Pic Hits for the week

december 12
Baby, It's Bright Outside: ZooLights; Fiesta of Light and Downtown Holiday Tree Tour; Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights: Phoenix Zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway, in Papago Park, is garbed in its usual Technicolor dreamcoat during the facility's fifth annual ZooLights display. The after-hours fun continues from 6 to 9 nightly (except Christmas Eve), through Sunday, January 12. Special admission is $4.50, free for kids age 2 and under (call 273-1341). The City of Phoenix's free downtown Fiesta and its second annual, self-guided Tree Tour continue nightly, through Wednesday, January 1; guided excursions start at 6:30 p.m. each Saturday, through December 28 (call 534-3378 or 254-8696). Ahwatukee's white-lights bonanza can be viewed from 6 to 11 each evening, through Sunday, January 5; take Chandler Boulevard west about three and a half miles from the street's intersection with I-10, and follow the signs. Hay rides and "luminary" hikes are scheduled each Friday and Saturday, through December 28 (call 460-6169).

Kurt Russell Celebrity Salute Film Festival: We wouldn't call Goldie Hawn's significant other one of our best actors, but he's been a Hollywood staple for the last three decades, from Disney-geek parts like the one in 1970's The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes to his reprise of the Snake Plissken role in this year's John Carpenter's Escape From L.A. Russell appears on Thursday, December 12, at the new AMC Ahwatukee 24 cinema, I-10 and Ray Road, in conjunction with this fund raiser, which starts at 7 p.m. Staggered showings of Russell flicks like Used Cars, Backdraft, Winter People and It Happened at the World's Fair (Kurt's '63 debut) will fill all 24 screens, and Russell will introduce several of the movies. Admission is free, but tickets must be picked up in advance. All proceeds from concession sales benefit Futures for Children. The megamoviehouse opens for regular business at 9:30 a.m. Friday, December 13. Call 705-4727 or 956-4262.

The Snow Queen: Center Dance Ensemble kicks off its season with the troupe's seventh annual presentation of the ballet noir, adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's tale about good (personified by sweet, young Gerta) and evil (the lovely but toxic title vixen). Opening performances of the piece, set to music by Prokofiev, are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 12; 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 13; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 14; and 2 p.m. Sunday, December 15, in Stage West at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. More shows are scheduled Thursday, December 19, through Sunday, December 22. Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors, $7 for students and kids, available at Herberger and Dillard's; call 252-8497 or 678-2222.

"Box Lunch": Tony Zahn's mixed-metaphor and -media "production" unfolds a bit more each day, through Saturday, February 15, at Stop n' Look, 1025 Grand Avenue. It's billed as "an imaginary restaurant opening . . . inspired by the old-world Nativity calendar . . . and influenced by the Japanese-fast-food 'Bento' aesthetic." "Box Lunch" can be viewed 24 hours per day from outside the gallery. Call 256-2859.

december 13
ATOP's A Christmas Carol: Actors Theatre of Phoenix's production of Charles Dickens' ghost story opens with a preview at 8 p.m. Friday, December 13, in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. The official opening is at the same time Saturday, December 14. The rest of this week's performances are at 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, December 15; 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 17; and 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 18. The production continues through Thursday, December 26. Tickets range from $16 to $26, available at Herberger and Dillard's; call 252-8497 or 678-2222.

Mariachi los Camperos de Nati Cano: The L.A.-based group was featured on Linda Ronstadt's initial collection of Spanish-language songs, Canciones de Mi Padre--and on her latest, Mas Canciones. The ensemble headlines "Fiesta Navidad," which also includes a performance by Ballet Folklorico Ollin, on Friday, December 13, at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $25, available at the center and Ticketmaster; call 994-2787 or 784-4444.

Alwun House Holiday Fete and Show: Perhaps the best place in the Valley to find left-of-center gifts. The silver-anniversary edition opens with a reception from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, December 13, and continues through Friday, January 3, at the gallery, 1204 East Roosevelt. Admission is free; all proceeds from sales benefit inner-city youths in need. Regular hours: noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Call 253-7887.

Ahwatukee-Foothills Festival of Lights: See Thursday.
"Box Lunch": See Thursday.
Fiesta of Light and Downtown Holiday Tree Tour: See Thursday.
The Snow Queen: See Thursday.
ZooLights: See Thursday.

december 14
"Converging Cultures: Art and Identity in Spanish America": The major installation at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central, details the distinctly new society that arose in the Americas in the 16th through 18th centuries, a byproduct of the shotgun marriage of European colonialism and native culture engendered by Spain's occupation. The Brooklyn Museum organized the exhibition of paintings, manuscripts, metal works, textiles and sculpture, which opens Saturday, December 14, and continues through Sunday, February 23, in the Steele Gallery. Regular viewing hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays (to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays). Special admission is $5, $4 for seniors, $2 for students and children age 6 and up, free for younger kids and members; PAM entry is free to all from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays. Call 257-1880 or 257-1222.

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Clay McNear
Contact: Clay McNear