Are you one of those people who sees bubble wrap and can’t keep your hands off its plastic pearls? That overwhelming desire to pop those little pods is something you must suppress at the exhibition “Ecosystem by Bradley Hart.” The artist’s work is made by injecting bubble wrap with acrylic paint to create pixelated, photorealistic images. He uses photos of family and friends as his base of inspiration. Keep your hands in your pockets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 5, at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, One East Main Street. Admission is free. Call 480-644-6560 or visit www.mesaartscenter.com. Amy Young
Luke Skywalker Can't Read
These days it’s pretty high praise to be called a sci-fi guru, as the masses continue to ride the high of the newest Star Wars and pontificate about the latest addition to the Doctor Who universe. Essayist Ryan Britt has been called just that.
Britt wrote for The Awl, The New York Times, and VICE before penning Luke Skywalker Can’t Read: And Other Geeky Truths, a memoir that doubles as insight into these alternative worlds — and a how to use them to survive life’s curveballs.
Britt visits the Valley at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6, at Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road. Admission is free; copies of Luke Skywalker Can’t Read are available for $16. Click www.changinghands.com or call 602-274-0067. Janessa Hilliard
Storm Chasing with Mike Olbinski
Mike Olbinski’s no stranger to stormy weather. In fact, the Phoenix photographer chases it. Which is why chances are good you’ve seen his many stellar monsoon snapshots on social media. (He also contributed storm footage to Thor 2:The Dark World). The artist, who also shoots weddings that we hope are less terrifying, will discuss his methods and experiences in Singer Hall at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6. The free event is open to the public, but RSVPs are appreciated and can be sent through ifolbinski.eventbrite.com. See the artist’s work and more information at www.mikeolbinski.com. Becky Bartkowski
Captain America Saved from Drowning
A double-Ivy like playwright Andy Boyd, currently enrolled in a Columbia MFA program, makes us a bit weak at the knees, even though he once told The Harvard Crimson, “I feel like you can trick people into believing you have more life experience than you do if you read books.” It gets better when we learn Boyd’s script that’s being read at The Trunk Space at 8 p.m. Thursday, January 7, is called Captain America Saved from Drowning. And it couldn’t be much more timely, despite taking place in 2044: A first-term president taps Cap to run with him as VP. What could go wrong?
Doors open at 7:30 p.m. at 1506 Grand Avenue. Admission is $5. Call 602-256-6006 or visit www.facebook.com/thetrunkspace/events for more information. Julie Peterson
9 to 5 is a straight-up classic farce (much love, Dolly P., Jane F., and Lily T.) and also the theme of the Thursday, January 7, installment of New Times’ monthly Bar Flies reading series. Expect true stories about jobs of all, um, sorts when Kim Porter, Jake Friedman, Dan Hull, Steve Chiefetz, and Carol Carpenter take the stage at 7 p.m. at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. Doors open at 6 p.m., and Kevin Vaughan-Brubaker will select the evening’s music. Tickets are $5 and available via www.ticketfly.com. Becky Bartkowski
It’s been nearly two generations since the Beth Hebrew Synagogue has been open for public services. In that time, the temple has seen many changes to the Roosevelt Row that surrounds it, all the while falling into disuse and disarray.
Purchased by developer Michael Levine (known for his contributions in and around the warehouse district) last year, the synagogue quickly saw stark improvements and new life — even hosting Rosh Hashanah services last fall.
On Friday, for the first time in 40 years, Shabbat services will return, led by Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon of Temple Emanu-El in Tucson, with food and music provided by Crescent Ballroom.
Services start at 8 p.m. on January 8 at 333 East Portland Street. Free and open to the community. Visit www.facebook.com/BethHebrew for more. Janessa Hilliard
Judging by the astounding amounts some of the world’s most precious paintings go for at auction, art is quite valuable to humans. But tell that to the artist selling at your local coffee shop.
A Frederic Remington painting in the ASU Art Museum’s collection acts as the spark for Danish artist collective Superflex, as makes its way across the world and onto its walls at 51 East 10th Street in Tempe. “SUPERFAKE/THE PARLEY” will turn the museum into an experimental “lab,” examining the emotional value of art through mixed media, including sculptures, videos and images.
Take a dive into the issues of perceived artistic value, authenticity, and reproduction at the opening reception on Friday, January 8, from 4 to 6 p.m.
ASU Art Museum curator Julio Cesar Morales and conservator Dana Tepper will lead a tour the exhibition on Wednesday, January 20, from 1:30 to 2 p.m., giving the full inside scoop behind the thought-provoking art. Both events are free, as is museum admission. Visit www.asuartmuseum.asu.edu. Christina Caldwell
You’d be forgiven for guessing that Mike Bartlett’s Olivier award-winning 2009 play Cock, currently being presented by Nearly Naked Theatre, is about the world of champion fighting roosters. But you’d also be mistaken — it simply isn’t. There is plenty of strutting, preening, fussin’ and fumin’, however, as John finds himself torn between his male and female lovers. Dude makes Hamlet look decisive. Labels suck, but is the issue non-monogamy or bisexuality? (Not that each doesn’t have its pros and cons.)
Enjoy opening night at 8 p.m. Friday, January 8, at 100 East McDowell Road. Tickets are $19 to $24, though prices may change based on demand. The production is intended for mature audiences. Performances continue through Saturday, January 30. Call 602-254-2151 or visit www.tickets.phoenixtheatre.com. Julie Peterson
"Confluence" Live Art
Great things happen when creatives collaborate. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler give you a reason to go to your nearby Harkins. Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne give you a reason to tune in to 98.3. And established Native American fine artists work with up-and-comers to give you a reason to go to Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue, on Saturday, January 9. That’s when mentor artists Kristen Dorsey, Warren Montoya, and Dwayne Michael team up with their respective mentees to create live art as a preview to the upcoming exhibition “Confluence: Inter-generational Collaborations.” See what their joint efforts render from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Access is included with museum admission, $18 for adults. Find details at www.heard.org or call 602-252-8840. Becky Bartkowski
Out of Hand
Choreographer Dana Metz certainly does. In fact, the feeling inspired her to create a performance piece called Out of Hand to reproduce that very feeling through dance. The show features a troupe made up of 11 dancers from Arizona and California. The team fuses intricate, bold, and complex movements to portray the swirling chaos of life, using a soundtrack by Nulin Hasan to guide them.
The existential exemplification starts at 6 p.m. on Sunday, January 10, at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. Tickets are $20. Call 480-350-2822 or visit www.tempe.gov. Amy Young
Not all big corporations are greedy, money grubbing creeps. The folks at Discount Tire, for example, reached into their deep pockets to help fund Phoenix Art Museum’s Free Family Second Sunday. This monthly event makes the museum accessible for all to enjoy different activities, like hands-on art projects, live musical performances, and explorative adventures like a scavenger hunt. Roam free, literally, from noon to 5 p.m. on January 10 at 1625 North Central Avenue. Admission is free, obviously. The event happens on the second Sunday of each month through 2016. Call 602- 257-1880 or visit www.phxart.org. Amy Young