Phoenix Events August 5 to 7: Game On Expo, Dancing with the Bars, Creatures of the Wheel | Phoenix New Times

11 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

New Times picks the best things to do in metro Phoenix from Friday, August 5, though Sunday, August 7. For more events, see our curated online calendar. Game On Expo If Pokémon Go leads you in the direction of Mesa Convention Center this weekend, it’s not a fluke: The second annual...
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New Times picks the best things to do in metro Phoenix from Friday, August 5, though Sunday, August 7. For more events, see our curated online calendar.

Game On Expo
If Pokémon Go leads you in the direction of Mesa Convention Center this weekend, it’s not a fluke: The second annual Game On Expo is bound to turn the hall into one giant Pokémon gym.

While the augmented reality app is sure to dominate the conversation, there’s plenty else to see and play. Attendees can compete in the Retro Championship 2016 featuring Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris, brush up on skills during Dungeons & Dragons role-playing sessions, dress to impress during cosplay competitions, and hear from voice actors Steve Downes (Master Chief from the Halo series) and Jen Taylor (Princess Peach from Mario Golf).

Whether following lures or reliving your youth, the fun starts at 1 p.m. on Friday, August 5, at 263 North Center Street. Admission is $10 for Friday or $45 for a weekend pass; prices vary for Saturday, August 6, and Sunday, August 7. Visit Janessa Hilliard

Creatures of the Wheel
Gnar, shred, thrash: These are words to add to your everyday vernacular before Friday, August 5, for what’s being billed as “a one-night-only mega mix of old-school skate movie mania.”

Creatures of the Wheel is a “cinematic creation,” or a blending of skateboard and roller-skating film highlights from decades past. This wheel-heavy mashup is brought to us lucky folks by Unfathomable Film Freakout – local dudes specializing in rock and roll cinema – as part of a final Friday film series at FilmBar. Also, there’ll be live painting from Love & Hate Tattoo & Piercing.

The Unfathomable Film Freakout will host Creatures of the Wheel at 10 p.m. at 815 North Second Street. Tickets are $7 per person via This is a 21-and-up event, though under-agers can get in with a legal guardian. For more information, call 602-595-9187 or visit Lauren Cusimano

Aloha at the Heard
Wind down from your work week with shaved ice and free museum admission during Aloha at the Heard, happening from 6 to 10 p.m. on First Friday, August 6, at the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue. Sure, you’ll have to pay for your Kona Ice truck frozen Hawaiian treats, but you’ll get to check out several exhibitions for free.

While you’re there, catch a free iTheatre Collaborative reading from The Women Who Loved House Trailers by Cherokee playwright Diane Glancy.

Need a little more aloha in your life that night? Throw on a Hawaiian-style lei and grab a cocktail sporting a pink umbrella before you jump on the light rail or Artlink trolley. Thumbs up on Hawaiian shirts, but nix the grass skirts. Visit Lynn Trimble

Iron Boy MMA 2
If you missed the first of Iron Boy’s MMA events in June, here’s a quick recap of how each fight ended: submission by choke in round two, referee stoppage from strikes in round one, referee stoppage from strikes in round two, referee stoppage from strikes in round one, unanimous decision, submission by guillotine in round two, and submission by rear naked choke in round three. That’s enough punches, kicks, chokes, and action to make us very, very interested in the promotion company’s second event.

Make your own unanimous decision to attend Iron Boy MMA 2 beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 5, at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets start at $29. Visit for more. Zach Fowle

Night Race #4
Stock up on glow sticks and party lights (but not for what you think), as glow-in-the-dark gear is encouraged for Night Race #4 of the Night Pop 5K Series. Hosted by AZ Virtual Running, this four-part night race series is having its final dash on Friday, August 5.

Check-in is at 7 p.m. at Road Runner Sports Tempe, 43 South McClintock Drive, followed by a five-kilometer run along the path around Tempe Town Lake. Custom finisher’s medals are handed out around 9:15 p.m. — along with all the free Otter Pops you can handle.

