Top 5 Things to Do This Weekend

It's an active late-summer weekend for Phoenix as the Arizona Rattlers battle for an Arena Bowl title against the Sharks and local artists try to cool down and get creative by splashing about at The Firehouse's Colored Water Throwing Festival & Rain Dance.

If you're looking for some more thrills and chills, here are a few other ways to blow off steam this Friday through Sunday:  

Unicorn Art Mix @ CO+HOOTS

Spook experts argue that many kids can see ghosts and other otherworldly creatures, at least until adults hammer it in their heads that these things don't exist. But artist Jessica Marquis has the imagination -- and the guts -- to still believe in unicorns long after what's considered socially acceptable. In celebration of the release of her tongue-in-cheek training manual, Raising Unicorns: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Running a Successful - and Magical! - Unicorn Farm, Marquis is hosting a unicorn-themed art show this Friday night from 7-10 featuring stuffed unicorn dolls by Nina Miller, legendary illustrations from Kevin Hedgpeth and a robotic talking unicorn created by Max Cooper. Admission is free and proceeds from the sale of t-shirts, art and Musicorn CD benefit Sailbear Labs.   

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Street Fighter II Arcade Tournament @ Cade Gallery

While most gamers love the realistic motion and intense graphics of modern games, there was just something special about early arcade games like Street Fighter II. Call it the great gaming equalizer, but anyone capable of randomly wiggling joysticks and smashing the crap out of the console's buttons had a fair chance of biting on and electrocuting the competition as Blanka or Vega with a successive burst of Chun Li's flying kicks. But that cheater's method won't fly this Friday night from 7-10 p.m., when hardcore Street Fighter pros will go head-to-head in a best 2-out-of-3 round competition on the gallery's Championship Edition cabinet. Admission is free, and the winner takes home bragging rights and some geeky goodies.

SPLASH Pool Party @ The Lexington

Local promoter Psyko Steve has a talent for booking killer local bands for his weekly poolside bash at The Lexington, as evidenced by this Saturday night's lineup of Strange Young Things, Sun Ghost, and indie band Ladylike. For $5, you can lazily chill with your tootsies dangling in the water and dig the beats of DJ Hartbreaks while surveying the crowd of fellow hipsters with their big black glasses, worn threads and ironic, half-cocked smirks.

Fetish Heat 2011 @ The Venue Scottsdale
While most of us manage to hide our fetishes from co-workers and family, it's nice to be able to get your freak on amongst your own kind every once in a while. Let it all hang out (literally, if thongs and pasties are your thing) starting at 8 p.m. Saturday night as Horns & Halos presents their annual festival of debauchery and delight. DJs Mighty Mike Saga and Dark Mark will be rockin' the house alongside Mankind is Obsolete. And if you're still feeling a little self-conscious in a leather ring harness or nipple tape, suspension freaks and the SwingShift Sideshow will be on-hand to prove there's always someone willing to push the limits farther. Tickets are $25 at the door.      

SWAY Swagger Awards @ Copper Blues

Is DJ William Reed the Valley's most infamous socialite? Where's the best local coffee shop to telecommute from? In celebration of their fifth anniversary, LGBT-friendly SWAY events is giving out cheeky awards to PHX's trendiest people and places from 5-9 p.m. this Sunday. The voting's already over, but you can see which of the nominees scores an award, cheer for special "Super Swagger" winners including artist Rebecca Clark, FilmBar and Two Hippies' Founder Andy Goldstein, and throw back a few vodka tonics at intermission. Tickets are $10-25. And if you're still hoping to weigh in on local peeps, vote in our own Best of Phoenix awards to tell us who you think deserves a nod.

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