Dr. Martin Luther King at a civil rights march on Washington, D.C.
Dr. Martin Luther King at a civil rights march on Washington, D.C.
Via wikimedia

8 Free Things to Do in Phoenix This Week

Why spend money when you can get competitive at the Spelling Bee-r, talk neighborhoods at New Times Live: Emerging Neighborhoods, or raise your voice at the Women’s March to the Polls? For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

MLK Celebration
Martin Luther King Jr. fought against inequality and inspired others to do the same. A weeklong MLK celebration from Friday through Monday, January 12 through 15, pays tribute to the Civil Rights leader. The festivities will include an awards and scholarship breakfast on Friday honoring five individuals for social justice and human rights work, a double elimination basketball tournament on Saturday, a candlelight gospel concert, and a march and festival.

Led by community leaders and politicians, the march will start at 9 a.m. at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 1401 East Jefferson Street, and end at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 North Third Street. The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the park, and celebrate King with presentations, speeches, and vendors — as well as performances by local poets, singers, and dancers. Most of the activities throughout the week are free to attend. For more information, visit the MLK celebration website. Laura Latzko

Strange Fruit
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix and ASU Project Humanties are hosting a screening of Strange Fruit, the 2002 documentary about the standard made famous by Billie Holiday. The protest song, which is about the lynching of a black man, began as a poem by Jewish activist Abel Meeropol. After the screening, there will be a discussion about the poem’s origin and how the history of African-Americans and Jewish-Americans intersect.

The screening begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 15, at the Arizona Jewish Historical Society’s Cutler Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, 122 East Culver Street. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Arizona Jewish Historical Societ website. Jason Keil

Linger over Angela Ellsworth’s Pantaloncini: Work No. 069 (Emma) at Lisa Sette Gallery.
Linger over Angela Ellsworth’s Pantaloncini: Work No. 069 (Emma) at Lisa Sette Gallery.
Lisa Sette Gallery

“Holding Pattern”
For a new series called “Holding Pattern,” Phoenix artist Angela Ellsworth addresses what gallerist Lisa Sette calls “the secret language pulsing beneath officially sanctioned accounts of history and religion.” The series includes Pantaloncini: Work No. 069 (Emma), created using 52,692 pearl corsage dress pins, plus fabric and steel.

It’s part of a new exhibition at Lisa Sette Gallery, 210 East Catalina Drive, which also features work by Luis Gonzalez Palma and Siri Devi Khandavilli. Exhibition materials note that “Gonzalez Palma’s photo collages capture astrophysical material as evidence of a universal presence; and Khandavilli’s cast figures re-envision the Hindu pantheon as a series of modern idols, preening in designer heels.”

See the free show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16. It continues through Friday, February 23. Visit the Lisa Sette Gallery website. Lynn Trimble

Let's go neighborhood hunting.
Let's go neighborhood hunting.
Zac McDonald

New Times Live: Emerging Neighborhoods
Neighborhood hunting is all the rage. Phoenix New Times’ arts and music editor Becky Bartkowski and contributor Katie Johnson listed several of them in a recent piece titled “8 Neighborhoods You Should Know.”
As the love for these groovy pockets of the Valley has grown, so have the prices of homes. Once affordable residences are now places that some can only daydream about. At New Times Live: Emerging Neighborhoods, join the writers — alongside Ben Brousseau, Tolanya Adams, and Beatrice Moore — to discuss elements of urban development and neighborhood preservation.

The panel talk starts at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 17, at The Newton at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. Admission is free; happy hour prices run through the event. Call 602-274-0067 or visit the Changing Hands website. Amy Young

B-E-E-R.
B-E-E-R.
Courtesy of Valley Bar

Spelling Bee-r
Ever heard of a Spelling Bee-r? Let us define it for you. “Spelling Bee-r:” an event where you can relive your elementary school spelling bee days by competing against friends and other bargoers. Oh, and there’s lots of beer.

Competitors should brush up on spelling skills and beer terminology, and spectators should bring some extra cash for drink specials. Hosted by Brooksie, the competition will start at 8 p.m. on Thursday, January 18, at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue.

Email hautestew@gmail.com if you’d like to compete. Admission for the 21-and-over event is free. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

Maggie Smith
In August 2016, Maggie Smith captured the shock and zeitgeist surrounding the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando and the assassination of British politican Jo Cox with the title poem of her collection Good Bones. It became a viral sensation worldwide, and has since been translated into numerous languages, from French to Tamil. It earned Public Radio International’s “Official Poem of 2016” and was even read by Meryl Streep at the 2017 Academy of American Poets Gala at Lincoln Center.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, January 19, Arizona State University’s Virginia G. Piper Center of Creative Writing welcomes Smith for an intimate poetry reading and signing at the Piper Writers House, 450 East Tyler Mall in Tempe.

Admission is free, but space is limited and RSVPs are recommended. Smith’s poetry collections will be available for purchase. For more information or to RSVP, visit the Virginia G. Piper Center website or call 480-965-6018. Michael Senft

Meet fellow resisters during the Women’s March to the Polls: Phoenix.EXPAND
Meet fellow resisters during the Women’s March to the Polls: Phoenix.
Women’s March to the Polls.

Women’s March to the Polls: Phoenix
“We marched to resist, and now we much march to rise.” So reads the Facebook page for Women’s March to the Polls: Phoenix, a free event designed to elevate progressive voices, inspire women to run for public office, increase voter registration, and boost solidarity among those fighting for social justice. The march kicks off at 10 a.m. on January 21 at the Arizona State Capitol, 1700 West Washington Street.

In January 2017, about 20,000 people took part in the Women’s March in Phoenix, a local event tied to a massive march in Washington, D.C., meant to resist the policies of the newly elected president, Donald Trump. He’s still around, but so are fierce activists and thriving communities.

Go to the Capitol on Sunday to hear speakers address immigration, civil rights, wage equity, LBGTQ rights, environmental justice, disability rights, and ending violence. Then, stick around to march. Visit the Facebook event page. Lynn Trimble

Wax nostalgic over Pluto’s bygone planetary days at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.EXPAND
Wax nostalgic over Pluto’s bygone planetary days at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
Mary Shindell

“As Above”
Pluto lost its planetary status several years ago, but it’s still special in the eyes of Mary Shindell. The Phoenix artist has created a mixed-media installation exploring landscapes both within and beyond Earth’s solar system.

Titled “As Above,” it’s being shown in the North Gallery at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, 1 East Main Street. The free show focuses on “the Arizona terrain and our state’s economic impact on space exploration,” according to exhibition materials. Expect botanical elements, but also nods to Earth, Mars, and Pluto.

The exhibition, which reveals the beauty of geography and topology, is equally suited to math and art geeks. Hours on Sunday, January 21, are noon to 5 p.m., and the show’s on view through Sunday, April 8. While you’re there, make time to see other art shows at the museum. Visit the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum website. Lynn Trimble

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >