Step Brothers

Since ASU's put the clamp-down on fraternity partying, Sun Devil brothers must find other outlets to express themselves. For example, the ninth annual Pharaoh Step Classic Stepshow, which takes place on Saturday, December 4, at the South Mountain High School Amphitheatre, 5401 South Seventh Street. Witness the Mu Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha trade in their kegs for synchronized stomping, clapping and chanting, as they compete against other fraternities and sororities. The weekend party kicks off Friday night, December 3, with a comedy show and pre-party featuring Daran Howard and Shang (pictured). Saturday's Stepshow will be followed by an after-party and a barbecue on Sunday, December 5. A VIP weekend pass for all events costs $25. Tickets for the stepshow (which starts at 4:07 p.m., for some reason) cost $7. Visit -- Niki D'Andrea

Best Shade Plans

Fund raiser fights skin cancer

If one has the power to snuff out the infamous "Curse of the Bambino," why not attempt to darken the sun, too? Join hosts Shonda Schilling and her husband, Curt (whom you might vaguely recall pitching the Boston Red Sox to a World Series title), from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, December 2, at the third annual Shade Foundation melanoma fund raiser. The skin cancer awareness event features gourmet food, champagne, music, and a silent auction at the Millennium Scottsdale Resort, located at 7401 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Tickets are $100, and proceeds go toward playground shade coverings and sun-safe kids' education. See -- Douglas Towne

Spank You

Slap on the leather, chaps

Play master-and-servant with the hundreds of sadomasochism superfans who'll dominate the Southwest Leather Conference from Friday, December 3, through Sunday, December 5, at the Sunshine Hotel, 3600 North Second Avenue. The name on the marquee (de Sade) outside will be pain, as well as the celebration of the BDSM way of life, with power-players of both sexes participating in workshops on everything from "Eroticizing Pain" to "Edge Energy and Blade Magic." Those who're eager to submit to the lifestyle (or just want to add some flavor to their vanilla sex lives) are also welcome, as long as they're over the age of 21. There'll also be plenty of competition as the "Daddy/boy," "Master/slave" and "Bootblack" contests will whip contenders into a frenzy. Admission is $115 (ouch). See Benjamin Leatherman

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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.
Douglas Towne