Some might call him a scavenger, others a "picker." The Valley prefers to think of Joe Willie Smith is an artist -- albeit an unconventional one. The local talent has participated in Art Detour and events throughout downtown Phoenix, and brings a new fall gallery show to Scottsdale.
"Cultural Savant" features only a portion of his collection of art and artifacts gathered from a variety of cultures. Smith scours streets for left-behind items, thrift stores for forgotten treasures, and miles of desert for discarded and out-of-place gems or ordinary objects. His exhibition also includes original artwork, which incorporates aspects of his found-object art.
Explore the lost-and-found at The Gallery at Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 North Drinkwater Boulevard. The exhibition will be on view through Thursday, November 20. Admission is free and open to the public. Open daily, hours vary on weekends. Head to www.scottsdalelibrary.org for more details. Janessa Hilliard
There's a war going on no one is safe from: The social media-driven nostalgia of Throwback Thursdays and Flashback Fridays. If you want to take things way back in the day and reign supreme in your social circles, you'd be smart to get dapper and catch the Arizona Lindy Hop Society's Swing Night on Tuesday, November 18.
Steve Conrad has been leading the local swing scene for years. If you're a total newbie at getting your Lindy Hop on, the night begins with an hour of lessons in East Coast Swing, Charleston, and other vintage dances from Conrad and his cohorts. Later in the evening, the Fatcat Ballroom kicks into high gear with DJs spinning jazzy jams and the occasional live band making an appearance.
Swing Night takes place Tuesdays at Fatcat Ballroom, 3131 East Thunderbird Road, Suite 33. The shindig starts with lessons at 7:30 p.m. and a full frenzy of swing kids at 8:30. Admission for this all-ages event is $7. Visit www.fatcatballroomdance.com or call 602-324-7119 for more information. Jose Gonzalez
If you ever find yourself perusing the upcoming event calendars at www.phoenixpubliclibrary.org, you'll quickly be amazed at the wealth of educational opportunities that the Phoenix public libraries offer. From math tutoring to toddler time, our libraries are one of the Valley's richest resources for, well, enrichment. But this Wednesday they're showing the film Rushmore. Categorize under "extracurricular."
And if you're familiar with the Wes Anderson classic, you know just how fitting a categorization that is. Never mind bilingual story time and all the book clubs -- although the film's enigmatic lead character Max Fischer would be present at all of them -- once a week Phoenix's Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central Avenue, hosts Movie Night Wednesdays. What better way to slough off the frivolity of your responsibilities than by watching a hilarious movie that's about that very thing? Rushmore will be shown on Wednesday, November 19th, at 6pm, in the library's Pulliam Auditorium and is free to all ages. Rushmore is rated R. Call 602-262-4636 for details. Rob Kroehler
English playwright Frederick Knott has received a special award from us: Guy Who Wrote the Most Familiar-Sounding Plays We've Never Actually Seen. One of them, Dial M for Murder, became a Hitchcock film and, based on Wikipedia's plot description, is hella complicated -- if anyone really did dial M, it would be the most straightforward activity of the entire evening. Wait Until Dark, Knott's other super-well-known title, is a well-crafted story that can be described succinctly: Blind lady turns the tables on bad guys by leaving them in the dark. That's not a spoiler; the audience's journey from here to there crackles with suspense and peril.
Arizona Theatre Company's production continues through Sunday, November 30, with shows at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 20, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. For tickets, $36 to $60, visit www.arizonatheatre.org or call 602-256-6995. Julie Peterson
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While some people are starting to speculate about which hit will sweep the Golden Globes, how many Grammy nominations Taylor Swift will squeeze out of her latest album, or if Interstellar just clinched an Oscar win for Matthew McConaughey, Phoenicians have a different award ceremony on their minds: the third annual Mayor's Arts Awards.
Presented by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Phoenix Center for the Arts, the Mayor's Arts Awards aim to acknowledge locals who are leading the way in six specializations -- visual arts, theater, music, public art, dance, and creative writing -- on Friday, November 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 North Third Street. This night of entertainment will feature live performances from groups like Rising Youth Theatre, Teatro Bravo, and Voices of the Desert. Tickets are $75, which include one drink and unlimited appetizers, and can be purchased by calling 602-254-3100 or visiting phoenixcenterforthearts.org/events/mayors-arts-awards. Evie Carpenter