The security guards at the Safeway at Seventh Street and McDowell Road better be on high alert today. Ditto for the one's at Fry's, Trader Joe's, or any other grocery store in the CenPho area.
Por que? Because their markets just might be missing some shopping trolleys. There's no great mystery where these metallic mesh carts have disappeared to, as numerous local mischief-makers have likely, uh..."borrowed" them temporarily for this weekend's Idiotarod.
If you've never attended said event in person, here's what's in store. Every year, teams of four or five race through the streets of downtown in a kooky competition that's modeled after the Iditarod dog race in Alaska, albeit using shopping carts in lieu of pooch-powered sleds.
Naturally, the Idiotarod tends to attract members of the artist and fringe communities, who decorate both themselves and their rides in humorous and bizarre fashion. Numerous stops are also held at downtown drinking establishments, where the hops and barley flows like Gatorade.
Although the entry fees for the event are upwards of $40, you can watch the madcap madness take place for free (provided you can keep pace with participants).
The rundown of when and where the Idiotarod takes place follows the break, as well as info on the rest of the low-cost fun that awaits this weekend.
Jersey Shore Party at Afterlife (Friday)
Pauly D., Snooki, and JWoww won't be hanging out at Afterlife tonight during the Scottsdale club's Jersey Shore party, but their look-a-likes definitely will be. The so-bad-it's-good MTV reality show gets feted with an evening of "guidos and guidettes," overly-gelled hair, and plenty of . Participants are encouraged to dress like their favorite cast member, and DJ Jon Amaral will provide the jams (might we suggest a little Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen?). While admission is $15 for guys and $10 for the ladies, those who come dressed in costume (or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) can score $5 off before 11 p.m. Free party bus service from ASU's Manzanita Dorm will also be offered every 30 minutes. 10 p.m.-4 a.m. (4282 North Drinkwater Boulevard, Scottsdale, 480-264-8300)
Love Me Nots Music Video Premiere at Martini Ranch (Friday)
"The year 2009 seemed to be a banner one for the Love Me Nots. The Valley's best outlet for Detroit-driven garage rock dropped the Jim Diamond-produced Upsidedown Insideout that features Nicole Laurenne's rollicking vocals leading the torrent of Farfisa-hammered sounds and fuzzy guitar licks. The effort even garnered a generous spread in the French edition of Rolling Stone. The Love Me Nots start off the new year right with the video premiere for "Do What You Do," an effort directed by Arizona Bay Pictures' JD Smith. The party also features rocking compatriots The Mod Zombies and About Freedom." 9:30 p.m., $5. (7295 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, 480-970-0500) -- Jose Gonzalez
Calabrese at Copper State Tavern (Friday)
Every day is Halloween for the three brothers who make up Calabrese, as they dig on blasting out merciless horror punk about ghouls, goblins, and other ghastly topics at gigs all year round. This weekend's show at the Copper State Tavern in Glendale (one of the West Valley's best rock club's IMHO) should prove to be no different. Fellow punk/rockabilly acts The Limit Club, The Returners, and Buried in Red also perform. 8 p.m., $8. (5060 West Bethany Home Road, Glendale, 623-931-5729)
Grand Opening at Fractal (Friday)
"If you find it hard to meet people in Phoenix, we suggest hitting up downtown, where honest-to-goodness community exists. Don't feel comfortable moseying your way into an established scene? No worries because a new spot called Fractal is holding its official grand opening tonight in hopes of attracting all sorts of folks to see what the collaborative space is all about. (The multiple-partner effort is anchored by three non-profits: the creative-education organization Dojo Collective; the spiritual-nurturing communitasPHX; and the Rusty Spoke bicycle collective.) The opening-night shindig will include live performances by Courtney Marie Andrews, Owl & Penny, The Whisperlights, Kenny Bump, and Boys and Frogs." 7 p.m., free. (1301 Grand Avenue) -- Steve Jansen
Idiotarod in Downtown Phoenix (Saturday)
