Vacations are nice, sure. But when money is tight and work schedules even tighter, it helps to have some in-town entertainment to break up those long days of summer. Here are our top picks for summer events in and around the Valley.
See Also: Seven Free Summer Yoga Classes in Metro Phoenix Jackalope Ranch Presents Bingo at Crescent Ballroom in Downtown Phoenix June 17 Downtown Phoenix's Hotel Palomar to Celebrate One-Year Anniversary with Pillow Fight Party
"Stocked: Contemporary Art from the Grocery Aisles" May 25 - September 1 SMoCA This new summer exhibition at SMOCA takes an artistic analysis of modern consumer culture in the grocery store -- from products and packaging to coupons and consumption. Unlike its pop art predecessors this exhibit chooses to question, rather than celebrate the commercial products of your everyday supermarket. Visit smoca.org. Admission is $7, but free on Thursdays.
Science on the Rocks June 6 Arizona Science Center Because every good lesson should come with a cocktail, the Arizona Science Center invites adults 21-and-over to enjoy an evening of mixology lectures, signature cocktails, appetizers, silent auctions, DJs, dancing, and interactive activities, including access to the Center's featured exhibition, "Da Vinci - The Genius." To purchase tickets, $45-50, visit azscience.org.
Marc Maron June 6 Stand Up Live The master of manic returns to Phoenix Thursday, June 6, at Stand Up Live. Following the success of his WTF with Marc Maron podcast, his new book Attempting Normal and his new IFC show, Maron, the comedian is back on the road with new stand up material and a not-so-new point of view. Tickets are $22. Visit standuplive.com.
Salt River Pirates June 8 Salt River Salt River Tubing takes on a Pirate theme this Saturday. From 8:30 am to 6:30 pm river riders can enjoy free tube rental passes with an all day rate of $17 as well as free pirate bandanas awarded to the first 1,000 visitors and a contest for the best pirate costume. Payment at Salt River Tubing is cash only. For more information, visit saltrivertubing.com.
Bisbee Pride 2013 June 14-16 Bisbee The 9th annual Pride Festival takes over Bisbee for a nonstop weekend of parades, pub crawls, ghost tours, film screenings, fashion shows, pool parties, dances, street fairs, beer gardens, and an epic "Knock Down Drag Out" show. June 15's Pride Parade begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Bisbee Courthouse. Visit bisbeepride.com for a full schedule. Costs vary.
Whitney Cummings June 14-15 Tempe Improv Whitney Cummings is one busy woman. The comedian, writer, and actress is a frequent contributor to Chelsea Lately, the co-creator behind CBS's 2 Broke Girls as well as the creator of Whitney. Next weekend, she'll be making her way to Tempe for three stand-up shows. Tickets are $28. Visit tempeimprov.com for more information.
"The Art of Video Games" June 16 - September 29 Phoenix Art Museum Coming to you from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, this traveling exhibition provides an artistic depiction of video game evolution. From the different technologies and methods of storytelling to the changing aesthetic of video game graphics, this exhibit takes in the full scope of where video games started and where they are today. Visit phxart.org. Admission is $15, but free on Wednesday evenings and First Fridays.
Jackalope Ranch Presents Bingo June 17 Crescent Ballroom Jackalope is getting old school with its first-ever bingo night at Crescent Ballroom. The evening will be emeceed by Phoenix's favorite unofficial historian, Marshall Shore, and feature one-of-a-kind bingo cards created by artist Sarah Hurwitz.
Beer and bingo? Consider the free space in your social calendar filled. There's no cover.
Sister Act June 25-30 Gammage Auditorium The Broadway musical the New York Post calls "ridiculously fun" makes its way to Gammage Auditorium for 5 nights. Inspired by the hit 90s' film with Whoopi Golgberg, Sister Act is an upbeat comedy musical featuring music by 8-time Oscar winner Alan Menken. For tickets, $20-$125, visit asugammage.com.
Neil Gaiman June 26 South Mountain High School Auditorium Best-selling author Neil Gainman is coming to Phoenix to discuss his newest book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Gaiman has received much acclaim and acquired quite a following for works such as Coraline, The Wolves in the Walls, American Gods, and numerous other pieces for young and adult readers. Visit Changing Hands Bookstore or call 480-730-0205 to reserve your seat and a copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Event vouchers cost $33-$38.Jim Gaffigan
July 11Talking Stick Resort
The longtime comedian who made us unable to look at Hot Pockets the same way again has just finished a new bookDad is Fat
and a new stand-up show. Now he's taking his material on the road and stopping in Phoenix for one night only. To purchase tickets, $55-$175, for Gaffigan's White Bread Tour visitjimgaffigan.com
16th Annual Arizona Highland Celtic Festival Jul 20 - 21 Foxglenn Park, Flagstaff This two-day festival hosted by the Northern Arizona Celtic Heritage Society offers live entertainment, historical reenactments, competitions and demos, as well as workshops on Celtic whiskey tasting, music, and more. Visit nachs.info for more information. Tickets are $15-$22.
Prescott Film Festival July 24-31 Yavapai College Performing Arts Center The 4th Annual Prescott film festival is teaming up with Yavapai College to bring you eight days of film screenings, guest filmmakers, after-parties, and even an entire shorts program dedicated just to Prescott-made films. Visit prescottfilmfestival.com. Cost is TBA.
Art Unraveled 2013 July 30 - August 6 Embassy Suites Phoenix-Scottsdale This mixed-media retreat returns to Phoenix once again for eight full days of arts and crafts workshops led by local, national, and international artists. Workshops include everything from "Mexi-Boho Style Mixed Media Embroidery" and "Monotype Madness" to "Encaustic Wax Collage" and "Grafitti Style Portrait Stencil." Visit artunraveled.com for a full schedule and to register. Cost varies.
The Big Heap Vintage and Handmade Festival August 3 - 4 Fort Tuthill, Flagstaff This juried festival showcases what it considers to be the best selection of vintage, industrial, salvaged, modern, and handmade goods in Arizona. Although it's a bit of a drive, the Big Heap promises that it is not simply "an arts and crafts show, not an antique show, and sure as heck not a flea market." For those who can't make it, the Big Heap will return with another show in Cave Creek, November 15 through 17. Visit thebigheap.com. Admission is $3.
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