The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Cole Brackney and Ian M. White follow their bliss in Mercury.
Cole Brackney and Ian M. White follow their bliss in Mercury. John Groseclose
Don't have a boring week. Instead, get your jollies at the 12 Bars of Christmas Crawl, listen in on the Risk! Podcast, or cheer on the Arizona Coyotes. It's up to you. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Stray Cat Theatre has mounted several of Steve Yockey’s scripts, frequently when they were new, red, and squalling. Octopus, Wolves, Pluto, Mercury: You might think Yockey’s attached to one-word titles based on critters or heavenly bodies. Counterpoint: Joshua Consumed an Unfortunate Pear — which we await eagerly, Stray Cat.

Mercury is, briefly, a very funny play about terrible people, which is one of the best possible combinations. Bears creep around outdoors, and, well, have you ever seen Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders on MST3K? It’s a little like that, only good.

The production continues through Saturday, December 9, at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. Showtime on Thursday, November 30, is 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $30 at 480-350-2822 or the Stray Cat Theatre website. Julie Peterson

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Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation President and CEO Stuart Graff, who will be speaking at the event.
Andrew Pielage
“How to Live in the Desert: Interpreting Taliesin West”
There is expressiveness in the horizontal lines and wide extended eaves of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. The event “How to Live in the Desert: Interpreting Taliesin West” will inspire those who are intrigued by the Prairie School style that the late architect popularized in the first half of the 20th century. Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation President and CEO Stuart Graff will share the history behind Wright’s desert home and laboratory. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the grounds.

The history lesson starts at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 30, at 12621 North Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Frank Lloyd Wright website. Jason Keil

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Check out the Documentary Video Art Festival inside the SMoCA Lounge at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Sean Deckert
Documentary Video Art Festival
June Jung documented arranged marriages. Brandon Peppler took on life with autism. And Mia Lopez delved into the early Chicano movement in Glendale. They’re three of the seven students whose short videos are screening at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street.

It will mark the seventh time ASU art professor and artist Muriel Magenta has shown her students’ work at SMoCA, during a free event called the Documentary Video Art Festival. Magenta will introduce the films during the 2017 edition of the event, which will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 30.

Student filmmakers also include Alison Sigala, who explored the world of fandom, and Dexter Farley, who captured childhood memories of life on the Navajo reservation. Igor Komienovic’s film addresses family escapes from Yugoslavia during the 1980s, and Xualiing Liu looks at Chinese students who study abroad. For more information, visit the SMoCA website. Lynn Trimble

International Off-Road and UTV Expo
For some people, off-roading isn’t just a sport. It’s a lifestyle. The International Off-Road and UTV Expo will cater to enthusiasts by gathering more than 200 local and out-of-state exhibitors.

Attendees can browse and purchase goods, and talk with experts about the newest trends in off-road vehicles, accessories, trailers, apparel, and parts. They will also have a chance to connect with representatives from local groups, resorts, governmental organizations, and parks dedicated to the activity. During the event, filmmaker Dana Brown will discuss his newest film, Dust 2 Glory, and Lawrence Hacking will share his motorcycle racing experiences.

The event will run from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, December 1; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 2; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 3, at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road. General admission is $15, and children 12 and younger get in free. For more information, go to the International Off-Road Expo website. Laura Latzko

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The original SNL Trump.
courtesy of Stand Up Live
Darrell Hammond
Alec Baldwin is getting all the accolades for his current Donald Trump impression, but Saturday Night Live alum Darrell Hammond rocked a fierce Trump through several seasons.

During 14 years on the show, Hammond’s repertoire featured several politicians, including a spot-on Bill Clinton. The comedian started honing such skills during his childhood in Florida, entertaining family members. He added voiceover work to his skill set before hitting New York and finding comedic fame. In addition to stand-up, he has appeared in movies and on TV shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

See who he spoofs at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 1, at Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive. Admission to the 21-and-over show is $25, and there’s a two-drink minimum. Call 480-921-9877 or visit the Tempe Improv website. Amy Young

Die Hard: A Christmas Story
It’s the most explosive holiday tale of all time, now with puppets. Die Hard: A Christmas Story reimagines the Bruce Willis action thriller with cloth and chaos.

