Even if you aren’t familiar with the tragedies in Billie Holiday’s life, you can hear them. They’re the dusky bass notes that haunt even her happy songs. They’re the sad cymbal beat behind her sassy flirting, her swearing, her minor key cackling. “I do the blues feelin’ with a jazz beat,” she says in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. There’s a moment late in the play when, after staggering offstage, she walks back on with her white glove pulled down, revealing a telltale blue bruise down her arm. That’s essentially what this one-woman show does: It peels back the dressing – the upbeat jazz, the celebrity, the showiness – to reveal the blues and the bruises beneath.
Arizona Chic: Couture from Arizona's Past Curated by Robert Black, through April 30
Robert Black of FORD/Robert Black Agency and Fashion by Robert Black enthuses about Arizona fashion, both contemporary and vintage, and speaks of an era in which our state's styles were going global. “From the high-toned Goldwater's Department Store to the trading posts on Arizona's reservations, fashion was being created for every fashionista!” he states. Black has curated an exhibition of clothing and memorabilia that celebrates Arizona couture past and present, and includes fashion and accessories from such Arizona designers as Lloyd Kiva, Harwood Steiger, and Sun Ray of Arizona, and stores including Hanny's and Goldwater's. Free; donations accepted. Call for hours. The exhibition opened on March 18 and runs through April 30 at Vision Gallery. visiongallery.org
Once the stuff of science-fiction movies, virtual reality is finally making its way into the real world. A company in the Netherlands recently announced the unveiling of a permanent virtual reality (VR) movie theater. Six Flags is building a virtual roller coaster, and the Oculus Rift gaming system is nearly ready for consumer rollout.
Have you got the itch to do something creative, but are not sure where to start? There are countless opportunities across the Valley of the Sun to learn how to cook, play an instrument, make art, write the great American novel or cut a rug on the dance floor.
#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. puscifer.com
James Schwarz has a background in theater. Not on the stage, but building it. He's a scenic carpenter, to be precise, surrounded by a world of 3-D art, with all the world his diorama. Schwarz is currently studying ceramic art at Mesa Community College and chiseling his way into the heart of the local art world.
Thanks to a growing global dance community, regular weekly events in major cities and the infamous 1998 “Gap Swings” commercial, swing dance has seen a comeback. Over the past two years I’ve been a sometimes regular at several swing nights around the Valley, gazing at my partner’s multiple left feet over at Fatcat Ballroom or peeping the sweet vintage threads and retro hairstyles on display every Tuesday night at The Duce.
On March 13, 1997, thousands of people reported sighting a triangular light formation in the skies over Phoenix and Sonora, Mexico. Local police stations were flooded with calls. Numerous witnesses photographed the object, which reportedly moved south toward Tucson. Four men disappeared while off-roading in Estrella Mountain Park, never to be seen again. It was a night straight out of The X-Files.
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