20 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix, February 27 to March 5

See fashions by Phoenix-based Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo) in Scottsdale.
See fashions by Phoenix-based Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo) in Scottsdale.
Courtesy of Scottsdale ArtWalk
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Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Cincinnati Reds
Before they become the “boys of summer,” baseball players scrape a little rust off as the boys of spring. And exactly half of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams do so in our backyard. Which means that for a brief yet glorious window of time each year, the Valley becomes the world’s most descended-upon baseball mecca.

Well, that window just opened.

It’s officially time to skip work, soak up some not-yet-life-threatening sun, sip on an overpriced margarita, and maybe even watch a few minutes of the game. Start the “work” week with some well-deserved leisure on Monday, February 27, when the Arizona Diamondbacks host the Cincinnati Reds at Scottsdale’s Salt River Fields, 7555 North Pima Road, at 1:10 pm. Tickets are $11 and up. Visit the Cactus League website or call 480-270-5000 for details. Rob Kroehler

The nerds are coming (to Little Woody).EXPAND
The nerds are coming (to Little Woody).
Luigi Richie

Comic Book Series
You’re encouraged to dress up in costume for just about everything these days, and that includes events for adults held at bars. In this instance, it’s the Comic Book Series night of costumes, dancing, and (obviously) drinking held Monday, February 27, at the Little Woody, 4228 East Indian School Road. It’s the perfect way to kill time in between cons.

Get ready to see about 1,000 Harley Quinns from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., as Cobra Arcade Bar will take over the Arcadia watering hole for a special comic-book-inspired night with DJ Maneone, specialty cocktails, and guest bartenders Liza and Tyler. Entry is free, and proceeds from the courageous evening will benefit the Phoenix-based HALO Animal Rescue No-Kill Facility.

For more information, call 602-955-0339 or see the Facebook event page. Lauren Cusimano

Seinfeld Trivia
What is the deal with Seinfeld Trivia at Valley Bar? Well, the game night hosted by Emily the Lewis is no joke. To have a fighting chance, you need to assemble a team with knowledge that goes deeper than George is willing to trash-dive for gently used pastry. There’s no faking it. That means no bizarros, just a crew that knows “The Contest” in and out, as well as itsy-bitsy details from all nine seasons. Another pro tip: Show up a little early to get a good spot (and $1 off cans of craft beer), because other people will be there. And as Saint Jerome of West 81st Street taught us, they’re the worst.

Sign-up starts at 7 p.m. in the basement bar’s Rose Room. There’s no cover for the 21-and-over event at 130 North Central Avenue, and play starts at 8. See Valley Bar's website. Becky Bartkowski

Outstanding Cinematic Delights Film Festival
In general, OCD is the acronym used to describe obsessive compulsive disorder. A local event is using the abbreviation differently, but it’s focused on creating awareness about mental-illness issues.

The Outstanding Cinematic Delights Film Festival, or OCD Festival, features several short movies by mostly local filmmakers, including Douglas Proce, Baron Dixon, and the event’s host, Suzanne Steinberg. There’s also a stand-up comedy performance by April Walterscheid. Steinberg says that some of the films do spotlight mental-health issues, and her goal is to help break down the negative stigmas and stereotypes associated with mental disorders. Start the night with a stroll down the red carpet at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, at Silver Cinemas Super Savers Cinema 8, 2710 West Bell Road. Admission is $10. Visit www.facebook.com/OCDFilmFestival. Amy Young

Still shot from a Richard Lerman video featured in his retrospective exhibition at ASU West.EXPAND
Still shot from a Richard Lerman video featured in his retrospective exhibition at ASU West.
Photo courtesy of Richard Lerman.

"Sound Art Works from the '70s to the Present"
Most people think of mix tapes as homemade collections of popular songs with a nostalgic twist. But in the world of internationally renowned artist and Arizona State University professor Richard Lerman, they happen at a whole other level.

