19 Best Things to Do This Week in Metro Phoenix
Enter know man's land.
Need plans, Phoenix? You've got an array of choices this week, including playwright James E. Garcia's 1070, Phoenix Art Museum's Pride Day, and the crowning of a new Miss Gay Arizona America. Have at it. For more things to do, visit our curated calendar.
Geeks Who Drink
Maybe your mind is a vault and it’s full of facts that seem invaluable. While your mental tidbits collection might not contain life-saving information, it still could win you cash and prizes.
At Geeks Who Drink, a pub trivia event styled after versions in Ireland and the U.K., teams compete in groups of six or fewer. The quizzes cover subject matter from celebrities to bad television. There’s two audio rounds, and a third that features soundbites from TV and movies.
The competition is peppered with opportunities to win free pints, which for some is better than cash awards. Show what you know from 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, June 22, at Bonus Round, 24 West Camelback Road, Suite DE. Admission is free. Visit the Bonus Round Facebook page. Amy Young
Ashley White Jackson and Vinny Chavez demonstrate that the Nile is, in fact, a river in Egypt, in Aida.
Nick Woodward-Shaw Event Photography
The performing arts have so many adaptations, homages, and “inspired by”s that it’s mildly shocking to realize Giuseppe Verdi pulled the plot of his opera Aida entirely out of thin air. But you still need not experience the original. Subsequent riffs exist, the best-known being Sirs Elton John and Tim Rice’s mega-musical Aida, continuing through Saturday, July 1, at Gilbert’s Hale Centre Theatre.
We’re glad Disney didn’t push its original plan to animate this story. Maybe there are child-friendly ways to depict poisoning, clandestine love, war, slavery, and horrible death, but flopping down in the family room to watch a cartoon version would be all kinds of wrong. On stage, though, kids and adults will enjoy flashy costumes, dancing, and a moving score that ranges widely among genres.
Showtime on Thursday, June 22, is 7 p.m. at 50 West Page Avenue. Tickets are $18 to $30 at 480-497-1181 or
Hale Theatre website. Julie Peterson
Phoenix Poetry Slam
Remember the beatniks? You know, the ’60s-style precursors to today’s coffee-shop hipsters who consumed poetry like it was necessary for life. Now, it’s your turn. So practice your snaps and get to Megaphone Phoenix, 4700 North Central Avenue, #112, for the Phoenix Poetry Slam.
This month, 10 competitors will be competing for a $50 cash prize. The slam begins at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 22. Tickets will be available on the Lawn Gnome website for $8. For more information,
Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts
See work by Sean Deckert as Tilt Gallery revisits some its 2017 highlights.
“Highlights of the Year”
Instant replays happen all the time in sports arenas, but not so much in art galleries. Typically, if you skip an exhibition, you can forget about seeing the artwork it included. But that’s not always the case at Tilt Gallery, 7077 East Main Street in Scottsdale, which specializes in photographs created with historical techniques and alternative processes.
The gallery is bringing back some of its recent favorite photographs and other works of art for a free exhibition titled “Highlights of the Year.” Check it out during Scottsdale ArtWalk, between 7 and 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 22. The show includes work by Casebeer, Sean Deckert, and Anna Strickland, to name a few. Several artists will be on hand that night to talk with gallerygoers. Visit the Tilt Gallery website. Lynn Trimble
Get crafty with it.
Just because it’s called a rave doesn’t mean dancing, DJs cranking speedy beats, or mood-enhancing drugs are involved.
The Craft Rave is an event that happens over the span of several hours, much like a traditional rave, but it’s for those who dig the creation of handmade goods. Spend five hours with several area makers and get your own hands involved in their processes. The mix of crafters and their projects includes Lauren Theony of Lately Press, with handmade envelopes, postcards, and mailing labels, as well as Mark Christopher with a metal alcohol ink necklace. There’s also live music and refreshments.
