Al Madrigal @ Stand Up Live Al Madrigal is no stranger to Arizona, what with his coverage of Tucson's Mexican-American Studies Ban, SB 1070, and government gridlock. Now The Daily Show's senior Latino correspondent returns to the Valley with some breaking new comedy.
While many know Madrigal from his Comedy Central appearances, including his special Why is the Rabbit Crying?, the comedian/actor has also made appearances CBS' Welcome to the Captain and Gary, Unmarried, NBC's Free Agents, as well as The Tonight Show, Conan, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and Lopez Tonight. When he's not on stage or on television, Madrigal is making it to the airwaves with his All Things Comedy Network, which was founded by him and fellow comedian Bill Burr.
Al Madrigal's in town December 27 and 28 at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. on Friday and 7:00 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. on Saturday. To purchase tickets ($22) to the 21-and-over shows, visit www.standuplive.com or call 480-719-6100. -- Katie Johnson
Tougher Than Leather @ FilmBar Nowadays, we kind of accept that rap stars might pop up on the silver screen. For better or for worse, Drake and Nicki Minaj are fair game for stunt casting. When legendary group Run DMC made the 1988 flick Tougher Than Leather, which screens Friday, December 27, that wasn't the case.
Early forays into rappers-on-celluloid mostly had hip hoppers as part of the scenery or as a grab bag of cameos. Tougher Than Leather, in contrast, drops Run, DMC, and Jam Master Jay right into a blaxploitation plot where they take to the streets, guns blazing, to avenge a friend's death. While featuring lauded music performances from the trio, Slick Rick, and The Beastie Boys, the movie's box office failure proved that not everything touched by Rick Rubin, who co-wrote and directed, was gold.
Tougher Than Leather screens at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $9, and more info is at www.thefilmbarphx.com. Call 602-595-9187. -- Jose Gonzalez
Kadomatsu Workshop @ Japanese Friendship Garden The kadomatsu, or gate pine, is an arrangement of pine, bamboo, and plum blossom. It's a traditional decoration for Japanese New Year celebrations that, when placed on either side of a house's front entrance, wards off evil.
The pine in the arrangement represents strength, longevity, and youthful optimism, while the bamboo symbolizes resilience, uprightness, rapid growth, and filial piety. Though the plant leans in the wind, it doesn't break. Apricot or plum blossoms stand for steadfastness in adversity, since both plants bloom in the winter seasons. Traditionally, the arrangements are displayed through January 7.
You can make your own kadomatsu on Saturday, December 28, at the Japanese Friendship Garden, 1125 North Third Avenue. Kadomatsu workshops will begin at 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. and cost $20 for members or $25 for non-members. All materials are included. To reserve a spot, call 602-256-3204 or visit www.japanesefriendshipgarden.org. -- Lauren Saria
Bully Mammoth Holiday Show @ Tempe Center for the Arts The lull between Christmas and the New Year is a precarious time where mopeyness can creep in. Don't let your guard down. Instead, put your nervous system into the capable and hilarious hands of sketch comedians Bully Mammoth on Saturday, December 28.
Over the years, the Bully Mammoth crew (Christian Atkins, Ricky Brindley, Ryan Gaumont, Jessie Johnson, and Shawn Putnam) has built up a following by eschewing haphazard theatrics for focused, committed performances of sharp writing that balances silly and smart. BM's always had good word of mouth but now that it's teamed up with marketing master Denny Page, this weekend's show might be one of the last times to catch the troupe before it moves on to performing in arenas nationwide.
Bully Mammoth stampedes into the Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. The show's at 8 p.m., and general admission is $10, or $8 with a student ID. For info, visit www.bullymammoth.com. -- Jose Gonzalez
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Zoppé: Italian Family Circus @ Chandler Center for the Arts Their story began after a French street clown, Napoline Zoppe, fell in love with a ballerina -- a compelling entertainer in her own right -- while wandering around Budapest. The love was forbidden, like all good legends, and so, naturally, they fled to Italy in order to be together. But instead of joining the circus, they created one, and the Zoppe Family Circus was born.
More than 160 years later, the one-ring circus performs around the world in an intimate 500-seat tent. The show clocks in at a little over an hour and features acrobats, horses and of course, Nino the Clown -- an homage to the troupe's original ringleader.
The circus is in town at noon and 4 p.m. Sunday, December 29, at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Performances through Sunday, January 5. Other showtimes vary. Weekend tickets are $24-$34 for adults, $18-$28 for children. Call 480-782-2680 or visit www.chandlercenter.org. -- Janessa Hilliard