Lerman makes his own microphones, which capture sounds made by wind, spiders, and ice either freezing or melting. It’s a tad more complicated than digging up an old Beach Boys or Led Zeppelin album.
Meet Lerman, and explore his work during the free opening reception for “Sound Art Works from the ’70s to the Present” retrospective exhibition, happening from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, at ArtSpace in the University Center Building on the ASU West campus, 4301 West Thunderbird Road in Glendale. Visit ASU's event calendar for more. Lynn Trimble

You Can't Cry While Drinking (Coffee) is just one thing you can learn at ASU Tempe.EXPAND
You Can't Cry While Drinking (Coffee) is just one thing you can learn at ASU Tempe.
Courtesy of Binary Theatre Company

You Can't Cry While Drinking (Coffee)
Binary Theatre Company, the student production arm of ASU’s school of film, dance, and theater, presents a series of three productions this spring, one every few weeks through Saturday, April 15. It’s like an extremely protracted tasting menu. In fact, there’s time to visit other restaurants between courses, to continue the analogy. (Which might make it possible to get full.)

Your amuse-bouche is You Can’t Cry While Drinking (Coffee), a new play by Tess Galbiati that is “like a fever dream, in a way,” says director Rowan McLeod, “a show about people and the struggles we go through in life — how we deal with our pain. It’s humorous and sad in equal parts.”

Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 2, through Sunday, March 5, at Prism Theatre, 970 East University Drive in Tempe. Admission’s $8, or $5 with a donation of nonperishable food. Purchase advance tickets at Binary Theatre's website. Julie Peterson

Geeks Night Out
STEAM is so hot right now, and to prove the importance of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, the City of Tempe, Tempe History Museum, Tempe Public Library, and Tempe Opportunities group are hosting Geeks Night Out.

The sixth annual festival is a collection of booths showcasing everything from solar-powered vehicles and robotics displays to liquid nitrogen demonstrations and classic science experiments. There’s also a costume parade. Should you dress up? We can’t stop you.

Local schools, colleges and universities, community partners, and area businesses operate the booths, including an arts and sciences booth from the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts.

This signature event of the Arizona SciTech Festival runs from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 2, at the Tempe Community Complex, 3500 South Rural Road. Geeks Night Out is free and open to the public, and presented by StateFarm. Call 480-350-5209 or see the City of Tempe website. Lauren Cusimano

See fashions by Phoenix-based Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo) in Scottsdale.EXPAND
See fashions by Phoenix-based Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo) in Scottsdale.
Courtesy of Scottsdale ArtWalk

Native Trails Art Walk & Fashion Show
Show some spirit, people. Not for sports or trendy cuisine, but for Native arts and culture. Get to downtown Scottsdale for the Native Trails art walk happening from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 2, as several galleries show works by Native artists, and Native performance artists help bring the gallery scene to life.

Start at Main Street between Marshall Way and Goldwater Boulevard to enjoy a free fashion show highlighting contemporary Native American clothing and jewelry designers.

With any luck at all, you’ll leave inspired to expand your wardrobe beyond flip-flops, leggings, and baseball caps. Visit Scottsdale Galleries online. Lynn Trimble

Lip Sync Battle
Lip-syncing is the opposite of karaoke, kind of. That theory won’t change your life even a little. But Kobalt Bar’s Lip Sync Battle just might. The mouthy pursuit is a work of art when done well. Adding the adrenaline of competition steps it up. Performers have already challenged one another, and the matchups promise a full evening of fever-pitched action.

Kobalt’s event puts the fun in fundraiser and benefits Phoenix Unified Gay Bowling Alliance, which is not something you get a chance to benefit just any old day. So circle and highlight and glitter Friday, March 3, on the calendar, because the good times roll starting at 8 p.m. at 3110 North Central Avenue. A minimum $5 donation is suggested. Call 602-264-5307 or visit Facebook. Julie Peterson

Riders of the Purple Sage makes its world premiere.EXPAND
Riders of the Purple Sage makes its world premiere.
Tim Trumble

Riders of the Purple Sage
When the curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 3, Arizona Opera will make history. The evening marks the Valley debut of Riders of the Purple Sage — and the organization’s first world première performance.

Set against a backdrop familiar to any who’ve taken a cross-state road trip, Riders is the first American Western opera. Arizona painter Ed Mell, known for his modernist landscape pieces, recreates sunset-colored canyons and desert snapshots for the stage, while Karin Wolverton (as protagonist Jane Withersteen) brings the tale of religion, women’s rights, and gun-slinging to life through three performances at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street.

Set in the late 1800s, the story follows a devout Mormon woman under pressure from the church to marry and add her land to a growing Mormon settlement. Landscape aside, this is far from your average spaghetti Western.

