Your weekend? It's already planned. Here are the top five things to do in and around Phoenix.
Doug Fine @ Changing Hands A new crop of "ganjaprennuer" is growing out of this country's flowering legal acceptance of cannabis. As states pass legislation allowing medical marijuana and even decriminalization, pro-pot activists are finding their once-lofty dreams of legalization a reality.
Enter Doug Fine: goat farmer, NPR contributor, and author of Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution. Fine comes to Changing Hands this week for a cannabis-filled (not -fueled) conversation and book-signing.
Too High chronicles pot's journey from farm to patient in Mendocino County, California, which decriminalized marijuana in 2000 and has made headlines for its Zip-tie program, allowing permits for medicinal growers. Throughout his book, Fine explores the merits of a cannabis-based economic plan and extrapolates on the imminent end of the Drug War, which he calls "the longest and most destructive war in American history."
Fine speaks at 7 p.m. Friday, July 19, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. Admission is free and the book ($16 paperback, $26 hardcover) will be available for purchase. Call 480-730-0205 or visit www.changinghands.com. -- Janessa Hilliard
Richard Lewis @ Stand Up Live If your glass is typically half empty rather than half full, and you're more likely to take the cynical, sarcastic side of the everything, pointing out and embracing life's inequities as if they were your own just for a sympathetic nod, then an evening with Richard Lewis, the perpetually pessimistic stand-up comic, should improve your feeling of self-worth. Lewis has made a long career of making others feel good by being seemingly besieged with troubles of his own. Though this is his shtick, Lewis did battle with drug and alcohol addiction -- his coping method for stage fright -- before sobering up in the late 1990s. Yet, being on stage has always been his therapy, and might just mimic your own.
Get some cheap psychiatric help with Lewis 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Friday, July 19, at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Performances continue through Saturday, July 20. Tickets are $22, and there's a two-drink minimum. Call 480-719-6100 or visit www.standuplive.com. -- Glenn BurnSilver
Splash Mob 5K @ Big Surf Getting up early to run a 5K is probably the last thing on an average person's mind in the middle of July. Granted, 3.1 miles isn't that bad, but staying cool at home sounds much more appealing. Fortunately, Splash Mob isn't your typical 5K. This family-friendly waterpark run keeps participants cool with the "splashers," a team of folks who are armed with water balloons and Super Soakers, ready to hit any and all unsuspecting "dashers." Kids 12 and under can serve as splashers, but everyone else is encouraged to dash. The event benefits Children First Academy, which helps homeless and disadvantaged kids.
Cool off at 7 a.m. Saturday, July 20, at Big Surf, 1500 North McClintock Drive in Tempe. Late race registration is $40 plus a food donation; splashers pay $11 and get a free Big Surf day pass. Visit www.splashmob5k.com. -- Melissa Fossum
Belgian Independence Day @ World of Beer You might not know it, but we owe a lot to the Belgians. We can thank them for excellent chocolate, delicious waffles, and, above all, beer. We're not really into the history or politics behind Belgian Independence Day, but it sounds like a great excuse to show our appreciation for the styles, strains, and techniques of Belgian brews - by drinking. A lot.
World of Beer, 526 South Mill Avenue in Tempe, will host the celebration with a selection of rare Belgian-style beers including Struise Cuvee Delphine, Struise Pannepot Reserva, and Dieu du Ciel! Rigor Mortis Abt. To accompany all those suds, they'll have the beer-inspired eats of Chandler's Travelling Monk food truck, which will offer a Belgian-inspired menu for the event.
Raise a glass for Belgian Independence Day Celebration on Saturday, July 20, from noon to 2 p.m. There's no cover. For more information call 480-638-2337 or visit www.facebook.com/events/527930247250038. -- Lauren Saria
The Artist Arcade @ Phoenix Art Museum It's hard to improve on the simple joy of finding a vintage, upright arcade game in an unexpected spot, but the artists who contributed work to last February's exhibition "The Artcade Show" certainly did. Their powered-up custom cabinet graphics both draw from and bolster the simple but addictive gameplay housed inside, and they're all on display at Phoenix Art Museum Saturday and Sunday, July 20 and 21.
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Ariel Bracamonte and Nico Paredes originally curated the cadre of local artists to create eye-popping work for the show, which respawns in conjunction with the continuing exhibition "The Art of Video Games." Such still-playable games as Altered Beast and Double Dragon plus Tetris and Frogger got makeovers from an army of artists including El Mac, Lalo Cota, and Noelle Martinez.
The Artist Arcade sprites up at the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. Participation is free with the general admission of $15. Visit www.phxart.org or call 602- 257-1222 for more details. -- Jose Gonzalez