Like so many inspirational success stories, José Jalapeño has turned liability into laughter. A beloved character of ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, the pepper has been stuck "on a stick" his comic catch phrase since his county fair pogo routine took a turn for the tragic."Señor Dunham tinks I am funny," José says. "It is berry nice, but I still have de pogo nightmares."
This week, Dunham brings José and the rest of his comedic crew to the Tempe Improv for a four-day stint. While audiences may be familiar with José, as well as fuzzy purple "Woozle" Peanut and grumpy old man Walter, Dunham's entourage boasts two new personalities: an opossum called Road Kill, and Super Guy, a super hero who's unaware he lacks super powers.
Dunham performs March 27 through 30 at the Tempe Improv, 930 East University. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, and 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $22; call 480-921-9877 to purchase. Jill Koch
Death sweetens life in Vvvooo
Brazilian author Paulo Coelho's book Veronica Decides to Die is the basis of Vvvooo, the latest play from local company Theatre in My Basement. The story follows a young Slovenian woman whose failed suicide attempt lands her in an insane asylum. "She spends a week thinking that she only has a week to live, and in the end, it turns out the doctor's been putting one over on her it's kind of an awakening and self-realization process she goes through," says director Ilana Lydia. "If you don't have a conscious awareness of death, you don't have a good appreciation of life."Performances of Vvvooo will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, March 28, through Sunday, March 30, at The Paper Heart, 222 North Fifth Avenue. Admission is $10. The production continues on April 5 and 6 at Paisley Violin, April 12 at Modified Arts, and April 13 at Willow House. Call 602-278-9255.- Michele Laudig
Shakin' All Over
Whether relaxing in the Bedouin tent or at a table, Sinbad Restaurant offers an authentic way to experience Middle Eastern culture through food and entertainment. The restaurant hosts the Valley's top belly dancers in a performance that owner Tara Eivers characterizes as "more cabaret than risqué." This week, Sinbad celebrates its one-year anniversary with a three-hour extravaganza, the "Art of Belly Dancing" by Samia, and a raffle of exotic belly dancing goods during intermission. Shimmy your way into Sinbad at 7 p.m. Friday, March 28, for fun and a taste of the Seven Seas. The restaurant is located at 5004 South Price in the Tempe Plaza. A cover of $15 includes dinner and the show. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 480-491-5588. Eric Schandel