Pretty Dorky

Laurie Notaro is ecstatic that so many women want to be certified "idiots." But give her a break, already. "People are totally mad at me," says the author of The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club, who makes appearances in Tempe and Phoenix, respectively, on Thursday, May 5, and Friday, May 6, to promote her fourth book, We Thought You'd Be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive.

"I love sending out the 'Idiot Girls' Kit' [which includes vinyl stickers, magnets and even a membership card]. It's my 'thank you' to the people who buy the books," she adds. "But these things cost me a shitload to mail. I never thought so many would actually go to the Web site and sign up for this. But people love free stuff. I'm like 2,000 [kits] behind!"

And readers also love Notaro's autobiographical "hapless" heroine, a term Notaro -- a former humor columnist for the Arizona Republic, who now lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her husband -- says "kind of fits" both herself and the women who buy her books. "'Hapless' is the girl who says the wrong thing at the wrong time, but she can also get shit done," Notaro says. "She goes to her husband's company barbecue, gets hot and tries to take off her sweatshirt, and ends up taking off the whole thing.

"We're all smart women, but with a twist of dork."

Notaro reads and signs We Thought You'd Be Prettier on Thursday at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock in Tempe, beginning at 7 p.m., and Friday at Borders Books & Music, 2402 East Camelback, also at 7 p.m. See -- Joe Watson

Fantasy Fix
Catch the LepreCon

Those open to embracing art and film of the fantasy and science fiction variety will find people of like minds at LepreCon 31, Friday, May 6, through Sunday, May 8, at the Carefree Resort, 37220 Mule Train Road in Carefree. The Valley's premier annual science fiction and fantasy art convention brings both genres to life with three jam-packed days that include an art show, a film festival spotlighting the work of independent filmmakers, workshops, round-table discussions, and special appearances by this year's guest of honor, artist Dave Dorman, as well as author Kevin J. Anderson. Costumes are encouraged, and awards will be given out to the most creatively garbed. Call 480-945-6890 or visit -- Craig Wallach

Isle of White and Rosé
Party meets grape expectations

How do you make wine, uh, cooler? You head out to Kokopelli Bistro and Winery, 35 West Boston in Chandler, beginning Friday, May 6, through Sunday, May 8, for the "Beach Blast Party," the cure for the post-Cinco hangover. From 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Kokopelli turns its digs into a Caribbean island unto itself, serving frozen drinks -- margaritas, rum runners and coladas -- all made with wine. Alonso performs live music, a limbo gets down and dirty, and hermit crabs "race," all for $10 (which includes a wine glass). Call 480-792-6927 or see -- Joe Watson

Salon Style
Young artists hang at Alwun House

We're not shy asking kids for help in programming our DVD player, so it seems logical that their talents should also be considered when searching for fresh artwork. These budding artists are the focus of the 10th annual "Salon des Enfants" at the Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt. Phoenix elementary school art teachers have selected their students' best works for a floor-to-ceiling salon. Like these youngsters' technology consultation fees, their artwork is quite reasonable (around $20), making it easy to take home their creations. The opening is free and runs from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 6, with the show continuing through May 30. Call 602-253-7887 or see -- Douglas Towne