You gotta be from the 'hood, according to Steve Weiss, to understand Arizona's -- statehood, that is: February 12, 1912, the day the Grand Canyon State joined the Union. "Growing up in Arizona," says the 48-year-old Valley native, "you knew when statehood was celebrated. You learned about the 'Five Cs': copper, citrus, cattle, cotton and climate.
"And even though I was a Jewish kid living north of Camelback Mountain, I still needed to know how to ride a horse and shoot."
That's shootin' guns Weiss is speaking of, but the film and TV location scout knows a bit about shootin' them moving pictures, too. On Sunday, February 6, Weiss hosts the 23rd installment of his No Festival Required, a.k.a. "The Statehood Show," featuring short films and videos by Arizona filmmakers, at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt, at 7 p.m.
"February 12 was always kind of weird as a kid," Weiss remembers. "Statehood was also [Abe] Lincoln's birthday. So there was this weird connection between Arizona, Lincoln and Valentine's Day."
Uh, like strange subliminals in the form of bearded saguaros asexually mating? Okay, maybe not that strange, but "The Statehood Show" does provide the same triad of themes -- sort of.
For instance, Weiss' opening short on "all the phenomenal locations in Arizona." Then, among the 11 shorts to be screened, No Festival gets political with Michael Nicastro's Turn Signal and Tony Ash's three-minute video The Hard Rain. And, finally, a love, er, lust/hate story -- producer Jefferson Pals' The Boss, "a film about the most insane boss you could have," says Weiss, "inspiring ambitious interns."
Admission is $5. Call 602-462-5516 or see www.nofestivalrequired.com. -- Joe Watson
Give it up before Lent
Historically, Mardi Gras is a day of vindication, a day when you can don a mask and get those bastards who threw turd bags at your door. But contemporarily, Mardi Gras is a day to see boobs, get beads, and drink away those pesky morals. On Fat Tuesday, February 8, you'll have 20,000 square feet of party space to stumble through, as the Mardi Gras Blowout gets under way at Scottsdale's Sugar Daddy's, 3102 North Scottsdale Road. Entertainment includes DJ M2, go-go cage dancers, and the Southern Comfort Scream Bus. The doors open at 11 a.m., with a $2 cover after 5 p.m., and a $20 cover after 8 p.m. Call 480-970-6556. -- Niki D'Andrea
Do it up brown at Glendale festival
Satisfy your sweet -- and your sweet tooth -- at Glendale's Festival of Chocolate and Romance at Murphy Park, 58th Avenue and Glendale, beginning Friday, February 4, through Sunday, February 6. Expect to see nearly 40 chocolate purveyors, including local candy maker Cerreta's, which has donated the state's largest chocolate heart for the occasion. If you don't make yourself sick with the sweets, then soak up some sappy love stories at the romance novelist symposium or snuggle next to someone on a horse-drawn-carriage ride. (And that covers the romance part.) The event is free. Call 623-930-2299. -- C. Murphy Hebert
House of brew lights beckons in Tempe
In the pantheon of great couples, no two entities have proven more compatible than beer and neon. Years into their relationship, it's still evident that nothing goes with hops and barley quite like glass tubes and neon gas -- a fact certain to be on display at an exhibition, titled "The Art of Beer," showing through Wednesday, February 9, at reZurrection Gallery, 601 West University in Tempe. New and vintage neon beer signs dating from the 1960s to today celebrate the many faces of the only liquid beverage on God's green Earth worthy of seeing its various incarnations in bright lights. Admission is free. Call 480-377-9080 or see www.rezurrectiongallery.net. -- Craig Wallach