Pick His Brain

SUN 1/16
Very bad thoughts equal very bad health. Okay, so it's not that simple, but you try boiling down the quirky indie film What the #$*! Do We Know!? to something rather elementary, Einstein! Still, Dr. Joe Dispenza, an Olympia, Washington-based chiropractor/author who makes a memorable appearance in the film (which made about $10 million by the end of 2004), does his best to reduce metaphysics to a sort of Stuart Smalley routine on Sunday, January 16, when he delivers the keynote address at the Arizona Anti-Aging and Wellness Expo at the Scottsdale Hilton Resort, 6333 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, at 9 a.m.

"Who we are and the way we think has a direct effect on our bodies. You think good thoughts, you make good chemicals," says Dispenza, 42, who's logged about 85,000 miles traveling and lecturing in the past year. "Those chemicals that you release from your brain -- say, when you're not so positive -- they're responding and causing your body to physically break down."

And doggone it . . . well, you get the idea. The expo lasts until 6 p.m. with workshops and "break-out sessions." Tickets to Dispenza's keynote address are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Expo admission is $5. Call 480-840-0457 or see www.antiagingarizona.com. -- Joe Watson

Open Invitation

Go al fresco and watch artists at work

1/14 - 3/27
Take a peek at the creative process starting Friday, January 14, at the Arizona Fine Art Expo, on the south lot of Rawhide, 23023 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Dozens of artists, including sculptors, painters and glass blowers, will work in an open studio environment for the 10-week event. Admission is $7. The expo continues daily through March 27. Call 480-837-7163 or see www.arizonafineartexpo.com. -- Joe Watson

Go Figure

Stars on Ice cool it at AWA

THU 1/13
In the context of Olympic competition, a venue in which a tenth of a point may mean the difference between a medal and obscurity, few sporting events match the drama of figure skating. It's only post-Olympics, however, that the sport's champions can let it rip in an environment free of the burden of overwhelming expectations. Enjoy the mind-boggling skills of figure skating's biggest names at Smucker's Stars on Ice, Thursday, January 13, at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. The 2005 lineup includes Olympic champion Sarah Hughes, pairs champions Jamie Sal and David Pelletier, six-time national and world champion Todd Eldredge, and more. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at 480-784-4444. For details visit www.starsonice.com. -- Craig Wallach

Swing Set

Weekend's Jam boogies at ASU

1/14 - 1/16
Who woulda thought Mormons liked to swing? We're not talking 'bout illicit Colorado City-style sexual shenanigans, however, but rather lindy hops and fox trots. Nate and Kaia Landon, Utah's premier swing dance couple, will be tucking and turning alongside the likes of the famed Frankie Manning during the Arizona Swing Jam Friday, January 14, through Sunday, January 16, at Arizona State University. The Landons will lead a course on boogie-woogie, one of 13 classes being held at the event on everything from West African Dance to the jazz routine Tranky Doo. Attendees can also practice their moves during a Friday night Jam Session, starting at 7:30 p.m., and at Saturday's "Battle of the Big Bands," starting at 7 p.m., featuring Dennis Rowland and other hepcat musicians. Admission is $12 per class, $10 for the jam session, $20 for the battle of the bands, or $99 for the whole weekend. Call 602-717-2787 or see www.savethearts.org. -- Benjamin Leatherman

Dance Fever

SCA hosts AZ Dance Festival

FRI 1/14
Some think dancing ain't blue-collar work, but we sure don't want to sniff the sneakers of the hoofers who'll be sweating it out at the Arizona Dance Festival on Friday, January 14, at 7:30 p.m. The event features the Valley's finest dancers, including A Ludwig Dance Theatre; Calo Flamenco: Ballet de Martin Gaxiola, which fuses traditional flamenco with modern moves and multimedia; Instinct Dancecorps, a professional company based out of Scottsdale Community College; and Mary Fitzgerald, a colorful belly dancer who enjoys clowning around with kids. CONDER/dance, Desert Dance Theatre, and Rayn Dance Theatre will also participate in the festival, which includes swing and tango to waltz and ballet. So boogie down to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, and pick up a ticket, $10 to $15. Call 480-994-2787. -- Niki D'Andrea

King's Court

Author reads and signs first published work

TUE 1/18
How does a character actor turned unpublished novelist go from Cop Rock and Spenser: For Hire, uh, "fame" to a book tour? Ask Ron McLarty, the success story in question, who'll visit the Barnes & Noble at 10500 North 90th Street in Scottsdale at 7 p.m. Tuesday, January 18, for a reading and signing of his book The Memory of Running. Better yet, ask Stephen King, who McLarty (pictured) has surely thanked a thousand times for the plug the best-selling horror novelist gave McLarty and his book about a year and a half ago. At the time, McLarty's book -- the ninth he'd failed to get published -- was only available on audio tapes. Until, that is, King publicly praised Running, going so far as to implore the readers of his column in Entertainment Weekly to flood Recorded Books with orders, knowing that the sales push would get McLarty his publishing deal. Of course, the book has become a sleeper hit, thanks to King, and McLarty is traveling around the country trying to make Running a best seller. Call 480-391-0048. -- Joe Watson

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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
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Craig Wallach
Joe Watson