Amassed Media

Though the mainstream media long ago ceded their role as the voice of the people, it was still jarring to see the lengths to which they embraced the role of administration cheerleader in both the run-up to the Iraq war and the march on Baghdad. Most cynical of all were the "embeds," reporters who gave up all pretenses of objectivity by actually joining military units for tours of duty. Never one to shy away from the truth, Oscar winner Tim Robbins outs the media outlets that long to become the story rather than merely reporting it in his controversial play Embedded. An articulate and amusing look at the media frenzy surrounding modern war, Robbins' play comes to the Valley on Friday, October 29, and Saturday, October 30, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $42. Call 480-994-ARTS (2787) or visit -- Craig Wallach

Something Fishy

Local theatre folks might see themselves in play characters

Which came first, the play, or the play about the play? The Fish Must Die -- presented by the iTheatre Collaborative -- is heavy on the local tip, as playwright Raymond King Shurtz based all the characters on actual Phoenix theater folks he's met over the past 20 years.

Set in the Green Room of a community theater, the story follows the personal and professional experiences of a theater troupe . . . and, oh yeah, fish have something to do with the story, too.

The Fish Must Die opens Friday, October 29, at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe, and runs through November 14. Tickets are $12 to $15. Call 602-347-1071. --Niki D'Andrea

Hot Spot

Teatro Caliente! at Modified

Those who insist the Southwest is frigid on culture might get burned by the Teatro Caliente! Festival from Saturday, October 30, through Monday, November 1, at Modified Arts, 401 East Roosevelt. The annual orgy of live music, dance and performance art is only in its second year, but it's growing fast. Spurred by a grant from the Phoenix Arts Council and created by Theatre in My Basement, Teatro Caliente! has grown from two nights to three and has added matinee times for some pieces. The festival features acts of every ilk, from bizarre butoh dancing to "pierceformance," a hybrid of body piercing and theater. Performances by TIMB and Intertribal Theatre Project are also on tap. Shows are scheduled from 7 p.m. to midnight, with matinees on October 31 from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. Visit Ashlea Deahl

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