Ready Mercury

Tensions can run high during the merciless Phoenix summer; for those beaten down by ever-rising temperatures, some hoop therapy's in order.Let the healing begin this weekend, when the fiery Phoenix Mercury sets the pace for season seven with two preseason games. The local ladies of the WNBA face the Charlotte Sting on Friday, May 16, and the Indiana Fever on Saturday, May 17. Both games tip off at 7 p.m. at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. The squad officially opens the season Thursday, May 22, meeting the Sacramento Monarchs in the first of 17 regular-season home games.

Sporting players from Serbia-Montenegro, Italy, Brazil, Australia, Russia and the U.S., the Mercury is more than a ball club -- it's a global village. Support progressive international relations: Call 602-252-WNBA (9622) or log on to for tickets, ranging from $8 to $100.- Jill Koch


View art on the run

Sat 5/17
Culture and cramps collide at the EarthWise Night Run for the Arts, Saturday, May 17, in Scottsdale. While the athletic compete in the 8K race, one-mile fun run and three-mile family walk, the artistic can conquer a docent-led tour of the sculptures on the Civic Center Plaza. The action begins and ends in the Center for the Arts Amphitheater, 75th Street and Main. Participants may register as individuals or teams; proceeds benefit the Center for the Arts and Museum of Contemporary Art. Registration -- $18 in advance, $20 the day of the race -- begins at 5:30 p.m. Sign up at - Jill Koch

In the Fast Lane

Bowling for charities

Sat 5/17
A group of young women wants you to look like an ass in public this weekend. More specifically, the Venture Club of Phoenix (sponsored by Soroptimist International) wants you to attend its annual Bowl-A-Rama event, lately becoming a place to be seen among young professionals.

The Venture Club is an organization of working women ages 18 to 40 who spend time volunteering for local charities. This event is their chance to have some fun, raise some money for charity, and laugh at your attempts to bowl.

So pull that Hawaiian shirt out of the closet and show up at Frontier Lanes, 73rd Street and Thomas in Scottsdale, at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 17. Adult tickets, which include dinner, shoes and three games of bowling, are $25; children's tickets are $12; and those under 5 get in free. Call 602-570-6723 for more information or to purchase tickets in advance. -Maidi Terry