This Week's Day-by-day Picks

THU 16
There's a secret cove in Fat Cats, a room like a big cave, covered in mirrors, with disco balls twinkling off the black-and-white art-deco walls and plush black leather seats. The downtown neighborhood biker bar at 915 Grand Avenue is mostly known for its billiards and beer, but back in this cozy, inconspicuous niche, we experience "Pressure Drop" Thursdays, where DJ Intensified Boy spins smooth tunes to get us in the weekend mood. He'll bring platters of reggae, rocksteady, soul, ska and Motown. We'll just bring money for mai tais, since there's no cover. Once you're through the front door, walk to your right, past the bar. You'll see a big archway that leads to the hidden relaxation room. De-stress at 9 p.m. June 16. Call 602-252-0988.

FRI 17
Scott Farence has been a commercial photographer for almost 10 years, shooting for clients like Nike Tournament Sports and Carpenter magazine, but his real passion is the personal work he's done between shoots since 1996: figure studies of beautiful women. He's put nearly 64 of the photos on display in "The Photographic Works of Scott Farence" exhibition at Tilt Gallery, a new art spot that specializes in fine art photography and mixed-media works. The show, which closes on Friday, June 17, with an artist reception from 6 to 10 p.m., features color and black-and-white shots of women in various poses and stages of undress, from naked women wrapped up in machinery coils, wearing only rubber gloves, to digitally enhanced shots of a woman's buttocks and legs. The photos embody what Farence calls "my own surreal, beautiful style." He adds, "I just try to make them [the models] look as beautiful as I think they are." The reception is free. Tilt Gallery is located at 919 West Fillmore Street at Studio Fillmore West. Call 602-716-5667 or visit

SAT 18
Turn your grocery shopping experience into a three-hour circus (no, we don't mean letting the kids juggle coconuts in the produce aisle) when Food City brings its Circo de Food City to Glendale Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue in Glendale, on Saturday, June 18. All Phoenix metro Food City locations offer free circus vouchers with the purchase of a 12- or 24-pack of Coca-Cola or a 1.75-quart container of Dreyer's ice cream. So you can get your sugar rush on and then enjoy "heart-stopping acrobatic feats," including a woman who hangs suspended in mid-air by strands of her hair. The circus also includes elephants, "living" statues, jugglers, clowns and dancing dogs. If you don't want to buy soda or ice cream for the free vouchers, tickets to the show cost $8 to $16, and are available through Ticketmaster at 480-784-4444. Performances are scheduled at 2 and 7 p.m. Visit

SUN 19
Have your blueberry muffin with a King Cobra on the side at the AZ Reptile & Exotics Expo, slithering through Holiday Inn, 1600 South Country Club Drive in Mesa, where you can hit the continental breakfast buffet from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday, June 19, before checking out the displays of snakes, bearded dragons and other scaly creatures from around the world. In addition to the Venomous Reptile and Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation displays, an assortment of speakers will address things like "the breeding and husbandry of Pogona vittaceps." Admission to the expo costs $4, plus $5 for the breakfast buffet. Call 480-964-7000 or visit

MON 20
Don't even bother asking, "What's your sign?" The new New Age schmoozer knows that compatibility is all about color-coordination, so if her magenta aura clashes with his green aura, their romance may be doomed. Better see where you sit on the aura color spectrum at Malee's Mystic Cosmo Mondays, a new weekly event at Malee's Thai restaurant, 7121 East Main Street in Scottsdale. The cosmic social will help you "discover what type of energy you radiate to others" through a photograph of your aura. For $10, the staffers from Vision Quest Metaphysical Bookstore will take a picture with a camera that uses biofeedback probes to project the electromagnetic energy field around your body as a colorful field, i.e., your "aura." Then they'll give a five-minute reading that explains what your aura says about you. They may even explain why there are four different tan auras -- "physical tan," "mental tan," "nurturing tan" and "loving tan." See the soul shades from 6 to 8 p.m. June 20. Call 480-947-6042.

TUE 21
The practical style of IKEA's cheap European boxed furniture may be the best economic alternative for college students since ramen noodles. Who cares if it takes four hours to assemble the couch? It was only 60 bucks! Thanks to Chandler-Gilbert Community College, 2626 East Pecos Road in Chandler, we can learn how to turn our living spaces into bargain chic cribs, with a non-credit course, "Decorating With IKEA." IKEA home furnishing consultant Stacy Ristedt, just 21 herself, says the class is geared toward 18-to-25-year-olds. She'll offer tips on how to make rooms look great while saving space through smart storage solutions, since the college years tend to be the period of the packrat, especially when you've got several semesters' worth of textbooks you couldn't sell back piling up on your dining room table. Get schooled from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 21. The course fee is $38. Call 480-732-7080 to register.

WED 22
We might all be geographically challenged, since we keep referring to the countries of Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Iran as the "Middle East," when, in fact, archaeologists and historians refer to this part of the world almost exclusively as the "Near East." But Middle, Near, Far, doesn't matter, as long as we can enjoy edgy folk music and European food at "Fiddling East of the Mediterranean" at Peter's Cafe Europe, 7158 East Fifth Avenue in Scottsdale, where Bruno performs the fiddle and violin music "of the Near East" from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. every week. Bruno melds traditional music with prerecorded tracks and sampled loops, and he also utilizes a laptop, a MIDI keyboard, and an electric violin to create his progressive folk-rock. The show is free, but you might want to call Peter's at 480-874-0104 for dinner reservations.

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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