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10 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

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New Times picks the best events in metro Phoenix from Friday, April 15, through Sunday, April 17. For more things to do, see our curated calendar of events

Dance: Inventions & Conventions
Most students can already feel the fear — and freedom — of finals right around the corner. And for those studying the arts at Arizona State University, finals look more like gallery shows, concerts, and recitals.

One of the latter, Dance: Inventions & Conventions, is features highlights from the 2015-16 season alongside a collection of newer work, designed for performances onstage and at outdoor locations. A collaboration between students, visiting artists, and faculty, this high energy show is the perfect summer send-off: Think of it as a dance version of a “best of” record, with a few previously unreleased tracks.

The weekend-long production begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 15, at Galvin Playhouse in the Nelson Fine Arts Center, 51 East 10th Street in Tempe on the ASU Campus. Tickets are $16, with discounts for staff and former students. ASU student admission is $8. Contact the box office at 480-965-6447 or visit filmdancetheatre.asu.edu. Janessa Hilliard

Art After Work
Does your work day often consist of squirming in your seat, cursing Excel spreadsheets, and counting down the minutes until you can fly your creative flag?

The Art After Work class series lets you wind down and congregate with other creative folks, making a painting to take home when you leave. April’s subject is steampunk hats. Participants make a piece of art that references the steampunk movement, which combines elements of the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era. Paint the day’s stressors away from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, April 15, in the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. Admission is $35 and includes a canvas, art supplies, instruction, and a drink voucher for the lobby bar. Call 480-350-2829 or visit www.tempe.gov/tca. Amy Young

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Some of the best plays ever are those that feature fierce sibling rivalry. While the resentful stew of obligation and competition might not constitute our preferred situation to be in the middle of, watching other people go through it is fascinating, hilarious, chilling, or all three. Christopher Durang has already shown off his grasp of the milieu in scripts such as The Marriage of Bette and Boo. Throw in Anton Chekhov, author of a whole series of “you’re a famous writer/actor and I have to basically live in a swamp and take care of it for you” scenarios, and you have Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, a 2013 Tony-winning comedy about a contemporary American family. It continues through Sunday, April 24, at Theater Works, 8355 West Peoria Avenue in Peoria.

For tickets, $14 to $35, call 623-815-7930 or visit www.tickets.theaterworks.org. Showtime on Friday, April 15, is 7:30 p.m. Julie Peterson

The Highly Inappropriate Two-for-One
You have hundreds of Facebook friends you don’t know or like so you can track the cool stuff they’re doing. You want to catch your favorite performers, however erratic their itineraries. As the front of The New Yorker says, “Musicians and nightclub proprietors lead complicated lives.”

Sketch comedians do, also, and particularly The [SIC] Sense, a troupe that never stopped loving you but has been hard to find lately. Scott Gesser, who’s received what we’ll assume is a promotion from “guy who sings amazing and funny songs” to “comedian who sings amazing songs,” joins The Sickies at 8 p.m. Friday, April 15, and Saturday, April 16, at Space 55, 636 East Pierce Street, for The Highly Inappropriate Two-for-One. For tickets, $10 in advance, visit www.twoforone.brownpapertickets.com. Julie Peterson

ZapCon 2016
We are freaking wizards at the Simpsons Pinball Party. The trick to the machine, you see, is to shoot for the garage, which kicks open and allows you to send the ball into the upper-level “living room,” where… never mind. We don’t want to reveal our secrets before ZapCon, the two-day convention featuring more than 300 classic arcade and pinball games. While all the consoles will be set to “free play” for casual gamers, tournaments and competitions will also be held throughout the day. Good luck beating our high score, nerds.

Drop a quarter into the slot and push start on ZapCon 2016 beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 16, at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street. Saturday passes are $30, Sunday passes are $20, and passes for both days are $40. Visit zapcon.com for more. Zach Fowle

Free National Parks Week
Free entry anywhere is a pretty cool deal, but free admission to “America's largest celebration of national heritage” is a v. cool deal.

April 16 to 24 is National Parks Week – offering free entry to over 400 national park sites all over the country. This year is an especially big deal, as the National Park Service is celebrating its centennial throughout 2016.

It’s easier than ever to #findyourpark, especially in Arizona. The Grand Canyon State is home to 22 national park sites. The closest to metro Phoenix are the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, 1100 West Ruins Drive in Coolidge, and the Tonto National Monument, 26260 North Highway 188 in Roosevelt.

Big days during the big week include National Junior Ranger Day on April 16, Earth Day on April 22, the National Park Instameet on April 23, and Park Rx Day on April 24. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/findapark/national-park-week.htm or www.nationalparkweek.org. Lauren Cusimano

Young Voices Rise Youth Poetry Festival 
Everyone has an opinion about poetry, which is somewhat ironic. Regardless, it’s one of the most enduring art forms humanity has ever rendered and perhaps the most evocative way to time-capsule the struggles of today for future generations’ consumption. So who better to be the torchbearers of such a precious art form than the impassioned youth, grappling with the distance between how it is and how it ought to be, while staring down a world they’ll soon inherit. If you attend the Young Voices Rise Youth Poetry Festival at Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street, prepare to be rattled, rhymed, and maybe even redeemed. The free poetry championship begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, with multiple events throughout the day. Visit www.mesaartscenter.com or call 480-644-6500. Rob Kroehler

Arizona Rattlers vs. Tampa Bay Storm
It’s safe to say that Nick Davila is not a household name, despite being quite an area name. If you aren’t familiar, Davila is the Arizona Rattlers’ quarterback, and since his arrival in 2010, the Rattlers have been the stuff of dynasty. Here’s a snapshot of the QB’s resume: two Arena Football League MVPs, three Arenabowl championships, and two Arenabowl MVPs. Yup, Davila is unquestionably the most decorated active athlete in town right now and you — like many others — didn’t have a clue. Don’t feel bad, the Rattlers’ 2016 campaign has only just begun and there’s still plenty of opportunities to jump on the bandwagon. For instance, the Rattlers host the Tampa Bay Storm at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 Easst Jefferson Street, on Saturday, April 16, at 6 p.m. Tickets $5 and up. Visit www.azrattlers.com or call 602-379-2000. Rob Kroehler

Jackalope Art and Craft Fair
Finding worthwhile art to take home in Phoenix can feel like searching for the legendary jackalope — it’s definitely out there, you just have to know where to look. Savvy shoppers seek it out each year at the Jackalope Art and Craft Fair, which makes its stop in Phoenix on Friday and Saturday, April 16 and 17. At the weekend pop-up shopping destination, more than 200 local and hand-selected artisans, crafters, and DIY enthusiasts will offer their wares, so you can go home with trendsetting indie clothing, jewelry, art and more. Might have to keep looking for that jackalope, though.

The fair runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road. Admission is free. Visit jackalopeartfair.com/phoenix for more. Zach Fowle

NOFX Book-Signing
We’re not sure if it’s against punk rock rules to wear your NOFX shirt to this book signing, but maybe don’t chance it.

Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road, will host all four members of the iconic punk band (Eric Melvin, Erik Sandin, El Hefe, and of course Fat Mike) on Sunday, April 17, at 6 p.m. NOFX will be signing copies of its book, The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories – a rundown of the band’s well known DIY success, and available at the bookstore for $22.99 – along with a little meeting and greeting.

But keep your busted-jewel-cased copy of White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean in your Toyota Corolla, as NOFX will not be signing memorabilia. For more information, call 602-274-0067 or visit www.changinghands.com/NOFX. Lauren Cusimano

For more things to do, see New Times' curated calendar of events.

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