Best Phoenix Events Christmas Week: CitySkate, Star Wars Holiday Special, Mazelpalooza | Phoenix New Times

11 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix, December 19 to 25

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Happy Chrismukkah to all — and to all a good week of going out and doing stuff. What stuff, you ask? Well, in metro Phoenix you'll find visual art exhibitions, ice skating, and not one but two screenings of pop-culture gems. Think of them as things to do while your fam is in town — or the perfect way to escape them when you need a quick and cultured break. Need more options? See New Times' curated calendar.

"Breath B4 Brush"
Using only his breath and thinned oil paints, Ryan J. Carey creates abstract works meant to signal a return to the human element in art. Each mark on the canvas is from his lungs, created during a singular moment of existence. Carey holds a BFA in painting from California State University, Sonoma State.

Carey’s work has been exhibited at monOrchid, Arizona Opera, the Nash, and Emerson Art Gallery in Fountain Hills. See 18 of his paintings at the ASU Polytechnic Campus library, 5988 South Backus Mall in Mesa, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, December 19. Visit Lynn Trimble

Holiday Flicks at the Farm
Outdoor movies aren’t just for summer anymore. Spend a night under the pecan trees at the Farm at South Mountain, 6106 South 32nd Street, enjoying How The Grinch Stole Christmas! during this year’s Holiday Flicks at the Farm. Hot cocoa and snacks will be available for purchase from the Farm’s food truck, and no outside food or drink are allowed. Snuggle up with your own blankets and pillows for maximum coziness.
Holiday Flicks at the Farm runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 20. The movie starts at 6. Admission is free, with a suggested donation to Arizona Animal Welfare League. For more information and a full list of recommended donation items, visit Katrina Montgomery

Then It Got Weird: Bloody Good Holiday Ball
Though we may not have snow for the winter holidays in Arizona, the flurry of seasonal chaos, sans storms, is always in full effect. Decorating, traveling, shopping, and festive parties up the potential for situational weirdness. Add eggnog, and anything goes. You probably have a doozy of a story or two to tell. The folks at the Then It Got Weird: Bloody Good Holiday Ball do. Hosts Marnee Burrus and Dan Hull are among the storytellers featured at this comedy show that wants to explore and reclaim awkward holiday happenings. Jessie Balli, Sean David Christensen, Megan Finnerty, Tania Katan, and Anwar Newton complete the lineup. Laugh along starting at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 20, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Street. Admission is $8. Call 602-716-2222 or visit Amy Young

Winter Solstice Celebration
Last time you grabbed coffee with your neo-pagan druid buds, you probably said, “Okay, we’ll get together again soon.” But have you? No. So you might as well touch base at the Irish Cultural Center’s Winter Solstice Celebration on Wednesday, December 21.

The Grove of the Rising Phoenix, a modern incarnation of ancient Indo-European cultures that include some people’s British Iron Age forebears, will present rituals and entertainment as the sky darkens for the longest night of the year. By the way, in the southern hemisphere, December 21 is the summer solstice. Mind. Blown.

Bundle up for outdoor fun at 1106 North Central Avenue from 4 p.m. until the “wee hours.” Admission is $5 and food is available for purchase. Visit or call 602-258-0109. Julie Peterson

Star Wars Holiday Special
When The Phantom Menace, one of the movies in the Star Wars saga, opened in 1999, it debuted character Jar Jar Binks. Meant to provide comic relief, the universally frowned-upon Binks caused more eyerolls than chuckles. Turns out, that’s not the biggest blunder in Star Wars history.

The Star Wars Holiday Special aired just once, in 1978, long before the annoying Binks came to life. It featured the first movie’s main cast and presented a first look at character Boba Fett. The movie’s plot focuses on a trip Han Solo and Chewbacca take to Kashyyyk, Chewie’s home world, to celebrate Life Day, a Wookiee holiday that involves gift-giving. While there, the pair is chased by agents of the Galactic Empire.

Watch the television abomination that probably still makes George Lucas weep at 7:30 p.m. or 9:40 p.m. on Thursday, December 22, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Admission is $5. Call 602-595-9187 or visit Amy Young

Read on for more things to do this week.
"No Strangers"
You could say Art Intersection has a no-stranger policy. Once each year, the gallery presents a curated exhibition of works by members whose generosity helps to support the art space, located at 207 North Gilbert Road. This year’s exhibition features works by 30 photographers, and you can take a look between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 22.