Unleash your inner artisan from 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday, June 23, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. Admission is $5 per person, and admission includes a chance to win a gift basket. Buy one to five $5 tickets to participate in a crafter’s hands-on project. Call 602-274-0067 or visit the Changing Hands website. Amy Young
Martha Hernandez performing in a previous Beta Dance Festival.
Phoenix Center for the Arts
Beta Dance Festival
Maybe you’re always on the move, too busy to get out and see much dance. That’s where dance festivals come in handy, because they offer the chance to see several dance companies at once. Next up is the Beta Dance Festival, which includes performances by more than a dozen metro Phoenix dance groups. Some, including CONDER/dance, are well-known. But others are emerging, which means you’ll likely be seeing them for the very first time. The lineup also includes CaZo Dance and Nicole L. Olson.
Opening night is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 23. The festival takes place at Phoenix Center for the Arts’ Third Street Theater, 1202 North Third Street. Tickets are $15. Visit Phoenix Center for the Arts website. Lynn Trimble
Hear artists explore the role of art in activism at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Reality TV puts total strangers in weird settings, and then challenges them to be the sole survivor not voted off the show. But in real life, survival is sometimes a matter of keeping people together instead of tearing them apart. That’s just what a family at the heart of a play by James E. Garcia tries to do, even in the face of social and political obstacles.
Garcia’s 1070 explores the implications of SB 1070, an Arizona anti-immigrant law enacted in 2010. The play also addresses the law’s ripple effects in and beyond Arizona. It’s being presented by New Carpa Theater Company, a nonprofit founded by Garcia in 2002 that presents works by emerging and established Latino artists.
Be the first to see it on opening night, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 23. It’s being performed at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. General admission tickets start at $20.
Visit the Herberger Theater website. Lynn Trimble
Lisa Olson's the woman behind Practical Art.
Agnes Art & Photo
Charity Pie Night
Giving back to your community doesn’t have to involve a formal event or auction. At Practical Art, for instance, fundraising is all about homemade pie. During the shop’s monthly Charity Pie Night from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 23, you can support Planned Parenthood Arizona while enjoying a slice.
For a $5 donation, you’ll get a slice of pie made by local baker Karen Olson of Vonceil’s Pies. You can indulge in all the tastings your sweet tooth can handle for $10. All donations and 10 percent of sales will go to the nonprofit organization. The shop is located at 5070 North Central Avenue. To find out more, call 602-264-1414 or go to
the Practical Art website. Laura Latzko
Explore the intersection of sculpture, video, and insects at ASU Art Museum’s Project Space.
ASU Art Museum
We’re starting to notice a trend here. Recently, a Phoenix dance company performed a piece about insect sex. Now, insects from ASU’s natural history collection are part of a free exhibition called “Muere Vivo.” But never fear: The show also includes sculpture and video created by Mexican artist Gabriel Rico. He’s the first artist-in-residence to create work here through a new artist exchange program that will also send Arizona artists to Mexico.
See “Muere Vivo” from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday June 23, at the ASU Art Museum Project Space, 821 North Third Street. Then pop over to the ASU Art Museum in Tempe some other day, to explore more of Rico’s work in an exhibition called “Dead, Dead, Live, Dead.”
Visit ASU Art Museum website. Lynn Trimble
Summer Solstice Swimsuit Ride
If you enjoy your biking in your bathing suit, then you’re in for quite a ride. A bike ride, that is. Grab your new swimsuit and join the Tempe Bicycle Action Group for its annual Summer Solstice Swimsuit Ride. The ride will stop at various pools and fountains in Tempe. And if you were wondering: Yeah, you probably aren’t technically allowed in the fountains, but that’s part of the fun.
The group will meet at 2 p.m. at Jaycee Park, 799 West Fifth Street in Tempe, and will roll out at 2:30. A post-ride after-party will take place at Tapacubo. Participation in this wet and wild ride is free.
