Like clockwork, our Thanksgiving always plays out like this: Spend the morning ravenous, tortured by the incredible smells of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie wafting from the kitchen. Inhale the whole meal, extra helpings and all, too quickly for a feeling of fullness to kick in. Then spend the rest of the afternoon in a blissful food coma, wishing the sink full of dishes would just disappear. This year, though, we're adding one more thing that'll make us feel a little less guilty for skipping out on the gym: wandering The MAiZE in Glendale. The vast cornfield maze, an intricate design that incorporates the Phoenix Coyotes logo, is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, November 27. (The final day of operation is Saturday, November 29.) Admission is $7 for age 12 and up, $5 for kids ages 6 to 11, and free for children 5 and younger. Call 623-386-2842 for more information.
Friday, November 28
First Fridays make a small part of downtown Phoenix walkable for one night a month. And Final Fridays make downtown Tempe, which is always friendly to foot traffic, a monthly pedestrian party that has a more bohemian vibe than the usual atmosphere of "Mall Avenue." Linking together a handful of hangouts, from Mill's End coffee shop to E-Joy Cyber Cafe to reZurrection Gallery, the art walk is a friendly introduction to independently owned local businesses. Perhaps the most proactive among them is Wet Paint Art Supply & Gallery, which clears out the merch and becomes the "B-Side Gallery," attracting hordes of hipsters with live music and eclectic art. On Friday, November 28, along with a showing of paintings, drawings, photography and graffiti art, Fayuka performs, The Unusuals spin wax, and two-person teams compete for $300 in a b-boy battle. Admission is free for all ages, and the action happens from 7 to 11 p.m. Wet Paint is located at 203 East Seventh Street in Tempe. For details call 480-967-2002.
Saturday, November 29
Saturday, November 29, is the last day to see artist Mike Goodwin's "Bishop" at 515 gallery, one of the most memorable exhibitions downtown this month. It's well worth the effort to swing by and check it out, even if you've already seen it once (on First Friday, you may have been a little distracted by the steady stream of visitors and the abundant hors d'oeuvres table). Among the provocative pieces on display is a satellite-dish-shaped sculpture made entirely of communion wafers, and a remarkable kinetic work that transports small lambs by conveyor belt into a strange apparatus from which the tiny figures emerge out the other side, gagged. 515 is located at 515 East Roosevelt. Call 602-614-8727 for information.
Sunday, November 30
Jimmy Lavalle from the band Tristeza brings his solo project, The Album Leaf, to Modified Arts on Sunday, November 30, for a live performance of gorgeous guitar melodies fading in and out of moody electronic sounds and atmospheric noise. Lavalle's complex, contemplative works provide the kind of sonic backdrop that inspires wildly elaborate daydreams. Wonderful Wednesday starts off the evening. Doors open at 8 p.m. at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt. Admission is $6. Call 602-462-5516 for details.
Monday, December 1
Old Town Scottsdale, nightlife destination of the Valley, has a best-kept secret that deserves to be shared: There's no cozier night on the town than Monday, when Kazimierz World Wine Bar hosts the Blue Monday Jam with jazz diva Margo Reed. Joined by Frank Smith on piano, and Mike King on bass, the poised and stylish Reed reigns at the mike while fans in the audience sip syrah and relax on plush couches. Those who hang out for a while usually get an extra treat, when Reed's musical pals stop by to join in the performance. Everything happens from 7 to 10 p.m. Mondays at Kazimierz, 7137 East Stetson in Scottsdale; the entrance is at the back of the building. There's no cover charge, and the kitchen offers a mighty tasty grazing menu until 12:45 a.m. To find out more, call 480-WINE-004.
Tuesday, December 2
Stare down Saddam Hussein or crack a smile at Kofi Annan. In Twenty Figures of World Political Leaders, part of artist Luo Xiaoping's "Times Square" exhibition at the ASU Art Museum, leaders of rogue nations stand shoulder to shoulder with presidents from the G8, each rendered dwarflike in clay and dressed in simple Tang jackets painted dusty shades of blue, rose or sage. "Some of these figures may never, in reality, stand together," Luo says in his artist statement, "but today I have brought them together on a single stage. Here, I can scoff at them, myself, and the world." Join in Luo's contemplation of global conflict from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free at the museum, located at the northeast corner of 10th Street and Mill in Tempe. The exhibition continues through February 7, 2004. Call 480-965-2782 for details.
Wednesday, December 3
In conjunction with Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's exhibition "HairStories," which features a broad range of work from African-American artists who address the deep-rooted cultural symbolism of hair, Dr. Neal A. Lester, Arizona State University professor of English, lectures on "Nappy Edges and Goldy Locks: African Americans and the Politics of Hair," the latest installment in the museum's Articulations series. Lester leads audience members on an exploration of race and cultural identity, illustrating important moments in history through magazine advertisements, newspaper articles, dolls and video clips. The presentation starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 3, in the Stage 2 Theater at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street in Scottsdale. Admission is $5 for members or $7 for non-members; tickets can be purchased by calling 480-994-ARTS (2787).