Not a member? No sweat. The “No Strangers” exhibition is free — and it might just prompt you to up your own game in the picture-taking department. Chances are, you’ll be inspired by these works, including outposts of isolation captured by Andy Fritz and withered landscapes photographed by Suzanne Fallender.
Other highlights include J. Celso Castro Alves’ images of urban decay and Dennis L. Collins’ flamingo that bears little resemblance to the pink plastic variety. The exhibition continues through Saturday, January 7, 2017. Visit Lynn Trimble

Christmas Lights Tour
Candy canes, caroling, and kazoos — you could spend an evening at home with these accoutrements and have a good time. However, if you like to belt out holiday tunes and look at sparkly holiday light displays, why not hop on a festive bus with others for an illuminating trip around town?

The Christmas Lights Tour is a spirited outing led by Phoenix historian Marshall Shore. The mobile happening gives attendees the opportunity to mix and mingle while seeing the different ways residents, businesses, and religious institutions have chosen to light up for the season. Get visually stimulated from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 22. Meet at the Clarendon Hotel, 401 West Clarendon Avenue. Tickets are $30. Call 602-252-7363 or visit Amy Young

Arizona Coyotes vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
It’s okay to admit that when it comes to the Arizona Coyotes, you’re a fair-weather fan. Most Phoenicians are. And if you were to deduce that — as you’ve heard little about them lately — they’re having a lousy year, you’d be correct. But the team’s abysmal record doesn’t tell the whole story. With more than half of the season remaining, the Yotes have already endured some serious injuries and have played the large majority of their games on the road. And besides, the Coyotes are the youngest team in the league and are quite the work in progress. Feel free to tune out again until the Yotes hit their stride. Meanwhile, there’s reason to be hopeful. The Toronto Maple Leafs visit Glendale’s Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue, at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 23. Tickets are $29.50 and up. Visit for details. Rob Kroehler

The Nutcracker
Every family seems to have one oddball uncle who shows up just in time for the holidays. The Nutcracker is no exception. Performed each Christmas season by Ballet Arizona, the classic ballet has Godfather Drosselmeyer, who donned his fancy, floor-length cape about a century before the age of cosplay.

Drosselmeyer makes his grand entrance with a nutcracker doll that seems to have magical powers. What happens next, of course, is the stuff that dreams are made of: dolls that come to life, dancing snowflakes, and giant rats engaged in fierce combat.

Ballet Arizona performs The Nutcracker, featuring music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreography from its own artistic director, Ib Andersen, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 24. The music is recorded, but the dance is all live atop the Phoenix Symphony Hall stage, 75 North Second Street. Tickets start at $43, and are available through the Ballet Arizona box office. Visit Lynn Trimble

It’s an event that’s only happened a few other times in the last 100 years: Hanukkah and Christmas will overlap this year. It means that the 18th annual Mazelpalooza, which happens every Christmas Eve, will be held on the first night of Hanukkah. That also means there’s even more reason to celebrate. So grab your 1,000 closest friends and head to Maya Day & Nightclub, 7333 East Indian Plaza in Scottsdale, at 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 24, to kick off Hanukkah the right way. DJ Soloman will keep things moving and drop beats while you’re entertained by aerialists and fire dancers. Tickets are $36 in advance or $45 at the door, but $18 from each ticket sold will be donated to the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign. So it’s a party for a good cause, anyway, right? For tickets and more information, visit Evie Carpenter

With all the ponds and lakes in Phoenix warmer than freezing in perpetuity, it’s no wonder that close to 200,000 desert dwellers flock to the downtown area for CitySkate — an urban ice-skating rink going into its seventh year.

Part of CityScape, One East Washington Street, the icy wonderland is plopped in the middle of Central Avenue. Other efforts have been arranged to create a bonafide winter wonderland, including a 36-foot tree, nightly snowfall, Santa visits, and holiday décor up the yang.

Hours on Sunday, December 25, are 5 to 11 p.m. General admission is $15, while an express pass is $25. Call 602-772-3900 or visit Lauren Cusimano
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