Breaking Ground 2015
Now in its eighth year -- just as captivating and clever as always -- the 2015 contemporary dance and film festival Breaking Ground returns to Tempe for an inspired night of performing arts. Winner of last year's New Times award for Best Dance Festival and produced by local company CONDER/dance, the two-day event features 32 filmmakers and choreographers from across the country. In addition to live performances and screenings, these contemporary artists offer an array of master classes. Courses include forays into modern ballet and technique -- and while walk-ins are welcome, reservations are encouraged. Class details can be found at www.conderdance.com.
The lobby pre-show starts at 7:30 p.m., curtain's at 8 on Friday, March 20, at the Tempe Center for the Arts Theater, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. Another show with a different lineup is Saturday, March 21. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call the box office at 480-350-2829 or visit www.tca.ticketforce.com. Janessa Hilliard
Hormel Festival of New Plays and Musicals
Few festivals offer more surprises than the Hormel Festival of New Plays and Musicals -- because all the plays are new! The roster for opening night, Friday, March 20, showcases Y York and Amanda Jacobs' musical The Up Side of Down, which reimagines Pollyanna, and Donna Hoke's Christmas 2.0, in which a lonely mom finds old friends on Facebook. Both showtimes are 7 p.m. (Don't fear choosing one and missing the other -- both shows repeat later in the schedule.)
Festival events, a few of which are free, continue through Sunday, March 29, at Phoenix Theatre, 100 East McDowell Road. A probable highlight: The Boob Show by local writers Sally Jo Bannow and Craig Bohmler. The fiesta concludes, as always, with the moving and hysterical 24-Hour Theatre Project. Admission ranges from $10 for individual plays to $60 for an all-access pass. For tickets and full details, visit www.phoenixtheatre.com or call 602-254-2151. Julie Peterson
Phoenix Festival de España
After you've shed your winter cardigan, but before you've started your spring cleaning, you may be feeling a bit lackluster, maybe even flavorless. It is common, it happens to everybody, and it's not a big deal. Phoenix Center for the Arts and Flamenco Por La Vida have teamed up to add plenty of spice to your life with the Phoenix Festival de España. This free celebration of all things Spanish will feature opportunities to learn about the culture, enjoy live performances, and try your hand, er, feet at Flamenco during one of several workshops.
Prepare for a fiesta at 1202 North Third Street on March 21 and 22. Visit phoenixcenterforthearts.org for more information and a full schedule of performances, presentations, and workshops. Evie Carpenter
Miniature Horse Show
Two words: Mini. Horses. This weekend, you can see a selection of the top miniature horses in Arizona perform in driving, obstacle driving, jumping, roadster, halter, and costume contests (yeah, you read that last one right) at the the 28th Annual AZ Touch of Class Miniature Horse Show.
The show will take place at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road, in the enclosed Equidome Equestrian Center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, March 21 and 22. The event is free to the public. For more information, call 602-557-7618 or visit www.AZminis-mhaa.com. Katrina Montgomery
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It wasn't a lifelong dream or some twist of fate that thrust Bobby Lee into comedy -- it was convenience. When the coffee shop where a young Lee was working closed in 1994, he simply went next door to apply for a job. That neighboring business just happened to be The Comedy Store, a venerated comedy club, and Lee just so happened to try stand-up during one of their amateur nights, and after a year or so of doing regular comedy sets, he got offers to open for the likes of Pauly Shore and Carlos Mencia, and eventually landed on Mad TV. See, dad? Laziness can have its benefits.
Lee conveniently takes the stage at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 22, at the Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive. Tickets start at $20 plus a two-drink minimum. Call 480-921-9877 or visit tempeimprov.com for more. Zachary Fowle