New Times picks the best arts and culture events and things to do from January 29 to 31.
Spring 2016 Season's Opening Reception
Spring semester at Arizona State University means a new season for its on-campus art museum, and with it comes the Spring 2016 Season’s Opening Reception.
The commencement offers a look inside its recent and soon-to-debut exhibitions, like “Participant: Photography by Spencer Tunick from the Stéphane Janssen Collection,” which features staged images of nude figures in public throughout recognizable urban and average rural setting. Tony Labat’s “Love Me Two Times” installations address issues of labor, migration, and displacement, while “Watertight: Sandra Ramos” depicts the storied relationship between Cuba and the U.S. through a collection of video animations.
“Paul J. Smith Portraits: A Photographic Journal of the Ceramic Community,” which has been open since mid-December, is on view off-campus, at ASU Art Museum Brickyard, off Mill Avenue and Seventh Street.
The free public reception runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, February 29, at ASU Art Museum, 51 East 10th Street in Tempe. For more information, visit asuartmuseum.asu.edu or call 480-727-8170. Janessa Hilliard
Thoroughly Modern Millie
Thoroughly Modern Millie was a wild 1967 film musical, based on a wild 1950s British stage musical. In 2002, it became a wild new musical that won several Tonys and Drama Desk awards. It’s the perky, weird-ass story of a naive Midwestern girl who becomes a New York flapper and accidentally is imperiled by a white-slavery ring. Well, obviously no one does that on purpose, but still. And “white slavery” is an obsolete term, so just tell yourself the play’s about human trafficking, in an upbeat way.
Through Sunday, February 7, bring your freshly bobbed hair to Desert Stages Theater’s production at 4720 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Tickets are $22 to $25 at www.DesertStages.org or 480-483-1664. Friday, January 29’s show is at 7:30 p.m. Julie Peterson
Breaking Ground 2016
Festivals are the potluck buffet of artsy culture — sampling many things in one place, getting a bit of a rush, and liking at least some of what you consume. CONDER/dance serves up Breaking Ground 2016, the ninth annual iteration of a contemporary dance festival that is also a (dance-related, digital) film festival.
Events drop on both Friday, January 29, and Saturday, January 30, at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. The festival features, as CONDER/dance founder Carley Conder puts it, “45 dancers, 25 choreographers, three tiny stages, two unique nights.” One of the tiny stages, in the Center’s gallery, is 4-by-4 feet, which is barely big enough for 1-by-1 dancer’s feet.
Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18 to $28 at the TCA box office, 480-350-2822. Or visit www.conderdance.com for lots more information, as well as a ticket purchase link. Julie Peterson
Tips on faking your own death:
• Maybe have a better reason than “I’m broke.”
• Related: Winning the lottery immediately afterward might not be the best reason to try to come back. Also, logistics.
• If you leave a super-cute fiancée behind, don’t be surprised if your best friend might just as soon hope you stay “dead.” We’re just sayin’.
Trent, a character in Brian Maticic’s Windfall, disregards all that hypothetical advice, and that’s just so Trent. He’s both a charmer and a chronic underachiever.
Brelby Theatre Company presents the play’s world première through Sunday, January 31, in its space at 6835 North 58th Avenue in historic Glendale. Visit www.brelby.com for tickets, $12 to $20, or call 623-282-2781. Showtime Friday, January 29, is 7:30 p.m. Julie Peterson
We didn’t hear much from Katt Williams, tiny but boisterous pimp-comedian, in 2015. This was by design, Katt says — he remained “strategically silent” during much of the year in order to overcome some personal issues and hit the stage renewed in 2016. The result: Katt’s Conspiracy Theory tour, which cuts through Phoenix on January 30. In this new set, Williams resumes his role as one of the country’s few “urban public officials,” touching on subjects ranging from evolution to NASA to police brutality to Jared Fogle, Bill Cosby, and Donald Trump. It will be hilarious, and yes: it will be pimpin’, pimpin’.
Booboo, get your tickets (starting at $49.50) to Katt Williams: Conspiracy Theory for the 8 p.m. show on Saturday, January 30, at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Call 602-379-2800 or visit comericatheatre.com for more. Zach Fowle
It may be time for us to reevaluate our perception of monster truck rallies. After all, if Sharon Stone will make the trek to Anaheim to watch big trucks run over regular-sized trucks, then clearly nobody is too cultured to enjoy some good, blue-collar wanton destruction of property.
