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14 Best Events in Metro Phoenix, December 12 to 18

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Need a break from the holiday grind? You're in luck. From rockstar memoirs and throwback Batman movies to a couple of chances to get outdoorsy, there's a lot to do in metro Phoenix this week. For more, see New Times' curated calendar of events.

Sebastian Bach Book-Signing
With the year coming to a close, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life finally airing, and family stopping by for the holidays, it’s not hard to feel nostalgic. And you can ride those yearnings for yesteryear all the way to Changing Hands at 7 p.m. on Monday, December 12, to meet the iconic Sebastian Bach as he discusses and signs his new book, 18 And Life on Skid Row. The memoir chronicles his life, starting at birth through the creation and demise of Skid Row, including crazy stories about touring with rock legends. Yes, it even touches on his time in Stars Hollow and on Broadway. Purchasing a copy ($27.99 plus tax) gets you a ticket to the signing at 300 West Camelback Road. For more info, visit www.changinghands.com. Evie Carpenter

These days, George Takei is known as much as an internet personality and commentator as he is known for his work in the O.G. Star Trek series. His outspoken, heartfelt, and often socio-politically charged message has him calling out bigots and trolls all across the world wide web — most notably President-elect (barf) Donald Trump. However, Takei’s own story, which involves the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II, is just as interesting as any of his internet disses or pensive Sulu glances. That’s why you’ll want to catch Allegiance, a Broadway play based on the story of Takei’s family and their American experience, starring Takei himself. A recorded performance is screening at Cinemark Mesa 16, 1051 North Dobson Road, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13. Tickets ($20 for adults) and more information can be found at fathomevents.com. Heather Hoch

Phoenix Suns vs. New York Knicks
Patience is not a virtue in the NBA. Fans expect wins as much as players do; owners demand it. But the poor sod who invariably becomes the scapegoat is the coach. Halfway through last season, the Phoenix Suns sacked Jeff Hornacek. Trouble is, Hornacek was hardly the issue. Despite being the fall guy for numerous issues which should have fallen on general manager Ryan McDonough, Hornacek was a good coach and continues to be for his new employer, the New York Knicks. While they’re not world-beaters, Hornacek has helmed the revamped Knicks admirably thus far. They’ll give the Suns all they can handle when they visit Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13. Tickets are $22 and up. Visit suns.com or call 602-379-7800 for details. Rob Kroehler

"Hucksters, Con Men, and Bamboozlers"
After an election season filled with lies and accusations, it’s helpful to have some historical perspective. Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s official state historian, has a plan for that. He’s authored more than 20 books on Arizona and the West.

During a talk at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, 3830 North Marshall Way, he’ll be sharing tales of cons and whoppers prevalent during a time when the Arizona Territory was a vast, untamed region where hucksters perpetrated get-rich-quick schemes.

Hucksters, Con Men, and Bamboozlers” starts at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, December 14. It’s free with museum admission, which is $13 for adults. The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day, so leave some time for exploring exhibitions. Visit scottsdalemuseumwest.org. Lynn Trimble

Hesh Sesh
Dust off that high school-era Iron Maiden shirt, skip the shower, and head over to Crescent Ballroom on Wednesday, December 14, for an event that’s part house party, part comedy showcase, and entirely metal. Produced by funnyman Erick Biez, Hesh Sesh is a comedy-centric variety show that seems more than a little nostalgic for a time when heavy metal dominated Walkman headphones. An homage to those musical enthusiasts — or “heshers” — Hesh Sesh features headliner Joe Sib, a former touring punk rocker (and co-owner of SideOneDummy Records) turned stand-up comedian. Local stand-ups Cristin Davis, Rob Maebe, and Matt Micheletti will also take the mic, alongside burlesque performances from Jae Sinclair and Anya Graves.

Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8, at 308 North Second Avenue. For those ready to rock, tickets are $10 online or $13 at the door. Snag yours and see details at www.crescentphx.com or by calling 602-716-2222. Janessa Hilliard

Tempe Holiday Lights Run
Between office parties, shopping, friends and family in from out of town, and multiple trips to the liquor store, the holiday season certainly has a way of making us feel like we’re doing a lot of running around. And one Valley business is inviting us to do some actual running around. Tempe’s Sole Sports Running Zone, 1006 East Warner Road, is hosting its ninth annual Tempe Holiday Lights Run on Thursday, December 15. Aside from allowing participants the opportunity to feel as if they’re doing something healthy before the holiday calorie binge begins, the annual 3.3-mile run features a Christmas cookie bake-off, an ugly sweater party, and plenty of winter ales and eggnog. The free event kicks off at 6 pm. Visit www.solesportsrunning.com or call 480-522-2475 for details. Rob Kroehler

Out of the Kitchen
“Being a woman makes you incredibly funny,” says comedian Alisha Ratan. “Women are hilarious.”
Ratan is half of Overtly Sensitive: a part-improv, part-stand-up, full-feminist comedy team she performs in alongside Meredith Howell. The two produce a bimonthly variety show, Out of the Kitchen, that makes it a point to bring colorful, queer, feminist, and otherwise underrepresented voices to center stage. The showcase returns on Thursday, December 15, at the Newton.

