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

20 Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Week

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

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.

Mercedez Holtry rules and schools at Word-Up Live.
Mercedez Holtry rules and schools at Word-Up Live.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center

Word-Up Live
April is National Poetry Month. (T.S. Eliot, who called April “the cruelest month,” was in fact a poet. And an American until he was 39. Shut the front door!) Reading, writing, sharing: All are mind-expanding paths to honoring the muse.

You can also get your rhythmic, lyrical groove on by attending Word-Up Live. Part of the fifth annual Young Voices Rise Youth Poetry Festival, the event showcases G Yamazawa, finalist and champion of many massive poetry slams, and Chicana feminist poet Mercedez Holtry, a lifelong Burqueña (that’s Albuquerquean) who has asked Donald Trump — not face to face, but is that a bad thing? — “Who the fuck taught you history?” Okay, we can see why Eliot eventually gave up U.S.-ing.

The spitting commences at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 7, in the Piper Repertory Theater at Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street. Tickets are $10 at the Mesa Arts Center website or 480-644-6500. Julie Peterson

Augusten Burroughs
Author Augusten Burroughs got us hooked on sad, shocking, and caustically funny tales from his life in previous books like Running with Scissors and Dry. It’s only fair that he keeps the memoirs coming.

The best-selling author did just that with Lust & Wonder. In this new one, he shines a light on some of his previous romantic relationships. His caustic wit is ever-present as he relays stories that encompass the good and horrific components of dating. From romantic moments to conversations in the therapist’s office, he once again lets it all hang out. Hear for yourself at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 7, at Changing Hands, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. Admission is $15.99 for one copy of the book and two guests. Call 480-730-0205 or visit the Changing Hands website. Amy Young

Martha Hernandez and Alex Patrick perform in Fate with CaZo Dance Company.EXPAND
Martha Hernandez and Alex Patrick perform in Fate with CaZo Dance Company.
Stephanie Tippi Hart/Dragonfly Studio Phoenix

Fate
Riffing with the idea that not everything is under our control, Bridgette Borzillo, founder and artistic director for CaZo Dance Company, created a new full-length dance work called Fate. It’s a humorous, heartfelt look at how the lives of two couples intertwine, often with unexpected results. Expect love, laughter, sadness, and sentimentality — all set to music from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Borzillo is all about attracting new audiences to dance, in part by creating “movie-like dance programs” with themes that resonate with memory and contemporary life.

CaZo Dance Company performs Fate at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 7, at Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 North Third Street. Get seated by 7 p.m. to enjoy a free pre-show performance. Tickets are $20. Visit the CaZo Dance website. Lynn Trimble

Arizona Scientifica tours some of the Valley's most incredible laboratories.EXPAND
Arizona Scientifica tours some of the Valley's most incredible laboratories.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital

Arizona Scientifica
Some people treat art and science like opposing sports teams. But frankly, that’s old school. Today’s artists are working with cutting-edge technologies, using some of the same skills that propel leaders in scientific endeavors: observation, imagination, and problem-solving.

So, it makes perfect sense that Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is presenting a behind-the-scenes tour of several Valley laboratories, during an event they’ve dubbed Arizona Scientifica. It’s your chance to get hands-on at Stax 3D, see how mechanized exoskeletons work at ASU’s Human Machine Integration Lab, and check out 3-D printed hearts at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Cardiac 3D Print Lab.

Join museum staff for the tour, and all the compelling conversations it generates, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. Just get your $100 ticket online, then meet that morning at the museum parking lot to launch your adventures in arts and sciences. Visit the SMoCA website. Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Rising vs. LA Galaxy II
A lot of Phoenicians probably aren’t aware that there’s a professional soccer team in town. That’s about to change, however, with the team’s ultra-visible stadium popping up seemingly overnight just off of the 202. Moreover, the Phoenix Rising Football Club recently submitted an expansion bid to join Major League Soccer. Given MLS’s growing popularity, it’s downright baffling that Phoenix doesn’t have an MLS team already. Ranging from World Cup pedigree vets to yet-unknown youngsters, Phoenix currently plays in the Division II United Soccer League — a notch below MLS — and will look to right the ship after a season-opening loss when the LA Galaxy II visit the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, 751 North McClintock Drive in Scottsdale, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. Tickets are $10 and up. Visit the Phoenix Rising website or call 623-594-9606 for details. Rob Kroehler

20 Best Things to Do in Phoenix This WeekEXPAND
Courtesy of Lantern Fest

Lantern Fest
Lanterns represent happiness, luck, hope for a better future, and tidings of good fortune. During the Lantern Fest at Schnepf Farms, 24810 South Rittenhouse Road, on Saturday, April 8, floating paper lanterns will draw attention to the concept of sustainability while bringing people together. At sundown, an expected crowd of thousands will gather to release biodegradable lanterns into the sky.

