Four Funky Alternatives to July Fourth Fireworks

We're all for freedom and justice and the American way, but what we don't appreciate is Phoenix's continued decision to throw outdoor Independence Day bashes crammed with a zillion sweaty, flag-waving "patriots" too blitzed on brewskis and sugary barbecued meats to realize you can watch the same damn thing on TV (minus the cranky, heat-addled children and inevitable pit stains).

Luckily, there are a few places around town offering some unique alternatives to standing around for hours in the heat to experience twenty whole minutes of bad canned music and exclamations of, "ooh, pretty lights!"

Here are a few of our faves:

Dead, White, and Blue Art Show

Nothing says "America" like hordes of brainless, spineless creatures out for a pound of flesh (ahem, any similarity to bank officials or congresspeople is purely coincidental). From 6 to 10 p.m. this Friday and Saturday night, Evermore Nevermore in Mesa is hosting an exhibit featuring "patriotically macabre" art.

According to the zombie historians at the eclectic shop, Uncle Sam became a zombie after participating in genetic experiments performed during WWII. Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Exploding Watermelons and Daytime Fireworks

Last month, the Internets were awash with viral videos of exploded melons in eastern China. While that was cool and all, having watermelons burst due to some growth chemical just isn't the same as blowing them up the good ol' fashioned American way.

Take your melons down to the Arizona Science Center this weekend (Saturday through Monday) and their scientists will blow 'em up while you watch. Lest you worry the explosion will fizzle like a busted bottle rocket, peep this video of the center's previous melon explosion session:


The folks at National Comedy Theater in Mesa plan to yukk it up Uncle Sam-style in hopes of swaying you from the nearby Freedom Celebration.

Two teams of local comics will compete in a head-to-head battle of short-form improv games ala "Whose Line is it Anyway," with a patriotic twist. Other incentives to ditch the outdoor festivals include cool air conditioning, free popcorn and an intentionally lame-ass "replacement fireworks show" with confetti poppers and soda pop explosions. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $10-12.

Beckham Baby Watch Party

In a creepy turn of events, parents-to-be David and Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham have reportedly opted to liberate their baby on America's Independence Day -- and on our soil, no less. Gregg Troilo, owner of Scottsdale's British Open Pub, is taking this opportunity to throw a Brit bash this Monday in honor of the impending birth of the baby girl, with a baby watch viewing, "Silver Spoon" tequila drink specials and a $5 "Cigar" cocktail with Pimm's No. 1 British Sweet Gin, ginger ale and cucumber. So grab a drink, sit back and get ready for the birth of Liberty Spice or Freedom Spice or Old Glory Spice or whatever ridiculous name someone who plans a c-section on a national holiday will saddle her poor kid with.

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