Between scoping out the best holiday lights displays throughout the Valley, wrapping up last-minute shopping, and balancing out your cookie consumption with hiking, here are 11 things to add to your to-do list that'll be totally worth it.
It’s been a big year for Hannibal Buress, the stand-up comic who called Bill Cosby a rapist onstage, lighting a national fire under the long-dormant allegations against him. This time last year the joke was going viral and the months since have seen more women come forward, coupled with plenty of Internet speculation and magazine covers devoted to the issue.
For Buress, the joke meant more exposure, and the 30-something Chicago native is now pretty famous in his own right. He’d written for SNL and 30 Rock, but now gets noticed for co-hosting Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show and his appearances on Comedy Central’s Broad City — as well as his own weekly program, Why?
Find yourself ugly laughing along at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 23, at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Tickets are $30.50 and both shows are 18-and-over with a two-drink minimum. Visit www.standuplive.com or call 480-719-6100 for more information. Janessa Hilliard
Gianfranco Ferré Gallery Talk
This winter, Phoenix Art Museum hosts a pair of fashion exhibitions that give deep insight into the work of Gianfranco Ferré, the late designer known as the “architect of fashion.” In the main gallery, there’s a striking display of the designer’s white shirts. In the Ellman Fashion Design Gallery are 100 of his sketches and an assortment of garments. On Thursday, December 24, museum docent Lisa Corridan will lead a discussion in the fashion gallery about how Ferre’s visions became wearable (and gorgeous) realities.
Get insight into the designer’s creative process starting at 11:30 a.m. at 1625 North Central Avenue. Museum admission is $15 for adults. Find more information at www.phxart.org or by calling 602-257-1880. Becky Bartkowski
While the gentiles sit around and wait for a fat guy in a red suit to visit this Christmas Eve, the Lord’s chosen people know where to be: Mazelpalooza. Held for the second year in a row at Livewire in Old Town Scottsdale, the premier Jewish event of the season bumps from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. with music from DJ Joey T; a full cash bar and munchies from food trucks; a photo booth to commemorate the evening; and plenty of comfy spaces to hang out with your favorite Jews.
Have a mitzvah at Mazelpalooza Thursday, December 24, at Livewire, 7320 East Indian Plaza in Scottsdale. Tickets are $36, and the event is 21-and-up. Call 480-634-4900 or visit mazelpalooza.org for more. Zach Fowle
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Valley, family dinners were done — but it was time to rally. The Grid's video games were set to free play with care, in hopes that the city's gamers soon would be there. The East Valley barcade's become a hotspot for lovers of arcade classics and new sensations like the 10 player cabinet Killer Queen, where two teams of five face off in a battle that's part Joust and part Starcraft. The Grid is just one of a dozen places around the country that houses a full-sized version of the game and tonight's your best bet for getting a no-cost hands-on experience with the lauded multiplayer while trying some special holiday themed brews.
Free Play blips on at The Grid, 525 South Gilbert Road in Mesa, on Thursday, December 24, from 4 to 10 p.m. Admission is free. More info at www.facebook.com/gridbararcade. Jose Gonzalez
For those who don’t mummy-wrap themselves in scarves and begin hibernation when the temperature drops below 80, plenty of events celebrate the season’s crispy chill. Holiday Ice Skating is one. Lace up a pair of sharpened steel blades and cut through the ice gracefully, or white-knuckle it around the rink’s barrier. The slipping-and-sliding, or graceful gliding, happens from 4 to 9 p.m. on December 24 at the Wigwam Resort, 300 Wigwam Lane in Litchfield Park. Admission includes skate rental and is $8, or $5 for those 10 and younger. The event continues Thursdays through Sundays through January 3; hours vary. Visit www.wigwamarizona.com. Amy Young
If you’re the kind that regularly surfs through the channels hunting for comedy, you’ll probably recognize Laurie Kilmartin. A finalist in season seven of NBC’s Last Comic Standing (2010), Kilmartin has since appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever, and as a talking head on plenty of basic cable news shows. Even if you haven’t seen her, you’ve almost certainly laughed at her jokes — the California native is a staff writer on Conan.
