Whether you're a historic preservationist, a developer with a wrecking ball or somewhere in between, you'll dig Phoenix: Then and Now. The book is a collaborative effort between two native Phoenicians, Paul Scharbach (a professional photographer) and John H. Akers (a writer/historian), who discuss and sign copies at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 18, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock in Tempe. The coffee-table-style tome offers a unique insight into how Phoenix took shape over the past 100 years or so. Open Phoenix: Then and Now to any page and you'll find a pair of photographs, one historic (in black and white) and one contemporary (in color). Each set of images documents a specific location in the Valley, and is stitched together by Akers' informative narrative. Some dyads focus on specific architectural landmarks such as the Monroe School and the Orpheum Theatre. Other pairings provide a "before and after" view of intersections like First Avenue and Jackson or sweeping aerial perspectives such as those showing downtown Phoenix and the Arizona State University campus in Tempe. Scharbach's photographs beautifully illustrate the city's path of progress, including the vertical climb of the Central Corridor. Scharbach also captures the carefully restored buildings that populate our urban landscape, while Akers' succinct history describes the city's early period and provides a valuable chronicle of Phoenix's investment in historic restoration and preservation.
One other interesting tidbit: The book is one in a series of Then and Now volumes published by Thunderbay Press. Other Thunderbay issues include similar treatments of San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Denver, Los Angeles and San Diego. Call 480-730-0205. -- PJ Novelli
Shakedown on 32nd Street
Cleveland rocked -- 'til now
Attention, ladies who like big black men with bulging muscles and six-pack abs: Buff love is comin' your way in the form of 6'2", 235-pound Thomas "Luscious" Crawley, an "exotic entertainer" from Cleveland who studied under renowned male dancers like Hot Chocolate and Bobby Lee, and who brings his own show -- "The Main Event: Part Two" -- to Celebrity Theatre on Saturday, August 20. A dancer since the age of 22, Crawley now owns Luscious Promotions, and brings a stable of dark, rippled studs to his upcoming Valley show. They'll start losing their clothes at 8:30 p.m.; tickets cost $10 to $50. Celebrity Theatre is located at 440 North 32nd Street. Call 602-267-1600 or visit www.4luscious.com. -- Niki D'Andrea
Glam in a flash
With Rona Berg on your side, you've got a leg up on the competition -- a smooth, perfectly pedicured leg. The former reporter for the New York Times and contributor to Vogue, Elle, and Cosmopolitan is known for her trade trips and tips, and she makes the ever-painful process of beautification simple and (mildly) enjoyable. Wet polish? Spray nails with no-stick for a quick dry. Blemish? Dab with honey for bee-utifully clear skin. Berg discusses and signs her new book, Fast Beauty: 1,000 Quick Fixes, at 7 p.m. Monday, August 22, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock in Tempe. Call 480-730-0205. -- Wynter Holden
The Grape Escape
Where trade show meets drinking
Those on 12-Step programs should give the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale a wide berth on Tuesday, August 23, as Phoenix-based Quail Distributing hosts its Quail Uncorked Portfolio Tasting from 5 to 7 p.m. Winemakers, brewers and importers from around the globe will display their liquid wares, which include approximately 500 fine wines and beers available for purchase in Arizona. Tickets are $75 per person ($80.36 with taxes tacked on), but the seemingly steep admission price buys you all the high-tone boozing and schmoozing you can handle. The resort is located at 7500 East Doubletree Ranch Road. Call 623-581-8081 or visit www.quaildistributing.com. -- Clay McNear
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