20 Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Week

Dive into art with watercolor works at Vision Gallery in Chandler.
Dive into art with watercolor works at Vision Gallery in Chandler.
Photo courtesy of Vision Gallery

Festival season has arrived, Phoenix. Which means you might have to make some tough choices this week. Both Phoenix Film Festival and the Bird City Comedy Festival make their return, with a slew of must-see movies and hilarious comedians. And that's not all. Between a bar-hopping celebration of the onesie to art shows and can't-miss theater, there's something to do every day of the week. For more options still, see our curated events calendar.

"Waterworks"
There’s a group of area-based artists that formed over their affinity for H2O.

Carol Allen Bentley founded Waterworks Artists in the ’90s. The collective is for painters who work in water-based media to foster professionalism, exchange critical feedback, and build friendship and support. Their current exhibition, “Waterworks: Fragments 2017,” features paintings by group members showcasing their respective styles. It also aims to show the diversity that exists in watercolor-oriented artwork by exhibiting pieces that transcend pervasive styles and traditional methods. In addition to Bentley, participants include Lois Meyer and Hazel Stone.

View the watery work from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, April 3, at Vision Gallery, 10 East Chicago Street in Chandler. Admission is free, and the show runs through Saturday, May 20. Call 480-782-2695 or visit the Vision Gallery website. Amy Young

The woman behind the story about the women behind NASA getting to space.EXPAND
The woman behind the story about the women behind NASA getting to space.
Aran Shetterly

Margot Lee Shetterly
Sometimes it’s a Hollywood blockbuster that hips the masses to real stories from history. Often, there’s a book that inspired the movie, and it’s loaded with a lot more details and depth than can be crammed into two cinematic hours.

That’s the case with the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures. It was spawned by Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. The author will talk about the book and follow her presentation with a Q&A session and signing. Learn about the crucial contributions that four black women made while working as “human computers” at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, Virginia. While Jim Crow segregated and removed them from public view, their work and innovations led to several NASA accomplisments.

Shetterly will discuss them and her work from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4, at the Orpheum Theater, 203 West Adams Street. Admission is free. Visit Eventbrite to register. Amy Young

FilmBar presents a dystopian masterpiece (for a couple good reasons).EXPAND
FilmBar presents a dystopian masterpiece (for a couple good reasons).
Park Circus

1984
George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 has inspired everything from operas to television commercials, but many believe the best adaptation of the British writer’s signature work is the John Hurt film. Released the same year as the book’s title, the actor portrays Winston Smith, an everyman whose life is under the watch of the Thought Police.

With the film feeling more like a documentary more every day, FilmBar joins 90 other movie theaters across the country in a one-night screening in an attempt to bring concerned audiences together to stand up for our basic values. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. See 1984 at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Admission is $12. Visit the FilmBar website. Jason Keil

New Faces of Comedy
You’ve done your homework. You listen to the podcasts. You’ve watched almost every single comedy special Netflix has to offer. And you are pretty sure that you can put together a set-up and punchline or five. Now what? Well, now’s your chance to take the stage and see if you are any good at what comedians do, a.k.a. making people laugh. Tempe Improv hosts New Faces of Comedy at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5, when newbs can sign up for five minutes of stage time at 930 East University Drive. Tickets are $5 to the show, and there’s a two-drink minimum. For more information and to sign up, e-mail NewFacesAZ@gmail.com. Visit the Tempe Improv website or call 480-921-9877. Becky Bartkowski

Arizona Bike Week 2017 welcomes headliners like Alice Cooper and Creedence Clearwater Revisited.EXPAND
Arizona Bike Week 2017 welcomes headliners like Alice Cooper and Creedence Clearwater Revisited.
Courtesy of Arizona Bike Week

Arizona Bike Week 2017
A 21st birthday is always a big deal and often a bigger party, even if it’s for a five-day motorcycle event happening in Scottsdale.

Arizona Bike Week 2017 has concerts, camping, auctions, a vendor area, and of course, rides, races, and stunt shows. The action is happening at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road, starting with gates at noon on Wednesday, April 5. Opening-day events include the Peace Out, Prostate Cancer Ride sponsored by Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale, King Tony’s Busted Knuckles Stunt Tour in the ABW Bike Arena, and even a Bret Michaels concert in the RockYard. Wrap up your day with either the After Hours Party in the HandleBar Saloon, or the FMX Freestyle Motocross Extreme Stunt Show in Legends Pavilion — both starting at 11 p.m.

