DevilPass: Accordion-playing pin-ups, war commentary, operatic goth and literary improv

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This week, the Downtown Devil has got it all covered. With retro pleasures and accordion-playing pin-ups at the Trunk Space, new views on literature at the Torch Theater, war commentary at the Herberger, operatic goth at the Crescent, and food and folk at Stinkweeds, there’s something for everyone in Downtown Phoenix. But regardless of what you choose to do, take a few steps outside and support the culture you enjoy, and make sure the downtown you want continues to grow and prosper.

Dr. Zombie Presents: DESTROY ALL PLANETS!

  • Friday, Jan. 27
  • 7:30 p.m.
  • The Trunk Space: 1506 NW Grand Ave.
  • Getting there: Bike—15th Ave. and Grand
  • Price: $5 at the door

Recommended if you Like: ‘60s kitsch, B-movie glory, ALIENS!

Best of Phoenix winner Dr. Zombie returns to the Trunk Space after a several-month hiatus to bring the Valley’s B-movie fanatics his latest forgotten flick. The good Dr. Zombie specializes in classics of the sci-fi and horror variety, this month presenting 1968’s “Destroy All Planets!” Originally released in Japan as “Gamera Vs. Viras,” the film was bought up and re-cut, before appearing in American theaters with its current title. Part of the popular “Godzilla”-aping “Gamera” series, this film is set as a twist in the series’ plot, with the giant flying turtle (yes, seriously) Gamera suddenly becoming a hero, changing his villainous ways from previous movies. First encountered in space by a ship full of evil aliens, Gamera has a remote control implanted in his neck, forcing him to attack Tokyo and fulfill the wishes of the aliens…but really, what do you need to know about the plot? This film is nothing but the best in vintage, foreign science-fiction, perfect for Friday night of mindless fun. Be sure to arrive early and bask in the performance-art glory of local legend Space-Alien Donald: an elderly, retired engineer and self-proclaimed “backyard scientist.”

Short Leash Saturday

  • Saturday, Jan. 28
  • 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Medlock Plaza: Central Ave. and Camelback
  • Getting there: Rail—Central Ave. and Camelback stop
  • Price: FREE

Recommended if you Like: food trucks, local music, Neko Case

Everyone’s favorite food truck, Short Leash hot dogs, makes a Saturday night stop at Phoenix’s epicenter of local business, Medlock Plaza. Each month, Stinkweeds record shop, Frances boutique, Smeeks candy and novelties, Halo Piercing and Arizona Hi-Fi partner to bring live, local music and great food to their parking lot. This month on the Stinkweeds patio, hear the sweet folk sounds of Phoenix veteran Jon Rauhouse. Proficient in steel guitar, pedal steel, Hawaiian guitar and banjo, Rauhouse has performed and recorded alongside such prominent musicans as Neko Case, Old 97s, Giant Sand, Calexico, Jakob Dylan (son of Bob Dylan) and John Doe (of L.A. punk legends X). For this performance, Rauhouse will be joined by two other musicians to fill out his trademark outlaw country sound. All ages, acoustic, and free: a rare opportunity to hear a nationally-renowned Phoenix icon up close and personal.

The Accordion Babes Tour

  • Thursday, Jan. 26
  • 7:30 p.m.
  • The Trunk Space: 1506 NW Grand Ave.
  • Getting there: Bike—15th Ave. and Grand
  • Price: $6 at the door

Recommended if you Like: musical ladies, Victorian style, a taste of the old country

Amber Lee & the Anomalies and Renee De La Prade team up for the fourth year running to bring the acclaimed Accordion Babes tour across the west coast. Though best known for their kitschy Accordion Babes pin-up calendar, these two are no slouches when it comes to their instruments. With national touring under their belts and over a decade of experience each, these two ladies know how to bring it. Lee has been playing since 2002, and often utilizes a loop pedal, glockenspiel, and various percussion instruments to accentuate her foreign-folk, cabaret style. De La Prade, on the other hand, is a renaissance woman, alternately working as an accordion repairwoman in California, busking, and touring the world throughout the year. For the Phoenix stop of the tour, the two will be joined by local world-music practitioners Mumrose, Jellied Brainz, and Drunk & Horny, the latest project from local noisemakers Ryan Avery and Andrew Jemsek.

Zola Jesus

  • Wednesday, Feb. 1
  • 7:00 p.m. doors, 8:00 p.m. show
  • Crescent Ballroom: 308 S. 2nd Ave.
  • Getting there: Walk—2nd Ave. and Van Buren
  • Price: $13 in advance at crescentphx.com, $14 at the door

Recommended if you Like: ambient industrial, female-fronted Bauhaus, post-classical electronics

Boasting an ethereal look, otherworldly vocals, and a diverse musical palette to match, Zola Jesus has earned international acclaim through a mix of mystery and power. Created as the alter-ego to Russian-American musician Nika Roza Danilova, the singer matches industrial-styled electronics with operatic vocals. Her sound takes influence from such ‘80s luminaries as Joy Division and Siouxsie and the Banshees, along with such modern boundary-pushers as M83, with whom she collaborated on the group’s most recent album. Only 22, Danilova already has three full-lengths and three EPs to her name, along with numerous magazine covers and festival appearances, including a game-changing appearance at South by Southwest in 2010. The larger-than-life sound of Zola Jesus serves as a perfect counterpoint to the elfin appearance of Danilova, whose single-color gowns and piercing gaze have mesmerized audiences all over the world. With enough power to take down the most grizzled music fan, Zola Jesus is sure to bring the Crescent Ballroom to its knees as her voice and music resonate through the venue’s historic brick walls.

9 Circles

  • Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27 and 28
  • 8:00 p.m.
  • Herberger Theater Center-The Kax Stage: 222 E. Monroe
  • Getting there: Walk—2nd St. and Monroe
  • Price: $16 in advance at herbergertheater.org, $20 at the door

Recommended if You Like: war stories, thrillers, new perspectives on history

Its title taking a cue from Dante’s Inferno, “9 Circles” chronicles the many trials of a returning Iraq war veteran facing serious criminal charges. Arrested and brought back to America to stand trial, main character Daniel Reeves has allegedly committed a crime so terrible that it could affect the nation’s entire war effort. In order to maintain his position in the military and avoid major punishment, Reeves must navigate nine levels of authority, both military and otherwise. As he navigates the convoluted structures of power, the play reveals the many layers to war and its effects on both individuals and society.

The Revolver: Improvised Book Club

  • Saturday, Jan. 28
  • 7:00 p.m.
  • The Torch Theatre: 4721 N. Central Ave.
  • Getting there: Rail—Central Ave. and Camelback stop
  • Price: $7 in advance at thetorchtheatre.com or at the door

Recommended if You Like: reading, innovative improv, new perspectives on the classics

The Torch Theatre presents a fast-paced alternative to an age-old tradition: the book club. Part of its weekly Revolver series of themed shows, each month a team of improvisers reads a designated book, bringing it to life before a live audience through the beauty of long-form improv. First discussing the book’s plot, theme, characters, and more on-stage, the performers then create fully-improvised scenes relating to the above topics. For this month’s show, the group is utilizing James Fogle’s autobiographical story, Drugstore Cowboys, on which Gus Van Sant’s acclaimed movie of the same name was based. From the bookish type eager to see new interpretations of classic works, to the lazy layman looking to learn about a book he’s never bothered to read, the Improvised Book Club makes a literary fan out of everyone.

Events compiled by Connor Descheemaker.

 

 

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