Power of 10

THU 2/27

The word "masterpiece" comes up frequently in reference to The Decalogue, written and directed by the acclaimed Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski. Unfortunately for North American audiences, screenings of the 10-part film cycle, loosely based on the Ten Commandments, have been as elusive as the Holy Grail.Now, The Decalogue will debut in Arizona at the Paradise Valley Community College International Film Festival. Along with the collection of 10 50-minute films, which will be shown two at a time, the festival will also feature the U.S. première of Eileen Anipare and Jason Wood's A Short Film About Dekalog, an interview with Kieslowski in which he discusses the making of the films and his influences as a filmmaker.

Festival director Dr. Don Castro is thrilled to introduce local film lovers to The Decalogue. "It's the joy of seriousness," he says. "You find yourself involved with these characters and their moral dilemmas, you have no happy ending, and you're left with more questions than answers. And let's admit it those are rare qualities."

As with Kieslowski's art-house hits Blue, White and Red, viewers will see characters in the background whom they recognize from other films in the series; all of the stories are set in a high-rise Warsaw apartment complex. Castro says that The Decalogue is best viewed in its entirety, although each film stands up on its own. But considering that admission is free, why not take in all 10?

The PVCC International Film Festival opens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, February 27, and continues March 13 and 27 and April 10 and 24 at the AMC Desert Ridge Theaters, 21001 North Tatum in Paradise Valley. To find out more, call 602-787-7296. -- Michele Laudig

SAT 3/1

Cruisin' for Critters
Bikers: Burrowed in the house like a tick? Shake off winter on Saturday, March 1, with a 235-mile ride for the Friends for Life Animal Sanctuary. Glide through green, flowery desert past Globe, Winkelman, Mammoth and Florence. Please bring a small bag of dog or cat food, or an item from the Friends wish list at www.f4l.org. Better yet, fill your saddlebags for rescued pets, and take the world in a loving embrace. Registration is only $10 for riders and $5 for passengers. The ride departs at 9 a.m. from Helmet Harbor, 511 West Guadalupe, Suite 4, in Gilbert. To get there from U.S. 60, take Stapley south one and a half miles to Guadalupe, then east one-quarter mile. For more information, call 480-635-1009. - Kim Toms

SAT 3/1

Great Expectations
Naomi Wolf challenges romanticized motherhood

Fashion models, porno mags and the plastic surgery industry were no match for author Naomi Wolf in the early '90s. She tackled them all head-on with her best-selling book The Beauty Myth, a critique of American society's standards of beauty.With her most recent work, she tackles a bigger, rounder myth that of the ideal mother. In Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood, Wolf focuses her feminist exploration on the challenges of pregnancy and motherhood. Not surprisingly, she discovered that becoming a mom is preceded by nine months of physical, emotional and financial struggles. But along with the disillusionment, Wolf gained new insights that shifted her fundamental assumptions about feminism itself.

She'll discuss and sign copies of her book at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock in Tempe. Call 480-730-0205. -- Michele Laudig

FRI 2/28

Paint It Black
Frank Black might not be touring to support a new album this year, but after he simultaneously released two great rock 'n' roll albums in 2002, Devil's Workshop and Black Letter Days, we think we can let him off the hook. At first, we were skeptical was it quantity over quality? Hell no. Tom Waits pulled off the same kind of double release last year, much to our satisfaction. After all, you can't have too much of a good thing, right? Black feeds our hungry souls a satisfying blend of country-tinged, Stones-style guitar rock and melodic pop that occasionally makes us nostalgic for his days in the Pixies. He even threw in a Waits cover ("The Black Rider") for good measure. Black performs on Friday, February 28, at Nita's Hideaway, located at the southwest corner of Price and Southern in Tempe. For information call 480-966-7715. - Michele Laudig

2/27 - 2/28

Match Game
Finding love in the fast lane

So the '70s television theme song is proving true: Eight is enough to fill our lives with love. Eight minutes, that is. It's good news for the overscheduled and undersexed, but who's holding the stopwatch? That'd be the folks behind 8 Minute Dating, hyped as the "fast, fun and guaranteed" way for singles to meet. Participants gather at company events, where they embark on eight dates of eight minutes each. If both parties are up for a second date, they're provided contact info. And what's the guarantee? If you don't meet someone who catches your fancy, your next 8 Minute happening is on the house.On Thursday, February 27, 8 Minute mixes it up at Devil's Martini, 4175 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale. The following evening, the action gets under way at America's Original Sports Bar in the Arizona Center. Registration is $33.88, and age requirements from 25 to 48 vary by function.

If a particular event is booked, don't lose heart: Several Valley parties are on tap for March. See www.8minutedating.com for the latest. -- Jill Koch

SUN 3/2

Sunday Best
A'Fair is fairest of them all

Filled with flowers, fountains and frolicking puppy dogs, the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall represents all that is good and beautiful. It'd be enough to make one sick if the place weren't so damn delightful. On Sunday afternoons through April, this spot in the sun gets even sweeter, as the Sunday A'Fair event series fills the mall with music, art and food. Fairgoers can bring blankets and picnic baskets or buy burgers and beer from the Arts Cafe in the Park. Folks wander the booths where Arizona artists sell their wares, and creative kids construct crafts of their own.

This Sunday, March 2, the free festival features Chinese music and dance from the Phoenix Chinese Art Ensemble, followed by Traveler, a Valley group whose "world fusion music" rises from flamenco guitars, Gypsy and Celtic violins, Greek bouzouki, Arabic oud, and Thai and English dulcimers.

It all happens from noon to 4:30 p.m. at 7380 East Second Street in Scottsdale; call 480-994-ARTS for details. -- Jill Koch

3/1 - 3/2

Nativity Scene
There's certainly no shortage of Indian art in these parts, but sometimes the word "art" is used rather loosely. However, there's one annual event that's guaranteed to bring together the crème de la crème of Native American arts and crafts: the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market. This sprawling celebration of indigenous Southwestern culture, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 1, and Sunday, March 2, is expected to draw more than 18,000 visitors in search of original pottery, basketry, jewelry, carvings, paintings and sculptures from hundreds of artisans, some of whom will be demonstrating their techniques throughout the event. An entertainment showcase headlined by Grammy-nominated flutist R. Carlos Nakai also includes performances by traditional dance groups, Mexico's America Indigena, and World Champion Hoop Dancers. Admission is $10 for adults, $3 for children ages 4 to 12, and free for kids under 4. The Heard Museum is located at 2301 North Central. Call 602-252-8848 for more information.- Michele Laudig

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