We firmly hesitate to call any Valley event "Winterfest" unless it includes an artificially frozen puddle surrounded by trucked-in snowbanks. Nevertheless, it is technically hibernal outside, and Southwest Shakepeare's Winterfest repertory programming at Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street, goes heavy on the fest, so everything comes out even.
This season, the simultaneously running (through Saturday, January 31), energetically spear-shakin' delights are As You Like It and King Lear. The former, presented Friday, January 23, at 7:30 p.m., is a frisky comedy that includes wrestling, female cross-dressing, and the "All the world's a stage" speech. (Lear features gore, heartbreak, and thankless children, who are "sharper than a serpent's tooth.") Tickets, $10 to $44, are available at www.swshakespeare.org and 480-644-6500. Julie Peterson
We're kind of surprised it took this long for someone to make a movie about Greg Louganis. You know, the Olympic diver who publicly came out as gay 25 years ago and openly talked about being HIV positive. Even by today's standards, that's an impressive feat for a professional athlete. Louganis will be hosting a Q&A session after the screening of the documentary Back on Board: Greg Louganis, which kicks off the Desperado LGBT Film Festival on Friday, January 23. The three-day festival, January 23 to 25, showcases nine feature-length movies, a handful of short films, and local musicians at Paradise Valley Community College, 18401 North 32nd Street. For a schedule of showtimes and to purchase tickets, visit www.desperadofilmfestival.com or call 602-787-7276. Evie Carpenter
Young-adult literature sometimes gets a bad rap, but the judgment is not always a fair one (we're looking at you, millions of adults who read The Fault in Our Stars and Twilight). At YAllapalooza, an annual event at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe, teens and tweens can celebrate their love of YA books in an afternoon filed with book signings, games, and pizza. This year's attending YA authors are: Jennifer Niven, Austin Aslan, Tawni Waters, Amy Nichols, Lisa McMann, Shonna Slayton, Rae Carson, and Nick Lake.
YAllapalooza 2015 kicks off at 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 24, at Changing Hands. The event is free to the public. For more information, call 480-730-0205 or visit www.changinghands.com. Katrina Montgomery
Home to 17 percent of the world's population and the intersection between first-world technology and gods and traditions of old, India is an exercise in modern life -- or, as this play proclaims, "a modern contradiction." Presented by New Zealand-based Indian Ink Theatre Company, The Elephant Wrestler is a two-person performance based on a fairy tale, following a tea seller (Jacob Rajan, playing every character) as he navigates life's pitfalls of tragedy and joy amongst an ever-changing cast of travelers.
Curtain is at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 24, at Virginia G. Piper Theater at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets range from $29 to $49 -- discounts for members and group packages. (Free admission is available for students, teachers, and veterans.) Call 480-499-8587 or visit www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org. Janessa Hilliard
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For over a decade, Americans have been entertained by the seemingly insurmountable number of individuals who, often erroneously, think they can sing. With its immense popularity, American Idol ushered in an era of singing shows which were promptly followed by dance competition shows. Fortunately, most of us know we can't dance, so much of the senseless ballyhoo and public humiliation are absent in such shows, allowing them to feature people who can. So the title of Fox's hit show So You Think You Can Dance, is a tad misleading, since virtually every contestant on the show can cut a serious rug. See for yourself when the season 11 tour visits Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street, on Sunday, January 25, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $50.50 and up. Visit www.fox.com/dance or call 602-379-2800 for details. Rob Kroehler