Calendar for the week

october 30
Three Semi-Automatics Just for Fun: The genesis of this black-comic, multimedia piece--produced by Arizona State University's Institute for Studies in the Arts and billed as "June Cleaver wearing pearls and a pistol"--was a visit to an Albuquerque bookstore by one of the work's principals, American actress Leslie Hill, after her return from a decadelong stay in England. Hill was dumfounded to see a magazine titled Women & Guns with a cover sporting a cake surrounded by handguns; it gave Hill and her partner, British actress Helen Paris, impetus to explore the varying attitudes toward gun control on this and that side of the pond. "[Three Semi-Automatics] is neither pro nor con in its approach to the subject of guns," says Hill. "Rather, it is an exploration of recent trends such as the total UK ban on handguns . . . and the new vogue of women as a voice of the [National Rifle Association]." Performances, held in conjunction with the UK/AZ Festival (see the Events listing), are scheduled Thursday, October 30; Friday, October 31; and Saturday, November 1. All start at 7:30 p.m. at Drama City, located at Myrtle and University on the ASU campus in Tempe. Admission is free; space is limited. 965-9438.

Arizona State Fair: The annual corn-dog carnival continues Thursday, October 30; Friday, October 31; Saturday, November 1; and Sunday, November 2, at the fairgrounds, 19th Avenue and McDowell. Along with the usual attractions--rides and games on the midway, livestock and ag exhibits--this year's fair includes the separately ticketed "UFO Encounters" and an oddly synchronistic salute to the U.S. Air Force. The remaining concerts at Veterans' Memorial Coliseum are weighted toward twangers, commencing with Tanya Tucker at 7 p.m. Thursday. For more info, see the At the Fair listing or call 268-3247 or 252-6771.

The Seductive Art of Becoming God and Famous and Miss Coco Peru: Eric Bernat wrote and performs God and Famous, a one-man desecration of pop culture crammed with dead-on caricatures of "child beauty queens, aspiring porno stars and rock-star wanna-bes." The show was directed by actor/playwright David Drake (of the off-Broadway hit The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me and the big screen's Philadelphia). Final performances are Thursday, October 30; Friday, October 31; and Saturday, November 1. Drag king Clinton Leupp (To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar) wrote Seductive's companion piece, the one-man/woman Miss Coco Peru. Leupp also enacts the title role, a chatty wench of depth, warmth and conviction who breaks the fourth wall with abandon--and charm. Miss Coco opens Wednesday, November 5, and continues nightly, through Saturday, November 8. New York's Captive Audience Productions presents both works at Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre, 100 East McDowell. All performances start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17.50, $30 for both shows. 254-2151.

Lords of Acid: Far ahead of its time when it formed in 1987, this Belgian sex machine was techno before techno was commercially viable. Rude, lewd and purposefully (sometimes maddeningly) obfuscatory, so-called Lady Nikkie Van Lierop and her traveling lieges--Maurice Engelen, Kurt Liekens, Erhan, Shai de la Luna, perhaps Praga Khan and Oliver Adams--are touring behind their latest dose of sass and thunder, Our Little Secret. Jack Off Jill opens the all-ages concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, October 30. The relocated show is at Gibson's, 410 South Mill in Tempe. Tickets are $17, available at the club and Ticketmaster (967-1234, 784-4444).

Mel Chin: The New York-based artist has long displayed a deep concern for personal and Earth history, human rights and the environment. (Chin is likely best known for his large-scale piece "Maquette for Revival Field," a living sculpture that substituted "hyperaccumulator" plants for his usual medium of marble and was inspired by the "Revival Field" project focusing on the "green remediation" process of removing heavy metals from contaminated soil.) The artist continues the "ARTiculations" series at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, with a lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 30; the program's held in conjunction with SCA's current Chin retrospective, "Inescapable Histories" (see the Visual Art listing). A reception follows. Admission is $6, $4 for SCA members, $3 for students. 994-2787.

The Oblivians: The music of the ragged Memphis trio marks a return to the garage-born spirit of prepunk, nonpretentious American rock. If you missed the piece last issue, here's what New Times music dude and former Memphian Gilbert Garcia said about the group's latest disc, Oblivians . . . Play 9 Songs With Mr. Quintron: "On Play 9 Songs, the Oblivians hit that rarefied zone where the originals sound like old classics, and the covers sound like something the band could have written." The Wongs, and the Breakmen open. Showtime is 10 p.m. Thursday, October 30, at Nita's Hideaway, 1816 East Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. The cover is $7. 967-9531.

october 31
Arizona Star Warz Convention: Just about every major actor in George Lucas' Star Wars galaxy whose face or body was masked onscreen is scheduled to attend the second AzSWCon. The biggies are Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), David Prowse (Darth Vader), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) and Mike Carter (Bib Fortuna). Also scheduled: a preview of Hasbro/Kenner's 1998 line of trilogy toys and appearances by LucasFilm, Ltd., ambassador and author Steve Sansweet; conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie; Cinthia Freeling, who portrayed Princess Anne Droid in the classic parody Hardware Wars; and "pyrotechnician" Joe Viskocil, the man who blew up the Death Stars in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. Friday, October 31; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, November 1; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, November 2, at the Safari Resort, 4611 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Con tickets range from $15 to $60. 978-5339, 266-3895.

Halloween Extra: For info about Allhallows Eve happenings around the Valley, see the special subsection in the Events listing.

