New Times picks the best things to do in metro Phoenix from Friday, September 9, through Sunday, September 11. For more events, see our curated online calendar.
2016 Season Kick-Off
Maybe you’ve got fond memories of preschool story time, when magical tales seemed to fly off the page. Imagine what a talented crop of artists might do with some of those stories now, and then get to Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street, to find out. The Center kicks off its 2016-17 season from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, September 9, with a free celebration of contemporary art inspired by literature. It’s your first chance to see five new exhibitions at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, featuring works by local and international artists working in diverse media from paper cutting to sculpture.
While you’re there, see seven Experimental Art Night pieces presented by [nueBOX], and watch Vessel Project’s atmospheric performance inspired by renowned literary characters. Friday’s lineup also includes artist demonstrations, music, spit poetry, and a community art project. Fingers crossed there’s no Hansel-and-Gretel-inspired food truck. Visit mesaartscenter.com. Lynn Trimble
If you’ve ever car-sang “Independent Women, Part I” by Destiny’s Child, or you simply enjoy art and live music in general, then you may like Femi9 — billed as “a female-focused night of entertainment.”
Attendees can expect works by female artists, and music by Adara Rae & The Homewreckers, Carol Pacey & the Honey Shakers, Lady K.O., and Sadie Jane — all hosted by AZ Sauce Boss, AzMusic.org, and TempeArt.org. Figure out how to pronounce “femininity” by Friday, September 9, when the event runs from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Pho Cao, 7436 East McDowell Road in Scottsdale. Tickets are $5 at the door. Visit www.facebook.com/events/1617721828550021. Lauren Cusimano
Liz Ann Hewett knew this wouldn’t be easy. “The pressure is intense,” she told New Times while finishing up the choreographed work she’ll debut on September 9 and 10. It’s called Memoriam, and the contemporary dance show pays tribute to the victims of 9/11 some 15 years later, focusing on the events in New York City and telling stories both “heartbreaking and heroic” through movement that’s centered on what people experienced that day. Curtain is at 8 p.m. on Friday, when the work opens for a two-performance run at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. Additional matinee performances for high school students will be closed to the public. Tickets to the show are $20 to $30 and available through tca.ticketforce.com/memoriam. Becky Bartkowski
"Ducks, Eggs, and Fish"
For Chinese American painter Martin Fan Cheng, the story is in the details. The contemporary artist works with a goal of “painting the real work as we see it,” which comes across beautifully in “Ducks, Eggs and Fish,” from shadows on an egg to the sheen on scales. The collection, both an homage to a favorite hobby (fishing) and a quiet commentary on the cultural obsession with food, hangs in the Art of Asia Gallery within the Phoenix Art Museum at 1625 North Central Avenue, and will remain on view through Sunday, November 6. See Cheng’s work during regular museum hours: Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $18 for adults. Visit www.phxart.org or call 602-257-1880 for details. Janessa Hilliard
One More Time with Feeling
Since the 1970s, gothic crooner Nick Cave has delivered an array of intense music, from hard-driving post-punk numbers to lush and sinister ballads that weave their way under your skin. Cave and his band the Bad Seeds’ latest release, Skeleton Tree, is their first since Cave’s family lost their teenage son last summer to a fatal fall off an England cliff. Director Andrew Dominik’s film, One More Time with Feeling gives fans an opportunity to see performances of this new material, along with interviews and footage that explore the tragic circumstances that surround the record’s creation. Explore Cave’s world at 6:40 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Admission is $9. The film runs through September 15. Call 602-595-9187 or visit www.thefilmbarphx.com. Amy Young
End of Summer Jam
Hey, we don’t know how you spent all summer ’16. And we’re just fine keeping it that way. As September rolls on, how you bid the season adieu is the more pressing thing. For a poolside farewell, there’s Country AZ Hell’s End of Summer Jam, featuring DJ SIXsational on the ones and twos, a full bar, pool toys, and a bikini contest, too. The winner of said competition gets $150 cash and early access to legitimate fall temperatures. Just kidding, guys, it’s gonna be hot for like two more months.
