Like watching A Charlie Brown Christmas and eating an embarrassing quantity of cookies, there are some holiday traditions that we simply can't skip. Among our favorites is Crafeteria.
Each year CenPho boutique Frances hosts this free-to-attend marketplace of Arizona makers just in time to tackle that gift list (and snag a few things on your wish list). More than 40 vendors will set up temporary shop at Medlock Plaza, 10 West Camelback Road, where you'll also find live music and food trucks from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, December 5. We recommend bringing a scarf and hot chocolate. For details, see www.francesvintage.com or call 602-279-5467. Becky Bartkowski
Somewhere out there, we imagine, is the ugliest sweater ever created. Its heinous, misshapen form was lovingly brought to life by wrinkly arthritic hands that knitted each clash-colored thread, jingly bell, and strobe-light reindeer nose just so. The back causes car accidents; the front scares children.
That's the sweater you'll need for Practical Art's Ugly Sweater Christmas Party. Not only will you revel in others' revulsion at your sweater as you enjoy Christmas music and sweet holiday-themed treats, but you also could win a $50 gift card, awarded by the handcrafted goods store to the person with the gnarliest threads.
Practical Art decks their halls for the free Ugly Sweater Christmas Party from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, December 5, at 5070 North Central Avenue. Call 602-264-1414 or visit www.practical-art.com for more. Zachary Fowle
See also: 25 Best Holiday Events in Metro Phoenix
Of the standup comics who started in the early 1960s, struck stardom in the late '60s and '70s, and had a hit sitcom in the '80s, we always knew that we could count on mild-mannered Bob Newhart to not be an awful creep. The 85-year-old accountant-turned-comic still hits the road playing straight man to the world's absurdities.
Bob Newhart performs at the Ovations Showroom of Wild Horse Pass, 5040 Wild Horse Pass Boulevard in Chandler, on Friday, December 5. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8. Tickets range from $45 to $99. For more info, visit www.wingilariver.com. Jose Gonzalez
See also: The 10 Best Comedy Podcasts Right Now
If you aren't sick and tired of Clara and her legume-crunching toy by now, we're going to assume you've been snoozing through The Nutcracker for the past few years. Opt for the unfamiliar this season by attending Images in Motion. Featuring Scottsdale Community College's three resident dance troupes, the show promises athleticism, original pieces by faculty, and most certainly a few moves you won't find in yet another "Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy."
See a sampling of jazz and contemporary dance beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, December 5 and 6, at Scottsdale Community College's Performing Arts Center, 9000 East Chaparral Road. Admission is free. Visit www.scottsdalecc.edu or call 480-423-6000. Becky Bartkowski
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We understand that Eric Dufault's Year of the Rooster is a play about chicken. Sign us up! We'll chase it with a slow-roasted bird: garlic stuffed under the skin, a cut lemon inside, and . . . what's that? It's a play about a chicken? A gamecock. Oh. Well, that's another thing altogether.
Let's whet a different appetite by introducing Oedipus Rex, who's not a tragic Greek king this time around. He's a big nasty fighting rooster, and his human, Gil, risks everything on the fight in Oedipus. Both tragic and funny, Stray Cat Theatre's production runs through Saturday, December 20, at 132 East Sixth Street in Tempe. Saturday, December 6's performance begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $25 at www.straycattheatre.org or 480-227-1766. Julie Peterson