In the landmark 1988 film, New York City cop John McClane comes to visit his estranged wife for the holidays. Her office party inside a Los Angeles high-rise is taken over by German terrorists, and McClane must take matters into his own hands to save the day.

Get together and have a few laughs starting at 8 p.m. every Friday and Saturday from December 1 through 23 at Playhouse on the Park at Central Arts Plaza, 1850 North Central Avenue. General admission is $22. For more information, visit the All Puppet Players website. Jason Keil

Full Moon Festival
A full moon can be exciting, as it’s often synonymous with unique and unexplainable occurrences. But even if nothing crazy happens, it’s still pretty cool to look at, and a good reason to throw a party.

The folks hosting the monthly Full Moon Festival agree. The theme of this month’s gathering is “Heart Shala.” Shala is the Sanskrit word for home. So when you put the two together, it translates to “a place of heart.” That should clue you in that it’s a welcoming environment.

The event will include yoga, meditation, sound healing, teas from around the world, food, and live music. Celebrate December’s “cold moon” starting at 5:55 p.m. on Friday, December 1, at Unexpected Gallery, 734 West Polk Street. Admission is free. Call 602-638-1313 or visit the Unexpected Gallery website. Amy Young

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You're not going to miss this.
Jenny Gerena
Images in Motion
In Scottsdale Community College’s dance program, creating a piece is as much about experience and personal growth as performance. During the annual Images in Motion production on Friday and Saturday, December 1 and 2, the program will present work from three companies: Instinct Dancecorps, SCC Moving Company, and Scottsdale Arizona Jazz Ensemble.

The fall showcase will highlight more than 30 student dancers, performing acrobatics, lyrical and contemporary jazz, hip-hop-inspired and Latin-infused contemporary, and modern works from faculty, guest choreographers, and alumni. A dance group from the Arizona School for the Arts will also perform.

The free dance concert will begin at 8 p.m. each night at Scottsdale Community College’s Performing Arts Center, 9000 East Chaparral Road. For more information, visit the Facebook Event page. Laura Latzko

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Sublî dancers take a break from tearing up the floor at the 2016 Arizona Asian Festival.
Courtesy of Arizona Asian Festival
Arizona Asian Festival
Chances are good you’d find more than 17 Asian cultures here in the Valley, but 17 of them will be represented all at once at the 22nd annual Arizona Asian Festival. Whether you get hangry or just a little cranky and worn-out (from viewing the fashion show of 100 traditional costumes, strolling the Avenue of aforementioned Cultures, or prowling the tent full of community information and shopping), you and 15,000 other visitors will find a selection that’d do any festival proud. Filipino, Indonesian, and Laotian cuisine join the familiar standbys.

The food’s also important to the dozens of dance, martial arts, and musical groups that perform continuously. So. Much. Dancing. Cruise to Scottsdale Civic Center Park, 3939 North 75th Street, on Saturday, December 2, and Sunday, December 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Visit the Arizona Asian American Association website. Julie Peterson

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No passport needed.
Musical Instrument Museum
Experience Scandinavia
You don’t have to travel to another country to get cultured. Instead, visit the Musical Instrument Museum at 4725 East Mayo Boulevard.

On Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3, visitors can discover the music and culture of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland during Experience Scandinavia. Expect performances as well as instrument-making classes, dance workshops, traditional food, and culture-centered lectures.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, and $10 for children. For more info, visit the MIM website. Lindsay Roberts

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Better watch out, better not cry.
Geoff Cook photography
12 Bars of Christmas Crawl
During the 12 Bars of Christmas Crawl on Saturday, December 2, you can show off your holiday spirit with an ugly sweater, holiday-themed pajamas, or a Santa outfit while exploring the bars of Old Town Scottsdale.

Bar crawl participants will receive a special 16-ounce cup and a Santa hat, as well as drink specials on beers, shots, or mixers at participating nightlife establishments throughout the evening.

