13 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix, November 28 to December 4

Plans? They're right here. From lectures on old-timey sea beasts and flamenco festivals to a healthy helping of William Shatner and some holiday-approved theater-going, New Times has rounded up the best events this week has to offer. (Though you'll find more still on our curated online calendar.)

"Sea-Lore of Old France"
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts urges patrons to “Discover France” this season, with offerings ranging from hip, beatnique-style musical performances to kickass cooking events, screenings of overlooked contemporary films, and, on Monday, November 28, a presentation called “Sea-Lore of Old France.” Anthropologist Sharonah Fredrick of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies will illuminate one of the world’s legendary creatures of the damp: a pissed-off freshwater mermaid named Mélusine, from whom the ability to claim descent remains a badge of honor among some pedigreed French folk. Mel’s New World analogs will make an appearance, as well.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. on Stage 2 at 7380 East Second Street. Admission is free, but reservations are requested. Visit or call 480-499-8587. Julie Peterson

Silent Book Club
Book clubs and booze are a great combination. But bars are noisy, and if you are an introvert, you probably don’t want to have too much social interaction, anyhow.

Changing Hands Phoenix has the solution, however, with its Silent Book Club. At 6 p.m. on Monday, November 28, the bookstore is extending its happy hour pricing and offering 15 percent off your first book purchase so readers can enjoy a relaxing hour of quiet time with drinks. There’s no pressure to finish, or come up with a clever analysis. Just get lost in a good book.

Admission is free to the event at 300 West Camelback Road. For more information, call 480-730-0205 or visit Michael Senft

"John Coleman: Past/Present/Future"
Tip your cowboy hat to John Coleman, award-winning member of the Cowboy Artists of America, as Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West presents an exhibition titled “John Coleman: Past/Present/Future.” Coleman’s work blends his passion for American mythology and Native traditions with his love for story, metaphor, and history.

See works in charcoal, graphite, oil, and bronze spanning more than four decades from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29, at 3830 North Marshall Way. Museum admission is $13, and includes access to several additional exhibitions. “John Coleman: Past/Present/Future” continues through May 31, 2017. Visit Lynn Trimble

Twist Your Dickens
When it comes to holiday entertainment, magical and awe-inspiring is one way to go, but it gets old fast. Irreverence is a refreshing palate-cleanser. The gang from A Christmas Carol gets to try out its comedy chops in Twist Your Dickens, brought to us by Peter Gwinn and Bobby Mort, writers from The Colbert Report who created the show for Second City a couple of years back. We’re particularly interested in the sketch that pays a visit to the Island of Misfit Toys, as that was the name of our house in grad school.

Phoenix Theatre’s production continues through Saturday, December 24, at 100 East McDowell Road. Showtime on opening night, Wednesday, November 30, is 8 p.m. Tickets start at $30 at 602-254-2151 or Julie Peterson

Alli Ortega Empty Bowls 2016
Local middle and high school students have been busy making ceramic bowls for the Alli Ortega Empty Bowls 2016 event on Wednesday, November 30, which raises money for Vista Del Camino Social Services, a Scottsdale group that provides emergency food, clothing, and shelter to Scottsdale residents in need. Ortega was a community volunteer who died in 2014 at the age of 31.

Show up at the Scottsdale Community College cafeteria, 9000 East Chaparral Road, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., then buy your favorite bowl for $10. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (while supplies last), they’ll fill your bowl with a modest pasta meal at no extra charge. Go at noon to hear speakers including Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane. Visit Lynn Trimble

A Christmas Story
From frozen tongues and puffy snowsuits to pink bunny jammies and a beloved BB gun, the crazy-popular 1983 film A Christmas Story is jam-packed with episodes that, now that we mention it, make fantastic musical production numbers. Ralphie’s daydreams are even more lively when everybody’s tap-dancing or elaborately costumed, and the surreal kick line of multiple “leg lamps” must be seen to be believed. “Enthusiastic” is a word that comes to mind.

Peoria’s Arizona Broadway Theatre presents the musical onstage through Wednesday, December 28, at 7701 West Paradise Lane. Ticket prices, which may increase with demand, range from $80 to $98. (Non-dining seats are also available.) Showtime on Thursday, December 1, is 7:30 p.m., with dinner served at 5:30 p.m. Call 623-776-8400 or visit Julie Peterson

Read on for a documentary film fest, flamenco, and your weekly dose of William Shatner.
Documentary Video Art Festival
Art in any form that manages to speak to something true can serve as a thought-provoking critique on humanity or a specific culture, or it can function as more of an introspective looking-glass. With that power to make viewers look inside themselves deeply and question or consider, there are a lot of opportunities within any medium to make something truly affecting. The senior, junior, and graduate students in ASU’s Documentary Video Art class have been exploring that all semester, with each of the 14 students producing a short documentary on different topics. Joining experimental video art and its aesthetic value with documentary’s informative nature, students explored a range of topics, including Latinx LGBTQ issues, the Sedona vortex, women in comic books, and swing dancing. You can check out all 14 films when they screen together at 7 p.m. at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street, on Thursday, December 1. The video event is free to attend. Visit Heather Hoch

