Nerd Culture

13 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix, January 2 to 8

Picture actually knowing how to work your camera.
Picture actually knowing how to work your camera. Courtesy of Foto Forum AZ
Happy New Year, Phoenix. As tempting as it is to curl up at home post-partying, there are things to do. From photography classes and anime conventions to the return of Bar Flies (and more events on New Times' curated calendar), here's a look at how to spend your first week of 2017.

One Button Simple
So, you’re peeling back the wrapping when you glimpse a corner of the box you’d hoped to see. All of your holiday dreams are coming true as you pull your new digital camera from the rubble of ribbon and paper. But now, how do you work the damn thing? Thankfully, Greg Berlucchi of Foto Forum AZ will share all the answers during the One Button Simple class at 9 a.m. on Monday, January 2, at 4834 North Seventh Street. The class is specifically for beginners looking to capture the perfect moment — meaning things won’t get too technical. Berlucchi just asks that students “bring your camera, a fully charged battery, and an open mind.” The class costs $49.99, and you can reserve your spot and find more information at the Foto Forum website. Evie Carpenter

click to enlarge The one where the gang crushes trivia. - NBC
The one where the gang crushes trivia.
The Office and Friends Trivia Tuesday
Are you more of a Rachel or a Joey or a Michael or a Pam — or a Phyllis with Chandler-ish tendencies? Don’t think too hard on it. The question probably won’t come up during Casino Arizona’s The Office and Friends Trivia Tuesday. Instead, bring your deep knowledge of the two hit NBC sitcoms based on British shows, your favorite Phoebes and Stanleys to build a team of up to six people, and Monica levels of competitiveness for a chance to win $1,000. Signup will start at 6 p.m., food and drink specials will be available, and the questions will fly starting at 7 in the Arizona Room at 524 North 92nd Street in Scottsdale. See Casino Arizona's website or call 480-850-7777. Becky Bartkowski

click to enlarge Survey an array of work from Cranbrook. - JOSHUA R. CLARK, SUNDAY AFTERNOON ISLAND, 2016. CERAMIC, 21 X 21 X 10 IN. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST.
Survey an array of work from Cranbrook.
Joshua R. Clark, Sunday Afternoon Island, 2016. Ceramic, 21 x 21 x 10 in. Courtesy of the artist.
"Crankbrook Ceramics +/- 25 Years"
Maybe your parents hauled out all your preschool pinch pots so you could reminisce over the holidays. By now, you’re ready to see some serious ceramics.

The ASU Ceramics Research Center and Brickyard Gallery, 699 South Mill Avenue in Tempe, can help make it happen. It’s showing works by 25 artists affiliated with Cranbrook Academy of Art, a renowned center for ceramics located in Michigan. The art show is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 4.

The free “Cranbrook Ceramics +/- 25 Years” exhibition features fun twists on the flower vase, paper weights, and porcelain dinnerware — plus video and more conceptual works. Unexpected materials, from cardboard to moving blankets, abound. Participating artists hail from many countries, including Germany, Japan, and the U.S. Visit the ASU Art Museum website. Lynn Trimble

Peter Bugg, Courtesy of SMoCA
Slow Art Tour
Designed for those who prefer to stop and smell the roses, slow art tours give participants the opportunity to take in pieces at a more deliberate place, allowing for more thoughtful exploration and consideration of the work before them.

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art’s first guided Slow Art Tour at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 5, will take patrons through the museum’s current collections and fall exhibitions, including “Push Comes to Shove: Women and Power” and “Architecture + Art: Everything Falls Into Place When It Collapses.” The idea is to spend at least five to 10 minutes with each designated piece, absorbing everything from the big picture to the tiniest detail. Afterward, participants can discuss the experience over light refreshments in the SMoCA Lounge within the museum at 7374 East Second Street.

Space is limited for this free event; reservations are encouraged. Visit SMoCA's website or call 480-874-4666 to register. Janessa Hilliard

click to enlarge Game on, Phoenix. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Game on, Phoenix.
Benjamin Leatherman
Body Talk x Cobra Arcade
If there’s anything better than beating your high scores at Ms. Pac-Man or Galaga, it’s beating your high scores at these classic games while drinking a beer and listening to some sick, sick beats. Well, get ready for a full night of that during Body Talk x Cobra Arcade Bar from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on January 5. On this first Thursday of the year, special guests Dungeon Destroyer and Sigh will spin tracks alongside resident DJs Pickster, Hartbreaks, and Ellery. There’s no cover for this night of “Beats, Vibes, & Life” at 801 North Second Street, #100. Which means you can ride the beats all night while you become the master of Street Fighter II and Super Mario Bros. For more information about the event, visit the Facebook event. Evie Carpenter

Bar Flies: Station to Station
Many things in this world are open to interpretation, and in the case of Bar Flies, the monthly reading series put on by New Times, the prearranged theme is, too. For the event’s 2017 premiere, the theme is “Station to Station,” and whether that means world travel or public transport or David Bowie’s 10th studio album, you’ll find out starting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 5. Doors open at 6 at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue, 
Joe Abbruscato aka Mr Anathema
and tickets are $5 at Call 602-368-3121, and invite pals at the Facebook event page. Lauren Cusimano