Registration will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. at Bevvy, 4420 North Saddlebag Trail, #100, and the event will run until 10. Tickets are $17 per person for a group of four or more in advance, or $20 if you’re rolling solo. For more information, see the Eventbrite website. Laura Latzko

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Go Yotes.
Arizona Coyotes v. New Jersey Devils
Last month, hockey fans gathered in New Jersey as the Devils faced off against the Arizona Coyotes. When that bout went down, it was the East Coast team who took home the 4-3 victory. Now on Arizona turf, there’s a chance for redemption for the Southwestern stick-men.

And the Coyotes could use the win. This season has found them a little slump-y. Of the 19 games played so far, the Yotes have only won four. Perhaps the at-home advantage will help lead them to victory.

The puck starts flying at 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 2, at Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue in Glendale. Tickets are $24.50. Call 480-563-7825 or visit the Coyotes website. Amy Young

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Snag some one-of-a-kind holiday gifts at Patricia Sannit's Art & Objects Studio Sale.
Patricia Sannit
Art and Objects Studio Sale
Phoenix artist Patricia Sannit uses textured clay forms to represent interwoven layers of history, humanity, and culture. Sometimes her art is displayed in large-scale installations, as in her recent “Rise Fall Rise” exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum. But Sannit also creates smaller work like vessels and pendants.

Get a glimpse of Sannit’s studio, located at 2631 East Cortez Street, when she holds the Art and Objects Studio Sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 3. She’ll be joined by more than a dozen artists showing and selling works of art, which gives you a convenient way to holiday shop while supporting local creatives. There’s no cost for admission.

Participating artists include Tiffany Bailey, Christopher Jagmin, Elliott Kayser, and Christy Puetz, to name a few. While you’re there, enjoy a cup of mulled apple cider and get a henna tattoo created by Jennifer Lind. Visit the Patricia Sannit website. Lynn Trimble

The Full Moon Walk
Put your single sparkly glove away. The Full Moon Walk isn’t a fresh iteration of an MJ dance move. It’s an actual walk under an actual full moon.

The Museum of Walking’s director and co-founder Angela Ellsworth will lead the free 2.7-mile walk under the cover of darkness. The goal of the trek through Papago Park is to be contemplative and silent.

The nighttime walk will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 3, at 625 North Galvin Parkway. RSVP at Participants are welcome to bring flashlights. For more information, visit the Museum of Walking website. Lindsay Roberts

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The best Rick! to take.
Tony Conrad
Risk! podcast
If talking about deeply personal and/or weird experiences were easy, the Risk! podcast would probably have another name.

For the show’s creator, actor and writer Kevin Allison, taking that chance was a good move. Allison participated in a storytelling event and immediately fell in love with the medium. (Prior to Risk!, Allison was on the MTV sketch comedy show The State.) He launched Risk! as a live storytelling event in 2009. It’s since evolved into a podcast that sometimes hits the road for in-person shows. Celebs like Marc Maron and Margaret Cho are among those who’ve shared secret stories.

Join Allison and guests at this live version, featuring personal tales ranging from hilarious to devastating. Be there when the truth comes out at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 2, at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. Tickets to the 21-and-over event are $20. Visit the Valley Bar website. Amy Young

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See quilts by Linda Engstrom and several additional artists at Chandler Center for the Arts.
Linda Engstrom

“Art Quilts XXII: As Close to the Edge as I Can Go”
If you pop over to Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue, for an exhibition called “Art Quilts XXII: As Close to the Edge as I Can Go,” odds are, you’ll walk away with a fresh take on quilts.

The exhibition includes 23 works, created by 21 artists, including Denise Currier, Janet Hiller, and Ann Turley. It features a wide range of quilts made with various techniques, from hand-embroidery to digital printing on cotton fabric. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, December 4. The free show continues through January 5, 2018. Visit the Chandler Center for the Arts website. Lynn Trimble

It's a wonderful film.
Melissa Fossum
It’s A Wonderful Life
Before A Christmas Story became the reigning holiday movie champ, running for 24 hours straight every December 25, Frank Capra’s film It’s A Wonderful Life ruled the yuletide roost.

