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5 Best Things We Saw in Metro Phoenix in April

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We're always keeping an eye on things -- from art exhibitions and indie films to architecture and theater in and around Phoenix. Here's the top of the top; five standouts among the many spring festivals, tours, and festivities April had to offer.

See also: Sentrock to Hold Solo Show at Palabra Collective in Downtown Phoenix Carrie Marill's "Domesticated" at Lisa Sette Gallery

When I first walked into "Domesticated," Carrie Marill's latest solo show at Lisa Sette Gallery, I immediately was drawn to a large painting depicting what appears to be either a layered cake or five separate cakes piled on top of one another. The work, Panned, features a simple composition with light neutral tones, but at the top of the pristine pile is an unexpected splash of bright, textured paint. This saturated color disrupts the order of the still life, suggesting that this work (and others in the exhibition) are not really about an idyllic kind of home life at all. Read more. -- Katrina Montgomery

Obvious Child at Phoenix Film Festival

Gillian Robespierre's Obvious Child isn't your typical romantic comedy.

Jenny Slate stars as Donna Stern, a charmingly foul-mouthed Williamsburg stand-up, whose cheating boyfriend (Paul Briganti) dumps her for another woman.

She goes through the typical stages of relationship loss. She gets drunk, leaves him many inebriated messages, finds comfort in her roommate Nellie (Gaby Hoffmann), and does some light stalking of her ex and his new girlfriend, who had been a close friend of Donna's. Adding insult to injury, she also loses her job at an independent bookstore.

But then, something great happens.

She stops chasing him. Read more. -- Becky Bartkowski

Earthlings at The Empty Space

So Binary Theatre Company is the name of the current incarnation of the student-run live theater production organization (they're not a gang; they're a club) under the auspices of Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts' School of Film, Dance, and Theatre. That is one of the rare times you'll see us bother to give the whole name of that academic unit, because holy crap. But it is descriptive and accurate.

And Binary, to continue in the vein of definition, is an experience-maker. An undergrad doesn't have to be admitted to a specific degree program to participate; it's a way to learn, as early as possible, that artists have to create their own opportunities to get their stuff out there a lot of the time. This spring wraps up Binary's third season, and Earthlings shares a brand-spankin'-new local play (by co-director Beth May) that is, in a somehow life-affirming and darkly humorous way, the stuff of one's worst nightmares. Read more. -- Julie Peterson

ZapCon 2014 at Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel

The Pueblo Ballroom at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel took on the atmosphere of an old-school video arcade on Saturday, April 12, and Sunday, April 13, during ZapCon 2014. The rainbow glow from more than 160 classic video games and pinball machines shone out from the darkened room while a cacophony bleeps, bloops, and other electronic sounds filled the air as local gamers of all ages worked joysticks and mashed buttons during the two-day convention. View a slideshow of ZapCon. -- Benjamin Leatherman

Modern Phoenix Home Tour

Modern Phoenix's 2014 home tour found Midcentury Modern fans trekking through greater Arcadia on Sunday, April 6, to take a peek into homes with vintage (and curb) appeal.

With 16 residential stops and a nice sampling of Arizona's most notable architects, including Paolo Soleri, Al Beadle, and Ralph Haver, the sold-out event featured homes and condos that ranged from full-on remodels to well preserved gems. Here are the 10 coolest things -- from cement blocks to a cantilever porch -- that Jackalope Ranch spotted during the must-attend event. Read more. -- Becky Bartkowski

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