Best Phoenix Events Oct. 17-23: Comicon Fan Fest, Amy Schumer, Govt 101 | Phoenix New Times

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10 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix, October 17 to 23

Phoenix, Halloween's nearly here. And we've already given you plans for that weekend, ways to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, and a guide to some of the Valley's scariest haunted houses. What more could you possibly want? Plans for this week? Oh... actually, that's easy. From a Hitchcockian geekout and...
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Phoenix, Halloween's nearly here. And we've already given you plans for that weekend, ways to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, and a guide to some of the Valley's scariest haunted houses. What more could you possibly want? Plans for this week? Oh... actually, that's easy. From a Hitchcockian geekout and a guide to, like, how political campaigns even work to a puppeteered adaptation of Alien, there's plenty to do in metro Phoenix  — and even more to scope out on the New Times curated calendar. Have at it.

The Sound of Music
We’ll have to settle for foothills here in the Valley, but you can bet they’ll soon be alive, because a brand-spanking-new production of The Sound of Music is coming to the Valley as part of its current North American tour. Maria Rainer, the Von Trapp family, and the rest of the sing-songy gang are coming to Gammage Auditorium, 1200 South Forest Avenue in Tempe, from October 18 through 23 as part of the theater’s 2016-17 Broadway season.

Three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien is directing this Tempe première. Tickets range in price from $35 to $150. They are available through, by calling 480-965-3434, and at the ASU Gammage box office. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. For more information, call 480-965-5062 or visit or Lauren Cusimano

Govt 101
Everyone has a political opinion, but how many people actually know how the election system works? Get educated before you step into the voting booth this year at Govt 101: Political Campaigns, a discussion group with city officials and business people at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. Panelists for this event include Catherine Alonzo, Meghan Cox, and Rodd McLeod. They will answer questions about political polls, parties, conventions, and advertisements. Learn about how campaigns are born and how candidates make it all the way to election day.

Get your politics straight at Govt 101: Political Campaigns on Tuesday, October 18 at 7 p.m. This event is 21 and over, and admission is free. For more information, visit Katrina Montgomery

"Mapping the Monochrome"
Some people think of maps as quaint objects from the pre-GPS age. But in the hands of Argentinian conceptual artist Horacio Zabala, maps are a means of exploring social-justice issues that reverberate all over the map.

See nearly 40 of Zabala’s works — including maps, monochromes, sculptures, and site-specific works created from the 1970s to today — in the “Mapping the Monochrome” exhibition opening Wednesday at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue. It continues through March 12, 2017. But there’s good reason to see it sooner.

Zabala leads a free tour of the exhibit, with Vanessa Davidson, the museum’s curator of Latin American art, at 7 p.m. on October 19. Space is limited. So while the tour is free to attend, it’s best to RSVP in advance through www.phxart.orgLynn Trimble

Explore secrets hidden behind everyday snapshots and family photos as Center Dance Ensemble performs Within the Picture Frame, choreographed by artistic director Frances Smith Cohen. It’s one of three dance works being performed for the first time during the “Masquerades” program that opens Center Dance Ensemble’s 2016-17 season at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street.

Other works being performed for the first time include 10 choreographed by Diane McNeal Hunt and Plume choreographed by Nicole Olson, who was recently named best dancer for New Times’ Best of Phoenix 2016. “Masquerades” also features Cohen’s Return of Dracula, lest you’re worried you won’t get a big enough Halloween fix this season, and performance by guest artists from Scottsdale Community College’s Instinct Dancecorps.

See “Masquerades” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 20. The show continues through Sunday, October 23. Tickets, which cost $28 for adults, are available through or 602-252-8497. Lynn Trimble

Rasheeda Speaking
Nobody’s perfect, in case you hadn’t noticed. You can be oppressed and, at the same time, obnoxious. You can simultaneously exhibit pain and privilege. Playwright Joel Drake Johnson illustrates that ambiguity in Rasheeda Speaking, a 2015 drama that continues through Sunday, October 23, at the Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center, 1333 East Washington Street. Black Theatre Troupe’s production stars phenomenal Valley actors Lillie Richardson, Katie McFadzen, Joseph Kremer, and Pamela Fields. It’s directed by Matthew Wiener, who we remember fondly from Actors Theatre.

