New Times picks the best events in metro Phoenix from Monday, September 19, through Thursday, September 22. For more things to do, see our curated online calendar.
"Biennial Art Faculty and Staff Exhibition"
While their students focus on the new fall semester, the arts instructors at Mesa Community College have been putting the finishing touches on their own upcoming presentation. Think of it as homework for adults.
The “Biennial Art Faculty and Staff Exhibition” debuts Monday, September 19, at MCC Art Gallery, 1833 West Southern Avenue. More than two dozen artists are featured, including Tom Klare, a former editorial photographer who has taught at MCC for a decade; Cynthia Peterson, a still-life painter; and Sandra Luehrsen, who teaches 3D design and clay workshops.The exhibition is on view during regular hours (Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) through Friday, October 7. Museum entry is free for all ages. Visit www.mesacc.edu/arts or call 480-461-7294 for more. Janessa Hilliard
ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence
Don’t worry about missing the red carpet at the 26th annual ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence. The lobby is also covered with perfectly nice carpet that you’re allowed, as a mere mortal, to stand on while you behold the resplendence of dressed-up people, from actors to directors to makeup designers. Awards for the 2015-16 theater season will be distributed based on detailed evaluations by the artists’ peers, and zippy production numbers from popular shows provide yet another type of entertainment.
Put on the ritz Monday, September 19, starting at 8 p.m. for adult productions (not San Fernando Valley-style adult — simply plays featuring grownups). Tickets are $21 at 480-350-2822 or www.arizoniawards.net for the ceremony at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. Julie Peterson
Eugene Shoemaker Memorial Lecture
As technology advances, the stuff of science fiction starts to sound increasingly like, well, the stuff of science. The growing sense among experts that extraterrestrial life is not only possible, but probable, has quite literally fueled the next generation of high-profile space racers. When Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg launched Breakthrough Initiatives, a “program of … exploration, probing the big questions of life in the universe,” they had big things in mind. So they brought big minds on board. One such mind, that of astrophysicist Simon “Pete” Worden, a chairman of Breakthrough Initiatives, will be on hand to share his wealth of knowledge for free at the annual Eugene Shoemaker Memorial Lecture at ASU’s Marston Exploration Theater, 781 East Terrace Mall, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20. The truth is out there indeed. For details, visit sese.asu.edu. Rob Kroehler
Hump Day Karaoke
Your karaoke host is not there to have a discussion. Proper etiquette requires simply your song choice and a nod. So it’s good news for Android users attending Hump Day Karaoke, as they can download the Paradigm Karaoke app and be ready to go.
For the rest of you, celebrate making it to midweek at Hump Day Karaoke from 7 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21, at ThirdSpace, the coffee shop/boutique/bar at 1028 Grand Avenue. It’s free, and if you can’t make it this time, HDK is back to being a weekly thing. Call 602-258-1536 or visit www.facebook.com/events/?929301187198699. Lauren Cusimano
Yarnball: Urgent Care
Times you woke up at the free clinic; the gnarly waiting room people you witnessed during an ER visit; when you lost that nail. This is all storytelling gold, especially for the Urgent Care edition of Yarnball Storytelling — held from 8 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21.
Those with a five- to eight-minute, first-person, literal or metaphoric tale on this subject may sign up at 7:30 p.m. at Lawn Gnome Publishing, 905 North Fifth Street. The show is hosted by Rachel Eseoghene Egboro, Jessie Balli, and/or Dan Hoen Hull on the outdoor stage at Lawn Gnome — which is open for business and selling refreshments during the event.
Yarnball is all-ages yet uncensored. Entry is $5, but storytellers get in free. Lauren Cusimano
If you haven’t managed to see a live version of the musical Miss Saigon in the last couple of decades, or you’re a sucker for war-torn romance tales, your chance is now. Theaters across the country are paying tribute to the 25th anniversary of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil’s musical by showing a recorded performance of this tale of a tragic love affair that occurs between a Vietnamese bar girl and an American soldier. Music and tears start flowing at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 22, at Cinemark 16, 1051 North Dobson Road in Mesa. Tickets are $16 to $18. Call 480-733-4823 or visit www.cinemark.com. Amy Young
"If We Build It"
It’s a question that’s plagued downtown Phoenix of late: Who are urban spaces for? Some say they’re for the community to enjoy, for artists to color, or for developers to morph. As the Roosevelt Row arts district and its surrounding neighborhoods have morphed seemingly by the minute, Kara Roschi has been watching — and wondering.
For Roschi’s master of fine arts thesis show, the Arizona State University graduate student examined this changing scape using yet-undeveloped lots (increasingly rare sights) as spaces to occupy in a life-size version of the board game Reversi, with community members rolling wooden cable reels through the city streets and strategically staking claims.
The result? You can see both video documentation and photos from the community gameplay in her exhibition, “If We Build It.” The exhibition is on view from noon to 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 22, and through September 24 at Step Gallery, 605 East Grant Street. For details about the free show, visit www.facebook.com/events/1700752786916387. Becky Bartkowski
Ballet Under the Stars
Year-round Phoenicians know that the telltale hints of summertime reprieve start dropping come late September — right when Ballet Arizona holds its annual outdoor twilight showcase.
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Now well into its second decade, Ballet Under the Stars signals the true beginning of fall, when alfresco dining and outdoor events become a choice, rather than a last resort. This year the company will perform excerpts from La Bayadère and George Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements under the expansive Southwestern sky, complete with lighting, costumes, and impeccable pointes.
The starlit shows take the stage across the Valley, including Steele Indian School Park, Fountain Park, and Tempe Center for the Arts.
All performances begin at 7 p.m. and run Thursday, September 22, through Saturday, September 24, with additional shows Thursday, September 29, and Friday, September 30. September 22’s show is at Estrella Lakeside Amphitheatre, 10030 South Estrella Parkway in Goodyear. Admission is free; audience members are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs. Visit balletaz.org for the complete schedule. Janessa Hilliard