The heartwarming classic stars Jimmy Stewart as the suicidal George Bailey, who realizes with the help of his guardian angel how he has changed the lives of those around him. Arizona State University film professor Joe Fortunato will provide history, analysis, and commentary during a Monday night screening of one of the greatest films of all time.

FilmBar Film School is in session at 7 p.m. on December 4 at 815 North Second Street. Admission is $9. For more information, visit the FilmBar website. Jason Keil

Tomorrow’s Stars Today

Discover the newest voices in YA literature as the ASU Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing presents Tomorrow’s Stars Today at The Poisoned Pen bookstore, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale.

Award-winning LGBT YA author and teacher Bill Konigsberg (Out of the Pocket, Openly Straight) will host the event, which will feature several graduating students from the Piper Center’s “Your Novel Year” program, reading excerpts from their final manuscripts. Among those scheduled to read are Donna Berry, Steve Smith, and Cheryl Padden. Who knows, you might see the next John Green or Susan Collins before they hit the New York Times best-seller list.

The reading will start at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 5. Admission is free. Call 480-947-2974 or visit the Poisoned Pen website for more information. Michael Senft

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Ready for a shootout?
Valley of the Sun Shootout
Despite the University of Arizona’s best attempts at infiltrating downtown with nearly a half-billion dollars in recent construction projects, Phoenicians know damn well that the Valley is not Wildcat country. That is, at least when it comes to sports allegiances.

The Sun Devils still sizzle this side of Interstate 10. But they’ll cede the spotlight during the Valley of the Sun Shootout at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street, when the state’s other universities will showcase their hoops teams in the heart of downtown.

Taking place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 5, the Shootout is a hardcourt doubleheader featuring the Grand Canyon University Antelopes versus St. Johns, and the Wildcats versus Texas A&M. Tickets are $22 and up. Visit the Talking Stick Resort Arena website or call 602-379-7800 for details. Rob Kroehler

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Get the lowdown on land art during a curator chat with Brittany Corrales at ASU Art Museum. Photo: Alan Sonfist, Views of New York City: Ancient and Contemporary. Serigraph, 26.25 x 26.25 in. Gift of Kimberly Cramer.
Courtesy of ASU Art Museum
Curator Chat
Currently on view at ASU Art Museum is an exhibition called “Terrestrial.” The show explores important works of land art, a movement that emerged in the mid-20th century and found artists using natural materials like dirt and rocks to form site-specific pieces. Comprising diverse art from the museum’s permanent collection, “Terrestrial” also addresses the movement’s ongoing impact on contemporary artists — including Arizona creatives Mark Klett and Matthew Moore.

Want more insight? Brittany Corrales, curatorial assistant for ASU Art Museum, will discuss the land art movement during a free Curator Chat from 12:30 to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6, at 51 East 10th Street in Tempe. “Terrestrial” continues through February 3, 2018. Visit the ASU Event page. Lynn Trimble

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The grand dame of vampire novels is back.
Alfred A. Knopf
Anne Rice
The grand dame of vampire novels is back. But this time she’s writing about another classic horror creature. Anne Rice will visit Changing Hands Tempe, 6428 South McClintock Drive, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6, with her son, Christopher Rice.

The pair will sign copies of their new collaboration, Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra, the sequel to her 1989 novel The Mummy. Ramses follows the immortal pharaoh in Edwardian England as he battles his evil ex-lover, the monstrous Queen Cleopatra, brought back to terrifying undeath by the same elixir that restored Ramses’ life. The battle draws forth another ancient power, which may hold the key to immortality.

Paperback copies of Ramses are available for $16. That price includes admission for two to the talk and signing. Call 480-730-0205 or visit the Changing Hands website for more information. Michael Senft
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Rob is a Phoenix native, husband, dad, and an active member in the local music scene. He's written original songs for feature films.
Contact: Rob Kroehler
Laura Latzko
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson
Michael runs the Sci-Fridays Book Club at the Poisoned Pen, and volunteers at local pop-culture conventions. He can be found at the occasional prog-rock concert.
Contact: Michael Senft
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young