Just a few more days, and you've made it to Labor Day weekend. But we've got plenty of great events to fill the next seven days, not just your three-day break, including that blockbuster Van Gogh exhibit, ASU football, Chandler pub crawls, punk karaoke, and so much more.
Friendship BraceletsFeeling crafty but not sure what to tackle next? How about going a bit retro with Sunshine Craft Co, 700 West Campbell, where the next mix and mingle night focused on crafting Friendship Bracelets happens from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 2. It’s a chance to rock your creative side, meet fellow crafty folk, and spruce up your accessories vibe. All materials are included in the $25 class, where you can make a stack of bracelets that reflect your own unique personality and style. Naturally, you’ll get plenty of help with instructions and brainstorming ways to make your bracelets stand out. Lynn Trimble
Desert City Swing Dance Championships
Think swing dancing hasn’t been cool since that goofy Gap ad aired in the late-’90s? Try telling that to the hepcats and kittens who will glide across the ballroom of the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa, 8000 Arizona Grand Parkway, during the Desert City Swing Dance Championships this weekend. The event takes place from Thursday, September 2, through Sunday, September 5, and is part convention, part competition focusing on West Coast Swing with three days and nights of workshops, open dances, and intensives. (All skill levels all welcome, from newbies to pros.) A dance competition takes place throughout the weekend. Event times vary. Weekend passes are $80 to $155. More info is available here. Benjamin Leatherman
Arizona State University Football vs. Southern Utah
If you’re a fan of Arizona State University’s football team, you’re sitting pretty right now. Sports pundits are ranking the Sun Devils as the top team in the Pac-12’s Southern Division and the offense led by quarterback Jayden Daniels is being touted as potentially one of the best in the west. Are all the pieces finally in place for ASU to make a run at the conference title? Fans will find out over the next few months. First up is Southern Utah University, which visits Sun Devil Stadium, 500 East Veterans Way in Tempe, for ASU’s home opener on Thursday, September 2. Arizona State is heavily favored to win, but anything can, and will, happen in football. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $12. Benjamin Leatherman
Peter Pan-Inspired Literary Tea
We love a good afternoon tea, especially when there's a fun theme. Drink Me! Tea Room, 1730 East Warner Road, is celebrating all things Peter Pan with this month's literary tea. All your tea party dreams are sure to come true (and as J.M. Barrie wrote, "Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough"), plus there will be quite a few Neverland surprises. Enjoy savories, sweets, and a pot of tea for $33 a person. Seatings are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, September 3, through Sunday, September 5. Julie Levin
Salon des RefusésHad you lived in France during the mid-nineteenth century, you might have seen artworks in a renowned exhibition called the Paris Salon. Only artists selected by a jury made the cut. Most artists wound up showing at Salon des Refusés, which was basically an exhibition of works rejected by the upper art echelons of the day. They’re playing with that concept over at The Icehouse, 429 West Jackson Street, where artist Lucretia Torva has organized an exhibition showcasing artists whose works haven’t been selected for Artlink’s annual juried exhibition. Check it out during the opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 3. Admission is free. Lynn Trimble
Bluegrass JamIf a group of bluegrass musicians get together to play, is that a hootenanny or a jamboree? Whatever you want to call it, it's happening this Friday, September 3, at Foothills Library in Glendale, 19055 North 57th Avenue, Glendale, from 1 to 3 p.m. Bring your acoustic instrument for some round-robin-style pickin' and strummin'. All skill levels are welcome, as are singers and people who just want to come and enjoy the music. Jennifer Goldberg
Saboten Con 2021Otaku, anime fans, and weeaboos of the Valley rejoice. Japanese pop-cultural event Saboten Con makes its long-awaited return this weekend after taking a pandemic pause last year. As one might expect, given COVID-19’s continued spread, there will be safety protocols in place during the event, which runs from Friday, September 3, to Monday, September 6, at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, 340 North Third Street. Masks must be worn at all times and social distancing will be encouraged.
Four days of activities are planned for this year’s con, including panels, concerts, a cosplay masquerade, maid cafes, and more. Special guests include J-rock band Kazha and voice actresses Olivia Hack, Jackie Lastra, and Faye Mata. Hours vary. Admission is $20 to $35 per day and $60 for a full pass. Complete details can be found here. Benjamin Leatherman
Experience IndiaYou’ve likely heard a musician play the sitar, even if you’re not an expert in the classical music and instruments of India. The Beatles’ lead guitarist, George Harrison, helped to popularize its sound after studying with famed musician Ravi Shankar. You can always learn a bit more about India’s musical sounds and culture at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard, where there’s an India display featuring instruments, video, and related artifacts. But you can also experience live sitar music, classical dance of Southern India, and other India-related activities during the first day of Experience India on Saturday, September 4. The event, which is free with museum admission, runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day. (There’s a different lineup for Experience India on Sunday.) Lynn Trimble
Safety ZoneYou’ll find an eyesore on the corner of Roosevelt and Seventh streets in Roosevelt Row, where the wrap around a construction site is covered with graffiti. Pity they didn’t think to wrap the site with artwork by Amy Sansbury Manning, because she’s got a great body of work filled with images of iconic construction fare from yellow tape to orange cones. Get a good look at Eye Lounge, 419 East Roosevelt Street, where her “Safety Zone” exhibit exploring danger, order, and control amid pandemic life will be on view from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 5. Pro tip: Her safety cone piñata makes a whimsical selfie backdrop, so take a camera along when you’re checking out the gallery. Lynn Trimble
SunSplash Pub Crawl
Look no further for your Labor Day weekend plans than SanTan Brewing Company's pub crawl. Start at SanTan, 8 South San Marcos Place, Chandler, to get your crawl pass, then head to participating locations Puro Cigar Bar, The Local, and the Stillery. At each stop, you'll enjoy another San Tan drink and burrito. Tickets are $40 per person, and these babies will sell out. Julie Levin