Nerd Culture

10 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

New Times picks the best events in metro Phoenix from Friday, September 2, through Sunday, September 4. For more things to do, see our curated online calendar

The Velocity of Autumn
If you missed Eric Coble’s The Velocity of Autumn at Theatre Artists Studio in April 2015 — well, shame on you, because it was pretty terrific. But now you can be redeemed. And if you did see it and wish you could experience it again, there’s good news for you as well. The original cast, Judy Rollings and Brad Bond, returns with a new director and designers for a production by iTheatre Collaborative.

The play about a declining painter who won’t be budged from her Brooklyn home, where she’s set up a round of Molotov cocktails, continues through Saturday, September 17, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Tickets are $20 at or 602-252-8497. Showtime on opening night, Friday, September 2, is 8 p.m. Julie Peterson

Saboten Con 2016
To some, Labor Day weekend means pool parties and a day off. But to others, the end of summer is marked by Arizona’s largest anime convention: Saboten Con. Presented by Monkey Paw Entertainment, Saboten Con features a vendor hall and panel schedule, as well as a J-Fashion Show, Otaku Closet, and Masquerade costume contest. Find DJs like M-Project and Jimni Cricket, and special guests including Carrie Keranen, Ladybeard, Reika, and Corgi Cosplay. Human cosplay is also heavily encouraged for all attendees and during the Cosplay Photography Contest.

Saboten Con 2016 is held at downtown’s Sheraton Grand Phoenix, 340 North Third Street, from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday, September 2, and through Monday, September 5. Friday and Monday entry is $15, Saturday and Sunday is $25, full event membership is $50, and the $350 OtakuPass offers VIP access and early admission. For more information, call 480-428-2776 or visit Lauren Cusimano

2016 Muay Thai Season Finale
If you’re interested in mastering a martial art, Muay Thai (a.k.a. Thai boxing) is loaded with captivating moves. Its complexities aren’t easily mastered, so while you’re busy becoming an expert, we recomend enjoying it as a spectator, too. Attend the 2016 Muay Thai Season Finale to get an up-close look at the astute techniques used by competitors from around the globe. Known as “the art of eight limbs,” this combat sport incorporates the use of knees, shins, elbows, and fists, whereas traditional boxing utilizes the fists as the two main points of contact. Grab a seat for the action, starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, September 2, at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. Admission is $40 to $105. Call 480-350-2822. Amy Young

Solmaz Sharif and Danniel Schoonebeek
The University of Arizona Poetry Center’s programming makes its way up the I-10 on Friday, September 2, to present its 2016-17 reading and lecture series. Writers Solmaz Sharif from Stanford University and Danniel Schoonebeek will read from their works of poetry at 7 to 8 p.m. at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue.

Each reading will take place in Singer Hall, and feature a local poet — curated by Rashaad Thomas with support from Arizona State University’s Performance in the Borderlands Initiative — to open and warm up the crowd. A short Q&A sesh and book-signing with Sharif and Schoonebeek will follow.

As it’s First Friday, admission to the museum is free. For more information, visit or, or call 602-257-1222. Lauren Cusimano

"Lalo and Tato"
Two names: Lalo and Tato. Followers of the Phoenix mural scene know them well. For years, artists Lalo Cota and Tato Caraveo have created street art with distinctive styles featuring subjects from cars and spaceships to skulls and surrealist faces.

Locations boasting their work include Barrio Café, Carly’s Bistro, Space 55 Theatre, and The Hive, to name a few. Chances are, you’ve seen their work while hitting Roosevelt Row during First and Third Friday art walks.

Now, they’ve collaborated for an exhibition titled “Lalo and Tato,” which opens from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, September 2, at Grand ArtHaus, 1501 Grand Avenue. The show, which includes about 20 pieces, reveals the artists’ ability to span the spectrum between street and studio settings.

“Lalo and Tato” is part of the free grand opening of Grand ArtHaus, a new artist-run working studio and exhibition space located next to Oasis on Grand. Visit Lynn Trimble

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski
Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Janessa is a native Phoenician. She joined New Times as a contributor in 2013. You can connect with her on social media at @janessahilliard, and she promises you'll find no pictures of cats on her Instagram — but plenty of cocktails.
Contact: Janessa Hilliard
Rob is a Phoenix native, husband, dad, and an active member in the local music scene. He's written original songs for feature films.
Contact: Rob Kroehler
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young