Lluvia Flamenca
There’s nothing quite as distinct as Spain’s national musical and dance style: flamenco. Clapping and stomping, ornamental guitar, and a bunch of beautiful costumes make this cultural icon a captivating sight to behold. Lucky for Phoenicians, Flamenco Por La Vida has established itself as a constant in the music scene, serving up authentic flamenco performances weekly. For something a little special, though, the group, led by Angelina Ramirez, is putting on its fourth annual Lluvia Flamenca showcase. The event offers up international and local artists, with performers from Tucson, El Paso, Marseilles, Havana, Caracas, Buenos Aires, and more. You can catch it all at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 2. Tickets, which range in price from $20 to $125, and more information are available via Heather Hoch

Shatner Redux
It’s heartbreaking, we know, but Canadian-born William Shatner will probably never be POTUS. On the other hand, Shatner has much else in common with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: Each has penned an autobiography, and each was acting in a TV series in 2007. Mind. Blown.

In the ’70s, however, Trudeau was a toddler and Shatner was trying to feed his family after the cancellation of Star Trek. This sad sitch led to the very best bad movies ever, including made-for-TV The Horror at 37,000 Feet, excerpted in Shatner Redux, a trippy mixtape that also includes Shatner’s humiliating appearance on The $20,000 Pyramid.

Enjoy a retrospective like no other at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street, at 10 p.m. Friday, December 2. Admission is $7. See Julie Peterson

F.Q. Story Home Tour
Take a multi-block trip down memory lane and walk among English Tudor revivals, Craftsman bungalows, and Spanish Colonial designs dating back to the 1920s during the 32nd annual F.Q. Story Home Tour.

The self-guided tour of the downtown-adjacent historic neighborhood runs from Seventh to 15th avenues along Lynwood Street, one block south of McDowell Road. Highlights of the evening event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, include carolers and luminaria-lined streets. Participants can enjoy a holiday market and food spread from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 4.

Tickets are available for $13 online or at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Lynwood Street during the tour. (Get a dollar off admission with the donation of a nonperishable food item.) For advance tickets and details, see Janessa Hilliard

"Eye on Fashion"
Oh, to spend a few hours in Kelly Ellman’s closet. The fashion collector and benefactor of Phoenix Art Museum’s fashion archives is also the namesake of the institution’s dedicated style gallery. And starting on December 3, museum visitors will get a glimpse at Ellman’s enviable taste when a selection of her 600-plus historically significant donations are displayed in “Eye on Fashion” in the exhibition space named in her honor. You’ll find everything from Rosie the Riveter overalls to Karl Lagerfeld designs for Chanel at 1625 North Central Avenue through Sunday, February 26, 2017. Saturday’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $18 for adults. See or call 602-257-1880. Becky Bartkowski

Hot Chocolate 15K & 5K
As good as it is for your body, the idea of running a race can be a little hard to swallow. Thankfully, there’s one organization that’s taking more of a Mary Poppins approach and using a little sugar to make this “medicine” go down in a most delightful way. On Sunday, December 4, the sweet reward will be immediate once you finish the Hot Chocolate 15K & 5K at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort, 7555 North Pima Road in Scottsdale. The 5K ($54) starts at 7:30 a.m. while the 15K ($79) starts at 8:15 a.m. And as soon as you cross that finish line, an after-party will be waiting for you with chocolate in too many forms to list. To register, visit Evie Carpenter

The Snow Queen
What holiday tale is complete without evil trolls, a magic mirror, and a mean queen? Well, some, certainly. But not Hans Christian Andersen’s classic The Snow Queen, though. Brought to life with dance and music, the story follows a girl named Gerda who traverses challenging circumstances to find her friend Kai. This performance, produced by Center Dance Ensemble, has become an area holiday tradition. Doors open at 11:40 a.m., and shows are at 2 and 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 4, at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Tickets are $14 to $28. The show runs through Sunday, December 18. Call 602-252-8497 or visit Amy Young

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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
Evie Carpenter is a visual journalist. Using photography, videography, design, and sometimes words, she tells stories she hopes make a bit of difference in the world, even if those stories are in list form and include GIFs.
Contact: Evie Carpenter
Janessa is a native Phoenician. She joined New Times as a contributor in 2013. You can connect with her on social media at @janessahilliard, and she promises you'll find no pictures of cats on her Instagram — but plenty of cocktails.
Contact: Janessa Hilliard
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young