From community celebrations of a civil rights icon to absurdist humor and a screening of Durant's Never Closes, there's a lot to be done this week in meto Phoenix. Need more options? See New Times' calendar of events — or our guide of to 50 free things to do in the Valley any time.
MLK Unity Parade and Festival
Most well-adjusted, working Americans follow a similar weekly trajectory: Mondays are rough, and Fridays are a breeze. But for many of us, the coming work week is going to feel a little backward. On January 20, we will inaugurate the most divisive candidate ever elected to our nation’s highest office, a man who appears to have exacerbated our differences for his own political expediency. Yet on January 16, we will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., a man who literally gave his life fighting for unity, equality, and justice for the downtrodden. You’d be well advised to soak up some gaiety at downtown Mesa’s Annual MLK Unity Parade and Festival, One East Main Street, just in case you’re drowning your sorrows come Friday. Monday’s free festivities run from noon to 4 p.m. Visit the Mesa MLK parade website for details. Rob Kroehler
With everyone going all-natural these days, it’s only, well, natural to see art on that very topic. The Herberger Theater Art Gallery is hosting “Gathering Earth” — a guest curator exhibition featuring Candace Greenburg. These sculptures are inspired by the natural world using bronze, honeycomb calcite, silk hanging, wood, and opalite stones.
Some pieces on display include Season of Silence (two bronze sunflowers), Sheltered (a bronze nest occupied by opalite stone eggs), and Petals of Still Lilies (six panels of silk hanging).
The gallery is found in the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street, and accessible through the box office. Hours for Monday, January 16, are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the artwork is on display through January 30. Call 602-252-8497 or visit www.herbergertheater.org. Lauren Cusimano
"22 x 30"
Tucked back off Camelback Road, at the base of the mountain of the same name, the Shemer Art Center is the perfect place for a weekday art reprieve.
Take a long lunch and take in the museum’s latest exhibition, “22 x 30,” on view from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Tuesday, January 17, at 5005 East Camelback Road.
Fifteen artists from the 22 x 30 watercolor collaborative — named for the dimensions of sheets of watercolor paper — showcase their detailed paintings of everything from landscapes to abstract creations. Founded by local artists in 1972, the group’s original purpose was to critique art. Now, with this new exhibition, their own creativity is on display. Admission is free, though a donation of $7 per person is suggested. See Shemer's website or call 602-262-4727 for details. Janessa Hilliard
Russo and Steele Preview Day
Are you desperately in need of a 1970 Plymouth Superbird to complete your vintage car collection — or is simultaneously ogling and drooling more your style? This preview day at Russo and Steele’s Collector Automobile Auction lets you make your real or pretend wish list. Feast your eyes on more than 800 classic vehicles, from European sports cars to American muscle, hot rods, and customs. Auctions happen Thursday through Sunday, and feature a signature “auction in the round” format. This high-energy bidding style brings the cars, sellers, buyers, and spectators together on the auction floor. The countdown to car wars is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 North Pima Road in Scottsdale. Admission is $30. Call 602-252-2697 or visit Russo and Steele online. Amy Young
Bar Flies, the monthly storytelling event put on by New Times and typically held at Valley Bar, already has a spinoff. Shooflies: Narrative Slices of Pie features high school seniors from Arizona School for the Arts telling stories from their unique perspective: teenagers who are now technically, or soon will be, adults.
Created by New Times managing editor Amy Silverman and ASA faculty member Julie Hampton, Shooflies lets students dish out a 500-word personal narrative encouraged by Hampton’s own English 12 curriculum. Get ready to hear some reflection.
Shooflies is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Doors are at 6:30, and tickets are $5. Call 602-716-2222 or visit Crescent's website to purchase yours, or for details. Lauren Cusimano
Durant's Never Closes
Early last year, while the rest of the country was buzzing about what actors and films would take home the big, shiny awards, there was one movie that was all the buzz in the Valley: Durant’s Never Closes. And now, almost exactly a year from its original release date, you can catch this flick on the big screen one more time. Running Wild Films’ movie explores local legend Jack Durant, the Phoenix steakhouse owner who seemed to know everyone’s secrets but remained a mystery himself. Tom Sizemore will take over the screen as Jack at Alamo Drafthouse Phoenix, 4955 South Arizona Avenue in Chandler, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 19. This screening is a part of a series of Running Wild Films’ movies all weekend long, and the film’s writer, producer, and director, Travis Mills, will give a special introduction. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Drafthouse website. Evie Carpenter
You likely recognize Eugene Mirman’s rather unique voice as that of Gene Belcher in the sweetly off-kilter family-centric animated series Bob’s Burgers. You might even remember him from his reoccurring role on Flight of the Conchords. Mirman’s roles in many different comedy series have kept him in the public eye, while his 2015 Netflix special Vegan on His Way to the Complain Store gave special Arizona ties, as it was filmed at the historic Old Tucson Studios. From his simplistic, yet hilarious drawings to his generally absurd brand of humor, Mirman’s proven his style is one of a kind. You can catch him live at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, on Thursday, January 19. The show begins at 8 p.m. and it is a 21-and-over event. Tickets, $22 per person, are available, along with more information at Crescent Ballroom's website. Heather Hoch
"Educated in Whiteness"
Fact: White privilege exists. Fact: It affects everything in our country from the job market to politics to Hollywood. And fact: It operates at basically every level of our school systems, but it doesn’t have to. From 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 19, Dr. Angelina E. Castagno, associate professor of educational leadership and foundations at Northern Arizona University, will lead a Q&A session about her book, Educated in Whiteness. In this free discussion, Castagno uses her background in educational anthropology to look at two middle schools to talk about the ways race and power play roles in the education system, how diversity-related policies affect students, and the difference between equality and equity. RSVP for the event at Arizona Humanities, 1242 North Central Avenue, by registering at Eventbrite. Evie Carpenter
People gripe too much about what we don’t have here in the Valley, but they can’t complain when it comes to collector car auctions. There’s no shortage of those.
