Whether you're single, attached, or in a Facebook-official open relationship, Valentine's Day weekend often means one thing: dropping a bunch of cash. Thing is, not all V-Day offerings cost an arm, a leg, and a broken heart. And we've found seven such events — from a horror flick debut and a museum opening to a vintage book sale — that cost less than $11. Have at 'em, lovers, and find more things to do this weekend with a little help from New Times' curated calendar of events.
VHS Swap & Beyond the Gates Screening
You know those VHS copies of Young Frankenstein and Bull Durham you don’t have the heart to dump at Goodwill, but also haven’t touched in years? Your solution is the inaugural FilmBar VHS Swap. Held in the lounge at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street, the swap also features magazines, posters, VCRs, board games, and other collectibles. Just bring your box of goods and your billfold.
The Phoenix première of Beyond the Gates, a 2016 horror/adventure film with plenty of VCRs, follows the swap. Director Jackson Stewart, an Arizona native, will be there for a post-screening Q&A and live taping.
The free VHS Swap starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 10. The $9 screening starts at 10. Visit FilmBar's website or call 602-595-9187. Lauren Cusimano
Mesa Contemporary Arts Season Opening Reception
Flagstaff artist Bryan David Griffith has been playing with fire, creating abstract painting, sculptures, and installations that challenge Western dualities — including forest versus fire. See his “Rethinking Fire” exhibition during the free opening reception for five new art shows at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, One East Main Street, which takes place 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, February 10.
It’s a chance to meet several artists, and explore exhibitions that include “Alternative Beauty” with works by Karen Jilly, “High Tension” featuring works by Bonnie Lewis, and “The Undesirables” spotlighting works by Katy Bergman Cassell. The museum also opens its “38th Annual Crafts Exhibition,” which includes works by several Arizona artists, during the reception — where you’ll also find live music and a cash bar. Visit the Mesa Arts Center website for more. Lynn Trimble
VNSA Book Sale
The people behind the 2017 Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association Used Book Sale are asking if you’re ready for "The Next Chapter." The VNSA has been collecting used books, sheet music, and other forms of media for their annual sale at the Arizona State Fairgrounds‘ exhibit building. Admission is free, and book sale proceeds go to local charities. The 61st annual VNSA book sale will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 11, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 12. Visit the VNSA website for more details. Lauren Cusimano
Phoenix Experimental Arts Festival
Imagine jetting off to Mars for some afternoon sightseeing or taking a tour of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. This is just what the artists participating in Paradise Valley Community College Fine Arts’ Phoenix Experimental Arts Festival did to create six new pieces that will première at the festival on Saturday, February 11, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. The multimedia artists, musicians, dancers, computer programmers, and graphic artists were given the Visions of the Future graphic posters from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as inspiration. By teaming up with the PVCC astronomy programs, the organizers hope to bring awareness to STEAM education and outreach. Catch the free festival at PVCC’s Center for the Performing Arts, 18401 North 33rd Street. For more information, visit Paradise Valley Community College's website. Evie Carpenter
Read on for another free museum outing, a film festival, and a celebration of Chinese culture.
Free Family Weekend
The folks at Discount Tire reach into their deep pockets to help fund Phoenix Art Museum’s Free Family Weekend. This monthly event makes the museum accessible for all to enjoy different activities, like hands-on art projects, live musical performances, and exploratory adventures like a scavenger hunt. Roam free, literally, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month and noon to 5 p.m. on the second Sunday at 1625 North Central Avenue. Call 602-257-1880 or visit Phoenix Art Museum online.
2017 Chinese Culture & Cuisine Festival
Everyone in and around Margaret T. Hance Park will know it’s the Year of the Rooster when the 27th annual Phoenix Chinese Week’s Culture and Cuisine Festival kicks off. The free festival promises a schedule of dragon and lion dances, traditional folk dances, musical performances, martial arts demonstrations, and a Chinese culture and history booth. Expect all that, along with shopping and, of course, Chinese fare. Friday’s hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the festival continues Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit the Chinese Culture & Cuisine Festival website for more. Lauren Cusimano
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Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival
While Hollywood is in the thick of its annual award season — spawning GIF-worthy reaction faces and one too many think-pieces about acceptance speeches — movie lovers in town are settling in for a different yearly tradition: the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival.
Eighteen Jewish-themed films from award-winning directors and actors will take over silver screens at three Valley-area Harkins Theatres for more than two weeks. Featured films include foreign dramas and documentaries, alongside coming-of-age stories and feel-good comedies about octogenarians.
The lights, camera, action starts Sunday, February 12, with On the Map at 3 p.m. and Fever at Dawn at 7 p.m. at Shea 14, 7354 East Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale; while Rosenwald screens at 3 p.m. at Chandler Fashion 20, inside Chandler Fashion Center at 3159 West Chandler Boulevard.
Festival passes, featuring unlimited showings, are $150; individual tickets are $11, plus a service fee. For specific screenings and advance tickets, visit the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival website or call 602-753-9366. Janessa Hilliard