Fifty Shades of Felt takes the action to Boaty McBoathouse.EXPAND
Fifty Shades of Felt takes the action to Boaty McBoathouse.
courtesy of All Puppet Players

The Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Weekend

Looking to fill your weekend? Try watching carts fly at the Idiotrod, step back in time at the Arizona Renaissance Festival, or cheer on movers and shakers at the World Championship Hoop Dance Competition. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' website.

Fifty Shades of Felt
Fifty Shades Freed opens on Friday, February 9. Perched on St. Valentine’s knee, all we’re asking is an IMDb rating below 4 and ticket sales lower than Justice League’s. “Make it stop,” we murmur, unlike sufficient characters in the film series.

Happily, All Puppet Players opens Fifty Shades of Felt that same evening. Some of you have already seen this remarkable, handheld reimagining of the novel that reimagined another novel, but it always seems to return when we need it, like Girl Scout cookies. You’ll take the movie, and everything else, a lot less seriously afterward.

Showtime is 8 p.m. on Friday, February 9, at Playhouse on the Park, 1850 North Central Avenue. Performances continue through Saturday, February 24. Call 602-254-2151 or visit the Phoenix Theatre website for tickets — $26 for general admission or $55 for the VIP experience, a.k.a. an extra-good seat and cheap drinks. No humans younger than 17 will be admitted. Julie Peterson

Immigration meets love story in the film En Algun Lugar.
Immigration meets love story in the film En Algun Lugar.
Desperado Film Festival

Desperado LGBT Film Festival
For those tired of political rhetoric that bashes the LGBTQ community, there’s a way to flip the script. It’s the annual Desperado LGBT Film Festival, first launched in 2010. This year’s festival opens on Friday, February 9, at the Center for the Performing Arts on the Paradise Valley Community College campus, 18401 North 32nd Street. It continues through Sunday, February 11.

Friday’s lineup launches with a screening of En Algun Lugar (A Place to Be), a film that explores young love and U.S. immigration policies. An Arizona-based nonprofit called Diversity Leadership Alliance will present a panel discussion with local immigration officials after the 8 a.m. screening. It’s free, but preregistration is required.

At 7:30 p.m., the festival screens Heart, Baby! It’s the story of George Lee Martin’s journey through prison, boxing, and life. A cast member Q & A follows. Single film tickets are $10. Visit the Desperado LGBT Film Festival website. Lynn Trimble

Get vampy.
Get vampy.
Rose Torres/Scorpius Dance Theatre

Vampire Ball
Screw Valentine’s Day staples like corny teddy bears, heart-shaped chocolates, and stupid love notes. Bring on the blood, fangs, and drag queens. Have a very gothic Valentine’s Day at the Vampire Ball on Friday, February 9, at Club Palazzo’s Grand Ballroom, 710 North Central Avenue.

From 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., attendees can party with drag divas Stella Prince and Faris DuVal and dance the night away with music by DJs Betty BlackHeart and Self.Destrukt. Goth gear is encouraged; fangs are optional. Tickets to the 21-and-up event range from $24 to $29. For tickets and more information, visit the Vampire Ball website or call 602-734-5734. Lindsay Roberts

Valley Fever Country Music Show
In the early 1900s, the Spoke and Wheel restaurant was the location of the original Phoenix Country Club. On Friday, February 9, the Valley Fever Country Music Show will turn the Sunnyslope spot into a honky tonk, with performances from Brea Burns and The Boleros, The Tony Martinez Band, and August Manley’s Waylon Jennings Tribute Band.

A DJ set from Dana Armstrong, vintage finds from Rare Scarf and Retro Ranch, and an exhibit on the surrounding historic neighborhood are also on deck.

Giddy up at 8 p.m. at 8525 North Central Avenue. Admission is $5. For more information, visit the Spoke and Wheels website. Jason Keil

Wasted Ink Zine Distro's wares.
Wasted Ink Zine Distro's wares.
Melissa Fossum

Femme Fotale
With its newest photo book, Femme Fotale continues to encourage underrepresented women, including gender nonconforming and femme artists, to share personal experiences and insights about the current social and political climate.

The group will celebrate the release of Volume 5: Resistance, Resilience & Hope during a community potluck on Friday, February 9, at Wasted Ink Zine Distro, 2222 North 16th Street. The celebration will include a community art table, where artists can share two-dimensional work, along with a photo booth and potluck with vegetarian and meat dishes. The event runs from 7 to 10 p.m. and is free to attend. For more information, see the Femme Fotale website. Laura Latzko

The World Championship Hoop Dance Competition showcases hoop dancing from children, teens, and adults.EXPAND
The World Championship Hoop Dance Competition showcases hoop dancing from children, teens, and adults.
Courtesy of the Heard Museum

28th annual World Championship Hoop Dance Competition
In Native American hoop dancing, the hoops represent different stages and forms of existence and how they’re interconnected. Using between four and 50 hoops, dancers form designs such as animals, insects, or flowers.

Dancers ranging from younger than 5 to older than 40 will compete during the 28th annual World Championship Hoop Dance Competition at the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue, on Saturday and Sunday, February 10 and 11. During the contest, judges will look at the dancers’ technique, showmanship, and originality when determining the top winners in five divisions organized by age.