Tickets start at $25 and are available by calling the box office at 602-266-7464 or through Arizona Opera's website. Janessa Hilliard

Read on for more things to do this week.

See choreographer Frances Smith Cohen’s adaptation of the Mexican folk tale La Llorona. EXPAND
See choreographer Frances Smith Cohen’s adaptation of the Mexican folk tale La Llorona.
Tim Fuller

Love Stories
Maybe it’s time to mix it up a bit for First Friday. You can hit a couple of galleries and still have time to see Center Dance Ensemble’s Love Stories at 7:30 p.m. at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street.
The March 3 performance includes artistic director Frances Smith Cohen’s retelling of the Mexican folktale La Llorona (The Weeping Woman), Cohen’s new work, titled Sonata in Dance, and the première of Touch choreographed by Diane McNeal Hunt. Sonata in Dance features an original score composed by Eric Sandmeyer, performed by musicians from Arizona Pro Arte Ensemble.

Show up at 6 p.m. to enjoy a bit of free circus-style entertainment on the plaza, or check out the upstairs art gallery featuring works by ASU graduate students, before you settle into your seat for an evening of Love Stories.

Tickets are $28 for adults and $14 for students. For show and ticket information, visit the Herberger Theater website. Lynn Trimble

Heather McDonald
Heather McDonald is many things: actress, author, comedian, friend to the Kardashians, and gossip podcaster who’s equipped to gab about everything from Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology crusade to what happened on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills last night. Expect her distinct combination of talents to shine (and entertain) when the Juicy Scoop host takes the Tempe Improv stage at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 3.

Tickets to the 21-and-over show are $20, and there’s a two-drink minimum. Meet-and-greet packages are available for $35, and McDonald performs a second set at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 4. For details and to save your seat, visit Tempe Improv's website or call 480-921-9877. Becky Bartkowski

Explore connections between art and walking at the ASU Art Museum Project Space at Combine Studios.EXPAND
Explore connections between art and walking at the ASU Art Museum Project Space at Combine Studios.
Angela Ellsworth

"Walking and Thinking and Walking"
There’s always plenty of foot traffic in Roosevelt Row during First Friday art walks, but not everyone knows to venture off the beaten path. If you’ve never explored the ASU Art Museum’s Project Space at Combine Studios, 821 North Third Street, then make it a must-see between 6 and 9 p.m. on Friday, March 3.

It’s opening night for “Museum of Walking: Walking and Thinking and Walking,” a free exhibition curated by Bruce Ferguson, which premièred at Denmark’s Louisiana Art Museum in 1996. Expect walls filled with mimeographed works by artists and scholars from Marina Abramovic to Rebecca Solnit.

But expect something else, too: a new appreciation for the ways art and walking heighten human capacity for listening and observation. Visit ASU Art Museum's website. Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Flea
Phoenix Flea, arguably the most Instagram-able outdoor market around, returns to Heritage Square Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 4.

A $5 cash admission gets you in the gate at 113 North Sixth Street, with access to more than 100 Southwest vendors, offering everything from handcrafted goods to clothing and accessories to fine art and vintage housewares and designs. After all, spring cleaning means more room for handcrafted goods from the likes of Jar of Buttons, State Forty Eight, Practical Art, and Citizen Home Decor, among others. If opening up your wallet helps you work up an appetite, head over to more than a dozen on-site food trucks, including A Bake Shop and Mustache Pretzels. Need a stiff drink to forget how much you spent? Nearby watering holes Bar Bianco and the Rose and Crown will also be open.

Swipe and double-tap through Phoenix Flea's Instagram for previews and grab tickets at Phoenix Flea's website. Janessa Hilliard

Great Scot.EXPAND
Great Scot.
Robert Zyromski Photography, Indianapolis, IN

Phoenix Scottish Games
Like any god-fearing American, you’re probably a little hazy on the cultural history of Scotland — Braveheart notwithstanding. As it turns out, the rather small nation neighboring England has a rich history of men in skirts hurling rather large rocks. They’re also fond of making pudding out of sheep guts and playing bagpipes made from sheepskin — an instrument with the dubious distinction of being most likely to give the performer an aneurysm.

