Reinventing the Neil

Fri 4/18

When he heard Neil Diamond sing "Play Me," Randy Cordeiro took him literally. The front man of Super Diamond -- a trippy tribute band touted as "the alternative Neil Diamond experience" -- has been rocking up Neil's beautiful noise for more than a decade. This weekend, the fake Diamonds (Neil "Cubic Zirconia," perhaps?) say "Hello, Again" to the Valley.Cordeiro's Diamond days date back to late-'80s Tempe, when he began to, ahem, mine his talent for mimicry. Able to sing Neil Diamond songs in "a very Neil-like way," Cordeiro performed solo as "Surreal Neil" for several years before moving to San Fran and building a band of like-minded musicians: Erik Diamond and Matt Diamond on bass, Vince Diamond on drums, and James Diamond and Rama Diamond on keyboards. According to, "The band has spread the good word of Neil'" -- with extra oomph and a surplus of sequins -- ever since. And the fans, many too young to accurately recall the real Neil, eat it up like a crunchy granola suite.

Super Diamond performs its songs sung blue at Tempe's Marquee Theatre, 730 North Mill, Friday, April 18. The all-ages show starts at 9 p.m.; tickets are $13.75 through Jill Koch

Fools' Paradise

Thu 4/17

Phoenix Art Museum's schooling in fooling continues. In conjunction with the "Trompe l'oeil Style: Fashion's Art of Illusion" exhibition, a slide lecture on Thursday, April 17, addresses trompe l'oeil paintings. French for "fool the eye," trompe l'oeil refers to the artistic depiction of objects so as to make them appear real. Don Clapper, president of the Trompe l'oeil Society of Artists, delivers the free lecture at 6:30 p.m. at the museum, 1625 North Central. Call 602-257-1880 for details. - Jill Koch

Shootin' Stars
Reenactors up in arms

Sat 4/19

These guys might be shooting blanks, but don't question their manhood. Old West reenactment troupe the Arizona Gunfighters hosts the 5th Annual Rendezvous of Gunfighters at the Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum, 3901 West Pioneer Road, on Saturday, April 19.Set among the museum's authentic environs, the Rendezvous features five groups' individual skits, ranging from the Western slapstick of the Trail Dusters to the Arizona Gunfighters' deadly serious O.K. Corral reenactment, which gunfighter Jeff Johnson describes as being "as historically accurate as you can get with what evidence there is."

Gates open at 9 a.m. Admission is $7 for adults, and seniors and students receive a discount. Call 602-465-1052 for more information.- Brendan Joel Kelley

Flight Club
Butterflies fill the skies at Desert Botanical Garden


After debuting last year with flying colors, the Desert Botanical Garden's Butterfly Pavilion is open for its second season -- and nowhere else in the Valley are so many beautiful beings spawned from such humble, unremarkable creatures. (Well, maybe north Scottsdale . . .)Of the pavilion's hundreds of inhabitants, several species are indigenous to Arizona. Queens, Viceroys and Swallowtails flit about, sipping nectar and perching on visitors' shoulders. Among this season's new touches: The Garden's crew has enhanced the space with colorful exhibits and plantings, and volunteer "flight crews" are on hand to share information about the plants, butterflies and moths.

Located at 1201 North Galvin Parkway, the pavilion is open daily through May 11. The butterflies are free for Garden members, and admission is $1.50 for nonmembers. Call 480-941-1225.- Jill Koch

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Brendan Joel Kelley
Jill Koch
Contact: Jill Koch