22 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Dallin Maybee, Dragonflies, Bison and a Few Favorite Horses (detail), 2011. Gift from the Map(ing) project from the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Printmaking Department, Assistant Professor Mary Hood
Dallin Maybee, Dragonflies, Bison and a Few Favorite Horses (detail), 2011. Gift from the Map(ing) project from the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Printmaking Department, Assistant Professor Mary Hood
Courtesy of ASU

In metro Phoenix this week, you have the chance to learn a lot: there's a plant science tour, a bachata how-to, and a chance to laugh at yourself with a new brand of insult comedy. Here's your guide. (For more, see New Times' calendar of events.)

"Mapping”
Artist Carolina Escobar has lived in desert and tropical environments. And both have clearly seeped into her art practice, which includes large sculptures and small 2-D works inspired by nature in all its odd variations of color, form, and texture. Back in 2012, her works infused the Desert Botanical Garden with rich shapes and pigments.

Now Escobar is bringing her unique sensibilities about the natural world to Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central Avenue. Explore her free “Mapping” exhibition inside The Gallery @ Central from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 1. It features drawings of desert plants morphed into tropical plants, flowers, and architectural designs that sometimes convey near-human qualities. Get details at the Phoenix Public Library Website. Lynn Trimble

The Magnificent Seven Screening
Fun fact: John Sturges’ 1960 western The Magnificent Seven is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s film Seven Samurai. Critics maligned the Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen drama for being a pale imitation of its Japanese counterpart — much like they did when it was remade again last year with Denzel Washington. Time has proven kind to this now thrice-told tale about a septet of gunmen who fight like 700 to protect a poor Mexican village raided by bandits. From the beautifully staged action sequences to testosterone-filled performances and the famous theme by Elmer Bernstein, The Magnificent Seven endures.

See for yourself when the movie screens at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, at Harkins Camelview at Fashion Square, 7014 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale. Admission is $5. For more information, visit Harkin's website. Jason Kiel

Experience Phoenix's natural beauty (and maybe get a little sweaty) at the Desert Botanical Garden.EXPAND
Experience Phoenix's natural beauty (and maybe get a little sweaty) at the Desert Botanical Garden.
Desert Botanical Garden

Plant Science Tour
With all the chatter about climate change, mass extinction, and the many other ways we’re bombarded with apocalyptic gloom, our green little friends who — y’know — create oxygen are oft-overlooked. All of the crises facing our planet are jarring, but if the plants go we’re really screwed. It just so happens that the folks at Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, are doing their fair share in preserving and propagating those leafy things that keep us from suffocating every day. For an inside look at what they’re up to, stop by on Tuesday, May 2, at 10 a.m., for a Plant Science Tour. The event is included with price of admission, which is $24.95 for adults. Visit DBG website or call 480-941-1225 for details. Rob Kroehler

Straight Outta Oz
Once upon a time, a little girl named Dorothy dreamed she’d been taken by a storm from her Kansas home to the land of Oz. Today, Todrick Hall recounts a similar journey, traveled between Texas and the bright lights of Broadway. It takes the form of a 20-song performance called Straight Outta Oz. It’s coming to Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street, at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3. Tickets start at $27.

Hall has performed in Kinky Boots, Memphis, and The Color Purple on Broadway. Even so, he’s best known as the former American Idol contestant with a penchant for making musical YouTube videos with titles like “Beauty and the Beat” and “Twerkin’ in the Rain.” Get show details and tickets at the Mesa Arts Center Website. Lynn Trimble

Democrats for Comedy
We are almost 100 days into Trump’s presidency, and there doesn’t seem to be much for Democrats to do besides laugh it off. And that’s exactly what gems from legislative districts 18 and 26 plan on doing during Democrats for Comedy. Held at Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive, on Wednesday, May 3, the event kicks of with a cocktail hour starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by the show at 7:30. Forget about the club’s typical two-drink minimum; it won’t be in effect on Wednesday. Which means that for $25, you can eat, drink, laugh, and temporarily forget about the stresses that come with a Republican-dominated government. Visit Tempe Improv's website or call 480-921-9877 for details. Lindsay Roberts

The Throne of Glass author has a new novel.EXPAND
The Throne of Glass author has a new novel.
Josh Wasserman

Sarah Maas
YA superstar Sarah Maas got her start writing fan fiction while still in high school. That self-published story eventually became her best-selling debut, Throne of Glass. Since then, she has published four more novels in that series about a teenage assassin, with a fifth due in September.