Indeed, the Scots are a fierce and peculiar bunch, but they know how to have fun, something there will be no shortage of at the 53rd Annual Phoenix Scottish Games, being held at Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road, on Saturday, March 4. The all-ages event kicks off at 9 a.m. Tickets are $20 for adults. Visit Arizona Scots online or call 480-495-8924 for details. Rob Kroehler

Beautiful cars covered the streets of Melrose.EXPAND
Beautiful cars covered the streets of Melrose.
Alexandra Gaspar

M7 Street Fair
Rather than being annoyed that a festival has closed off some CenPho streets, plan ahead and join the party.

The M7 Street Fair is the neighborhood’s 15th annual soiree where the community can gather and celebrate local businesses and services as you stroll through more than 200 vendor booths. Live music lovers will want to hang around the main stage for entertainment ranging from the Phoenix Men’s Choir to rockers Darkness Dear Boy. Chester’s Classic Car Show, a yearly feature, gets you a look at 200 classic and vintage vehicles. Show some district pride from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, in the Melrose District, Seventh Avenue between Indian School Road and Campbell Avenue. Admission is free. Visit M7 Street Fair online. Amy Young

Andrew and Hannah Barco, "I’ll Meet You There,” 2014. Photo by On The Reel Film.
Andrew and Hannah Barco, "I’ll Meet You There,” 2014. Photo by On The Reel Film.
Courtesy of the artists

If you think chewing gum can’t cut it as an art object, you’ve probably never encountered Chicago artist Hannah Barco. Recently, she gathered a dozen or so people inside a gallery space at ASU Art Museum, where they chewed gum together and then stuck it on her artwork.

It’s part of the Museum’s “Hannah Barco: Fathomings” exhibition, anchored by an elevated sidewalk Barco built inside the space. The piece references her experience of walking along the streets of Chicago and prompts reflection on the ways walking informs our identity and sense of place.

Explore Barco’s installation from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, at ASU Art Museum, 51 East 10th Street in Tempe. It continues through Saturday, April 15. It’s free. And hey, it’s fun. Barco’s exhibition is part of a larger initiative called Project Walk, created by the Museum of Walking based at ASU. Visit the Museum of Walking website. Lynn Trimble

Get lifted.
Get lifted.
Courtesy of Arizona Balloon Festival

Arizona Balloon Classic
Dozens of brightly colored, flame-fueled balloons will take to the skies at the Phoenix Events & Sports Complex during the sixth annual Arizona Balloon Classic.

The three-day event, which was rescheduled from late January, concludes from 7 to 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 5, at 2209 North 99th Avenue. Spectator events include a competitive “Hare & Hound” race, sky-high group rides, and tethered, ground-bound options. For those afraid of heights, there’s balloon spotting (past years have included both football and cactus-shaped creations) and a vendor marketplace stocked with food, games, and booths.

General admission is $15 per person, or two adults for $20. Balloon rides run an additional $25 to $195 per participant. For weather and schedule updates, and to purchase tickets, visit Arizona Balloon Classic online. Janessa Hilliard

Maybe you love Mame but would like to see more murder in it. Or you wish The Bad Seed included splashy production numbers and a show-biz setting, like Gypsy or All About Eve, with a concealed-identity plot. There’s a musical that will save you 75 percent of the time it would take to watch all those other shows: Ruthless! The Musical Comedy, at Desert Stages Theatre through Sunday, April 9.

The heroine’s a child star played by a real child. And although all the characters are female, some of them are often played by men, as is the case in this production. Showtime on Sunday, March 5, is 2 p.m. at 4720 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Tickets are $22 to $28 at Desert Stages online or 480-483-1664. Julie Peterson

Indian Fair and Market
There’s always one doofus at every art exhibition who proclaims to anyone in earshot “I could do that.” If you think it looks so easy, come to the annual Indian Fair and Market and watch some of the artist demonstrations to get put properly in your place.

Among those showcasing their skills are Navajo weavers Jane Hyden, Roy Kady, and Marlowe Katoney. The event features diverse artistic creations, as well as music and dance performances by groups like the Dineh Tah’ Navajo Dancers, traditional food, and activities for kids.

Soak up the sunshine and culture from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, at the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue. Admission is $10 to $20, but free for those 16 and younger. Call 602-252-8840 or visit the Heard Museum website. Amy Young

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