The 8 p.m. show features stand-up comedian Sari Beliak; pop-culture painter Antoinette Cauley; the sonic stylings of laptop artist WOLFZiE; poetry and spoken word from Leah Marche, co-founder of Black Poet Ventures; and sketches from Overtly Sensitive.

Tickets ($8) are available online at www.overtlysensitive.com or at the door at 300 West Camelback Road. VIP tickets are $15 and include a small gift. Items from First Draft Book Bar’s menu of beer, wine, and bites will be available for purchase during the show. Janessa Hilliard

Krampus: A Haunted Christmas
The holidays are a lot. While the season is mostly about celebrating, this time of year is also terrifying. Well, it is if you head to Krampus: A Haunted Christmas. The people behind 13th Floor, one of Phoenix’s best Halloween haunted houses, are taking Christmas and adding a whole lot of terror for one weekend only, starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 16. Be prepared to have all the sugar plums scared right out of you at 2814 West Bell Road. Get more information and tickets ($24.99 for general or $34.99 for a fast pass) at krampushauntedchristmas.com/phoenix. Evie Carpenter

Read on for theater, luminarias, and a Charlie Brown tribute.
Black Nativity
Last season’s Black Nativity at Black Theatre Troupe sold out completely, so now’s the time to lock in your picks for holiday entertainment. The gospel-flavored musical telling of Jesus’ birth has felt radically modern ever since its 1961 première.

We often hear that a production of a recurring show is “new,” but what’s that mean? In this case, says BTT executive director David J. Hemphill, “There was some of the Langston Hughes text that some theater companies have never used in their productions. Language ... that’s a little secular.” The show also features musical director George Johnson, Nancy Taylor of the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church choir, and a three-piece instrumental ensemble in place of recorded tracks.

Performances take place at the Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center, 1333 East Washington Street, through Sunday, December 18. Tickets are $36. Showtime Friday, December 16, is 8 p.m. Visit blacktheatretroupe.org or call 602-258-8129. Julie Peterson

Batman Returns
While others will curl up to watch A Christmas Story and Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer over the next month, we’d prefer to cozy up with a different kind of classic: Batman Returns. Cult Classics and Zia Records are bringing Gotham to Tempe this holiday season at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 17, as Batman must figure out how to defeat aspiring mayor and completely twisted dude, the Penguin. But our dark hero also has his hands full with the new and peculiar Catwoman. General admission is $11 to the showing at Pollack Tempe Cinemas, 1825 East Elliot Road, but a variety of VIP packages offering extra perks such as prints and T-shirts range from $20 to $40. For more details and tickets, visit batman2016.bpt.me. Evie Carpenter

Noches de las Luminarias
Get your fill of wintery, glittery cheer and then some during Desert Botanical Garden’s annual Noches de las Luminarias. On Saturday, December 17, the garden is aglow with 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags and thousands of white twinkle lights — as well as performances from handbell ensembles, mariachi and flamenco bands, and storytellers. Experience the Valley tradition from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. General public tickets are $30 for adults and $12.50 for kids, and a buffet dinner is available for an additional charge of $22 for adults or $12 for kids. Discounts are available for garden members. Get all the details and tickets at www.dbg.org/luminaria or by calling 480-941-1225. Becky Bartkowski

Ride the Desert
You’re officially out of excuses. It’s no longer too hot for an outdoor adventure, and REI’s Ride the Desert can make it so you outdoorsy types can continue calling yourselves as much.

REI Mountain Bike Instructors will be at the ready from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 18, to lead an exhilarating ride through the north Valley desert. They’ll also talk local bike trails and foundational mountain bike skills. And if you don’t have a rig, REI is providing a small fleet of full-suspension Ghost mountain bikes.

The ride starts at the Brown’s Ranch Trailhead, 30301 North Alma School Road in Scottsdale, on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Cost is $45 for members; $50 for non-members. Visit www.rei.com/events/ride-the-desert/scottsdale/159810 for details and registration. Lauren Cusimano

Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints
Did you know the NFL used to have something called the Century Division? Diehard football fanatics are probably aware.

It was back in the 1960s. The division was home to the New Orleans Saints when they first engaged in a ball brawl with the Arizona Cardinals. The Louisiana team won that day but since then, it’s been pretty even. The two teams have competed nearly 30 times, with the Cardinals up by just one victory. This week, they meet again in Cardinals territory to see if they can tie it up or if the Arizona fellas will continue to broaden that lead. Kick-off happens at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday, December 18, at University of Phoenix Stadium, One Cardinals Drive in Glendale. Tickets are $48 and up. Call 800-745-3000 or visit www.azcardinals.com. Amy Young

Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown
Christmas music can be bad (we’re looking at you, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”), but the Vince Guaraldi Trio neatly righted that ship. That is why jazz musician David Benoit and guest vocalist Sara Gazarek are putting on the David Benoit Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown.

This festive reminder that holiday music can be an art will feature many of your favorite A Charlie Brown Christmas covers, as well as some originals from Benoit — who took over as composer for the newer Peanuts Christmas specials.

Showtime is 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 18, in the Virginia G. Piper Theater at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets range from $59 to $14 for kids 12 and younger. Call 480-499-8587 or see www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org. Lauren Cusimano

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