Believe it or not, St. Patrick's Day has more to offer than green beer. Similarly, Phoenix has more ways for you to spend this weekend than just St. Patrick's Day parties. Here's a look at this weekend's cheap happenings, and each one costs $16 or less. Which means more money for beer that's green, or for other awesome events in metro Phoenix.
St. Patrick's Day
Aside from pubs and workplace parties where Mary’s hunter green sweater is clashing with a lime-colored skirt, you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 2017 at the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library, 1106 North Central Avenue.
That’s where you’ll find educational offerings like genealogy displays, a “Ceili” or social dancing workshop, a 1916 commemoration exhibit, a Celtic authors table, and primers for learning to speak Irish. There will also be a full cash bar, food for purchase from the cooks in the kitchen, and rowdy stuff like sing-a-longs, Irish and Scottish dance, and scavenger hunts.
Festivities at the Irish Cultural Center run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, March 17. A ticket is $10, or get three for $25. Buy tickets early to be entered for a $100 gift certificate to a local pub, an annual family membership to the center, or a trip to Ireland. Call 602-258-0109 or see the Irish Cultural Center website. Lauren Cusimano
Spark! Mesa's Festival of Creativity
We live in an age of such overstimulation that you’d think inspiration would come easy. Typically, that’s not the case. But this weekend, the East Valley has a little something that might kick start your creative flow.
Spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity is an immersive arts experience that includes work by Arizona creatives. This annual event features installations, musical performances, live art-making, and demonstrations where diverse projects and performances are brought to life. Highlights include Kyllan Manney’s Homage to Yayoi Kusama, a large-scale tribute to the Japanese artist, and We Are All Musical, Evan Tobias’ interactive music area. Find your inspiration from noon to 10 p.m. on Friday, March 17, at Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street. Admission is free, and festivities continue through Saturday, March 18. Call 480-644-6560 or visit Mesa Arts Center's website. Amy Young
Spring Plant Sale
Even if you have a proverbial “green thumb,” having the right plant is key — especially in Arizona. During the Desert Botanical Garden’s Spring Plant Sale at 1201 North Galvin Parkway, experts are on hand to advise you on what succulent, monarch butterfly nectar or host plant, cactus, bare-root plant, shrub, perennial, or groundcover best fits your gardening or landscaping needs.
The sale is open to garden members only from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 17. But nonmembers are invited to shop from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 18, and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 19. Shoppers can expect to find discount plants for less than $1 and collector plants costing around $3,500. But most offerings will be available for $8 to $30, and there’s no charge for admission to the sale. Visit the Desert Botanical Garden website or call 480-941-1225. Laura Latzko
Whatever your weekend routine, it’s probably time to mix it up a bit. And Art Detour, the annual art walk designed to showcase the local arts scene, makes it a no-brainer. Just show up at one of five trolley stops on Saturday, March 18, and you can make your way to all sorts of interesting art spaces, from galleries and museums to artist studios, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. There’s even an intriguing after-hours lineup, with live music and performances.
Saturday’s highlights include live painting, Taiko drumming, letterpress printing, neon art, an interactive digital public art projection, and an ambient performance by Katharine Leigh Simpson.
Art Detour is presented by Artlink, in partnership with the city of Phoenix and Downtown Phoenix Inc. The event is free, but cash comes in handy for food trucks, pedicabs, and little splurges on art. Visit the Art Detour website for trolley stops and event details. Lynn Trimble
Brian Jabas Smith Book-Signing
It’s nothing short of awesome — in the truest sense of the word — when people make it back from the throes of addiction. It’s an extremely rough road to go down with a journey back that’s often substantially harder. We are certainly glad writer Brian Jabas Smith took the round-trip ticket.
That is only one part of a much-lived life. He’s fronted a rock band and is an award-winning journalist who’s been an editor here at New Times and at Detroit Metro Times. Currently at Tucson Weekly, Smith visits the Valley with Spent Saints, a collection of interconnected short stories that explore life’s rougher edges, like addiction, lost hopes and dreams, suicidal ideations, and heartbreak. Smith will read from the book, and the event will include a live musical performance and a screening of short films based on the book’s stories.
Get a dose of hard living at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 19, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. Admission is free, and the book costs $15.99. Call 602-274-0067 or visit the Changing Hands website. Amy Young
Sutra in the City
If you think you know how a typical yoga studio looks, you don’t know Sutra in the City. This traveling yoga series pops up in a variety of creative businesses, neighborhoods, and hidden nooks throughout the city, so you can go with the flow all over Phoenix. On Sunday, March 19, it’s time to “be a rebel” when Sutra in the City takes over the Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road, starting at 9:30 a.m. Zen out to the serene sounds of acoustic indie duo FOXHEART as they play live during a dynamic vinyasa set. And after a 30-minute meditation session, stick around for the yoga after-party, because it’s a Sunday Funday after all. Tickets are $15 and available through Sutra's website. Evie Carpenter
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How can you look at a star-lit sky and not think of Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss (used to great effect in 2001: A Space Odyssey) or Gustav Holst’s classical suite The Planets? Maybe you hear the cosmic echo of your favorite John Williams film score. Now you can take your stargazing to Symphony Hall, where the Phoenix Symphony brings the heavens indoors for their Space Spectacular. The astronomical experience combines these classical favorites, along with the movie themes from Apollo 13 and Star Wars, with NASA images and videos projected above the orchestra.
Space Spectacular takes off at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 19, at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street. Tickets start at $11. Visit the Phoenix Symphony website or call 602-495-1999. Jason Keil