Tickets for opening day are $28, and five-day passes are $63. Call 480-644-8191, or see the Arizona Bike Week website for more information. Lauren Cusimano

A still from Gold Star is among the movies screening at Phoenix Film Festival 2017.EXPAND
A still from Gold Star is among the movies screening at Phoenix Film Festival 2017.
Photo Courtesy of Victoria Negri

Phoenix Film Festival 2017
Right before summer forces us into cool, freon-filled auditoriums to watch yet another blockbuster, the Phoenix Film Festival, the state’s largest, takes over the Harkins Scottsdale 101. The event runs for eight days with more than 175 film screenings, including critically acclaimed independent work. Highlights include a screening of the historical adventure The Lost City Of Z, the director’s cut of the cult Japanese film Inherit the Stars, and The Hero, a dramedy starring Sam Elliott and Nick Offerman that was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. In addition to movie premieres, attendees can participate in workshops and have a chance to network with members of the film industry.

Phoenix Film Festival runs from Thursday, April 6, through Thursday, April 13, at 7000 East Mayo Boulevard. Individual screenings are $13, and ticket packages begin at $40. Visit the Phoenix Film Festival website or call 602-955-6444. Jason Keil

20 Best Things to Do in Phoenix This WeekEXPAND
Steve McFarland

Upcoming Events

Ask Me Another
The NPR radio show Ask Me Another is a charming mix of a Jumble puzzle and your local coffeehouse singer-songwriter serenading you with games and cerebrum stumpers. Host Ophira Eisenberg, along with house musician Jonathan Coulton, leave their hipster home in Brooklyn and travel to Phoenix to present contestants with some rowdy (for public radio, anyway) rounds of pop-culture riddles and head scratchers. The audience even gets to play along with a celebrity V.I.P. (Very Important Puzzler). Give your cleverly named bar trivia team the week off and tease your brain with laughter.

Ask Me Another will take place on Thursday, April 6, at Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street. Tickets start at $29. Visit Ticketforce or call 602-262-6225. Jason Keil

Aparna Nancherla and others headline the 2017 Bird City Comedy Festival.EXPAND
Aparna Nancherla and others headline the 2017 Bird City Comedy Festival.
CAA

Bird City Comedy Festival
Remember in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when the knight tells Jones, “You must choose, but choose wisely”? Now, there’s an event that calls on you to utilize that piece of wisdom.

At the Bird City Comedy Festival, some performances happen simultaneously — choices will need to be made. View entire shows or flit from venue to venue, getting a sampling of as much hilarity as you can handle from both visiting acts and humorous locals. Opening night talent includes Danny Lobell doing stand-up. The comedian has been featured on This American Life and Marc Maron’s popular WTF podcast. Mister Chris’ Apartment Show is also on the roster, which means you can see an in-person episode of Facebook’s first live TV show. Four days of funny kick off at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, at multiple Phoenix locations. Admission is $20; multiday passes are available. Visit the Bird City Comedy Festival website. Amy Young

20 Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Week
Alexandra Gaspar

Bar Flies
Gather round, Phoenicians. It’s story time once again. New Times’ literary reading event Bar Flies returns to the stage at Valley Bar on Thursday, April 6. That’s when readers Karina Bland, Jordan Farris, Julie Hampton, Robert Isenberg, and Stina Sieg will share true tales connected to the theme “The Last Dance.” Curated by Amy Silverman, the show is sure to inspire laughs, elicit a tear or two, and perhaps inevitably, spark the desire to bust a move.

Doors to the basement theater at 130 North Central Avenue open at 5 p.m., and showtime is 6. Jason P. Woodbury will DJ the evening. Tickets are $5 and available through www.ticketfly.com. For details, see the Valley Bar website. Becky Bartkowski

Phoenix Suns vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
It might not be much of a game when the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street, on Friday, April 7. The Suns are officially tanking — ahem, “developing their younger talent” — and the Thunder are still jockeying for a higher playoff spot. It’s a recipe for a blowout. Still, attendees will likely witness history in the making as explosive Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook puts the finishing touches on a statistically breathtaking season in which he has averaged a triple-double, a feat achieved only once in NBA history. A Suns loss seems imminent. But that bodes well for their draft status, as does a dazzling Westbrook performance. It’s a win-win, sorta. Tip-off is at 7 p.m., and tickets are $19 and up. Visit the Suns website or call 602-379-7800 for details. Rob Kroehler

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



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