Thu 5/1
We've thought long and hard about it -- there's no other puppet show quite like Puppetry of the Penis. When was the last time you saw such a ballsy performance?There's a strong buzz about this stage show that's selling out theaters from London to New York to Los Angeles. Visiting Phoenix for a press preview, creator Simon Morley explains, "It's a couple of butt-naked men manipulating their genitals into great art forms."

Morley and his partner, David Friend, take pride in their showmanship, clad in nothing more than socks, sneakers and flamboyant capes. Each one serves as his own narrator, turning his back to the audience to twist his tool with the "Ancient Australian Art of Genital Origami," then revealing his creation, which can be viewed on a large screen in the theater. Morley and Friend were an instant hit when they debuted six years ago at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

The duo performs about 40 "installations" in the show, such as "The Hamburger" ("Our signature dish," says Morley), "The Loch Ness Monster," "The Snail" and "The Windsurfer" -- just stretch your imagination with these. Morley says they try to localize the content, so he demonstrates "The Three-Wood," in tribute to the Valley's countless golf courses.

No pain is involved, nor is any special training required. "I've always been able to do it," Morley says. "But like any sport, you have to do warm-ups." To meet international demand, Morley and Friend have even started recruiting others to join the Puppetry brotherhood. Happily noting that they've just employed their first American puppeteer, he adds, "We will also hold open-call auditions here." Any volunteers?

The limited engagement starts Thursday, May 1, at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets, $37.50 to $39.50, are available from Ticketmaster, 480-784-4444.- Michele Laudig

Playboy... or Bust!

Birthday suits are required

Thu 5/1
Local ladies with naked ambitions, Hugh wants you. Playboy is searching thigh and low for its 50th Anniversary Playmate, and the search par-tay hits Jillian's, 21001 North Tatum, on Thursday, May 1. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., magazine reps will interview and photograph potential Playmates; the T&A Q&A is followed by a Prospective Playmate Fashion Show at 10 p.m.

"We are looking for that wholesome, all-American girl . . . ," says Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner. "She will be beautiful, and she will have a great personality." That's right -- the girl with the perkiest personality will, ahem, rack up $50,000 posing as Miss January 2004. The mag is hitting the big five-oh, but applicants need be only 18; see for details. - Jill Koch

Animal Attraction

And the Jaguar goes Vroom

Ordinarily, there's no better place in the Valley to scope out jaguars than the Phoenix Zoo, but this weekend is different, when the Jaguar Club of Central Arizona hosts the Jaguar Clubs of North America Challenge Championship. From Thursday, May 1, through Sunday, May 4, enthusiasts of the stylish automobiles will gather to rally and exhibit their darling machines.

It kicks off at noon Thursday, with a swap meet at the Phoenix Airport Marriott; Friday morning, the vehicles head north in a rally to Sedona; and Saturday is the slalom race at Arizona Motorsports Park in Litchfield Park. The event peaks with Sunday's Concours d'Elegance at Heritage Square, Sixth Street and Monroe, where the public can gape at the James Bond XJR from Die Another Day and Austin Powers' XJ8. Visit for more information. - Brendan Joel Kelley

Purple People Greeter

Lady Mercs and BBQ

Sat 5/3
A free lunch and intelligent life from outer space. Not only do the two exist, they'll collide at the Phoenix Mercury Backyard Barbecue, Saturday, May 3. The backyard is, in this case, Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School, where folks can score free BBQ from Honey Bear's and meet Scorch -- the 7'1" purple mascot from Mercury -- as well as Jennifer Gillom, Lisa Harrison and the rest of the WNBA's local ladies. Kids can get game in a player-led clinic or get funky with the team's hip-hop squad. Games, music and a dunk tank round out the free event, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. BYO blanket and chairs; call 602-514-8354 for details. - Jill Koch

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Brendan Joel Kelley
Jill Koch
Contact: Jill Koch
Michele Laudig
Contact: Michele Laudig
Kim Toms