Booty Call

Sat 9/11
Avast ye landlubbers, just a week in advance of "International Talk Like a Pirate Day," those bilge-sucking sons-of-biscuit-eaters at the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue, will be busting out like Blackbeard at "Mermaids and Martinis" on Saturday, September 11. This "undersea fantasy fund raiser" for iTheatre Collaborative is a call for lingo straight from Davy Jones' locker while "splicing the mainbrace" (having a drink) or showing a saucy wench your Jolly Roger. Just don't end up in the brig, bucko. Nautical-themed dress -- from mermen to deep-sea divers -- is encouraged, but if your interests are more Captain Morgan than Captain Jack Sparrow, there'll be appetizers, and martinis will be served (plus the olives might help ward off scurvy). The scalawags of Soaking Fused and DJs will perform, as will exotic dancers, and the "H2O" art exhibition will also shiver your timbers. Weigh anchor at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call 602-262-2020 or spy -- Benjamin Leatherman

Swing Set

Drinkin' and dancin' downtown Tue 9/14
Why settle for the same stale happy hour venues across the Valley when you can swing into the action at the Herberger Theater Center? On Tuesday, September 14, the Herberger, 222 East Adams, hosts its Second Act Happy Hour, offering swing dance performances and lessons from the Arizona Swing Network and tunes by Jazzola with Sentimental Journey. Gin and vodka tonics are on special to wash down the appetizers and desserts, and artworks by Christine Sandifur will be on display. The swell time begins at 5:30 p.m. and rolls until 8. Cover is $15. Call 602-254-7399, extension 102. -- Joe Watson

Brain Tree

The brain as a work of art

If conceptual tree branches were as deep as Jennifer Urso's art, they'd be mistaken for roots. Huh? Yeah, let's explain. Urso's latest work -- using gnarled plastic, mud, hair, text, wire and threads -- can be seen through September 25 at eye lounge, 419 East Roosevelt, in "thinking too much." Drawing from her research into what unifies weather, literature, neuroscience, Buddhism and quantum mechanics, Urso's "installed study of fractal branching" explores artistically natural systems and patterns. "By letting the chaos of the material do its own thing, energy is dispersed into a branching network," Urso says. "It creates an environment that shows a broader view of how things are connected. History is too often presented as linear. The truth is that there is never just one cause and effect. In reality, certain events occur because of network connections." Does your brain hurt yet? Call 602-430-1490 or see --Jonathan Winters