The 20 Best Things to Do This Week in Metro Phoenix

Changing Hands hosts a discussion about The Handmaid's Tale, which was recently adapted as a Hulu show.EXPAND
Changing Hands hosts a discussion about The Handmaid's Tale, which was recently adapted as a Hulu show.
George Kraychyk/Courtesy of Hulu

Look, Phoenix is an awesome place to live. No matter what some silly list says. (We are looking at you, U.S. News and World Report). Want proof? Here are 20 reasons — in the form of ways to spend your week in the Valley. Get nerdy with a Supernatural convention, experience the music and culture of Brazil, or enjoy an open-air screening of a rom-com. For more things to do, see our curated calendar of events.

The Handmaid’s Tale Discussion
Lots of literary fiction mirrors real life. Sometimes a novel is so relevant, it warrants a pop-up discussion.

Barbara VanDenburgh, host of Changing Hands’ First Draft book club and reporter for the Arizona Republic, leads a discussion of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The dystopian novel was published in 1985 and finds the former United States overrun by a theocracy that destroys human rights, particularly women’s. In that society, women couldn’t read this book or any others. And recent political events have Atwood’s book seeming less like fiction and more like a frightening possibility. Chat about it with members of the community at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. Admission is free, and the book is available for $21.99. Call 602-274-0067 or visit the Changing Hands website. Amy Young

See the dark side of the desert.EXPAND
See the dark side of the desert.
Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden’s Flashlight Tours
During the warmer months, many Arizona plants and animals are at their most active at night. The Desert Botanical Garden’s Flashlight Tours invite you to explore the desert as darkness falls. During the self-guided walks, attendees are encouraged to act as explorers, investigating trails with a flashlight to get an up-close look at the garden’s plant and animal life.

The tours take place from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays through Saturday, September 2, at 1201 North Galvin Parkway. They’re free for garden members, and nonmembers pay $24.95 for adults and $12.95 for children. Admission is free for children under 3. For more information, call 480-941-1225 or visit the Desert Botanical Garden website. Laura Latzko

Get double-teamed by Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan.
Get double-teamed by Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan.
Courtesy of Stand Up Live

Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan
If you were in a jam that required the help of law enforcement, officers Mac and Farva from the 2002 crime comedy Super Troopers probably wouldn’t be first on your to-call list.

But if you’re looking for a laugh, the actors who played those cop characters, Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan, are excellent choices. They’re members of the five-man comedy group Broken Lizard. Together, the troupe helped create that movie, as well as a slew of others, including the boozy Beerfest, Slammin’ Salmon, and the slasher comedy Club Dread.

At their live show, the pair entertain with stand-up comedy and share funny stories about their movie-making experiences. Get double-teamed by these partners in comedy at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Sets continue through Saturday, June 10. Admission is $22 for the 21-and-over event, where seating is first-come, first-served. A two-drink minimum is required. Call 480-719- 6100 or  visit the Stand Up Live website. Amy Young

An entire convention dedicated to Supernatural? Real.
An entire convention dedicated to Supernatural? Real.
CW

Official Supernatural Convention
Fantasy horror show Supernatural is big on shocking moments. Just ask longtime fans who’ve endured all the heart-stopping surprises that have punctuated the adventures of brothers Sam and Dean Winchester as they’ve hunted for demons, ghosts, and other paranormal beings over 12 seasons.

Despite being used to shock and awe by now, local fans of the show were probably gobsmacked when Creation Entertainment announced its touring Official Supernatural Convention would pay one final visit to the Valley this weekend. They’ve saved the best for last, however. The three-day event, which runs from Friday, June 9, through Sunday, June 11, at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel, 9495 West Coyotes Boulevard, will feature more folks from the show than in previous years. Actors like Misha Collins, Mark Sheppard, Julian Richings, Kim Rhodes, and, of course, lead actors Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, are all scheduled to appear and interact with fans at the con. Daily admission is $40 to $110 and weekend passes are $199 to $1,550. Autographs and photo ops cost extra. Hours vary.See the official website. Benjamin Leatherman

Cinematography is apparently a sin in The Burning Hell, one of the boffo flicks featured in The Unfathomable Jesus Freakout!
Cinematography is apparently a sin in The Burning Hell, one of the boffo flicks featured in The Unfathomable Jesus Freakout!
Courtesy of The Unfathomable Film Freakout

The Unfathomable Jesus Freakout!
Last month, FilmBar tried to screen The Unfathomable Jesus Freakout! and the projector lamp failed. If you’re willing to brave the supernatural forces that swirl around this fiery, brimstone-infused compilation from the folks at The Unfathomable Film Freakout, it’s rescheduled for Friday, June 9. In these relentless clips from the not sufficiently distant past, plenty of irreverent hippies are shown the light, while somebody has an inexplicable hard-on for ninjas, who are apparently among the insidious enemies ruining Christianity for the rest of us.