The event, which runs from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., offers a plethora of family-friendly entertainment, including s’mores, face painters, balloon artists, live music, jump houses, games, and a scavenger hunt. The $40 to $50 cost for an adult ticket includes a lantern and items to make s’mores. A $7 kids’ pass for children ages 4 to 12 comes with a special gift but no lantern. Children younger than 3 receive free entry, and parking is $10. Go to the Lantern Fest website for more. Laura Latzko

Phillip Arran and Cole Brackney chair a moment In the Garden.EXPAND
Phillip Arran and Cole Brackney chair a moment In the Garden.
Laura Durant

In the Garden
Nearly Naked Theatre’s presentation of In the Garden, running through Saturday, April 15, is an Arizona première. In addition, the script isn’t produced super-often, so you should snarf up this opportunity to see it. Award-winning playwright Norman Allen is also a Unitarian Universalist minister, and Christianity is just one of the prisms though which the story is bent, as a mysterious young man wanders out of the park and into the lives of two stodgy couples.

No one under 17 will be admitted without a parent or legal guardian, because of, according to the theater’s website, issues that include “religious undertones and nudity.” We did get nightmares from a Samson and Delilah comic book, so one can’t be too careful.

Saturday, April 8’s showtime is 8 p.m. at Phoenix Theatre, 100 East McDowell Road. Call 602-254-2151 or visit the Phoenix Theatre website for tickets. Prices start at $27 but may increase with demand. Julie Peterson

20 Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Week
Courtesy of Party America

Onesie Mania Pub Crawl
Clothes — what a hassle. Tops, bottoms, and what are belts even doing anymore? Going out on a Saturday night makes the process even more difficult, which is probably why Party America is hosting the 2017 Phoenix Onesie Mania Pub Crawl. It’s a massive gathering of adults in zippered jumpers ready to hit some of the Valley’s dress-code-free bars.

The crawl goes from 5 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, April 8. Tickets are $15 per 21-and-over participant via partyamericaevents.com, and include access to drinks specials, waived covers, and multiple stops to places with live DJs and dancing.

Check in at The Duce, 525 South Central Avenue, between 5 and 7 p.m. to get started. Find more info at Facebook. Lauren Cusimano

20 Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Week
Scottsdale Public Art

Cycle the Arts Bicycle Tour
The weekend struggle is so real. Do you spend it outdoors, maybe get a little active, or do you explore the unappreciated arts and culture of your city? The Scottsdale Public Art program and the City of Scottsdale have made the weekend of Sunday, April 9, easy for you thanks to the 12th annual Cycle the Arts Bicycle Tour.

In the spirit of Arizona Valley Bike Month, the Cycle the Arts public art bike tour hits a number of new and classic, permanent and temporary art installations throughout Scottsdale. The free, leisurely paced ride meets at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, 3830 North Marshall Way, for registration starting at 8:30 a.m., with the ride leaving at 9 a.m. The two-and-a-half-hour outing is scheduled to conclude at 12:30 p.m. And P.S., helmets are required. Might want to think about sunscreen and water, too. Call 480-874-4645 or see the Scottsdale Public Art website. Lauren Cusimano

USofA Newcomer 2017 Pageant
It’s pageant season — in Scottsdale’s gay and drag-centric nightclub scene, that is. The Miss Gay Arizona USofA Newcomer 2017 Pageant is coming to BS West, 7125 East Fifth Avenue in Scottsdale, on Sunday, April 9.

Presented by USofA Pageants and Jesus Chuy Moreno, the evening will end with a crowned Miss Gay Arizona USofA Newcomer after a boisterous and glitz-heavy pageant starting at 5 p.m. (Registration is 11 a.m. for contestants.) The pageant will feature Vanity St. James (Miss Gay USofA Newcomer 2016) and Sasha Lauren (Miss Gay USofA At Large 2016), and will honor Kimberly V. Devin (Miss Gay Arizona USofA Newcomer 2016) and Diva (Miss Gay Arizona USofA Newcomer At Large 2016).

Call 480-945-9028 or see the BS West website for details. Lauren Cusimano

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