Arizona State Fair: See Thursday.
The Seductive Art of Becoming God and Famous: See Thursday.
Three Semi-Automatics Just for Fun: See Thursday.

november 1
Ballet Arizona's Dias de Muertos: A Celebration of Life: Inspired by los Dias de los Muertos (the Days of the Dead), BA's Michael Uthoff wrote this full-length ballet, featuring music by Eugenio Toussaint and a libretto by Berta Hiriart. The troupe is joined by the Phoenix Symphony for the world premiere at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 1, at the Sundome, 19403 R.H. Johnson Boulevard in Sun City West. (Funny place for a ballet--not to mention the world premiere of one--but Arizona State University Public Events spokesperson David Harrison says ASU, which operates the 'dome, is trying to broaden the hall's appeal and transform it into a cultural-arts magnet for the burgeoning northwest Valley.) Tickets range from $16 to $28, available at the scene and Dillard's (975-1900, 503-5555).

Arturo Sandoval: Arguably the best Latin-jazz trumpeter that ever was, the Cuba-born musician (and co-founder of the cult-fave group Irakere) blew away the late Dizzy Gillespie during Sandoval's inaugural stateside tour, and went on to join Dizzy's United National Orchestra. Showtime is 8 p.m. Saturday, November 1, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $21 and $25, available at the center and Ticketmaster (994-2787, 784-4444).

Arizona Star Warz Convention: See Friday.
Arizona State Fair: See Thursday.
The Seductive Art of Becoming God and Famous: See Thursday.
Three Semi-Automatics Just for Fun: See Thursday.

november 2
The Cramps, the Demolition Doll Rods, and Guitar Wolf: A superb bill for those who like their sounds on the sick side. Lux Interior, Poison Ivy and the Cramps, the progenitors of psychobilly, have long dominated the metaphorical jukebox from hell with their self-proclaimed "bad music for bad people." Detroit's Doll Rods are like the MC5 in drag--well, the guitarist is; his name's Danny, he's a graduate of the "school of hard licks" and he's high on wigs and feather boas. The other members of the Motor City's "R&B T&A circus" are ass-kicking sibs Margaret and Christine. As for Guitar Wolf, imagine an English-challenged version of the early Ramones (come to think of it, that's not so hard) and you've got a handle on this black-leather-clad Tokyo trio led by guitarist Seiji, who introduces each tune with the endearing exclamation "One, two, fuck you." The relocated concert--now outdoors--is scheduled Sunday, November 2, at Boston's, 910 North McClintock in Tempe. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15, available at Ticketmaster. 921-7343, 784-4444.

Hank Crawford and Jimmy McGriff: Saxman Crawford is the former leader of Ray Charles' band--golden era. McGriff is one of the undisputed masters of the Hammond organ. Both musicians (who've collaborated frequently, on disc and onstage) fall about halfway between jazz and the blues, and each is a stellar soloist; together, they're dynamite. Showtime is 8 p.m. Sunday, November 2, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. Tickets are $20, available at the club and Ticketmaster (265-4842, 784-4444).

Arizona Star Warz Convention: See Friday.
Arizona State Fair: See Thursday.

november 3
Todd Rundgren: The pop star, producer and aural eccentric stomps across terrain upon which lesser artists fear to tread. He occasionally transforms himself into a techhead we call the "Alternate Runt" and he calls TR-i and/or "The Artist Formerly Known As Todd Rundgren." Todd's latest album, With a Twist . . . , features many of Rundgren's biggest hits--"I Saw the Light," "Hello, It's Me," "A Dream Goes On Forever," etc.--redone as bossa novas. (You read that right.) The tour in support of the odd but delightful disc includes support from Prairie Prince, Kasim Sulton, Jesse Gress and John Ferenzik, and reportedly boasts a "Polynesian lounge" flavor--a real culture clash-o-rama, considering the show's at that high-concept yuppie love shack called the Cajun House, 7117 East Third Avenue in Scottsdale. Rundgren and company go on at 9 p.m. Monday, November 3. Tickets are $10, available at Ticketmaster. 945-5150, 784-4444.

november 5
Nanci Griffith and the Blue Moon Orchestra featuring the Crickets: With the exceptions of her terrific 1993 folk tribute Other Voices, Other Rooms and the tremendously moving title track from her '91 album Late Night Grande Hotel (an otherwise disappointing affair), Griffith has seemed artistically stymied for about a decade. But as she's always done at her best, Nanci has moved forward by moving backward, toward her firmly established roots, with her new disc, Blue Roses From the Moons. They're just baby steps--Roses isn't the album that will catapult Griffith back into music's top echelon--but they provide proof that this formidably talented woman is learning to walk again in her own shoes after years of running in place in varying brands of aesthetic footwear that didn't quite fit her. Buddy Holly's Crickets (guitarist/vocalist Sonny Curtis, drummer Jerry Allison and bassist Joe B. Mauldin) made cameo appearances on Nanci's new disc, and they're along for the supporting ride. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 5, at Union Hall, Sixth Street and Van Buren. Tickets are $23 in advance, $26 the day of the show, available at the hall and Dillard's (253-7100, 503-5555).

Daniel Goldhagen: The Harvard instructor is the author of the extremely controversial 1996 book Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, which posited that the main murderers of Jews during World War II weren't members of the Nazi party or the SS, but run-of-the-mill Germans under the influence of what Goldhagen termed "eliminationist anti-Semitism." Goldhagen delivers the sixth annual Jonathan and Maxine Marshall Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 5, at the Arizona State University Music Theatre, located at Mill and Gammage Parkway in Tempe. Admission is free, but tickets must be picked up in advance. 965-1441.

Miss Coco Peru Opening: See Thursday.

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Clay McNear
Contact: Clay McNear