On Wednesday, January 7, the Herberger Theater Center pays tribute to the burgeoning and much ballyhooed downtown arts scene with "Celebrating Visual Arts in Downtown Phoenix." If you're not a denizen of the frantic First Friday art walk scene, this exhibition should be a fitting introduction to the artists and galleries behind all the hype. The collection includes pieces from the Paulina Miller Gallery, downtown's oldest surviving commercial gallery; Modified Arts, the gallery owned by Kimber Lanning, who also owns Stinkweeds Records and founded Arizona Chain Reaction; eye lounge, the cooperative started by the Phoenix Arts Commission's Greg Esser and wife Cindy Dach, marketing director for Changing Hands Bookstore; and monOrchid, arts impresario Wayne Rainey's gallery. Beatrice Moore -- who, with her partner Tony Zahn, owns several buildings in downtown Phoenix, including her own Stop n' Look Gallery -- is baking a cake for the opening reception, which runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Activities include play "shorts" performed by collaborative creative teams brought together as part of "Artplay in a Day" and readings by local poets.

Including around 40 pieces, the exhibition -- "a celebration of the vitality of the arts community in downtown Phoenix, and an acknowledgement of the many component parts necessary to sustain such a vibrant society" -- continues through March 29 at the Herberger's art gallery, 222 East Monroe. A portion of the proceeds from each sale benefits the Herberger Theater Center. For more information, visit www.herbergertheater.org. Brendan Joel Kelley

Diggin' the Scene

Phoenix is unearthed at Pueblo Grande Museum

Wed 1/7
He's got the good dirt on Phoenix. This Wednesday, January 7, Dr. Todd Bostwick, an archaeologist for the city, discusses the most recent findings from the area's ongoing archaeological excavations. Illustrated with color slides, "Digging Up Ancient and Historic Phoenix: Recent Archaeological Excavations in the City of Phoenix" will touch on a number of projects, including the construction of the Homeless Campus, Sky Harbor Airport runway improvements and the Pueblo Grande Museum expansion. The free lecture runs from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park, 4619 East Washington. Admission is free, no registration required. Call 602-495-0901 for more information. - Jill Koch

Precious Moments

More than just rocks in Mesa

Geology rocks at the Flagg Gem and Mineral Show, held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, January 2, through Sunday, January 4, at Mesa Community College. Sponsored by the Arizona Mineral and Mining Museum Foundation and the Mesa Community College Geology Club, this gem offers plenty to educate little rockhounds in the hard stuff. Kids can make a fossil, and, for a buck, build a collection of 12 rock samples to take home. In addition, dealers sell minerals, fossils, gems and lapidary supplies. When you get to the MCC campus (located on Dobson Road, north of U.S. 60), head for the west parking lot. For more information, call Ray at 480-814-9086. - Kim Toms

Fire Starter

Prisoner's release coincides with book release

Mon 1/5
Never has the term "release party" been quite so apt. On Monday, January 5, author Gail Feichtinger visits the Desert Ridge Barnes & Noble to discuss and sign Will to Murder: The True Story Behind the Crimes & Trials Surrounding the Glensheen Killings. The book's subject, Marjorie Hagen -- jailed in 1993 for setting two fires in Ajo, Arizona (and suspected of several murders) -- is set to be released from Goodyear's Perryville Women's Prison the same evening. The signing starts at 7 p.m. at the bookstore, 21001 North Tatum. Call 480-538-8520 for more information. - Jill Koch

A'Fair Play

Sunday's cool in Scottsdale

Sun 1/4
Top this Sunday with some sweet celebration, when jazz and blues by the Ginni Alvey Jazz Ensemble and Big Nick & the Gila Monsters (pictured) kick off the 15th season of Sunday A'Fair in swinging style. Both groups take the stage Sunday afternoon, January 4, on Scottsdale's Civic Center grounds just outside the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street. While taking in the tunes, A'Fairgoers can browse and buy artworks by Arizona artists, and crafty kids can get creative with make-and-take art projects. At 3 p.m., free docent-guided tours examine the Civic Center's outdoor sculptures. Folks are welcome to bring lawn chairs and picnic baskets or purchase food and drinks from the Center's Arts Café in the Park.

The Sunday jive lasts from noon 'til 4:30 p.m., and the free series continues on select weekends through April 4. Call 480-994-ARTS or see www.scottsdalearts.org for more information and this season's calendar. - Jill Koch

Seeing Wed

Brides receive a helping hand

Sun 1/4
Some women have dreamed about their fairy-tale wedding since childhood, planning out every detail -- the dramatic bouquet, the lavish cake, the stunning gown -- except for perhaps the face of the groom. But if you've been preoccupied with things besides marital bliss and suddenly find a ring on your finger, it'll be tempting to feel overwhelmed and under-informed. Luckily, it only takes one day at the Bridal Fashion Debut to get up to speed on all of your options, from invitations and venues to photographers and musicians. Festivities run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, January 4, at the Phoenix Civic Plaza. Admission is $10. Visit www.bridalfashiondebut.com. - Michele Laudig

Walk This Way

Scottsdale's ArtWalk is back

Sat 1/3
Scottsdale's weekly art walk took a hiatus last week for Christmas and again this week for New Year's -- surely aggravating some art fanatics -- but relief is days away. The annual Fiesta Bowl ArtWalk returns on Saturday, January 3, transforming Scottsdale's art district into a high-class carnival that highlights works from nearly 100 local galleries. In addition to new exhibits and artist demonstrations, performers offering live music line the streets, and visitors can sample free food from some of Scottsdale's best restaurants. Stemming from a more than 25-year tradition, the Fiesta Bowl ArtWalk follows the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Football Classic at Sun Devil Stadium on Friday. Though it started as a "quiet" tradition, says Kathy Duley, president of the Scottsdale Gallery Association, the ArtWalk is now as equally exciting as the game itself. The ArtWalk extends from Main to Marshall Way in Scottsdale, from noon to 4 p.m. Call 480-990-3939 for directions. Admission is free. - Ashlea Deahl

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Ashlea Deahl
Brendan Joel Kelley
Jill Koch
Contact: Jill Koch
Michele Laudig
Contact: Michele Laudig
Kim Toms