We know, the beginning of the work week sucks. But if you take a quick look at the calendar, you'll see we're off to a pretty good week of art events, sports games, dance parties, and more. Here are our must-see events from now to the weekend...
Monday, January 28: Tsundoku Anonymous Book Club @ Practical Art In an effort to ease the guilt of bookworms with unread books on their shelves, Practical Art, 5070 North Central Avenue, is hosting a monthly challenge. Tsundoku, Japanese for "buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves or floors or nightstands," is the inspiration for Practical Art's latest book club.
The rules: members submit titles they've had lying around their shelves. Books are drawn in rounds and assigned each month. On the second and fourth Mondays of the month, from 7 to 8 p.m., Tsundoku Anonymous Book Club members meet to discuss the month's assigned title (January 28's is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson) and can successfully cross a "todo" off the list. Snacks and drinks are provided. -- Claire Lawton
Tuesday, January 29: Bill Streever: "Why Do We Love Hot Places?" @ ASU Art Museum We aren't exactly meteorology fanatics. The closest we get to weather-related science is browsing through the usually sunny icons of our iPhone forecast. Sunny image = happy. Biologist and nature writer Bill Streever is a little (read: way) more advanced in weather matters -- specifically, why we like that little sunny indicator so much.
Streever visits ASU Art Museum to discuss what draws people to heat in his lecture "Why Do We Love Hot Places?" He'll talk about much-misunderstood thermal energy and his own exploits chronicled in his book Heat: Adventures in the World's Fiery Places. -- Becky Bartkowski
Wednesday, January 30: Love Makes the World Go 'Round @ Phoenix Theatre World premières are uncommon in our theater community. Sometimes, in fact, it's sufficiently exciting if the same 6-year-old play isn't presented in multiple venues on the same evening. But not only do we have a world première right now -- Love Makes the World Go 'Round, through Sunday, February 17, at Phoenix Theater -- but the show's musical arranger is currently here in town. Not only that, he's playing the role of Henry, the pianist at a swanky Manhattan piano bar. Not only that, he's Brad Ellis, the arranger and pianist for TV's Glee. (Man, these things practically write themselves!)
Ellis collaborated with writer Duane Poole to create the story of three bar patrons -- an almost-married woman, a possibly-almost-divorcée, and an older single lady. Their differing perspectives on romance are all wrapped up with the sweet songs of Bob Merrill (Funny Girl, "Honeycomb," "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?"). -- Julie Peterson
Thursday, January 31: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts For the first time in nearly five years, one of the foremost names in contemporary dance hits the stage at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, January 31. That's when Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will bring to town its 18 dancers and the talents of artistic director Glenn Edgerton to showcase an eclectic repertoire of pieces from internationally recognized choreographers.
Canadian choreographer Aszure Burton worked closely with each cast member in creating Untouched to establish environments onstage that highlight each performer as an individual, while uniting them through a shared movement language. Other choreographers whose work will be featured include Alejandro Cerrudo and Sweden's Mats Ek. -- Lauren Saria
Friday, February 1: "The Artcade Show" @ Parazol Bigie Meanmugg is a big-time joystick Jedi. Has been for decades. In his adolescence, the local DJ and graphic artist used to waste away hours at the old Nickel Palace arcade over on the west side, feeding five-cent pieces into such classics as Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam. However, the game that ruled the school for Meanmugg was Neo Geo, the legendary multi-game home/arcade system created by SNK at the dawn of the 1990s.
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It's no surprise then that Meanmugg decorated a vintage Neo Geo machine for "The Artcade Show," an exhibition of refurbished classic quarter-pumpers. The Friday, February 1, showcase features 24 arcade games that have been given a bonus life and an artsy, urban makeover. Artists were assigned a game and created custom murals and snazzy paintings on the cabinets of each. Others involved in the project include Lalo Cota, El Mac, Ashley Macias, Mikey Jackson, and Josh Rhodes.
The exhibition will open at Parazol Studios and will offer the chance to play the games for free, as well as a 20-person Street Fighter II tournament. -- Benjamin Leatherman
Check out more things to do today (and everyday) in our Calendar section ...