For nearly 50 years, the Barrett-Jackson auctions have provided generous opportunities to make eyes pop at sculpted metal machinery and the inner components that make the divine creatures rev and run. This auction is a tour through automobile history, with featured cars that include a 1970 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda convertible, a Ford Mustang Fastback, and a 1930 Delage Cabriolet. Have auto-matic fun from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, January 20, at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road. Admission is $30 to $75. Package and VIP tickets available. Call 602-421-6694 or visit Barrett-Jackson's website. Amy Young
A Night of Leonard Bernstein
The Phoenix Symphony offers up a quick dose of class by way of their Coffee Classics series. The one-hour performances feature classical works by different composers, comprising the symphony’s weekend Classics programs, and this time, iconic composer Leonard Bernstein’s work is in the spotlight. Directed by the symphony’s Tito Muñoz, you can listen in to familiar works from this great American composer, including the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and the Chichester Psalms. The showcase at 75 North Second Street will also feature the symphony’s principal cellist, Melita Hunsinger. Bernstein’s work will be performed on Friday, January 20, at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., as well as Saturday, January 21, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $18 and vary depending on seating. To purchase yours and find more information on upcoming Coffee Classics performances, visit Phoenix Symphony's website. Heather Hoch
3 No Trump
Trivial Pursuit’s original edition included the Sports and Leisure category. Leisure encompassed bartending, and we prayed for a mixology question rather than something sweaty and ball-intensive. Ahem.
The game of bridge falls under “leisure,” but it might as well be a sport for all that non-fanatics understand it. Cards, right? The best works of art about sports, war, and whaling are really about the human condition, though, and so it is with local playwright Cathy Dresbach’s 3 No Trump. (And no, back when she started writing it, she had no idea.) The characters are a group of women who get together twice a month for years, playing bridge and doing the other things friends do.
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Theater Works’ production continues through Sunday, January 29, at 8355 West Peoria Avenue in Peoria. Friday, January 20’s showtime is 7:30 p.m. For tickets, $14 to $36, call 623-815-7930 or visit Theater Works' website. Julie Peterson
Arizona Roller Derby Season Opener
The Arizona Roller Derby Season 13 finale concluded with a barnburner of a match-up, resulting in the Brawlaz ending their two-year losing streak with a victory against the Gaudys. Now to get season 14 going, a two-game night will square off both teams again at the Arizona Roller Derby Season Opener.
Game two is the State Round Robin (meaning 20-minute mini games), from which the Bad News Beaters took home the W last season. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the game rolls from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Ability360, 5025 East Washington Street, #200, on Saturday, January 21.
Arizona Game Fair
Clue, Monopoly, Life — perhaps you once possessed an uncanny knack for mastering board games. Either you’ve allowed your precious gift to atrophy over time or, naturally, you’ve segued into role-playing games like Kill Hitler and Blood Drenched Cathedral of the God Corpse. A far cry from Candyland, sure, but isn’t all of adulthood? If you’re into role-playing games, then you likely already know about the Arizona Game Fair taking place at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street, on January 21 and 22. For those looking to reawaken their blood-thirst for crushing Tiddlywinks (but with decidedly more mature content), the AZGF is as good a place as any to start. Featuring two full days of games with titles that would make members of Cannibal Corpse blush, it’ll be pure, unadulterated fantasy. Okay, maybe not pure. But you can get your game on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $15. Visit the Arizona Game Fair website for details. Rob Kroehler
Peter and the Starcatcher
Peter and the Starcatcher is a play with music, rather than a musical. It doesn’t deliver the over-the-top spectacle one might expect from big Broadway shows, but it’s wild, funny, and somehow magical, even though everything’s out in the open.
The show, which won basically all 2012’s non-musical design Tonys, is suitable for adults and kids, kind of the way Rocky and Bullwinkle was. It features orphans, pirates, and, not surprisingly, a boy named Peter. Many of the characters become people we know from other stories, but we ought not tell who.
Brelby Theatre Company’s production continues through Sunday, February 12, at 7154 North 58th Drive in Glendale. On Sunday, January 22, showtime is 2 p.m. Tickets are $17 to $25 at Brelby's website or 623-282-2781. Julie Peterson