Reel Life

If you think all black movies have to include the words "phat," "dope" or "fly" in the dialogue, prepare to be schooled at the Arizona Black Film Showcase, which runs from Thursday, February 17, through Sunday, February 20, at South Mountain Community College, 7050 South 24th Street. "This event gives a 3-D representation of our community," says ABFS chair Joanna de'Shay. "The story of the African-American community is not just a 'hood story. The films at the showcase show the loves and the trials and tribulations. They show all aspects of us as a people."

The event features more than 25 films from black directors, writers and producers in genres including comedy, drama and even silent black-and-white.

Members of the biz will also flock to the event for workshops that will help spruce up their cinematic masterpieces, and to mingle with the likes of Bill Duke of Predator fame (pictured), who will receive the ABFS Spirit of Oscar Micheaux award, and Ehrich Van Lowe, former producer of The Cosby Show.

VIP passes ($49 general and $25 for students) include entry into the VIP reception, afterparties and awards show, along with film screenings and workshops. Other passes range in cost from $15 to $25. Call 602-304-0830 or see -- Lynh Bui

Gennaro Minded

Italian fest features food and fun

Paisans can pick their pastas at the San Gennaro Feast, taking place Thursday, February 17, through Sunday, February 20, at the Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 North 83rd Avenue. Mangia Italian cuisine, check out music acts like Tony the Sicilian Band, and send the little bambinos to the amusement park, which boasts more than 60 rides. Visit for more offers you can't refuse, capisce? -- Niki D'Andrea

No Flashes

Exhibit covers trench coat culture

We naturally make certain iconic connections with particular pieces of clothing. Bell-bottoms: hippies and granola. Leather jackets: punks and bikers. Bloody glove that does not fit: acquit. But what about the trench coat? British and American military forces, fictional dicks like Sam Spade and Dick Tracy, the Gestapo, the Columbine shooters, flashers, businessmen, and fashionistas have all given the garb their own spin. See every variation when "The Trench Coat" opens at the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, on Saturday, February 19. The show contains examples of early coat designs, as well as high-fashion trenches by Jean-Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld and Moschino. The exhibit is free with museum admission, $3 to $9, and runs through June 19. Call 602-257-1222. -- Niki D'Andrea

Gag Rag

Comedy 'zine fit to print

SAT 2/19
Ryan McKee and Ron Babcock, the comic geniuses behind the local Modest Proposal Magazine, are masters of self-promotion. It's getting others to promote themselves within the pages of the duo's comedy rag that they're having trouble with. "We've got people that say they'll help with [advertising]," says McKee, 25, "but then they get drunk and forget." Apparently, three ads were good enough to send the mag's latest incarnation to print, a feat McKee and Babcock will celebrate on Saturday, February 19, at the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue, starting at 10:30 p.m. The release party for MPM's Winter Issue -- which features interviews with local artists Leslie Hall and Jacki O, and pop punk band New Maximum Donkey -- includes McKee and Babcock's brand of sketch, standup, and video comedy. Admission is $7 and includes a copy of the magazine. Call 602-262-2020 or see -- Joe Watson

Helter Shelter

FLW students show off their digs

ASU is party central, but the Valley's coolest dorms are at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin West. Students live in, and are encouraged to construct, their own desert shelters in designs reminiscent of everything from steam ships to dilapidated trailers. But here's the rub: The dorms have neither electricity nor plumbing. Less-fervent followers of Frank might want to skip matriculating and instead take a two-hour Apprentice Shelter Tour starting Saturday, February 19, when the shelters' funkiness can be appreciated without the drawbacks of actually inhabiting one. The tour costs $30 and starts at 1:15 p.m. at 12621 North Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale. Weekly tours continue through April 16. Call 480-860-2700. -- Douglas Towne

Life's a Stitch

Designer gets it all sewn up

SAT 2/19
Fate farted all over fashion designer Susan Di Staulo. First, she was misdiagnosed with lymphoma. Then her boyfriend dumped her. And just when she thought things couldn't get any worse, her house was burglarized. Di Staulo got by with a little help from her friends -- namely Labelhorde head Angela Johnson -- and turned her bad luck bomb into the impetus for her best-known designs: dresses and swimwear constructed of metallic and sequined fabrics, with a "mermaid tail." "My life just sucked," says Di Staulo. "So I got on a kick and said, "I'm just going to make bathing suits and pretend I'm a mermaid in Rio.'" Di Staulo's textile escapism hits the runway at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 19, when the "Carnival" fashion show struts into the Terroir Wine Pub, 7001 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Thirteen local models will work it in Di Staulo's garments, as well as water wear by SommerChristine Designs, inspired by and designed around the motto "peace, love, and surf." Admission is free. Call 480-922-3470. -- Niki D'Andrea

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Lynh Bui
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
Joe Watson