You don't need to be a huge fan or an expert to enjoy polo. The people-watching opportunities are endless, thanks to fancy outfits and a steady supply of frou-frou drinks. Plus, most polo players are pretty hot. Just look at Facundo Pieres, Nacho Figueras, and Louise Sanberg. The Fourth Annual Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships are just around the corner, so Stacy's on Melrose is celebrating with a polo preview party.
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Fans can rub elbows with Phoenix's Gay Polo League and its captain, Chip McKenney, for an evening of equine extravagance. Not familiar with polo? No problem, the event includes a presentation on the history of the sport and the swanky Scottsdale championships.
Place your bets on Monday, September 8, at Stacy's on Melrose, 4343 North Seventh Avenue, from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission is free to the 18-and-over event. Call 602-264-1700 or visit www.gaypolo.com for more information. Melissa Fossum
Award-winning nonfiction author David Laskin makes a stop at the Phoenix Changing Hands Bookstore location during his current to promoting his latest novel, The Family: Three Journeys Into the Heart of the Twentieth Century. Author of The Children's Blizzard, whose writings have appeared in the New York Times and Smithsonian, Laskin's latest traces the roots of his Jewish family during the twentieth century as it deals with family travails across three continents, two world wars, and several restructurings of the world map. A deeply personal, emotional and moving account, Laskin will discuss his research, writing and dedication to this book's creation.
Meet and greet David Laskin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, September 9, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. Admission is free with book purchase. Call 602-274-0067 or visit www.changinghands.com. Glenn BurnSilver
Brought on by the recession as a cheap way to indulge in fashion trends, our nation's obsession with nail art (painting patterns or adding other adornments to one's nails) may have hit its high point. Awards show red carpets feature cameras, called mani-cams, specifically designed to show off tricked-out nails. And besides painting and bejeweling, women have stranded jewelry through their nails, glued on pointy, stiletto-shape acrylics, and dabbled with paints that give such textural effects such as felt and matte.
But this manicure madness comes after nearly 100 of beauty evolution. What started as a risque fashion statement has become a world of salons on every corner and more color options than you can count. Suzanne Shapiro's new book, Nails: The Story of the Modern Manicure, delves into the history of the manicure.
Best arrive with a fresh coat of paint when Shaprio visits to lecture on the topic at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, on Wednesday, September 10. An optional buffet will be held in the museum's great hall at 4 p.m. Shapiro will lecture in Whiteman Hall at 5 and sign her book in the lobby at 6. While the lecture and book signing are free, tickets for the buffet are $28 for Arizona Costume Institute members and $33 for non-members via www.arizonacostumeinstitute.com. Visit www.phxart.org or call 602-257-1880 for more information. Becky Bartkowski
Inspired by the cowboy movies of his youth, documentary photographer Lawrence McFarland ventured out to seek some wide open spaces of his own. In solo exhibition "Landmarks: From Dodge City to Shiprock," at ASU's Northlight Gallery, 925 South Forest Mall in Tempe, McFarland explores themes of journey and discovery with a selection of images spanning the last four decades. This isn't McFarland's first time at the rodeo; the 2010 Guggenheim Fellow was one of the first photographers to have a solo exhibition in the space back in the 1970s.
"Landmarks" will be the final show at ASU's Northlight Gallery on the university's Tempe campus (the gallery will reopen at ASU's Grant Street Studios in downtown Phoenix during the spring of 2015). The exhibition runs through Saturday, October 4. On Thursday, September 11, the gallery is open from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit art.asu.edu/gallery/northlight or call 480-965-6517. Katrina Montgomery
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Those who can win spelling bees do. Those who can't live through their over-achieving children, making them memorize multisyllabic words over flashcards night and day in the hopes of achieving academic success. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a Tony-winning improv sketch turned musical that portrays the ridiculous world of competitive spelling. Six adult actors will channel their inner anxious teens in this one-act play of power, puberty, and silent P's. Audience members be warned: each show will recruit four volunteers to take to the stage as guest spellers.
Let us spell it out for you: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is headed for Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, September 12 through 19. General admission is $20. For details and to purchase tickets, visit www.tempe.gov/TCA or call 480-350-2829. Katie Johnson