It’s hard to describe (fortunately, there’s a YouTube trailer), but imagine dozens of Jack Chick tracts, in vivid color and with impassioned yelling. Keep your fiends close and your animus closer starting at 10 p.m. at 815 North Second Street. Admission is $7. See the Film Bar website. Julie Peterson

Anderson Cooper and longtime pal Andy Cohen are coming to Phoenix for a chat.
Anderson Cooper and longtime pal Andy Cohen are coming to Phoenix for a chat.
lev radin / Shutterstock, Inc.

AC2: An Intimate Evening With Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen
At first glance, you might not think journalist Anderson Cooper, the CNN anchor recently caught rolling his eyes in Kellyanne Conway’s direction, and Andy Cohen, the host of Bravo’s late-night talk show Watch What Happens, have much in common. But nearly two decades ago, before he became a best-selling author and producer of The Real Housewives television series, Cohen worked alongside Big Brother host Julie Chen as a journalist for CBS News. Around the same time, Cooper hosted his own reality show for the ABC Network called The Mole, and several years later would have his own self-titled daytime talk show.

Times have changed for the better. Titled AC2: An Intimate Evening With Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen, the two friends get together at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street, on Friday, June 9, to dish about pop culture and current events. Tickets start at $58.50. For more information, visit the Comerica Theatre website. Jason Keil

See "Shapes of the Desert" at Vision Gallery.EXPAND
See "Shapes of the Desert" at Vision Gallery.
Elizabeth Pfeiffer

“Exposures”
Phoenix artist Ann Morton has created some powerful works in recent years, including a post-presidential election piece. It’s a dainty white hankie with red and blue embroidery that says: “We are fucked.” But now she’s turned her eye to textile arts by other artists, serving as juror for an exhibition of textile arts titled “Exposures.”

It’s happening at two Chandler locations: Vision Gallery, 10 East Chicago Street, and Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. You can see the free exhibitions, featuring works by dozens of Arizona fiber artists, on Friday, June 9, when both gallery locations are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the Vision Gallery website. Lynn Trimble

Intimacy and isolation keep uneasy company in Reasons to Be Pretty.
Intimacy and isolation keep uneasy company in Reasons to Be Pretty.
Layne Racowsky

Reasons to Be Pretty
Playwright Neil LaBute is famous for having created a trilogy of plays whose male characters treat female characters like shit, based largely on their looks. While that raw milieu may not be your cup of kombucha, the plays’ ideas serve a constructive function in our world. In the concluding script, Reasons to Be Pretty, the crappy behavior does get distributed more equitably by gender, and the complexities of both friendship and romance get walked around the track. Plus there is humor aplenty, and the dialogue feels entirely real.

Mesa Encore Theatre closes its inaugural Black Box Season with a staging through Sunday, June 18, at 933 East Main Street. Tickets are $15. Showtime on Friday, June 9, is 7:30 p.m. Visit the Mesa Encore Theatre website or call 480-834-9500. Julie Peterson

Shop locally 'till you drop.
Shop locally 'till you drop.
The Duce

Pineapple Triangle
For those who live for shopping local, the Pineapple Triangle is bringing over 50 Arizona-based vendors to the Duce for a day of shopping, eating, and listening to music. Every item available at the pop-up was made in Arizona with an exclusively Phoenix vibe, and 20 percent of all purchases made at the event will benefit local nonprofits.

So go ahead, shop until you drop on Saturday, June 10, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission is $8. For more information, visit the Pineapple Triangle website or the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

See Sparks fly as the Mercury takes on the 2016 WNBA Champions.EXPAND
See Sparks fly as the Mercury takes on the 2016 WNBA Champions.
Barry Gossage/Phoenix Mercury

Phoenix Mercury v. L.A. Sparks
A regular season game is one thing. Facing the reigning champions is another. It cranks the determination to defeat up a few notches.

We’ll see what happens when the Phoenix Mercury hit the court to take on the L.A. Sparks — the team that won the WNBA championship last October. Their spotlight player that night was Nnkea Ogwumike, who scored 23 of the winning points.

The Mercury are having a decent season so far, winning half of their 10 games. Their recent victory against the Dallas Wings found them finishing with an impressive 107-65. And though they didn’t beat the New York Liberty, it was a narrow win for the East Coast team, thanks to an impressive third-quarter steal and 11 points scored by Leilani Mitchell.

The basketball battle begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Tickets are $27.26 and up. Visit the Mercury website. Amy Young

Read on for more of the best things to do this week.



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