Participants will start gathering with their carts outside the Bikini Lounge just prior to the start of the contest at 1 p.m. Get their early to enjoy some of the pre-race shenanigans and to check out all the decorated carts and costumes. Check out AZ Cacaphony's Web page for more details. (1502 Grand Avenue)
The Mission Creeps at Rogue West (Saturday)
Phoenix versus Tucson, which city has the better rockabilly and punk bands? Being lifelong residents of the Valley of the Sun, naturally we're gonna say that our city's the winner. But the success of he Mission Creeps, who hail from the Old Pueblo, gives us reason to reconsider. Just look at the many laudings the trio has received from around the world. For instance, Gonzai Music Magazine in France described their sound as "orgasmic" and called it "music that was made in the way Tarantino makes movies." Stop by the Rogue West this weekend to find out if such praise is well-deserved or just hot air. The Green Lady Killers and Des Roar will also perform. 8 p.m., $5. (3593 West Northern Avenue)
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Science and Technology Expo at Trunk Space (Saturday)
Though its name conjures up visions of rocket-powered backpacks, sentient automatons, and other inventions straight from tomorrowland, the only kind of head-scratching cognitive theory involved with this madcap multi-band event is as follows: "How many diversely strange, unusual, experimental, and fringey groups can the Trunk Space withstand during one evening?" Organizer Jason Kron believes it to be to be nine, as that's the exact number of bands making up the expo's extremely eclectic cross-section of musical acts from throughout Arizona and even California. It's headlined by the Flagstaffians of both noise punk band Feel Free and one-man freakfest I Hate You When You're Pregnant (a.k.a. Phil Buckman), who's holding his first Phoenix performance in almost five years. Tucson indie mavens Monster Pussy and The Lifers will travel from the Old Pueblo, and the old-timey instrumentalists of Santa Cruz's Blackbird Raum and L.A. chiptune maestro Wizwars will also be driving to the Valley. Meanwhile, the PHX will be represented by socio-political Americana artist The Black River Bandit and his Symphonic Rebellion, Kron's own folk-punk group Hug-of-War, and Kids Day (which consists of an eight-year-old singing songs about homework and other pre-teen problems). 6 p.m., $8. (2506 Grand Avenue, 602-256-6006)
Snuggie Pub Crawl at Tempe Marketplace (Saturday)
"Are you reading this while shivering on the couch with your ex-boyfriend's ratty blanket that barely covers the goosebumps? Well, lose the minus zero and heat up like a hero during the Snuggie Pub Crawl, scheduled to take place at five different watering holes at Tempe Marketplace. Whether you're modeling the Slanket, Freedom Blanket, or the Blankoat, it's more than just a backward bathrobe -- it's a legitimate way to stay warm. For the crawl, participants can kick it fireside on the patio at The Keg (where the crawl begins), swoop over to San Felipe's Cantina, check out the view from Dave & Busters' rooftop bar, brag about your high fleece content at D'arcy McGee's, and, finally, roll up the wizard sleeves and ride the bull at Cadillac Ranch." 5 p.m., free. -- Leslie Barton
The Boom Boom Room at Club Red (Saturday)
Although DJ Element may have decided to move to Yucca Tap with of the Blunt Club possee, the Native American turntablist is keeping his other hip-hop extravaganza at its old home at Tempe's Club Red/Red Owl. As always the monthly shindig features Element and his boys K Supreme and Emgee on the one's and two's, as well as a live performance on the microphone by MC Optimal. The bar will also be serving $3 Heinikens from 9-11 p.m., so be sure to drink up, son. 9 p.m., $5-$7. (2155 East University Drive, Tempe, 480-966-4733)
Walkabout at Phoenix Art Museum (Sunday)
To help tide you over until February's First Friday, consider stopping by PAM for this First Friday-like multicultural mix of arts, music, and food. The highlights include a performance by FootKlan dance troupe, artwork from the Conspire Collective, demonstrations from the members of Spraygraphic.com, and more. A variety of Valley restaurants will also serve up samples of their cuisine. Noon, free with the normal $4-$10 museum admission. (1625 North Central Avenue, 602-257-1222)