For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts
Musical Icons: Johnny Cash and June Carter
When Johnny Cash met June Carter in 1955, she’d been performing since the age of 10 and was more than a match for Cash. Their musical careers were pure dynamite, and their 2003 deaths feel like last week.
To honor Carter’s June 23 birthday, the Musical Instrument Museum hosts Musical Icons: Johnny Cash and June Carter on Saturday, June 24, and Sunday, June 25, including team trivia, guitar and autoharp mini-lessons, The Johnny Cash Show screenings, a photo booth, caricaturist, and floor pianos (mostly just for fun), and displays of instruments, costumes, and other memorabilia.
Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4725 East Mayo Boulevard. Admission is $10 to $20, with children younger than 4 admitted free. Call 480-478-6000 or visit the MIM website. Julie Peterson
Let your inner child take over.
Arizona Toy Con
Toys aren’t just for kids anymore. Sure, Saturday Night Live mocked aging Star Wars fanboys (and, by extension, all of nerdom) for meticulously hoarding geeky plastic playthings, but the fact remains that enjoyment of toys isn’t limited to a specific age range. Hence the reason while you’ll see both grownups and kids alike at this weekend’s Arizona Toy Con at the Glendale Civic Center, 5750 West Glenn Drive.
The one-day event, which takes place on Saturday, June 24, will feature dozens of vendors and collectors displaying and selling scores of action figures, vehicles, and playsets, ranging from classics like Shogun Warriors and Kenner-era Star Wars toys to more modern stuff like Funko Pop! dolls. Heck, you might even spy a few gems, like a circa-1976 Muhammad Ali action figure made by Mego. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10. Call 480-442-1117 or see AZ Toy Con website. Benjamin Leatherman
The eponymous Tommy Cannon: Action Figure lights up the Torch.
Jose Gonzalez/The Torch Theatre
Tommy Cannon: Action Figure
We don’t recall having teachers who were improv comedians, puppeteers, or comics artists in their downtime. But then, we probably wouldn’t tell our students if we were, either. One can handle only so much idolatry. Anyhow, schoolteacher Tommy Cannon is all those things, a Catherine wheel who spins onto center stage in a show called Tommy Cannon: Action Figure, wrapping up a limited run at The Torch Theatre on Saturday, June 24. With costume-wearing audience members (like you) and a playset-like world that you can help create with your mad drawing skills, the evening ventures to territory way beyond suggesting a place and occupation.
Embrace your inner weird kid at 8 p.m. at 4721 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $10. Call 602-456-2876 or visit the Torch Theatre website. Julie Peterson
Iron Boy 40
In boxing, hand-eye coordination, footwork, balance, stamina, and technique all play critical roles in a fighter’s ability to succeed. The Iron Boy 40 professional boxing event at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, will test the skills of local boxers from different parts of Arizona, as they go head-to-head in such classes as super welterweight, bantamweight, welterweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. The event will spotlight internationally known fighters including heavyweight BJ Flores, flyweight Adrian “Sharky” Servin, and super welterweight Daniel “El Chapulin” Valdivia.
The fight starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, and tickets range from $30 to $55. For more information, call 602-267-1600 or go to the Iron Boy Boxing website. Laura Latzko
Miss Gay AZ is a pic of last year's winner, Savannah Stevens
Miss Gay Arizona America
At the annual Miss Gay Arizona America competition, it’s the contestants that are fierce. How could they not be with the theme “Bond: Excellence is Forever”?
This female impersonation pageant advances the winner to Miss Gay America in New Orleans next October to battle it out with other regional victors for the rights to the 2018 crown. Locals Olivia Gardens, Bianca Solei, Allonna Dee, Krisstina Fatale, and Claudia B. compete for the highest cumulative score in five categories: male interview, evening gown, presentation, on-stage question, and talent.
