Should you be unfamiliar with iconic author Edgar Allen Poe's short story "The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether," apologies, here comes a spoiler alert and incidentally, an obscure 1980s pop reference: The lunatics have taken over the asylum. Don't worry; The System is still a worthwhile read, spoiler alert notwithstanding. And if you're planning on attending the sixth annual PoeFest at Hotel San Carlos, 202 North Central Avenue, then you might want to know what you're getting yourself into.
Beginning Friday, October 10, the hotel's aptly named Ghost Lounge will be overrun by Poe folks aplenty portraying characters from the aforementioned short story and from other famously creepy works of the era. Presented by the Arizona Curriculum Theater, Poefest isn't merely a collection of readings from America's original arbiter of mayhem, ACT brings the historic hotel to life -- or death -- with shriek-inducing authenticity, not fit for the Poe in spirit. Poefest runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. throughout October. General admission is $25. Those13 and younger will not be admitted without an adult. Visit www.poefest.org or call 1-888-343-4228 for details. Rob Kroehler
Thanks to the seeming permanence of the competitive reality TV show, it's pretty easy to find super-talented dancers performing everything from classical ballet to jazz and hip-hop while flipping through the channels. But fans of movers and shakers have a pretty good reason to leave the couch lonesome this weekend, as the 2014 Arizona Dance Festival showcases more than 20 companies.
Troupes that are based in the Phoenix area and a few from across the country will take to the stage at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway, and share pieces in a variety of styles on Friday and Saturday. October 10 and 11. A few of the locals to keep an eye out for are Dulce and Movement Source Dance companies, known for their contemporary modern pieces, and Terpsicore, a modern ballet troupe.
Presented by Arizona Dance Theatre, the shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and each night will feature performances by different troupes. Q&A sessions will follow the shows. Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $13 for students via www.tempe.gov/tca or 480-350-2822. Becky Bartkowski
With the NSA peeking around every corner, Google analyzing every single thing ever searched, and Facebook showing you infant clothing ads just because you searched for baby panda photos that one time, it seems like nothing is really private nowadays. Thirteen national and international interdisciplinary artists explore these issues of privacy as well as other violations of humans rights in Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's exhibition "Covert Operations: Investigating the Known Unknowns."
Espionage, classified military sites, terrorist profiling, the United States intelligence community, and more are all on the table now through Sunday, January 11, 2015, at SMoCA, 7374 East Second Street. The museum will be open from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 11. Admission is free on Thursdays, but it's $7 for adults and $5 for students every other day. For more information, call 480-874-4666 or visit www.smoca.org. Evie Carpenter
No longer relegated to bumpers and covering ugly logos on water bottles, stickers are a bona fide art movement. Pretty impressive, considering that once they're adhered there's not much moving to do. Sticker art is rooted in street art culture, but it's made its way into galleries and serves as the backbone of Mike "Mad One" Neely's event Sticker Phiends.
Mad One had left Phoenix for Portland a while back, but the artist will return to the Valley to host and curate the sixth volume of his sticker-loving event. The one-night-only adhesive art show will feature works for sale by Dumperfoo, 123 klan, Obey, and Ron English, to name a few. Freebies will be available on a limited basis.
Sticker Phiends Vol. 6 is at Cartel Coffee Lab, 225 West University Drive, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, October 11. Admission is free. Drink specials will be available to those 21 and older. Find more info at www.flickr.com/photos/madone. Becky Bartkowski
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There's good, there's bad, and then there's just plain ugly. In Class 6 Theatre's Worst Play Ever Contest, pitiful playwrights and lousy local artists go for the gold in a festival of god-awful short play readings. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll be tempted see if maybe you can't write something better, er, worse yourself. It has been noted that an especially terrible play has been submitted by none other than playwright Rich Orloff. In addition to the performances, this one-night-only event will also feature a silent auction and some light refreshments.
Class 6 Theatre's Worst Play Ever Contest is happening from 6 to 10 p.m. on Sunday, October 12, at the building lobby and conference room located at Madison Square, 5343 North 16th Street. Class 6 will accept pay-what-you-wish admission at the door. For details and to RSVP, visit www.class6theatre.org or call 602-403-6759. Katie Johnson