The Grapes of Wrath: Frank Galati won a Tony Award for his adaptation of John Steinbeck's landmark novel about the Joad family's flight from the Dust Bowl's devastation to the broken promise of golden California, land of milk, honey and barbarism. The Phoenix-based Actors Group presents Galati's take on Grapes in Center Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. Opening performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday, August 1; 8 p.m. Friday, August 2; 8 p.m. Saturday, August 3; and 2 p.m. Sunday, August 4. The production continues through Sunday, August 18. Tickets are $16.25. For reservations and details, call 252-8497.
"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": Valley multimedia artist Gompf has created a pseudohistory of television and a few of its faux pioneers in this compelling exhibit. The installation features sometimes disturbing, nickelodeon-style loops "broadcast" on a variety of lovingly handcrafted but oddly threatening machines. "Distant Visions" continues through Saturday, September 28, at Lisa Sette Gallery, 4142 North Marshall Way in Scottsdale. Viewing hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays (and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays), noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment. Admission is free. For details call 990-7342.
The New Play Cabaret: Actors Theatre of Phoenix is behind this package of staged readings of new works by members of the Arizona-based Writers Circle. Cabaret opens Thursday, August 1, with a program of short pieces by Monica Long Ross, Gus Edwards, Linda DeArmond and Wendy Myers. Michael Grady's White Picket Fence, a story about racial integration set on the eve of the Apollo 8 launch, is scheduled on Friday, August 2. Tucson's Howard Allen penned Wonderland, a cross between a Vietnam war drama and a Through the Looking Glass-style fantasy; it's presented on Saturday, August 3. The production closes on Sunday, August 4, with a performance of In a Magic World, a musical work-in-progress by Elise Forier and Rob Hartmann. All shows start at 7 p.m. in Stage West at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe; a discussion follows each presentation. Nightly admission is $5. For details call 253-6701.
Arizona Cardinals: Head coach Vince Tobin and his reconfigured NFL redbirds open preseason play with a game against the Oakland Raiders on Friday, August 2. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. Tickets range from $20 to $50. For details call 379-0102.
Heard Museum Summer Video Festival: Masters of Native American and Hispanic arts are featured in the various short subjects screened at this two-day event, which takes place at Mrs. Helen C. Lincoln Auditorium at the Heard, 22 East Monte Vista. Sessions titled "Cultures of Mexico" and "Cultural Journeys" are scheduled on Friday, August 2; they include films such as Ute Legacy and Mayordomia: Ritual, Gender and Cultural Identity in a Zapotec Community. "Masters in Art," on Saturday, August 3, features works about individual artists, including Hopi painter Dan Namingha and Santa Clara sculptor Michael Naranjo. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with a break for lunch each day. The festival is included in the regular admission price. For details call 252-8840.
U.S. Hot Rod Monster Jam: Grave Digger, Bearfoot, Predator, Airbourne Range, and Survivor are the mechanical stars of this annual gathering of the monster trucks, set for 8 p.m. Friday, August 2; and the same time Saturday, August 3, at America West Arena, First Street and Jefferson. Tickets are $18, $8 for kids age 12 and under, available at the arena and Dillard's. Call 379-7800 or 678-2222.
Black Uhuru: The name translates as "Black Sounds of Freedom," and, while the supermilitant reggae group from Jamaica has shuffled its lineup almost incessantly during its 20-year existence, Uhuru's commitment to its ideals hasn't wavered once. The group is scheduled on Friday, August 2, at Nile Theater, 105 West Main in Mesa. The all-ages show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at Alternatix. Call 649-2766 or 244-8444.
"Steve Gompf: Distant Visions": See Thursday.
The Grapes of Wrath: See Thursday.
The New Play Cabaret: See Thursday.
Misha and Cipa Dichter: Four hands are better than two, and the husband-and-wife piano team proves it again on Saturday, August 3, with a program of works by Schumann, Brahms, Shostakovich, Dvorak and Arensky. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, concluding the center's "Summer Classical Series." Tickets are $22 and $26, available at the scene and Ticketmaster. Call 994-2787 or 784-4444.
Monster Mike Welch Band: Until recently, the young, Anglo blues gun from Boston was known as "Little Mikey," and 16-year-old Welch hasn't completely outgrown the nickname. Two examples: He's proudly incorporated his new designation, "Monster"--supplied by faux bluesman Dan Aykroyd--into his stage name, yet he strongly denies the obvious Stevie Ray Vaughan influence on his debut, These Blues Are Mine, preferring to be mentioned in the same breath as Albert King and Earl Hooker. Whoa, Bean Town boy. Despite Stevie Ray's prevailing status as white-album-rock god/martyr, the late Vaughan was true blue, and he didn't exactly learn his trade from Arthur Godfrey. Monster Mike don't know much about history, but he plays a fairly decent blues guitar. Showtime is 9 p.m. Saturday, August 3, at the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School. The cover is $4. For details call 265-4842.