The story focuses on two women employed in the office of a successful Chicago surgeon. As Ileen and Jaclyn bump up against each other professionally, how much of the conflict is racial? Can any of it not be racial? What will happen next is, in this script, generally a surprise. For tickets, $36, visit or call 602-258-8129. Showtime on Friday, October 21, is 8 p.m. Julie Peterson

Science with a Twist
Skip the field-trip crowd at the Arizona Science Center, 600 East Washington Street, during Science With A Twist: A.I. Apocalypse from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, October 21.

Grab a “shocktail,” hit Stratum’s Laser Tag A.I. WarZone, take photos in the Goof Booth, and show off your “Thriller” moves on the dance floor. You can also peep C-P3O and R2D2 in the “Alien Worlds and Androids” exhibit for an extra $6, view ROBOTS 3D on a five-story screen for another $7, or join the talk on artificial intelligence in the Irene P. Flinn Theater at no extra cost.

Come as your favorite robot or human, but be cool — no fake weapons or too much skin. This 21-and-over event is $10 for members, $12 for nonmembers. Call 602-716-2000 or visit Lauren Cusimano

Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest
After two years at University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest has vacated its West Valley home and moved downtown for a weekend of celebrity sightings and plenty of cosplay. The con runs from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 22, and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 on Sunday, October 23, at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street.

Fan Fest doesn’t have the breadth of Phoenix Comicon’s guest list, but there are still plenty of celebrities, including Stranger Things stars David Harbour and Millie Bobbie Brown, as well as WWE superstars John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Acclaimed comic creators, including Brian Augustyn and Bob Layton, will also be on hand.

Advance memberships are $40 for the weekend, $30 for Saturday, and $25 for Sunday. VIP memberships are also available and do not include prices for photo ops. For more information, visit Michael Senft

Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer is a comedic force to be reckoned with. Part of this generation’s class of “feminist” comedians (or, as many would prefer to call them, “comedians”), Schumer has blended well-honed punch lines and rough edges to dominate America’s attention — whether it’s through Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, last year’s Judd Apatow-directed Trainwreck, or her recently released memoir, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo.

Now the R-rated comedian is returning to the road with “#schumertour,” a stand-up set that talks up and tears down everything from gun control and performing at Hillary Clinton’s birthday to body image and numerous sexcapades.Schumer takes the stage at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 22, at Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue in Glendale. Tickets range from $39 to $109, plus applicable fees, and are available by calling the box office at 623-772-3800 or through For more tour details, click Janessa Hilliard

Alien: A Puppet Show
All Puppet Players, now in its eighth year, appears to carefully select movies and books and whatnot for spoofing, making sure the works would be improved by an extremely low budget and a cast of puppets, some of whom happen to be pandas, geese, monsters, and pigs. Then again, what wouldn’t be improved by that treatment?

Seminal sci-fi flick Alien starred shucked oysters, pig brains, sheep intestine and kidney, pasta, and K-Y jelly alongside and all over its human actors. That was some good shit, but Alien: A Puppet Show should be even better, at Playhouse on the Park, 1850 North Central Avenue, through Saturday, October 29. For tickets, $23 to $50, call 602-254-2151 or visit Showtime on Saturday, October 22, is 8 p.m. Julie Peterson

The Lodger
When a public figure conceals their temporary respiratory problem, we react with suspicion. But cut some slack for the Orpheum Theater’s Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ, owned and maintained by the Valley of the Sun Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society. Since March, VOS-ATOS has suppressed the Wurlitzer’s condition (having a blower rebuilt) — by including the info in the chapter’s online newsletter.
The organ returns for the Silent Sundays presentation of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1927 The Lodger, on Sunday, October 23, at 2:30 p.m. While Ron Rhode tickles the rehabbed behemoth, the audience will enjoy a Jack the Ripper-like thriller. Tickets are $15 to $20 (with children younger than 12 admitted free) for the screening at 203 West Adams Street. Call 877-840-0457 or visit Julie Peterson
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