If you’re in the mood for mayhem, Monster Jam will be visiting University of Phoenix Stadium, One Cardinals Drive in Glendale, on Saturday, January 30. The event will feature competition between a bevy of trucks, including El Diablo, Felon, FS1 Cleatus, and Grave Digger.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with the racing starting at 7. Tickets start at $26.50 and can be purchased at the stadium box office or online via www.ticketmaster.com. Ed Kummerer
Geek Rummage and Craft Sale
Comic books, actions figures, gaming consuls, magic cards – it’s probably time to let some of these things go. This weekend, pass your geekery on to fellow nerds at the Geek Rummage and Craft Sale hosted by The Grid: Games and Growlers, 525 South Gilbert Road in Mesa. There will be craft beer and food available for purchase, and a local DJ will be spinning tunes. Vendor tables start at $5.
Join in the Geek Rummage and Craft Sale at The Grid on Saturday, January 30, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you can’t make it this weekend, fear not: the sale will recur on the last Saturday of every month. For more information, check out The Grid: Games and Growlers on Facebook. Katrina Montgomery
Our apologies to the versatile, seasoned, and Tony-winning Broadway star, but it is virtually impossible to write a piece about Jason Alexander without mentioning the C-word.
Costanza, that is. Alexander’s name is synonymous with that of George Costanza, the Larry David-iest character this side of the social assassin himself. But the performer gets back to his roots — and on the stage — this weekend at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street. Expect a show that blends songs, jokes, and, we’re willing to bet, a few Seinfeld stories.
Alexander performs with the Phoenix Symphony at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 30, and at 2 p.m. on January 31. Tickets are $18 to $71 via tickets.phoenixsymphony.org. Becky Bartkowski
Free Museum Day
In a time when network television often seems like a vehicle for propaganda rather than enrichment, airing news programs that are as unscrupulous as the billionaires they’re beholden to, it feels awfully refreshing that Sesame Street is still alive and well (even if new episodes are now airing on HBO before making their way to PBS). And while most Americans spend at least four hours a day watching television — presumably not Sesame Street — it’s also quite refreshing that things like Free Museum Day are alive and well. So even if you aren’t a toddler, perhaps taking in a performance by Elmo and Friends at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, 215 North Seventh Street, on Saturday, January 30, might help you see the world like one again, innocent and wonderful, if only for an hour or two. The free event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.childrensmuseumofphoenix.org or call 602-253-0501. Rob Kroehler
Grand Concourse debuted off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons and then, last summer, moved into Chicago’s Steppenwolf, where it was quite popular. Dependent upon the opposite of spectacle, Heidi Schreck’s script provides for four characters on a single soup-kitchen set. The nun in charge wrangles a flaky young volunteer, an addled regular diner, and a maintenance man, all the while struggling with her own faith and compassion. Incorporating those simple ingredients into a moving and suspenseful product, Theatre Artists Studio presents the closing performance of the play at 2 p.m. Sunday, January 31, at 4848 East Cactus Road, #406, in Scottsdale. Call 602-765-0120 or visit www.thestudiophx.org. Tickets are $10 to $20, and the show’s for mature audiences (i.e., people old enough that they ought to be mature). Julie Peterson
The King of Limbs
Rarely do the purveyors of pop culture protocol — whoever they are — see fit to defy a rock band who’s still together. As nostalgia so subversively envelops us, whispering that the best things in life lay strewn behind us, so it goes with our most beloved bands. Then there’s Radiohead. Perhaps it’s because no group has ever been so adept at crafting intelligent pop music yet so vehemently eschewed it. Maybe it’s because they’re just that deserving. Whatever the case may be, they declined the keys to the kingdom, we crowned them anyway. Join Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, in celebrating rock’s most reluctant royalty as they screen Radiohead’s 2011 live video album The King of Limbs: Live from the Basement for free at 9 p.m. on Sunday, January 31. See details for the 21-and-over event at www.crescentphx.com or call 602-716-2222. Rob Kroehler
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