When she visits Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, however, she will be promoting the latest in her “Court of Thorns and Roses” series, another fantasy romance following the high-stakes intrigue of Feyre as she navigates the courts of faerie and the immortal Tamlin. Local author Rae Carson will host.

Tickets are required for this event and are available at both Changing Hands locations with purchase of A Court of Wings and Ruin, $26 for one ticket and one book, $31 for two tickets with one book. Call 480-730-0205 or visit Changing Hands website for more information. Michael Senft

Ember Moon dishes out some pain to Asuka at an NXT live event last year.
Ember Moon dishes out some pain to Asuka at an NXT live event last year.
Sabre Blade/Flickr Creative Commons

WWE Presents NXT Live
Are you up for a night of neon fashion, wacky hairdos, and bouncy moves? Nope, it’s not an ’80s dance party. This is even more emo and theatrical.

Giant flat screens are great, but nothing beats bearing witness to an action-packed sports event in person. At WWE Presents NXT Live, you can be part of the raucous crowd as you either taunt or support the next generation of wrestling superstars as they fight it out for domination. See bodies get slammed to the ground and tossed across the ring in zesty battles loaded with all the chaos and camp that WWE offers. The rumbling begins at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Admission is $40. Call 602-379-2800 or visit the Comerica theater website. Amy Young

Bachata Addiction happens every Thursday at DeSoto Central Market
Bachata Addiction happens every Thursday at DeSoto Central Market
DeSoto Central Market / Facebook

Bachata Addiction
For those unfamiliar, the words “bachata addiction” might conjure images of a gluten glutton hunched over a mound of crunchy bread. Bachata, however, is not something that rises in the oven or pairs nicely with horchata. Well, the latter might be true. But bachata is, in fact, a style of dancing that originated in the Dominican Republic. As one might suspect, the style shares plenty of similarities with its more recognizable Latin counterparts such as salsa and bolero. In other words, if you’re keen on Latin rhythms, swiveling hips, and close contact while dancing, then you might find your groove during Bachata Addiction at DeSoto Central Market, 915 North Central Avenue, on Thursday, May 4. The event features a 45-minute bachata lesson followed by a Latin dance party. The fun starts at 8:45 p.m. and costs $10. Horchata not included. Visit DeSoto Market's website or call 602-680-7747 for details. Rob Kroehler

Reading is hot at the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Phoenix
Reading is hot at the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Phoenix
Courtesy of Hilton Garden Inn

PHX Silent Reading Party
Never satiated by reading an endless stream of tweets? Try reading old school, with a book in hand. But don’t go it alone. Thanks to the PHX Silent Reading Party, enjoying books is now a social, not solitary, thing. Check it out from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 4. It’s happening at Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Phoenix, 15 East Monroe Street.

BYOB, as in “bring your own book.” Then read alongside others while you enjoy libations from the cash bar, with $1 from each drink you buy going to Read Better Be Better, a Phoenix-based group working to boost third-grade reading skills and confidence.

There’s live piano music, too. Plus, the company of fellow book lovers. Visit the Facebook page. Lynn Trimble

Don’t drink the ink at the ACME 6 Launch Party.EXPAND
Don’t drink the ink at the ACME 6 Launch Party.
Photo and drawing by Ryan Cody

Arizona Comic Mini Expo
Sometimes an acronym rings just too perfectly. ACME stands for Arizona Comic Mini Expo, and “acme” means the pinnacle of excellence — making it a good name for your convention, not to mention your 16,000-ton weight manufacturing concern. And the ACME 6 Launch Party & Charity Drink & Draw is the acme of fundraisers. Professional comic book artists will sketch fans’ requests (within reason) for $25 per drawing, and proceeds benefit The Hero Initiative, which assists comic creators in need, and the Arizona ACLU.

Zap! and pow! at 7 p.m. Friday, May 5, at Bonus Round, 24 West Camelback Road — the nerd bar (with free classic video games and so many beers) that is, of course, right next to a comic book store. Visit the Arizona Comic Mini Expo website. Julie Peterson

This storytelling collective will continue sharing their stories this next First Friday at the Phoenix Art Musuem.EXPAND
This storytelling collective will continue sharing their stories this next First Friday at the Phoenix Art Musuem.
Courtesy of The Whole Story.

The Whole Story: Part 2
Personal narratives have the potential to broaden your horizon and open your eyes to experiences and perspectives that you might not have seen before. The Whole Story aims to do just that by spotlighting stories that reflect on the black experience in America.

Back for its second edition, this storytelling event will take place on First Friday, May 5, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $10 for general public and $5 for museum members and available online. For more information visit the Facebook page. Lindsay Roberts

Read on for more of the best things to do this week.



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