In the summer, the lightless hours of the night are abuzz with activity in Phoenix and surrounding areas, the cover of night shielding all from the harshness of the sun. Valley artist Alexandra Bowers reverentially explores the desert rituals of the dark in her show "Before Dawn," which opens Monday.
See also: Phoenix New Times' Calendar of Events
Bowers specializes in intricate burnings of figures of flora and fauna on wood. "Before Dawn" focuses on the nocturnal life surrounding the delicate cactus flower of the Night Cereus, which blooms on a single night in the summer.
"Before Dawn" is at Practical Art, 5070 North Central Avenue, through Wednesday, December 31. Admission is free. Hours on December 1 are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visit www.practical-art.com or call 602-264-1414. Jose Gonzalez
P.T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute." He used this ideology to his advantage, building the circus concept out of sideshow hucksters, strongmen, and bearded ladies. High-wire artists, clowns, contortionists, and fire breathers are staples of circus life. It's that life that is the focus of Bertil Nilsson's exhibit, "Still Moving: Imagining the Circus in a New Way." Nilsson carries viewers behind the scenes of present day circuses -- traditional and modern -- offering a lens into a mysterious and insular world. Suckers? Not here. These sometimes surprising stills enlighten us to the dedication and expertise the circus now requires.
Go inside the circus from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 2, at Mesa Contemporary Art Museum, One East Main Street. Admission is free. Visit www.mesaartscenter.com or call 480-644-6500. Glenn BurnSilver
You may have heard that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. Wrong. The real best way? Watching other people sing loud for all to hear -- especially if they're also performing a broadway version of Elf, the 2003 Will Ferrell movie about a human raised as an elf who sets out to find his real parents. Only a cotton-headed ninnymuggins would pass that up.
Elf the Musical passes through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and lands in Mesa Arts Center's Ikeda Theater at 1 East Main Street, on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 2 and 3. Tickets start at $40. Call 480-644-6500 or visit www.mesaartscenter.com for more. Zachary Fowle
We know this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year or whatever, but sometimes, Christmas sucks. It's a ton of work, you have to buy other people things, and if you're not happy all the time, you get compared to an old man who travels through space and time with three ghosts. Thankfully, the people at Space 55, 636 East Pierce Street, agree and are offering A Bloody Mary Christmas. The fifth annual production of this holiday-hating musical starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 4, with shows through December 21. Join Sun City residents Blanche, Bertha, and Mabel in their fight against the HOA trying to evict them. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at www.space55.org. Evie Carpenter
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Shopping for private jets online, asking complete strangers about their sexual fetishes, having diarrhea on a daily basis. . . While all of this might sound like bizarre behavior to the rest of us, to comedian Tom Segura, it's Completely Normal, which happens to be the name of his latest one-hour comedy special on Netflix. The stand-up comic, who co-hosts the podcast Your Mom's House with his comedian wife Christina Pazsitzky, fills his humor with honest observations about people and, more embarrassingly, himself.
Segura will perform at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street, at 8 p.m. Thursday, December 4; 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday, December 5; 7 and 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 6; and 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 7. Tickets are $17, and there's a two-drink minimum. For details, visit www.standuplive.com or call the box office at 480-719-6100. Katie Johnson