The event also will feature a procession of contestants from 20 different nations and music from DJ Shub of the Six Nations of the Grand River. The competition runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day and costs $18 for adults, $12 for museum members, $7.50 for children 4 to 12, and it’s free for children 3 and younger. Two-day passes are available for $30. For more information, call 602-252-8840 or go to the Heard Museum website. Laura Latzko

Idiots away!EXPAND
Idiots away!
Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix Idiotarod
Fair warning, Phoenicians: You might encounter gangs of costumed folks frantically pushing crazy-looking shopping carts around the downtown area this weekend. And some of them might be covered in silly string, adorned in wild outfits, or armed with water balloons.

Will it grab your attention? Most definitely. Should you be alarmed? Not at all, considering it’s just the running of the annual Phoenix Idiotarod. The urban shopping cart race and bar crawl will invade downtown once again on Saturday, February 10, and feature costumed teams of five or more people competing against each other.

Competing teams, each with its own wild theme, will start the race underneath the bridge at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1134 North Central Avenue, before hitting the streets and sidewalks during an afternoon of madcap action and colorful fun. Check-in begins at 11 a.m., and the race starts at noon. It’s $50 per team to participate or free to spectate. Visit the AZ Cacophony Society website for more info. Benjamin Leatherman

Girl group Hey Nunnie Nunnie vows to enhance the Arizona Renaissance Festival.EXPAND
Girl group Hey Nunnie Nunnie vows to enhance the Arizona Renaissance Festival.
Arizona Renaissance Festival

Arizona Renaissance Festival
A lot of folks focus on the food part of a festival. No shame in that. A sandwich that’s available only once a year is just as precious a memory as watching jousting, birds of prey, or frisky belly-dancers at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. You’ve heard of and/or sampled the cider, mead, and turkey legs (which are about optics more than history), but these days couscous, chocolates, portabellas, Italian sodas, and a bunch of other treats you can eat while walking around are on the menu as well.

Live music, lavish costuming, wacky entertainment, games and rides, and artful adornments and crafts continue through Sunday, April 1, at 12601 East U.S. Highway 60 (east of Apache Junction). Hours on opening day, Saturday, February 10, are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $14 to $24 and free for children younger than 5. Call 520-463-2700 for more information or visit the Renaissance Festival website. Julie Peterson

See Ann Morton and Bill Timmerman's first joint exhibition at Modified Arts.
See Ann Morton and Bill Timmerman's first joint exhibition at Modified Arts.
Ann Morton

“It’s Only Natural”
When married Phoenix artists Ann Morton and Bill Timmerman undertook summer travels last year, Timmerman snapped photographs throughout. Now, several of those photos are part of an exhibition called “It’s Only Natural” at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt Street. The free exhibition also features new works by Morton, a mixed-media fiber artist. Together, they tackle this question: What comprises the natural world?

They’ve worked side by side for decades, but this is the artists’ first joint exhibition. “Bill looks for ties between the built and unbuilt world, while Ann employs the serendipity of found objects and random experience,” according to exhibition materials. Take a look between noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 10. It’s your last chance to see the show. Visit the Modified Arts website. Lynn Trimble

Pod save Arizona.
Pod save Arizona.
Courtesy of Crooked Media

Pod Tours America
Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Vietor are some Crooked dudes. The foursome is part of the Crooked Media team and host the progressive political podcast, Pod Save America. Visiting as Pod Tours America, this crew doesn’t mince words when it comes to dissecting the daily news.

From speech writing to advising on communication strategies, each of these guys served as part of Barack Obama’s staff. Obama has been a guest on the show before, as have other political figures like Kamala Harris and Hillary Clinton. They’ll wax political at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 10, at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Remaining tickets start at $45. Call 602-379- 2800 or visit the Comerica Theatre website. Amy Young

The Willo Historic District is the largest historic district in Phoenix with more than 900 homes in the area.EXPAND
The Willo Historic District is the largest historic district in Phoenix with more than 900 homes in the area.

Willo Historic Home Tour and Street Fair
If you’ve been stalking the cool houses of the Willo neighborhood, Phoenix’s largest historic district, from afar, the Willo Historic Home Tour and Street Fair is a chance to get up-close and inside looks at these unique residences. Tudors, bungalows, Spanish revivals, and ranch houses are some of the architectural styles found in the neighborhood, which was built from the 1920s to the 1940s.

More than just an opportunity to ogle architecture and design, this family-friendly affair features a number of vendors who line the streets for your shopping pleasure, as well as kids’ activities, a beer and wine garden, and a classic car show.

The event turns 30 this year; celebrate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 11, at the Willo Historic District, between Thomas and McDowell roads and First and Seventh avenues. Tickets are $18; $5 drink tickets available. Visit the Willo neighborhood website. Amy Young

American Ninja Warrior Experience
Leave it to North Americans to make a TV show called American Ninja Warrior featuring very fit people in tight clothing showing off their athletic prowess in front of hundreds of cheering onlookers. C’mon, everyone knows real ninjas dig the draped look — and they most certainly carry out clandestine operations under cover of darkness. Nevertheless, the feats of agility performed by contestants on American Ninja do resemble those of the folkloric ninjas, albeit without the espionage and assassinations.

Fans of the program can get in on the action when American Ninja Warrior Experience brings the pain to Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium, 1 Cardinals Drive, on Sunday, February 11. The event begins at 8 a.m. and features plenty of family-friendly festivities for the spectator and aspiring ninja warriors alike. Tickets are $30 and up. Visit the American Ninja Warrior Experience website or call 623-433-7101 for details. Rob Kroehler

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