Expect bits about motherhood, immigrant boyfriends, life in her 40s, and yes, probably a Christmas quip or two.
Spend Christmas with Kilmartin with two shows at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Friday, December 25, at Stand Up Scottsdale, 6820 East Fifth Avenue. Tickets are $15; this is a 21 and over event. Catch the comedian with three more performances throughout Saturday, December 26, and Sunday, December 27. Call 480-882-0730 or visit www.standupscottsdale.com for more. Janessa Hilliard
The Musical Instrument Museum is open Friday, December 25, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., so whether you have no family, you want to get away from your family, or you want your family to go away somewhere, you’re golden. Not only that, the daily tour will commence at 2 p.m. as usual. Despite the MIM’s intuitive layout, it can’t hurt to get oriented on a first visit, and your guide is likely to drop rare arcana disguised as fun facts.
Find your muse at 4725 East Mayo Boulevard. Admission ranges from $10 to $20, with children 3 and younger admitted free. Tours are always subject to guide availability, so you might want to call 480-478-6000 before you head out. Visit www.mim.org for more information. Julie Peterson
Zoppé Family Circus
It all started when a clown, Napoline Zoppé, laid his eyes on a ballerina, Ermenegilda, back in 1842.
He was in love, her father didn’t approve, and so the pair literally ran away to start a circus and never looked back.
Six generations later, Zoppé Family Circus is still in the family, which will bring along some talented friends from around the world to stun crowds with high-flying acrobatics, rolla bolla performances, equestrian tricks and more under the big top at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue, on select dates through Sunday, January 3. Ticket prices start at $15 for children and $22 for adults, and they can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com. Christina Caldwell
Snow Week 2015
Snow is an enigma to many of us desert dwellers, but it doesn’t have to be. Arizona Science Center, 600 East Washington Street, is bringing in 60 tons of the for its annual Snow Week festival. It’s also hosting a slew of demonstrations and activities related to this cold weather phenomenon. The week is jam-packed with snow-themed activities, ranging from 3D printing to nitrogen explosion demonstrations with ping pong balls.
Snow Week begins on Saturday, December 26, and runs through Friday, January 1. The affiliated activities run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Visit azscience.org to see the full list of events, activities, and demonstrations. For additional information, you can also call 602-716-2000. Katrina Montgomery
The holidays get their own dose of drag debauchery when Murray & Peter present Christmas Queens, a scandalous sensation featuring everyone’s favorite former contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Gear up for naughty sing-a-longs, enviable makeup, and a “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!” joke or two.
Featured divas include season five’s Alaska Thunderfuck 5000; season seven’s Katya Zamolodchikova, Ginger Minj, and winner Jinkx Monsoon; and Sharon Needles, who won the crown in season four. Host Willam Belli rounds out the dirty half-dozen. (Fans will remember Belli from season four, as both the only contestant to ever be disqualified and the only one to vomit on the main stage.)
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Christmas Queens strut on stage at 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 27, at Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street. Tickets range from $37 to $81; VIP seats include a meet-and-greet and selfie-taking with all six queens post-show. Visit www.ticketforce.com for tickets, or call 602-262-7272. Janessa Hilliard
They Call Me Brooksie: A Variety Show
In the spirit of this season of giving, the good folks who manage booking at Crescent Ballroom have given an evening slot to one of their own.
Bartender and bearded fellow Brooks Werner takes the stage for a variety show that’s part… Well, we’re not really sure. A one-man burlesque bit? A second shot at a stand-up career? Playing half-full (or is it half-empty?) water glasses? Forks, for whatever reason? Perhaps it’s best to heed his advice and, “don’t ask what it is, just show up and find out.” And expect to laugh.
They Call Me Brooksie: A Variety Show starts at 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 27, at 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets to the 21-and-over show are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. For details, call 602-716-2222 or visit www.crescentphx.com. Janessa Hilliard