The James Bond theme especially is celebrated in the presentation category, where contestants impersonate their favorite Bond spy/villain. The glamorous night stars Savannah Stevens, Miss Gay Arizona America 2016, and features Suzy Wong, Miss Gay America 2017. The spectacular shindig starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. Admission is $20. Call 480-350-2822 or visit the Miss Gay Arizona America website. Amy Young
Clayton Caufman co-stars in The Pledge.
Courtesy of Brelby Theatre Company
When characters in a play perform magic, it’s a chance to lure magic aficionados into a theater audience, and it’s also an opportunity to turn theater buffs into magic fans. (Poof!) We won’t say which is more challenging, but it’s the second one. Magic is quite the love/hate discipline.
Speaking of which, Brelby Theatre Company presents a story about two people who happen to be magicians married to each other in The Pledge, continuing through Saturday, July 1. Natty and David live and work side by side until one cuts the other out of the stage act. See what that does to the home act at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, at 7154 North 58th Drive in Glendale. Tickets are $15 at the Brelby website or 623-282-2781. Julie Peterson
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
No need for concern, No-Majs. (That’s the American term for the magically disinclined.) The Scottsdale Public Library’s presentation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is not a lecture on Newt Scamander’s textbook for wizards. Rather, it’s a screening of the film based on the fictional author’s adventures in 1920s New York City. His study of mystical creatures takes a turn for the worse when a misplaced case sets off a war between wizards and the extremists who believe magic is a threat to their way of life.
Wave your wands on Monday, June 26, at 6 p.m. at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 North Drinkwater Boulevard. Admission is free. Visit the Scottsdale Library website or call 480-312-7323 for details. Jason Keil
Arizona Diamondbacks can’t seem to lose at home.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. St. Louis Cardinals
The Arizona Diamondbacks can’t seem to lose at home. There are the reasonable explanations for this unexpected but welcome trend: solid pitching, strong offense, and hearty support from Valley fans. Some observers have more creative rationales for the team’s MLB-best record. Maybe there is something magical in the freon being piped into Chase Field, or perhaps the fan who dutifully waves her flags atop the infield reserve seats is actually using those banners to distract the home plate umpire.
Try to spot the clues when the St. Louis Cardinals come to town at 6:40 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27, at 401 East Jefferson Street. Tickets are $16 and up. Visit the Diamondbacks website or call 602-514-8400 for details. Jason Keil
What's up with that?
Courtesy of Valley Bar
Seinfeld, the infinitely popular TV show about absolutely nothing, sure left us with a new vocabulary and a lot to talk about, like low-talkers, close-talkers, anti-dentites, manziers, and mimbos.
If you know what any, or all, of those terms mean, or have the intricacies of characters Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer’s lives burned into your memory, you’ll want to throw down during Seinfeld Trivia. The competition for prizes and bragging rights is hosted by Emily The Lewis. DJ Shane Kennedy provides music. Enjoy $1 off cans of craft beer. Sign-ups start at 7 p.m. in the Rose Room. The trivia throwdown that is real and spectacular begins promptly at 8 on Tuesday, June 27, at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. Admission is free. Visit the Valley Bar website. Amy Young
Open Voice: Pride Day Event
You’ll recall the Phoenix Pride Festival being held in April, but if we’re being technical, June is actually LGBTQ+ Pride Month (and the anniversary of Manhattan’s 1969 Stonewall riots). Holding the parade earlier is totally weather-related, and it’s probably why events held during Pride Month proper tend to take place in air-conditioned environments — like Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue.
PAM is hosting the Open Voice: Pride Day Event, when local artists, community members, and museum staff gather for informal discussions on personal identity and, of course, art starting at 5 p.m. on June 28. The public event is part of the #freeafterthree Wednesday programming, meaning general admission and the event are free from 3 to 9 p.m. — though donations are appreciated.
For more information, call 602-257-1880 or see the Phoenix Art Museum website. Lauren Cusimano
401 E. Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004-2438
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