Price for the fourth and final race is $25. Find details at The event promotes the veteran support organization Team Red, White & Blue. Call 602-722-6503 or visit Lauren Cusimano

Vintage Indoor Swap Meet & Farmers Market
Sun City’s known for the fabulous castoffs of people who owned midcentury delights when they were brand-new. Scads more of our senior friends inhabit the far East Valley. When their belongings migrate into town, guess where they land first? Mesa. The city’s older parts feature stellar Mexican food, cheap commercial rents, teenagers, and other things Del Webb never dreamed of.

In a former bowling alley at 1300 South Country Club Drive rests the Arizona Event Center, which hosts, among other extravaganzas, the Vintage Indoor Swap Meet & Farmers Market (with beer!), presented by neighboring Retro Records from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, August 6, continuing on Sunday, August 7, and each weekend until further notice. For tickets, $2, visit, or just show up. Julie Peterson 

Olympic Dance Party
You’ve trained your whole life for this moment, and now it’s finally here: your chance to represent your country — or at least your apartment — at Linger Longer Lounge’s Olympic Dance Party. A summer dance party so epic it could only happen once every four years (and part of Tongue Tied, a monthly indie dance party held every first Saturday at the LLL), the evening will feature a green-screen photobooth where Olympians can pose for their shots on the Wheaties box, a dance competition (judged quite harshly on a scale of 10, of course) and music by DJs Roya and Funkfinger. Come ready to compete: The best-dressed athlete wins a $50 gift card.

Go for the gold from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday, August 6, at 6522 North 16th Street. Cover is free before 9 p.m. and $5 after. Call 602-264-4549 or visit for more. Zach Fowle

Sunshine & Cacti Launch
All you Birchbox evangelists, look alive. Phoenix is getting its very own monthly box subscription service, and it’s all about supporting local businesses. Sunshine & Cacti is officially launching this August with a celebration at Mod Phx. The party will include music, refreshments, hors d’oeuvres, and a cash bar. Help christen this brand-new venture in style – and then enjoy the contents of the Sunshine & Cacti box from the comfort of your own home.

The Sunshine & Cacti launch party is from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 6, at 2828 North Central Avenue. For more information, visit Katrina Montgomery

Lit Up
Studying improv doesn’t merely impart skills you can use to perform improv. It develops ways of perceiving and responding that make everything from work to romance more intuitive, productive, and fun — so all kinds of people are getting into it.

Lit Up: 8-Week Improv Workshop at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art will marinate your Sunday afternoons in truth and weirdness for two months, concluding October 9. Torch Theatre leader (and New Times contributor) Jose Gonzalez guides the intrepid band of students, and the performance on Thursday, October 13, will show your loved ones what you’ve been working on. No pressure.

Fees are $200 for the workshop, which commences at 1 p.m. Sunday, August 7, at 7374 East Second Street. Register at or call 480-874-4666. Julie Peterson

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers
With most of the season already on the books, we might as well make it official. The Arizona Diamondbacks’ season was a bust. Obviously, professional athletes play with a great deal of pride, so don’t expect the boys of summer to roll over and wait for winter. They’ll grind it out until the bitter end, but bitter it has been. Off-season acquisition Shelby Miller was a disaster, Paul Goldschmidt has struggled, A.J. Pollack hasn’t played a single game, and ace Zack Greinke has battled injury. Technically, the season isn’t over, but c’mon, we know better. The D-backs host the equally putrid Milwaukee Brewers at Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street, at 1:10 p.m. on Sunday, August 7. Tickets are $14 and up. Visit or call 602-514-8400. Rob Kroehler

Dancing with the Bars
Maybe you’re a political junkie who focuses on local leaders. Perhaps you’ve found yourself distracted by off-topic thoughts like: How would Senator Katie Hobbs fare on the dance floor? If that’s the way your mind wanders, there is an event that will put your wondering to rest.

At the Dancing with the Bars competition and fundraiser, modeled after the TV show with a similar name, Hobbs and other community figures are paired with ballroom dancers and dance instructors, with the goal of benefitting One n Ten, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve LGBTQ youth and young adults. Other competitors include Mark Howard, owner of restaurants FEZ, and Bliss/Rebar, and makeup artist Trixxie Deluxxe. Get a look at these do-gooder duos at 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 7, at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. Tickets are $38 to $100; VIP options available. Call 480-350-2822 or visit Amy Young
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