How should you spend the last days of 2016? We vote that you spend it well. Here are your best options in metro Phoenix — though more events await on New Times' curated calendar.
"Built on Booze"
The cure for a holiday hangover might just be a little hair of the dog — and there will be plenty to sip on during “Built on Booze” at Lucidi Distilling Co.
Housed in Historic Fire Station No. 1 in downtown Peoria, 8307 West Washington Street, Lucidi specializes in spirits from bourbon to moonshine. Boost your booze knowledge during their four-hour talk-and-tour on Monday, December 26. And come thirsty. Over the course of the evening, participants will sample fire department-inspired craft liquors, including Dispatch Gin, Crooked Ladder Rum, Forcible Entry Vodka, and Fire Station #1 Whiskey, along with three cocktails. Bistro on Wheels will provide an accompanying four-course small bites menu.
Advance tickets are $50 per person, or $60 per couple, through www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2716082. Attendees must be 21 or older. For distillery details, visit lucididistilling.com. Janessa Hilliard
Forget John Hughes’ problematic nerd flick, because here in Phoenix we have a weird science all our own. It’s the act of dumping however many impressive tons of snow in the middle of the desert. However, that doesn’t keep Valley dwellers from going absolutely bananas over it.
Arizona Science Center is gifting us Snow Week — seven days of Heritage Science Park’s grassy hill covered in 60 tons of real snow. This being a scientific endeavor, attendees can expect plenty of interactive activity, including “explosive” demonstrations, quantum levitation, and a snow village that happens to be for all ages.
Snow Week starts Monday, December 26, with hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It runs until Sunday, January 1. Entry is included with admission, which is $18 for adults. Call 602-716-2000 or visit www.azscience.org. Lauren Cusimano
If this year’s Cactus Bowl, which takes place on Tuesday, December 27, at Phoenix’s Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street, was literally an enormous bowl full of cacti, it would still be more comfortable than the last year has been for Baylor University. The proud football program out of Texas was not only mired in an ugly sexual assault scandal for much of 2016, they’re also backing into the Cactus Bowl on a six-game losing streak. Their opponent, Boise State, despite having a 10-2 record, is similarly unenthused about their season. The team’s much-vaunted offense had most pundits predicting a playoff-caliber season for the Idaho program. Simply put: Boise is good, Baylor is desperate, and kickoff is at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $35
and up. Visit fiestabowl.org/cactus-bowl or call 480-350-0900 for details. Rob Kroehler
You’ve seen every Seinfeld episode repeatedly. Give the stinky finger to people who accused you of wasting your life when you clean up at Seinfeld Trivia, a recurring event at Valley Bar. The free event is billed as “the Trivia Night about absolutely nothing,” as opposed to all those trivia nights that are drenched in meaning.
If you need to up your game (not that there’s anything wrong with that), we recommend hanging out at some wiki. There are scads of them. Your evening of fun begins at 130 North Central Avenue at 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 27, and includes prizes that vary in worthlessness, as well as $1 off craft cans (filled with beer, we presume). Visit www.valleybarphx.com or, if you must, call 602-368-3121. Julie Peterson
Wrapping up 2016 with a literal circus might be anticlimactic, for want of a better word. (“Coals to Newcastle” also comes to mind.) But a spell under the big top is both entertaining and life-affirming, a combo everyone could use more of. So head out to Zoppé — an Italian Family Circus at Chandler Center for the Arts. The cozy yet flashy tour features clowns, acrobats, and all the low-key spectacle anyone could desire. (Yes, there are animal performers, and they’re of the doggie and horsie persuasion.) The troupe’s been lord of the ring since 1842, and it visits us through Sunday, January 8, at 250 North Arizona Avenue. Tickets are $15 to $40 at chandlercenter.org or 480-782-2680. Wednesday, December 28’s showtime is 7 p.m. Julie Peterson
It's a Wonderful Life
Television = reruns. Live theater = not reruns? If only it were that simple. When a theater company trots out a show repeatedly, it’s generally because people love it and want to re-experience it as often as possible. And new fans get to dive in and find out what all the fuss is about. (Like those Generation Z kids who are gaga over Friends.)
A holiday fave of both screen and stage, It’s a Wonderful Life is refreshingly not Christmasy except as a framing device. Don Bluth Front Row Theatre revives its stage production through Friday, December 30, at 8670 East Shea Boulevard #103 in Scottsdale. Showtime is 7 p.m. for the performance on Thursday, December 29, and tickets are $28 at 480-314-0841 or www.donbluthfrontrowtheatre.com. Julie Peterson
Open Stage Night
There have been harps and flutes, guitars, harmonies, and vocalizations. Whatever the instrument, during the weekly Open Stage Night at Fiddler’s Dream Coffeehouse, all are welcome to share a song.
Though the focus of the showcase is acoustic performances — participants are allowed to perform one song per rotation of the sign-up sheet — the stage also encourages spoken word, poetry, and storytelling pieces. So whether you’ve got something to say or something to play, they’ll see you onstage in the listening room of the fair trade coffee shop at 1702 East Glendale Avenue.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7 on Thursday, December 29. Admission is by donation at the door; $3 is the customary amount. Call 602-997-9795 or visit fiddlersdream.org for more information. Janessa Hilliard
Cedric the Entertainer
It’s a bold move to include your alleged skills in your stage name. Good thing Cedric the Entertainer knows how to consistently deliver the laughs.
