NET Gains

How are Happy Meals marketed? The cynics and curmudgeons among us might scream, "Animated movies!" Fortunately, though, no cheap hamburgers are associated with Bob Sabiston's new film, Grasshopper. Its inspiration was a random interview in a park with a complete stranger. When asked a lame question about astrology, "he just busted out with 15 minutes of wisdom on Buddhist philosophy and the meaning of life," says Sabiston. "I was so amazed at the fluidity with which he spoke about all of these things, it really stuck with me." Sabiston's animated version of the stranger's unedited performance -- along with the work of fellow independent animator Stacey Steers -- will be featured at "southwestNET: Animation" at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street, from Saturday, May 28, through August 21. "We selected these artists because they represent polar opposites in the spectrum of animation," says curator Cassandra Coblentz. "Sabiston creates using a computer, while Steers does traditional hand drawings." An opening reception, on June 2 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., features discussions by both animators. Admission is $7 but is waived on Thursdays. Call 480-994-2787 or see -- Douglas Towne

Simply the Breast
Zowie Bowie's got bounce

SUN 5/29
When we heard that Zowie Bowie (no, not David Bowie's kid) was going to be playing a free concert at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 East Indian Bend in Scottsdale, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 29, we could hardly contain ourselves. After all, Scottsdale resident Zowie's got big style, and his singing sidekick, Marley Taylor, has a huge voice, among other things. With their penchant for covering all the hits of the '80s and '90s, nobody beats Zowie Bowie for infectious boobs, er, grooves. So bring a blanket and chill under the stars to covers of big, ahem, hits like "Naughty Girl," "Magic Stick" and "Yeah." Call 480-312-2312. -- Niki D'Andrea

Flash Photography
The thunder rolls -- of film

For eight years, Susan Strom has been standing in the desert in the middle of lightning storms to take pictures. The least you could do is check out her electrifying shots at the new visitors' center for McDowell Mountain Park, 16300 McDowell Mountain Park Drive in Fountain Hills. The high-voltage photo installation opens Sunday, May 29, and runs through July 9. Admission is free. Call 480-471-0173 or visit -- Niki D'Andrea

The Pole Enchilada
Twirl power

FRI 5/27
Come on, sexy, those moments of private dancing are over. You don't have to be a closet Gypsy Rose Lee wanna-be anymore. Dust off those fuck-me pumps, slip on your most audience-worthy of thongs and take that ready-to-milkshake ass over to Club Chameleon on Friday, May 27, and compete in the last night of the semifinals of the Pole Dance Contest, held weekly throughout May. This is your big chance to wrap those glistening gams around the long, hard steel rod and work that pole like nobody's damn business. This event is sponsored by Lil' Mynx Stripper Poles, who not only sell the poles but also acknowledge and advocate them as a great exercise component for at-home use. Lil' Mynx poles are among the prizes that winners can score, along with spa packages and gift certificates for Fascinations. A trip to Las Vegas is also on the jackpot list. You'll find Club Chameleon at 3102 North 29th Avenue. Doors open at 9 p.m., and costs vary for members and non-members. Best to call 602-253-7052 or visit and (if, by chance, you need a pole) -- Amy Young

We, the People
Paper Heart salutes Americas

The whole "melting pot" thing didn't really work out for North America, as the U.S. Southwest in particular is really more like a tossed salad than a stew. That's a good thing, though, since otherwise cross-cultural events like the Sopa Americana Festival at the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue, wouldn't offer much diversity. More than seven performances (along with some workshops) are planned for the festival, which takes place at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29. The festival embraces the cultures of Latin America, post-colonial America, and Native Americans, and features Marcos Najera performing portions of Guillermo Reyes' Men on the Verge of a HisPanick Breakdown II, Ricky Araiza performing Eric Bogosian's Pounding Nails Into the Floor With My Forehead, Chris Danowski performing Mexotica, and a Poetry Slam Invitational. Bravo! Tickets cost $10 to $20 per night. Call 602-262-2020. -- Niki D'Andrea

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea
Douglas Towne
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young