7 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

"Border of Dreams"
The image evokes triumph, frustration, and heartache with a black-and-white capture of a man, arms outstretched in a Christ-like way toward a barren background. Towering near him made of slanting barbed wire, the U.S.-Mexico border fence. The photographer behind the shot? Award-winning photojournalist Nick Oza.

“Border of Dreams” is the solo exhibition of Oza’s documentation of immigration issues: images shot during the 2010 Senate Bill 1070 protests, photographs spanning the gamut from deportation to religion to portraits of dreamers and people leaving Phoenix. The pieces featured have been published on the Lens Blog at The New York Times, TIME magazine online, Oza’s employer, Arizona Republic, and his personal Instagram account.

Opening reception is from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, August 21, at Treeo, 906 North Sixth Street. Oza will speak at both 7 and 8 p.m. Free and on view through Monday, September 14. Call 602-788-0033 or click or his personal website, Janessa Hilliard

We know that our pets don’t experience the same emotions, perceptions, and concerns that we do. But if the Internet’s taught us anything, it’s how much fun it is to put words in the mouths of cute animals. Much more than that happens in Sylvia, A.R. Gurney’s play about a New York couple and the dog they don’t really agree to adopt. One of the genuine pleasures in the script is knowing that Sylvia’s owners can’t hear anything she’s “saying.” But it works on more profound levels as well.

Fountain Hills Theater presents this shaggy dog story through Sunday, August 30, at 11445 North Saguaro Boulevard. Friday, August 21’s showtime is 8 p.m. For tickets, $18 to $23, visit or call 480-837-9661, extension 3. Julie Peterson

Beer Olympics
While competitors shouldn’t expect an opening ceremony on par with the London games at Tempe Marketplace on Friday, August 21, they should plan to face some semi-serious competition during New Times’ second annual Beer Olympics. Aspiring champions will engage in such shows of strength as flip cup relays, corn hole, giant beer pong, and Jenga throughout the outdoor shopping center, all while sipping suds from Goose Island and Bud Light.

General admission is $20 per person, and teams of four can register for $70. For more information and to buy tickets, see Becky Bartkowski

Hello Kitty Supercute Friendship Festival

Could anyone have a bad time at something called the Hello Kitty Supercute Friendship Festival? Doubtful. The cartoon character is so beloved that no one even blinked when it was clarified by her creators last year that she's a little girl and not a cat, contrary to popular opinion. The iconic, whiskered persona is on tour with her friends, like Keroppi and Chococat, presenting a larger than life stage show full of music, dance, fashion, and fun, along with interactive activities for all. The meow-tastic magic happens from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on August 22 and 23 at Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue in Glendale. Admission is $30 for persons 3 and older. Call 800-745-3000 or visit Amy Young

iTheatre Collaborative opens its 2015-16 season with Grounded, George Brant’s breakthrough hit – both critically acclaimed and popular with theatergoers — about family, politics, and passion. The one-woman play takes us inside the mind of a fighter pilot who can no longer fly. Her pregnancy restricts her to an assignment sitting in a trailer, piloting military drones whose strikes produce very real, though distant casualties, while she struggles to maintain relationships with her husband and daughter. Poetic language within a hyperrealistic plot helped Grounded soar into favor on two continents.

The show continues through Saturday, September 5, on the Kax Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. The performance on Saturday, August 22, begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 at or 602-252-8497. Julie Peterson

Amy K. Nichols
Phoenix young-adult author Amy K. Nichols has this thing for the supernatural. Her first novel, 2014’s Now That You’re Here, followed a bad boy who winds up in a parallel universe. This year, she releases While You Were Gone, in which an aspiring artist meets a boy not just from the other side of the tracks but from another world entirely.

Pick up a copy when Nichols visits Scottsdale’s Poisoned Pen, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard, Suite 101, to sign her latest at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 22. For more information or to order a signed copy ($17.99), see or call 480-947-2974. Becky Bartkowski

Lavish Dance Company
People are quick to caption their Instagram photos with “SQUAD!” but let’s be honest: they don’t have a crew like the Lavish Dance Company. While LDC’s only been around since 2014, they’ve been making waves with their energetic choreography mixing jazz & hip hop with a dash of burlesque influence. Their expert moves haven’t just brought some of the latest jams to life on stage but they made a significant splash in the Rainbow National Dance Competition earlier this year.

The Lavish Dance Company’s latest show, Femme Fatale, struts across the stage of the Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 North Third Street, on Sunday, August 23. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $12. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit Jose Gonzalez

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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
Jose Gonzalez
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
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
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young