Regardless, make a splash from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, at Moxy Tempe, 1333 South Rural Road. Entry is $25 at the door, but tickets ranging from $15 to $200 are available through www.eosj.eventbrite.com. Becky Bartkowski
Don't Dress for Dinner
Why doesn’t every play feature multiple constantly opening doors, mistaken identities (deliberate and not), illogically revealed underwear, and the liberal application of cocktails? Maybe it’s all just too real for y’all to handle.
But farce (ha, ha, “butt farce”) is not entirely absent from our stages, and one of the masters, Boeing Boeing’s Marc Camoletti, wrote a bajillion fine examples, many of which still haven’t been translated from French. One that has is Don’t Dress for Dinner, a savory serving of marital high jinks with a saucy side of misguided deception. Desert Stages Theatre presents the comedy through Sunday, September 18, at 4720 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Tickets are $22 to $28 at www.desertstages.org or 480-483-1664. Saturday, September 10’s performance is at 7:30 p.m. Julie Peterson
Author and critic Nisi Shawl is known for her sci-fi and fantasy short stories and her how-to guide for writing about race, Writing the Other. She has also won the coveted James L. Tiptree Award, for positive explorations of gender in speculative fiction. She had never published a novel until now, however. Everfair is a steampunk alternate history dealing with colonialism and empire in 19th-century Belgian Congo.
Shawl will sign copies of Everfair at 2 p.m. Saturday, September 10, at the Poisoned Pen, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale. Everfair is available in hardcover for $26.99. Admission is free, but purchase of the book is required for an autograph. Call 480-947-2974 or visit poisonedpen.com for more information. Michael Senft
Phoenix Mercury vs. Atlanta Dream
It’s getting down to the wire for the Phoenix Mercury, whose third-place standing within the WNBA Western Conference hasn’t shifted as regular-season play starts coming to a close. After a four-game stint on the road, the team returns to Talking Stick Resort Arena to take on the number-two Eastern Conference team, the Atlanta Dream. They’ll need to pull out all the shots — er, stops — for a chance at post-season play.
Watch Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor, and Brittney Griner heat up the court during the second game of a back-to-back set versus the Dream on Sunday, September 11, at 201 East Jefferson Street. Play starts at 3 p.m. Tickets run $9 to $200 and are available through mercury.wnba.com or the box office at 602-379-7800. Janessa Hilliard
Playwright Neil LaBute is known for creating works that are appalling, malicious, sadly realistic, and shockingly funny. (All this in a world that had already given us David Mamet.) On Sunday, September 11, Mesa Encore Theatre delivers a staged reading of LaBute’s Fat Pig, a story about a mixed-weight couple and the people and pressures that threaten to drive them apart, which won the 2005 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play.
Readings of assorted underproduced plays are presented monthly at the theater’s Black Box space, 933 East Main Street. Admission is free, but donations toward expenses are gratefully accepted. The event begins at 7 p.m., and the script is adult-themed, in case you haven’t guessed. Visit www.mesaencoretheatre.com or call 480-834-9500 for more information. Julie Peterson
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Arizona Cardinals vs. New England Patriots
The Arizona Cardinals’ 2016-17 campaign kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 11, at Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium, One Cardinals Drive, with a visit from the New England Patriots. Despite being one of the most successful football teams in NFL history, the Pats find themselves in the unfamiliar position of opening the season as the underdog. Iconic quarterback Tom Brady will sit out the first four games of the season, allowing equally handsome (yet completely unproven) backup Jimmy Garoppalo a chance to prove that he belongs on the field — not just in a cologne commercial.
Meanwhile, the Cards will begin their quest to improve on a stellar 2015-16 effort that saw them fall one game short of a Super Bowl appearance. Even with the Patriots trotting out a wildcard QB, these two are premier teams playing in America’s premier league on primetime television. Or since it’s a home game, in person. Tickets are $95 and up if you’re lucky. Visit www.azcardinals.com or call 602-379-0102 for details. Rob Kroehler