7 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

New Times picks the best events in metro Phoenix from Monday, September 19, through Thursday, September 22. For more things to do, see our curated online calendar

"Biennial Art Faculty and Staff Exhibition"
While their students focus on the new fall semester, the arts instructors at Mesa Community College have been putting the finishing touches on their own upcoming presentation. Think of it as homework for adults.

The “Biennial Art Faculty and Staff Exhibition” debuts Monday, September 19, at MCC Art Gallery, 1833 West Southern Avenue. More than two dozen artists are featured, including Tom Klare, a former editorial photographer who has taught at MCC for a decade; Cynthia Peterson, a still-life painter; and Sandra Luehrsen, who teaches 3D design and clay workshops.The exhibition is on view during regular hours (Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) through Friday, October 7. Museum entry is free for all ages. Visit or call 480-461-7294 for more. Janessa Hilliard

ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence
Don’t worry about missing the red carpet at the 26th annual ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence. The lobby is also covered with perfectly nice carpet that you’re allowed, as a mere mortal, to stand on while you behold the resplendence of dressed-up people, from actors to directors to makeup designers. Awards for the 2015-16 theater season will be distributed based on detailed evaluations by the artists’ peers, and zippy production numbers from popular shows provide yet another type of entertainment.

Put on the ritz Monday, September 19, starting at 8 p.m. for adult productions (not San Fernando Valley-style adult — simply plays featuring grownups). Tickets are $21 at 480-350-2822 or for the ceremony at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. Julie Peterson

Eugene Shoemaker Memorial Lecture
As technology advances, the stuff of science fiction starts to sound increasingly like, well, the stuff of science. The growing sense among experts that extraterrestrial life is not only possible, but probable, has quite literally fueled the next generation of high-profile space racers. When Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg launched Breakthrough Initiatives, a “program of … exploration, probing the big questions of life in the universe,” they had big things in mind. So they brought big minds on board. One such mind, that of astrophysicist Simon “Pete” Worden, a chairman of Breakthrough Initiatives, will be on hand to share his wealth of knowledge for free at the annual Eugene Shoemaker Memorial Lecture at ASU’s Marston Exploration Theater, 781 East Terrace Mall, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20. The truth is out there indeed. For details, visit Rob Kroehler

Hump Day Karaoke
Your karaoke host is not there to have a discussion. Proper etiquette requires simply your song choice and a nod. So it’s good news for Android users attending Hump Day Karaoke, as they can download the Paradigm Karaoke app and be ready to go.

For the rest of you, celebrate making it to midweek at Hump Day Karaoke from 7 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21, at ThirdSpace, the coffee shop/boutique/bar at 1028 Grand Avenue. It’s free, and if you can’t make it this time, HDK is back to being a weekly thing. Call 602-258-1536 or visit Lauren Cusimano

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski
Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Janessa is a native Phoenician. She joined New Times as a contributor in 2013. You can connect with her on social media at @janessahilliard, and she promises you'll find no pictures of cats on her Instagram — but plenty of cocktails.
Contact: Janessa Hilliard
Rob is a Phoenix native, husband, dad, and an active member in the local music scene. He's written original songs for feature films.
Contact: Rob Kroehler
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson