Things to Do

14 Things to Do This Week in Phoenix

Turn your wrists (or ankles) into works of art.
Turn your wrists (or ankles) into works of art. Sunshine Craft Co

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 Bracelets

Feeling 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
click to enlarge Are you ready for some football? - RUSSY11/CC BY-SA 4.0/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Are you ready for some football?
Russy11/CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

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

click to enlarge See an exhibit inspired by Paris (and Artlink) - LUCRETIA TORVA
See an exhibit inspired by Paris (and Artlink)
Lucretia Torva

Salon des Refusés

Had 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
click to enlarge Come duel with some other banjos at Foothills Library in Glendale. - MEESH/FLICKR
Come duel with some other banjos at Foothills Library in Glendale.

Bluegrass Jam

If 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
click to enlarge Attendees of Saboten Con in previous years. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Attendees of Saboten Con in previous years.
Benjamin Leatherman

Saboten Con 2021

Otaku, 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


click to enlarge Explore India and its cultures during Experience India weekend at MIM. - THE MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM
Explore India and its cultures during Experience India weekend at MIM.
The Musical Instrument Museum

Experience India

You’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

click to enlarge Exploring work by Amy Sansbury Manning at Eye Lounge. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Exploring work by Amy Sansbury Manning at Eye Lounge.
Lynn Trimble

Safety Zone

You’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

click to enlarge SanTan Brewing Company always has quite the selection. - MELISSA FOSSUM
SanTan Brewing Company always has quite the selection.
Melissa Fossum

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

click to enlarge Start practicing your screaming for punk karaoke. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
Start practicing your screaming for punk karaoke.
Lauren Cusimano

Punk Drunk Karaoke Night

Come celebrate the fact that you have Labor Day off with a whole bunch of singing at drinking at Rips Ales & Cocktails, 3045 North 16th Street. On Sunday, September 5, the bar will host the intriguingly named, first-ever Punk Drunk Karaoke Night. The event starts at 4 p.m., and karaoke will go on nonstop till 8, when there will be a short break for a DJ set composed entirely of (what else?) punk tunes. At 9 p.m., karaoke starts back up and goes till 2 a.m. And then you get to spend the next day recovering without having to go into work — good deal. Jennifer Goldberg

click to enlarge Go see the eye-popping spectacle of "Immersive Van Gogh" this week. - JENNIFER GOLDBERG
Go see the eye-popping spectacle of "Immersive Van Gogh" this week.
Jennifer Goldberg

Starry Night

You’d have to visit the Netherlands to see the famous Van Gogh Museum, where everything revolves around the artist who lived from 1853 to 1990 and created some of the world’s best-known artworks. For those who want to experience a bit of Van Gogh’s genius closer to home, there’s the “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibit that uses large-scale projections and videos to immerse viewers in the artist’s world. See the exhibition between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Monday, September 6, inside a massive commercial building at 4301 North Scottsdale Road. Tickets cost $39.99 to $99.99 (before fees). Lynn Trimble


Holiday Ornament Class

Winter holidays will be upon us in just a few short months. If you’re one of those eager beavers who likes to get ready way ahead of time, you’ll be happy to know that the Sonoran Arts League is holding a Holiday Ornament Class focused on Halloween and Christmas on Tuesday, September 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. It’s happening at their Arts Learning Studio, 7100 East Cave Creek, Suite 164, Cave Creek. The class costs $55, and there is also a $15 materials fee. Participants will make six fused glass ornaments, and get plenty of inspiration for starting the rest of their holiday preparations. You know how the holidays go, so craft and relax a bit before your schedule goes bonkers. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge When you just feel like a little tarot card time. - LYNN TRIMBLE
When you just feel like a little tarot card time.
Lynn Trimble

Tarot Study Group

Tarot cards have been around for centuries, and used in several different ways. For some, they’re used in simple games like other types of card decks. But others proclaim their powers of divination, assigning occult properties that manifest through readings of cards drawn from the tarot deck. If you’re curious about cartomancy, a fancy way of saying tarot card readings, you can learn more during a Tarot Study Group at Bookmans, 8034 North 19th Avenue. The bookstore welcomes learners of all backgrounds and identities. You can bring your own deck or borrow one from the store while you’re there. The next study group takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 8. Lynn Trimble
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