Nerd Culture

13 Best Events in Metro Phoenix, February 13 to 19

Turtle power.
Turtle power. Courtesy of the '90s Bar Crawl
We know, we know. Valentine's Day is nearly here. And the damn holiday falls on a Tuesday. Lucky for Phoenicians, there's something to do every day of the week — whether it's an artsy, booze-fueled hangout, a behind-the-scenes look at the Arizona Opera, a gay rodeo, or a romantic comedy throwdown. Here are our picks for the best ways to spend your week, and you can find more options on the New Times' curated calendar.

Drink and Draw
Sometimes it takes a cocktail, or three, to get comfortable enough to whip out your tool in a crowd. Get your mind out of the gutter, kids. We mean your preferred drawing instrument.

Drink and Draw is a regular event that gives you a chance to put the pen, crayon, pencil, or whatever writing device you like best to the pad, as you congregate with others to observe and draw a live model. And you can enjoy some adult beverages while you do, if that helps loosen up those hands. Grab your supplies and head to the First Draft Book Bar in Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road, at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, February 13. Admission is $8. Register in the Phoenix store or call 602-274-0067. Visit the Changing Hands website for more information. Amy Young

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Work by Phoenix artist Ed Mell is featured in Riders of the Purple Sage at Arizona Opera.
Courtesy of Arizona Opera
Behind the Opera: Riders of the Purple Sage
Word of advice: Forgo the purple-dyed carnations and mauve-frosted cupcakes on Valentine’s Day. No need to go lowbrow, especially when you’ve got such a classy option over at Arizona Opera — where the creative team for a new Riders of the Purple Sage opera developed right here in Arizona will share the backstory of how it came to be during “Behind the Opera: Riders of the Purple Sage.”

The free event happens at Arizona Opera, 1636 North Central Avenue, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 14. Bring your sweetie if you have one, or just get to know some fellow art lovers. Years from now, you might be recounting the tale of how you met over opera. Because hey, stranger things have happened. Visit Arizona Opera's website. Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Urban Design Week
Phoenix may get a lot of flak for being a sprawling metropolis, but our city’s urban design is nothing to poke fun at. From the award-winning Sky Harbor International Airport to the increasing number of bike lanes popping up, Phoenix is not the way it is by accident. Of course, the city isn't without flaws. That’s where Phoenix Urban Design Week comes in. From February 10 through 18, everyone from urban planners and landscape architects to policymakers and artists will converge to work on making Phoenix the best city it can be. On Wednesday, February 15, you can look forward to a day filled with a Rad Real Estate Developers Panel Discussion, an event highlighting young professionals, and the #yesphx Happy Hour Mixer at the Found:RE, 1100 North Central Avenue. For the full schedule of events, aiming to make this “a city we all want to live in,” see Phoenix Urban Design Week's online schedule. Evie Carpenter

Spring training is just around the corner.
slgckgc/Flickr Creative Commons
"Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience"
Two words: spring training. It’s the subject of an exhibition called “Play Ball: The Cactus League Experience,” which features images and artifacts exploring the history of spring training in Arizona from 1947 to the present. We’ve come a long way, baby.

It turns out that baseball memorabilia spanning seven decades reveals a lot about the communities where baseball is a big deal, and the ways team sports tend to reflect issues facing society at large.

See the exhibition inside the Gallery @ The Library, located at Civic Center Library, 3839 North Drinkwater Boulevard in Scottsdale. The exhibit, which also includes a Cactus League Hall of Fame, is free. And it continues through Tuesday, April 4. Visit Scottsdale Library online. Lynn Trimble

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Raphael Hamilton, Melvina Jones, Mike Traylor, and Christopher Dozier star in Broke-ology.
Laura Durant
Any new work by playwright Nathan Louis Jackson gets butts into some of the most prestigious seats in New York, a tradition begun with 2009’s Broke-ology. The play centers on two brothers who’ve returned home to care for their father, whose health is declining. Though Ennis and Malcolm have taken different paths as adults, they’re able to come together and focus on what’s important while you, the audience, laugh and/or cry.

When not penning scripts about the death penalty, gun rights, protests at funerals, et cetera, as resident playwright at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Jackson brings his gritty, barbecue-drenched KC life experience to bear as a member of the writing staff for Netflix’s Luke Cage.

Black Theatre Troupe presents Broke-ology through Sunday, February 26, at the Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center, 1333 East Washington Street. Tickets are $36. Showtime on Thursday, February 16, is 8 p.m. Visit Black Theatre Troup's website or call 602-258-8129. Julie Peterson

Battle of the Rom Coms
We are not gonna let you finish, because You’ve Got Mail is the greatest romantic comedy of all time (in our not even remotely humble opinion). The folks at National Comedy Theatre, however, will entertain your arguments for Pretty Woman or whatever during Battle of the Rom Coms Uncensored on Thursday, February 16. That’s when the Mesa improv spot will host a panel of comedians to debate the swoon-worthy merits of Meg Ryan, Hugh Grant, and Julia Roberts — with help from the audience. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. at 1111 South Longmore, and admission is free, though reservations are encouraged. Save your spot through National Comedy Theatre's website. Becky Bartkowski

Read on for an outer space confab, a throwback bar crawl, and a downtown bike ride.
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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
Evie Carpenter is a visual journalist. Using photography, videography, design, and sometimes words, she tells stories she hopes make a bit of difference in the world, even if those stories are in list form and include GIFs.
Contact: Evie Carpenter
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
Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson
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

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