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7 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

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New Times picks the best arts and culture events of the week.

Jenny Lawson
For her second book, Jenny Lawson went with some light-hearted subject matter: her life-long battle with mental illness in the form of oft-interrupting depression and a crippling anxiety disorder.

The topics may not be cheery, but Lawson’s treatment of them is in Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, making these otherwise taboo truths approachable. Known for quick-witted tweets, Lawson, a.k.a. The Bloggess, is no stranger to “over-sharing” both on an off-line — and its garnered her a following. Her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, was a New York Times bestseller.

Lawson signs Furiously Happy at 7 p.m. on Monday, December 7, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. Admission for two is free with purchase of the hardcover ($26.99) from either Changing Hands location. Visit www.changinghands.com for call 480-730-0205. Janessa Hilliard

It may not be Rockefeller Center, but the Valley of the Sun is getting its own outdoor ice skating rink for the sixth year in a row. CitySkate returns with a grand opening celebration, complete with a tree lighting ceremony by Mayor Greg Stanton. The evening also features a live snowfall, music, and photos with Santa. Event begins at 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 28, within CityScape, on First Street between Washington and Jefferson streets. Weekend general admission is $15 and includes skate rental. Free to watch the tree lighting and festivities. Visit www.phxicerink.com or call 602-772-3900 for tickets.

The ice rink remains open through Monday, January 11, from 3 to 11 p.m. on weekends, and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m. on weekdays. Holiday hours vary. Janessa Hilliard

[insert story here]: A Night of Ethnotheatre
If you get jazzed up for theater outings but prefer them to be more on the intimate and non-traditional side, ASU’s Prism Theater, might be your new favorite place for shows that stray from the beaten path.

On Wednesday, this space that features student-created and experimental works regularly presents [insert story here]: A Night of Ethnotheatre. For those not in the know, ethnotheatre takes research about and tales of human experiences and transforms it into a dramatic performance. This event explores topics like awkwardness, motherhood, and women in comedy from more than four students enrolled in the university’s ethnotheatre course. The esoteric event starts 7:30 p.m. on December 9 at 970 East University Drive in Tempe. Admission is free. Call 480-965-5337 or visit filmdancetheatre.asu.edu. Amy Young

There won’t be any pole, airing of grievances or feats of strength at the sixth annual Phoestivus open-air market in downtown Phoenix. What there will be: more than 130 local vendors showcasing a unique variety of foods grown, produced and prepared in the Valley, as well as gift items, jewelry, and decor crafted by the hands of local artisans. A plethora of food trucks and a beer garden hosted by the Phoenix Ale Brewery will keep you satiated and make the event truly a Phoestivus for the rest of us.

Shop local at Phoestivus 2015 from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, December 10, at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market, 721 North Central Avenue. Call 602-625-6737 or visit phoestivus.com for more. Zach Fowle

Seed Spot Demo Day
Valley start-up incubator Seed Spot has taken pretty big strides in fairly large shoes since its start three years ago. The nonprofit aims to “educate, accelerate, and invest in entrepreneurs who are creating solutions to social problems” and has helped nearly 150 Arizonans create and cultivate change through self-made businesses while garnering more than $2.5 million in investments for past sponsored ventures.

This week they’ll host the sixth bi-annual Demo Day event, where a new class of entrepreneurs pitch ideas (in under three minutes) to a crowd that gives one winner a $5000 prize. Talk about audience participation.

Presentations start at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 10, at Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street. Admission is free, but RSVPs are required. Visit www.seedspotdemodayfall2015.splashthat.com to register. Janessa Hilliard

The Santaland Diaries
There’s an offshoot of holiday retail that’s even more terrifying than selling stuff, and that’s working as an adult elf, assisting body-fluid-spewin’ rugrats and their folks as they approach Santa’s lap. Employing a disputed degree of poetic license, David Sedaris related his own adventures at Macy’s on NPR in 1992. Before long, the essay became part of Sedaris’ books and then a one-act play, The Santaland Diaries, presented by Arizona Theatre Company through Wednesday, December 23. The opening night show’s at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 10, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. The company also presents a one-actor A Christmas Carol in rep with Santaland from Friday, December 11, through Saturday, December 26. Tickets are $38 to $51. Call 602-256-6995 or visit www.arizonatheatre.org. Julie Peterson

Phoenix Festival of the Arts
Critics, professional and otherwise, are sussing out their end of the year lists for every art experience possible. That doesn't mean that Phoenix art scene goes dormant, though. One of the high points of the year is the Phoenix Festival of the Arts, which strolls into its fourth year by expanding and bringing more live performances,  more kids and family activities, and more food trucks to the masses. Art patrons can become art makers by joining in with the hands-on Phoenix Mural Project led by artist Hugo Medina. One-stop shoppers trying to get their holiday shopping on lock will dig the locally-created arts and crafts as their source for truly unique gifts.

The Phoenix Festival of the Arts is Friday, December 11, at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 North Third Street, from noon until 6 p.m. Admission is free, and the shindig runs through Sunday, December 13. For more details, visit www.phoenixfestivalofthearts.org. Jose Gonzalez

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