Though stores are already hawking holiday doodads, we have a few suggestions for how to spend your post-Halloween week that don't involve red and green decorations. Make that five. A floral how-to, a special appearance by David Sedaris, and a little James Franco are just a few things to pencil in over the next few days.
We've known friends who sought the bright lights of American Idol, but the endless audition lines, annoying competitors looking for attention, and time off work was never worth it. Now, aspiring pop songbirds in the Valley don't have to go far when George & Dragon hosts Karaoke Idol.
See also: Phoenix New Times' Calendar of Events
Transforming the ol' G&D's karaoke night into a competition raises the stakes for amateur warblers and has to be more fun for spectators who previously had to suffer through tone-deaf renditions of hit songs without any recourse. We're delighted just thinking about pub owner and British expatriate David Wimberley chiming in with Simon Cowell-like brutal honesty for the vocal disasters. Crooners who pass muster will get a chance at a final showdown in December where a trip for two to Las Vegas will be on the line.
Karaoke Idol is at the George & Dragon English Pub & Restaurant, 4240 North Central Avenue, and starts at 9 p.m. on Mondays. There is no cover for this 21-and-over event. Visit www.facebook.com/gndpub for more info. Jose Gonzalez
Thanks to Martha Stewart, Pinterest, and every lifestyle blog from here to Preserve, modern holidays are much more than thyme-stuffed turkeys and tinsel-covered Christmas trees. Fortunately, for those of us who like setting the table as well as the mood, there are high-class horticulture classes from Pith + Marrow.
Founded by Katherine Thornhill, Teresa Wilson, and Misha West, Pith + Marrow makes turning your home into a scene from Kinfolk magazine a piece of perfectly staged cake. For the second installment of Pith + Marrow's Fall Floral Series, the trio will lead a how-to on building autumn centerpieces as well as serving up light bites and wine. Part two of Pith + Marrow's Fall Floral Series happens from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, November 4, at Camelback Flowershop, 4108 East Indian School Road. Registration for this event is $225. Visit www.pithmarrow.com or call 602-840-4646. Katie Johnson
It doesn't feel like much of a stretch to say that David Sedaris' books have been occupying bestseller lists nonstop for the past decade. His signature style is both poignant and hysterical, a sort of black comedy that has enchanted fans for years. This week, the much-loved author is coming to Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street, to share his stories, both old and new.
Sedaris became famous with his essay collections: Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and, most recently, Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls.
The genius of Sedaris' comedy can't be whittled down to a series of one-liners. The man is a storyteller, and if you've never had the chance to hear Sedaris reading his work aloud before, this show is a must-see.
The evening begins at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 5, in the Ikeda Theater at the Mesa Arts Center. Tickets range from $32 to $65 and can be purchased by calling 480-644-6500. For additional information, visit www.mesaartscenter.com. Katrina Montgomery
Never underestimate the magic of James Franco. The multihyphenate actor's star power is partially behind the Tony-nominated revival of the adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1937 novella Of Mice and Men, but it's Franco's creative curiosity that's led to the National Theatre Live presenting its first Broadway-based offering this Thursday, November 6.
While Franco's desire to translate the blockbusting play into other media eventually marched it into movie theaters around the country, it's Chris O'Dowd's turn as the simple but sweet Lennie that garnered a nod from Broadway's highest honor. Lennie and Franco's George lean on each other as friends and fellow Depression-era day-laborers, happening upon a California ranch fraught with toxic personal politics. The unlikely duo's friendship is stretched to its boundaries as they continue dreaming of a better tomorrow.
National Theatre Live's Of Mice and Men will be presented in select AMC Theaters around the Valley, including AMC Desert Ridge 18, 21001 North Tatum Boulevard. Tickets are $12.50 each. For more information, visit www.ntl.nationaltheatre.org.uk. Jose Gonzalez
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Grim visions of the future often cast technology that gets out of humankind's hand as our ultimate conqueror. We will gladly welcome our new overlords if they are as charming as the clanky figures of Space Boy Robot's "Musée des Roboddities," whose opening reception is on Friday, November 7.
Space Boy Robot is the retro-future alter-ego of Phoenix artist Jordan-Alexander Thomas, whose vision for seeing robotics in recycled materials is matched only by his loving and intricate handcrafting of them into their final form of mixed-media sculptures. Thomas' army of robots -- part 1950s sci-fi with a dash of steampunk and a sprinkle of Island of Misfit Toys -- pop with personality. This latest show spotlights robot assemblages with iconic touchstones such as P.I.E.R.R.E, who evokes the classic French artist archetype and Bob Ross-bot, an homage to the beloved PBS instructional painter.
The artist reception for Jordan-Alexander Thomas's show "Space Boy Robot presents: Musée des Roboddities" is at Practical Art, 5070 North Central Avenue, from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission is free. The show runs through Sunday, November 30. Visit www.practical-art.com and www.spaceboyrobot.com for more details. Jose Gonzalez