten his standup roots. The portly ladies' man, most notable for his Barbershop I and II credits, pays homage to himself and all things ghetto fabulous on Monday, February 21, with the first of a two-night stay at the Tempe Improv, at the northeast corner of Rural Road and University Drive. Shows start at 8 and 10 p.m. For tickets, $42, call 480-921-9877 or see www.tempeimprov.com.
Don't take his last name so literally. Sure, Dusty Hickman, a.k.a. Pickster One, turntablist for local hip-hop group Morse Code, proclaims "Rap Sucks" via the title of his newest mix CD. But something tells us the Pickster is one o' them ironic youngsters tryin' to be funny. And since we dig irony, we'll bite. Join Pickster One, Drunken Immortals, fellow Morse Coders Ru-Ski and Mantis Claw, and others for the Rap Sucks CD release party on Tuesday, February 22, at Salt River Saloon's weekly "Kill Mill" show. The CD features "some of your favorite rappers," including Gray Skul, Anglo Saxon, Crown City Rockers, Dirty Napz, and, of course, the Pickster himself. The CD is free with $5 admission to the Salt River Saloon, 605 South Mill Avenue in Tempe. See www.universatilemusic.com.
Lawyers driven by power and greed? Say it ain't so! Okay, so it's no news flash that the legal profession isn't known for its, uh, charitable work. But when a former Arizona Superior Court judge, namely John F. Molloy, wants to come clean on all the misdeeds of his colleagues -- and how these bottom-line litigators are "shaping our nation's laws, outside of our elected Congress and state Legislatures" -- we're all ears. On Wednesday, February 23, Molloy discusses and signs his book The Fraternity: Lawyers & Judges in Collusion, at Borders Books & Music, 2402 East Camelback Road, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Molloy's tell-all is based on his "50 years as a trial attorney, Arizona Superior Court judge, Chief Justice of the Arizona Court of Appeals, and president of Tucson's largest law firm." Call 602-957-6660.