And by “consistently,” we mean over the course of a few decades. The Missouri-born comedian’s popularity has steadily risen since he started performing in the late 1980s, appearing as himself on such programs as Showtime at the Apollo. Since then, he has moved fluidly between stand-up performances and numerous roles on television shows and in movies. The feisty, no-holds-barred barber Eddie from the popular Barbershop movie franchise is just one of his quotable, unforgettable characters. Let Cedric entertain you at 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 29, at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Admission is $42.50 for the 18-and-older show, where seating is first-come, first-served. All tickets require a two-drink minimum. Shows run through December 30. Call 480-719- 6100 or visit standuplive.com. Amy Young
Night Bird Song
Musician and bandleader Thomas Chapin had a lifelong heart condition he knew might drop him at any time. Life is fragile and unpredictable for all of us, but Chapin’s fortune made that truth impossible to ignore, so he made the music he loved, made it like a freight train, made it every day until leukemia slipped in and took him in 1998.
Chapin played alto sax to maximum effect. He destroyed flutes equally well. He wrote scads of fresh compositions and led numerous ensembles, including the venerable Thomas Chapin Trio.
Chapin’s sister-in-law, Emmy-winning Hawaii documentarian Stephanie J. Castillo, released Night Bird Song, a film about the jazz great’s life and career, earlier this year, and the noms and awards are rolling in. New Carpa Theater Company presents a screening at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 29, at the Nash, 110 East Roosevelt Street. For tickets ($7), call 602-795-0464 or visit www.newcarpa.org. Julie Peterson
What goes better with a basket of wings and some beer than a couple of UFC fighters beating the shit out of each other? If your answer is “nothing,” you are in for one exciting night.
Watch UFC 207 with fellow fight fans to see how “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey fares in her first battle since losing her championship belt to Holly Holm back in November 2015. This time, Rousey challenges Brazil’s Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes for the UFC women’s bantamweight title. Both fighters are known for their aggressive styles and honed wrestling skills. Get your mixed martial arts fix from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, December 30, at Half Moon Sports Grill, 288 East Greenway Parkway #103. Admission is free. Call 602-993-6600 or visit www.halfmoonsportsgrill.com. Amy Young
Big Top Street Fair
There’s still time to cross “learn some basic circus tricks” off your list of New Year’s resolutions. Get to the Big Top Street Fair at the Phoenician, 6000 East Camelback Road in Scottsdale, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, December 30. It’s your chance to learn juggling and hula hoop, and to watch a holiday-themed aerial and trapeze performance by the actual professionals, which kicks off at 7 p.m.
The free event — which also features balloon artists, face painting, crafts, and street performers — is open to all. But bring cash if you want to indulge in cotton candy, licorice whips, salted pretzels, spiced pecans, sliders, or candy apples — or cocktails, beer, and wine. Because, hey, that weight-loss resolution can wait. Visit www.thephoenician.com. Lynn Trimble
If you’re just now learning that the Fiesta Bowl’s official sponsor is no longer a corn chip but rather a gaming console, then we’re guessing you don’t follow college football too closely. Grab some Tostitos anyway; here’s all you need to know about the game. This year’s Fiesta Bowl will take place on New Year’s Eve, Saturday, December 31, at Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium, One Cardinals Drive, and will feature the nation’s second- and third-ranked teams, Clemson and Ohio State. The matchup features two standout quarterbacks in Ohio’s J.T. Barrett and Clemson’s DeShaun Watson — in addition to Clemson’s dynamic wide receiver Mike Williams. The winner of Saturday’s game will head to Tulsa to get smoked by Alabama in the National Championship game. Probably. Kickoff is at 5 p.m., and tickets are $100 and up. Visit fiestabowl.org or call 480-350-0911 for details. Rob Kroehler
Cooking with the Calamari Sisters
This week offers numerous options for Saturday night. Whatever you might have to say about Cooking with the Calamari Sisters, you can’t say it’s the typical choice. An Italian-American-centric comedy with music, the popular touring show brings you a pair of cross-dressing men as middle-aged sisters with a TV cooking program that includes real food flying around. Some of the audience will be participating, so wear clean underwear.
It’s the “civilians jump into a song and dance” kind of musical, not the “production numbers that mesh with the plot with mixed results” variety. Delphine and Carmela lend their pipes to “That’s Amore,” “Come On-a My House,” “Volare,” and “Botcha-Me,” whatever the hell that is.
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We cannoli hope you snag seats, $53 to $59, for Saturday, December 31, at 8 p.m. The engagement continues through Sunday, January 29, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Visit www.herbergertheater.org or call 602-252-8497. Julie Peterson
Midnight Madness 5K
If nothing says celebratory fun quite like a nighttime run, then the 27th Annual Midnight Madness 5K race is a great way to kiss 2016 goodbye and usher in the new year. This after-dark run offers pre- and post-midnight start times with a sparkling cider toast to 2017 in between. Take-home goodies include a medal and a long-sleeved shirt. The first run kicks off at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 31, and the second is at 12:10 a.m. Sunday, January 1, at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex, 9833 North 25th Avenue. Entry fee is $40 through December 29, and goes up to $45 on race day. Add $5 to run both. Visit www.midnightmadnessrun.com. Amy Young
The Detoxx Day Party
The turn of the New Year is a time for resolving to do better. Maybe, for 2017, the resolution will be to hit the gym more or cut back on the drinks when going out. But maybe those resolutions can wait until January 2 because on Sunday, January 1, Urban Splash Music Fest returns with The Detoxx Day party. This time, the bash takes over Clarendon Hotel, 401 West Clarendon Avenue, and will be decking it out for the “Black and Gold” edition. DJs will spin from 4 to 10 p.m. at this ultimate Sunday Funday. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door, and there will be a VIP mimosa bar ($30) until 6:30. For tickets and more information, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/urban-splash-4-the-detox-day-party-tickets-27559153169. Evie Carpenter