Top 5 Arts Events for March 14-20: Puscifer, Carnival of Illusion, Ms. Pat & More

Written by Niki D'Andrea Category: Lists Issue: March 2016
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Puscifer (photo by Tim Cadiente)#1: Puscifer at Comerica Theatre, March 18
Cornville, Ariz. resident winemaker Maynard James Keenan resumes his day job as a rock star for this tour stop in Phoenix with his art rock band, Puscifer. The group's touring in support of its third and newest album, “Money $hot,” an ethereal and melodious amalgamation of digital effects, acoustic harmonies, and metaphysical-philosophical lyrics. Puscifer's accompanying live show blends myriad media including video and theatrics. “This show is so much more than just a band regurgitating songs,” Keenan said. “This is a multi-media performance unlike anything you've ever witnessed. There are those who know, and there are those who will know soon enough.” $35-$250. 8 p.m. March 18 at Comerica Theatre.

#2: “Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill” at Phoenix Theatre, March 18-April 3
Few vocalists have had the enduring influence on both the blues and jazz genres as Billie Holiday, and few figures in any music genre are as tragic. The play “Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill” imagines one of Holiday's last shows, in an intimate nightclub in Philadelphia in 1959. By that time, Holiday's honeyed, winsome voice had been damaged by years of drug and alcohol abuse (she died of cirrhosis of the liver in July, 1959), but the magic of the music manages to have a last gasp amidst Holiday's tales of hard living in the play. Pasha Yamotahari directs the production, and Yolanda London portrays Holiday. $30-$96. Opens 8 p.m. March 18 at Phoenix Theatre.

Carnival of Illusion#3: Carnival of Illusion at Tempe Center for the Arts, March 19
The duo behind Valley-based Carnival of Illusion was “steampunk” long before Arizona ever saw its first convention celebrating the combined aesthetics of the Victorian steam era and the American Wild West. Roland Sarlot's background as a scientist at University of Arizona, developing large-scale optics for telescopes, and Susan Eyed's experience as an Arabian nightclub performer, inform their 80-minute show, wherein gyspy vaudeville meets modern magic, exotic music and tales of tramping around the globe. $45-$60. 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. March 19 at Tempe Center for the Arts.

#4: Movement Source Dance Co.'s “Embrace” at The Newton, March 18-19
Seven original, contemporary dances on the theme of embracing life's joys and tragedies – as individuals and in groups – comprise “Embrace,” including a piece choreographed by Pilobolus dancer Jordan Kriston, and a saucy tango duet featuring Phoenix dancer Brady Hugins. $12. 8 p.m. March 18 and 19 at The Newton.

#5: Ms. Pat at Rock Bronson's House of Comedy, March 16-20
She's been shot twice, hit by a dump truck, jailed for dealing drugs, and baptized 50 times (thanks to her mom's scam on area churches), but stand-up comic Ms. Pat just keeps on coming, and she gets funnier with every step. Riding appearances on shows including B.E.T.'s “Comic View,” NBC's “Last Comic Standing,” and Nickelodeon's “Mom's Night Out,” Ms. Pat jokes with the confidence and skill of someone who's been through hell and found something hilarious about it. $13-$22. Showtimes vary (visit website), March 16-20.