New Times picks the best things to do in metro Phoenix from March 28 to 31.
Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage
It was never just the allure of traveling through space, fist-fighting ugly aliens, and having sex with green women. It wasn’t just Kirk or Picard or Worf or even Seven-of-Nine. All those things drew us to Star Trek, sure, but it was the music of the series that underscored galactic journeys through a dozen movies and more than 700 episodes.
Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage features some of the greatest scores written for the franchise — from The Wrath of Khan to The Voyage Home, from the original series to Voyager — performed by a live symphony orchestra and acclaimed soloists as some of the most iconic Star Trek film and TV footage is beamed in high definition to a 40-foot wide screen.
Boldly go to Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 28, at Centennial Hall, 1020 East University Boulevard in Tucson. Tickets start at $25. Visit startrekultimatevoyage.com for more. Zach Fowle
Interested in sharpening your writing skills? Catch Natalie Goldberg when she visits the Valley to discuss her latest, The Great Spring: Writing Zen, and This Zigzag Life. It offers peaceful and practical approaches to creating interesting copy. She’ll also discuss her popular guide for writers, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer from Within. Break your literary chains at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 28, at Changing Hands, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. Book purchase is required for admission at $22.95 for her book The Great Spring and two seats, or $14.99 for Writing Down the Bones and two seats. Call 480-730-0205 or visit www.changinghands.com. Amy Young
Chris Chapman's Open Mic Night
It’s less talk, more rock during this open mic night. Well, acoustic, one-man-jam rock, that is. The Valley’s venue darling of the moment, The Rebel Lounge, is home to the ongoing series Chris Chapman’s Open Mic Night, which returns this week. Hosted by Brian Jennings (no, not that one), the evening encourages musicians of all talent and comfort levels to come, get onstage, and strike up a chord.
Sign-up begins at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, at The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road. Sets start shortly thereafter. It’s free to perform or attend. Drink specials are on tap for performers all night, while shot specials are available for all in attendance. (This is a 21-and-over shindig.) Call 602-296-7013 or visit www.therebellounge.com for more information. Janessa Hilliard
If you’ve been fortunate enough to attend concerts throughout the United States, you’ll know that scattered across our nation there are countless old theater halls, many of which are breathtakingly ornate and delightfully creepy. You also might have noticed that Arizona seems to be disproportionately unpopulated with them. If you want a rickety-floor, vaulted-ceiling concert experience in Chicago or San Francisco, take your pick. If you want a similar experience in Phoenix, you have one choice: the Orpheum Theatre.
If you haven’t yet paid a visit to downtown’s most notable old theater at 203 West Adams Street, do it for free. The theater’s very decent docents are offering free tours at noon and 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29. All ages are welcome. Visit www.phoenixconventioncenter.com or call 800-282-4842 for details. Rob Kroehler
Roy Orbison: One of the Lonely Ones
When award-winning filmmaker David Lynch needed a signature song to intensify the soundtrack of his 1986 psycho-noir film, Blue Velvet, he chose perfectly by plucking Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams.” It gave depth to the already bizarre flick.
Orbison’s voice was distinct, with a deep, dark, and powerful tone. His signature look featured black sunglasses that added to his generally mysterious air. The new documentary, Roy Orbison: One of the Lonely Ones presents new career insights, unseen performances, and interviews with peers and loved ones to explore a little of the crooner’s esoteric nature. The intrigue unravels from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, at Harkins Theatre Tempe Marketplace, 2000 East Rio Salado Parkway. Admission is free, and seating is first-come, first-served. Call 602-257-0335 or visit www.royorbisonfilm.eventbrite.com to get tickets. Amy Young
Of Mice and Men
If we mention a man who cares deeply about working people and is therefore suspected of communism, someone in particular might come to mind, especially this month. But we’re actually talking about Of Mice and Men author John Steinbeck, whose stories of migrant workers and poor folk alarmed some people because they were just too true, man.
During the Great Depression, our heroes George and Lennie drift onto a California ranch where their futures look alternately bright and crappy. The script contains mature language and themes, as one would expect. Softness, strength, innocence, cruelty, and the enduring power of friendship also factor in.
Opening night of the Phoenix run of Arizona Theatre Company’s production of the play is Thursday, March 31, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Showtime is 7:30 p.m., and performances continue through Sunday, April 17. Tickets run $39 to $68 at www.arizonatheatre.org or 602-256-6995. Julie Peterson
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Ari Shaffir is a racist, but he’s an amazing racist. The Amazing Racist, actually. It was under that name that Shaffir released YouTube shorts in which he pushed race relations to a rather absurd limit (in one video he dresses in KKK garb and screams “Go back to Africa!” at a Latino man). They are how he first made his mark on comedy, but he’s grown since then. Through nationwide stand-up appearances; his own podcast, Skeptic Tank; and a gig as host of Comedy Central’s storytelling/stand-up show, This Is Not Happening, he’s proven that he’s not only amazingly racist, but is also amazingly funny.
Catch Shaffir 8 p.m. Thursday, March 31, at the Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive in Tempe. Tickets are $20. Call 480-921-9877 or visit tempeimprov.com for more. Zach Fowle
Hardboiled Crime Club
If you’re like the most self-respecting Americans, you probably consider yourself well read despite the fact that you haven’t finished a novel since 12th grade. (If only perusing social media could be included in the aggregate of your cultural capital.) Well, walking the walk begins with a single step. And that step might just be joining a book club. What better way to revitalize your long lost love of reading than a little self-prescribed peer pressure?
Lucky for you, Scottsdale’s Poisoned Pen Bookstore, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard, hosts several book clubs, many of which require mingling with other individuals who have recently read the very same book, BS radars finely tuned. Pop in for the Hardboiled Crime Club’s monthly discussion at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 31. Visit www.poisonedpen.com or call 480-947-2974 for details. Rob Kroehler