We Are: Celestial
Pop quiz: What do you get when you combine lasers, visual art, an ambient soundscape, and performance? No, we’re not talking Daft Punk. The answer’s We Are: Celestial, a collaborative, one-night-only event featuring Francisco Flores, Katharnie Leigh Simpson, and Gabriel Gold, along with several other local creatives outside Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Viewers can expect a feast for the senses that travels “into a new land of the imagination.” Sounds like a pretty good Friday, tbh. Performances run continuously from 6 to 9 p.m., and there’s no cover. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Becky Bartkowski

Read on for more things to do this week.
click to enlarge Attendees of Taiyou Con 2016. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Attendees of Taiyou Con 2016.
Benjamin Leatherman
Taiyou Con 2017
There are a few things you may need from Friday, January 6, through Sunday, January 8, if you don’t want to feel out of place when walking around downtown Mesa. We’d recommend a Spandex bodysuit, a bright colored wig, a cape, and possibly even a costume sword. To clarify, you’ll want these items if you plan on attending the seventh annual Taiyou Con at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street. But even if you don’t feel like dressing up, this year’s convention offers plenty to do. See some of your anime idols in person at one of the many meet-and-greets and panels, including one with the guys behind Mega64 who recreates video games in real life, or hang out with DJ TeddyLoid during his VIP Party. Or maybe get some inspiration during the masquerade, where only the best cosplay skills shall win. A weekend membership badge is $45 online at the Taiyou Con website or $50 at the door. Evie Carpenter

click to enlarge Just add water: It’s not that big a stretch at “Time/Shores.” - GASTRICSURGEON.COM; PHOTO RIGHT BY ADAM NOCEK; COLLAGED BY RICHARD TURNER
Just add water: It’s not that big a stretch at “Time/Shores.”; photo right by Adam Nocek; collaged by Richard Turner
When we envision California falling into the ocean (and no one getting hurt, of course), we must consider Arizona beachfront property. But our dreams of Yuma as the new Malibu have pooped out so many times, we’ve just about stopped dreaming.

A new multimedia installation at ASU Art Museum’s Phoenix satellite, Project Space at Combine Studios, provides a new way to regard the hoped-for cataclysm. “Time/Shores” markets the desert as a coastal oasis to come — a resort-style getaway you can start paying for now. After all, this was all covered by water before. It’s only a matter of time.

The free exhibition is open by appointment from Friday, January 6, through Saturday, January 28, at 821 North Third Street. Call 480-965-2787 or visit the ASU events website. Julie Peterson

click to enlarge Pauly shores up in the Valley. - COURTESY OF TEMPE IMPROV
Pauly shores up in the Valley.
Courtesy of Tempe Improv
Pauly Shore
Contrary to what he’d have you believe more than a decade ago, comedian Pauly Shore isn’t dead — he’s just doing stand-up.

After starring in a handful of ’90s big-screen comedies (the kind you can still catch late night on Comedy Central) and a successful stint of producing and directing, Shore has returned to the club circuit, starting the new year off with a laugh during five shows at Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive. Catch Shore’s particular brand of silliness on Saturday, January 7, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Additional shows take place Thursday and Friday, January 5 and 6. Admission to these 21-and-over events is $25 (plus applicable fees). A two-drink minimum is required. Get a ticket or two and details at Tempe Improv's website or by calling 480-921-9877. Janessa Hilliard

click to enlarge Walk your way into 2017. - DAWN/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
Walk your way into 2017.
Dawn/Flickr Creative Commons
Farm to 5K
Remember how you said you were going to get more exercise in the new year? Here’s your chance to take a walk with some farmers from all over the country.

No, really. The American Farm Bureau Federation is having its first-ever convention and along with it, a 5K walk. From the starting point, you’ll stroll your way through downtown Phoenix and take a loop around Wesley Bolin Memorial Park before heading back. Even more exciting is the fact that proceeds from the registration fee benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.

A post-walk celebration includes games, food, and music. Get some exercise while helping those in need from 7:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, January 7, at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Registration is $25. Visit the Facebook event. Amy Young

click to enlarge Fiddler on the hoof. - TIM FULLER
Fiddler on the hoof.
Tim Fuller
Fiddler on the Roof
Most people have an overall idea what goes on in beloved musical Fiddler on the Roof, which is lucky, because although it would clear things up if the show were called Milkman in the Russian Village, it’s not so catchy.

The roof-mounted violinist is a metaphor for the myriad insecurities faced by Tevye, who — oh, heck, we’d be very surprised, as we said, if you don’t know what this is about. Fiddler inhaled nine Tonys upon its 1964 première for good reason. The plot and characters resonate eerily well with diverse cultures and eras; the script shamelessly plies both sentiment and humor; the songs advance the story and are a good listen, too.

Arizona Theatre Company’s production continues through Sunday, January 29, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Showtime’s 8 p.m. for the opening night performance on Saturday, January 7. Tickets start at $25 at Arizona Theatre's website or 602-256-6995. Julie Peterson

Suns vs. Cavaliers
NBA junkies love trade rumors. It’s their version of celebrity gossip — fanciful but rarely true. Yet amid the endless chatter and pundit speculations, general managers know damn well that franchise greatness is typically built through the draft. Look no further than both the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, who visit Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street, on Sunday, January 8, and the mighty Golden State Warriors. Both teams struck gold with draft picks who would become franchise cornerstones. It was the allure of partnering with superstars Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, both draft picks, that brought free agent Kevin Love to Cleveland, completing their “big three.” Rest assured, the Suns will be taking notes when they host the Cavs at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $52 and up. Visit the Suns website or call 602-379-7800 for details. Rob Kroehler
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski