While the gallery scene in Scottsdale covers all the bases of contemporary art, Western subject matter still has a mighty stronghold in "The West's Most Western Town." See the latest creative take on cowboy art from supporters of this all-American genre when The Scottsdale Gallery Association presents the 14th Annual Western ArtWalk Weekend, starting Thursday, October 16. A big kick off celebration runs from 6 to 9 p.m., with dozens of artist receptions, live country music on Main Street and free food samples from some of the area's hippest restaurants. Festivities take place in the Scottsdale Arts District, located off Scottsdale Road and Indian School on Main Street and Marshall Way, and continue on Saturday, October 18, from noon to 5 p.m. To find out more, visit www.scottsdaleartgalleries.com or call 480-990-3939.
Friday, October 17
Grab your own slice of classic American pop culture at Atomic Comics' Charity Comic Book Art Auction on Friday, October 17. National comic book artists have donated rare, original work for the event, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Atomic Comics Superstore in Mesa. All proceeds benefit Big Brother Big Sisters and the ACTOR Comic Fund, a non-profit devoted to helping needy, aging veterans of the comic book industry. Then on Saturday, October 18, folks at the Superstore and three other Valley locations give away thousands of free comic books in a wide variety of subjects for Free Comic Book Day 2.5, with guest appearances between noon and 5 p.m. by more than a dozen of the comic book world's top talents, including Humberto Ramos and Paul Jenkins of Spectacular Spider-Man. Spidey himself makes appearances all weekend at both the art auction and the free comics events. The Atomic Comics Superstore is located at 1120 South Country Club, Suite 105, in Mesa. Call 480-649-0807 or visit www.atomiccomics.com to find out more.
Saturday, October 18
Whether you're getting a first-hand lesson in teenage angst or you need a refresher course on high school hell, Harkins Valley Art is ready to give you a well-rounded education in the memorable comedy films that defined the teenage years for legions of movie fans with the Back to School Filmfest, featuring 11 p.m. screenings of different classics every Friday and Saturday night through November 22. This week's feature on Friday, October 18, and Saturday, October 19, is Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Admission is only $2. Harkins Valley Art is located at 505 South Mill in Tempe. Call 480-446-7272 for more information.
Sunday, October 19
High-flying, muscle-bound Mexican wrestlers take on Impact Zone Wrestling's up-and-coming pro wrestling personalities on Sunday, October 19, when Impact Zone and LLM present Lucha Libre at El Paradiso TNT, located at 39th Avenue and Indian School. The action-packed lineup includes GQ Gallo, "Hawaiian Lion" John Williams, The Oooshaa Brothers, La Parka, El Hijo de Santo, Nicho El Milionario, Rey Mysterio Sr., Blue Demon Jr., Piloto Suicida and others. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Bell time is 5:30 p.m. Visit www.impactzonewrestling.com to find out more.
Monday, October 20
The Emerald Lounge has as many different incarnations as days in the week, from jazz hangout and rock club to performance art venue. The latest addition to Emerald's multi-faceted schedule is Love Lounge, a weekly contemporary piano bar-style show with music from vocalists Andrew Lockwood, Christopher Pommeranke and Vic Masters. The three team up to field audience requests from a list of more than 100 songs, which, according to Masters, range "from cheesy, like Night Ranger's hSister Christian' and hKung Fu Fighting' to heartfelt, like hThe Welcome Back Kotter Theme,' Hall and Oates' hManeater.'" Admission is free, and showtime is 10 p.m. The Emerald Lounge is located at 1514 North 7th Avenue. Call 602-256-9705 or visit www.theemeraldlounge.com for more information.
Tuesday, October 21
Since the launch of our downtown series two weeks ago, when we first announced the event, folks from all over the Valley have been talking about Dr. Richard Florida, who comes to Phoenix on Tuesday, October 21, for Upside Downtown, a free public event sponsored by New Times. Florida's best-selling book, Rise of the Creative Class, revealed how creative types are influencing urban culture and economic growth. He takes the stage at the Orpheum Theater to talk about his ideas, then participates in a panel discussion led by Grady Gammage Jr., senior fellow at the Morrison Institute. The distinguished panel includes Dr. Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, mayor-elect Phil Gordon, and Kimber Lanning, a founding member of Arizona Chain Reaction and owner of Modified Arts and Stinkweeds. Afterward, Florida participates in a book signing as visitors enjoy cocktails and live music. General admission tickets are free, and can be picked up from Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe or downloaded from www.phoenixnewtimes.com/upsidedowntown. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. discussion, and seating is first-come, first served at the Orpheum Theater, 203 West Adams. For more information, call 602-229-8428.
Wednesday, October 22
We don't plan on needing to use it anytime soon, but there's just as much information as entertainment value in 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, a new book by Prescott's Cody Lundin, director of the Aboriginal Living Skills School, who's recognized around the country as an authority on survival skills. A down-to-earth talk about what it takes to brave the wilderness, Lundin's witty book about life-or-death situations is backed up by his incredible expertise. Lundin discusses and signs 98.6 Degrees at 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 22, at Borders, 699 South Mill in Tempe. Call 480-921-8659 for further details.