The 10 Best Things I Saw in Metro Phoenix in 2014

A CONDER/dance member performs subtidal at Breaking Ground 2014.
A CONDER/dance member performs subtidal at Breaking Ground 2014.
Andrew Pielage

Oh, 2014, parting is such sweet sorrow. That's because it was a stellar year for art, dance, comedy, architecture, and all-around culture in metro Phoenix. In no particular order, these are the best things I saw.

See also: Phoenix Sky Harbor Artwork: A Viewing Guide

Breaking Ground 2014

Contemporary dance can be arduous and, honestly, kind of boring, but CONDER/dance's annual festival of movement is ideal both for fans of the style and for those who aren't necessarily taken with the seemingly loosey-goosey art form. Among my favorites at Breaking Ground 2014 were an expressive, prop-smart piece with juggled oranges from Kristopher Pourzal, who went on to be a Big Brain Award finalist, and an underwater-inspired piece, which featured a sculpture by Pete Deise and vintage bathing suits, choreographed by event organizer Carley Conder. Conder immersed attendees in dance, presenting performances outside Tempe Center for the Arts and throughout the lobby -- in addition to nearly 20 onstage. It was engaging and exciting and put a much-deserved spotlight on emerging Phoenix-area dancers.

Chelsea Peretti stopped in Phoenix last May.
Chelsea Peretti stopped in Phoenix last May.
Luke Fontana

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Chelsea Peretti

Thanks in no small part to Chelsea Peretti's role on Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine and her going "wolf mode" (a term Peretti uses for getting intense and typing in all caps on Twitter), the comedian's star is on the rise. That's partly why it was so cool to catch her set at Stand Up Live while she was on the road finalizing material for her Netflix special, One of the Greats. However, the finished special, shot in San Francisco, doesn't feature one of the most memorable moments of her Phoenix set: when she dissed a fellow New Times writer for wearing a straw boater hat to the show.

See also: Chelsea Peretti on Wolf Mode, Writing for Kroll Show, and Season Two of Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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