Sometimes the smaller things pack the most punch. Such is the case with Whitney Cummings, who boasts a biting wit -- and excellent hair. The stand-up comic and creator of the popular television series Two Broke Girls returns to the Valley with an arsenal of take-no-prisoners, laugh-out-loud recollections of love and relationships.
See also: Gina Gionfriddo on Having It All, Pulitzer Prizes, and Rapture, Blister, Burn
Her honest take on everything from orgasms to the inner workings of the female mind has gained the attention of the comedy world; Cummings has played alongside popular performers Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, and Sarah Silverman. If you caught her on the now-defunct Chelsea Lately, you know you're in for a good time.
Cummings does comedy at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday, January 16, at Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive. Additional shows are on Saturday, January 17, and Sunday, January 18. Tickets for the 18-and-over gig are $30 and a two-drink minimum is required. Visit www.tempeimprov.com for details and tickets, or call 480-921-9877. Janessa Hilliard
Rapture, Blister, Burn is a lyric from a Hole song, and that helps explain why the play by the same title is not about a particularly ecstatic case of sunburn. It's a funny and issue-driven play about young, 40ish, and elderly women and their choices, set in the world of college professors and presented by Theatre Artists Studio through Sunday, February 1. The script's by Gina Gionfriddo, author of last season's Becky Shaw, a Pulitzer nominee.
Watch the road not taken get taken -- all the way to Bad Idea Town via an ill-conceived graduate seminar -- at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, January 17, at 4848 East Cactus Road in Scottsdale. For tickets, $10 to $20, visit www.thestudiophx.org or call 602-765-0120. Julie Peterson
Calling all Pikachus and Princess Mononkes, Taiyou Con is taking over the East Valley. The three-day event will offer anime panels and vendors, cosplay and masquerade gatherings, Pokemon gym challenges, a Japanese fashion show, a maid cafe, plus live music from Japanese artists including Lotus Juice, Random, Shihoko Hirata and Yumi Kawamura. The anime convention runs from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, January 16; 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, January 17; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, January 18, at the Mesa Convention Center and adjoining Phoenix Marriott Mesa, 200 North Centennial Way, Mesa. Weekend badges are $40 in advance, $45 at the door. Single-day badges range between $25 and $30. For details, visit www.taiyoucon.com. Katie Johnson
If there's one subject that artist Charity Hall isn't afraid to broach, it's insects. In fact, it's about all she "brooches." From scorpions and centipedes to katydids and katydid-nots, (okay, we made that last one up), Hall has built quite an artistic reputation on the back of the bug. While artists have long lived and died by the "beauty is in the eye" adage, Hall's work with enamel proves to be the perfect medium for making the gruesome appear truly winsome. Sure, wearing a wasp might be a personal conduct breach, but you haven't seen her wasp brooch...yet. See Hall's work in "Insectographia: Drawing In Enamel" at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, on Sunday, January 18, from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Visit www.mesaartscenter.com or call 480-644-6500 for details. Rob Kroehler
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Legend has it that the first marathon was run by a man named Pheidippides, who after sprinting more than 25 miles to deliver a message promptly dropped dead. But have no fear -- the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Marathon is not the Grecian Marathon, and you are not Pheidippides. You have options. You can run the standard 26.2-mile race starting from downtown Phoenix at CityScape, or you can choose the shorter half-marathon and 10K routes that start from downtown Tempe. Either way, you'll get to run with live music.
All the races in the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon begin at 7:50 a.m. Sunday, January 18. Visit runrocknroll.competitor.com for more. Zachary Fowle