9 Best Events and Things to Do in Metro Phoenix December 11 to 13

New Times picks the best art and culture events in metro Phoenix from December 11 to 13. See more on our curated calendar of events

We’d say that each performance of Orange Theatre’s Herakles is limited to 25 seats, but that isn’t quite right. More like 25 people, who are encouraged to walk around during the 70-minute show, although chairs are available if you need to tap out. Euripides’ stage version of a particularly tragic episode in the half-divine hero’s life has given rise to the production, an immersive, in-the-round experience with live original music. (The downside of Herakles? Bigtime rage killer, with victims ranging from his music teacher to his best friend — a sort of “Herakles’ Silver Hammer.”) Herakles continues through Sunday, December 20, at 1711 West Culver Street, #7. Showtime on Friday, December 11, is 8 p.m. Admission’s pay-what-you-can; $20 is suggested. Visit or call 602-456-0684. 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 Jose Gonzalez

Total Recall Double Feature
What has six boobs, two action stars and is a total head trip? A double feature of the sci-fi classic Total Recall, of course. On Friday, December 11, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is screening both the 1990 and 2012 versions of the beloved film along with ASU faculty who’ll talk about research they’re conducting and how it links to the movies. Debates about whether Bill Nighy or that Muppet on the side of the guy’s stomach was the better Kuato will probably pop up, too.

Get your ass to the Total Recall Double Feature 6 p.m. at 7374 East 2nd Street in Scottsdale. The event is free. Call 480-874-6666 or visit for more. Zach Fowle

Ultimate Tacky Christmas Party
Have you been combing thrift shops since the close of last Christmas, searching for the most abominable knitted pullover to don at this year’s ugly sweater events? That nasty top’s day has come. The Ultimate Tacky Christmas Party encourages you dress in your most heinous winter wear and head downtown to celebrate the holiday season. The festive event will get you in the spirit, with a robust list of Christmas-y things to enjoy, like hot toddies, eggnog, an awkward family photo booth, live musical performances, caroling, and tunes from DJ Mr. Phx. This gathering of humans in hideous threads happens at 6 p.m. on Friday, December 11, at Desoto Central Market, 915 North Central Avenue. Admission is free. Visit or call 602-680-7747. Amy Young

Mesa Arts Festival
The 11th annual Mesa Arts Festival signals the start of another holiday season when it returns to the East Valley this weekend. Works from local, regional, and national artists in an array of media are available for purchase, making a unique addition to anyone’s list. The two-day event also features two stages with live musical performances, appearances from “juggler extraordinaire” James Reid, and in-person demonstrations from artists. Kids will enjoy the family-friendly area with crafts and hands-on activities and everyone can try samples from a culinary spread throughout the outdoor fair.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 12, at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street. Continues through Sunday, December 13. Admission and parking are free. Call 480-644-6500 or click Janessa Hilliard

Halo Movement Collective Presents Savage Beauty
Between the constant scrutiny of all the Kardashians’ looks, makeup vloggers making YouTube bank, and the ever-changing options dropping in the mascara aisle, it’s no wonder that critical thinkers and performers are continuously exploring the world’s obsession with beauty.

Phoenix-based dance company Halo Movement Collective tackles the issue with Savage Beauty, a show merging fashion, art, and dance that explores how the extreme pursuit of beauty can lead to fatal outcomes. The performance includes new repertory works, two fashion collections, and two films by the group’s artistic director, Angel Castro. This thought-provoking performance happens twice in one night, with shows at 7:30 and 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 12, at the Hardes Theatre at Phoenix Theatre, 100 East McDowell Road. Tickets are $20. Visit or call 602-254-2151. Amy Young

Jackalope Art & Craft Fair
To the horror of planners everywhere — you know, the ones who already have all their Christmas gifts wrapped and hidden in a spare closet — the world really does contain people who voluntarily knock out their holiday gift shopping on Christmas Eve. If that thought gives you anxiety all tied up with a glittery bow, then we’re betting that this coming weekend is your absolute deadline for finding perfect somethings for everyone who scored a spot on your “nice” list.

Enter the Jackalope Art and Craft Fair, a two-day shopping experience that happens in Pasadena, Denver, and, this year, comes to Phoenix. Shoppers will find more than 200 creatives hawking everything from art and paper goods to fashion and home decor. Which means, you might want to buy some gifts for yourself, too. The free-to-attend fair is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, December 12 and 13, at Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road. See details and the complete vendor lineup at Becky Bartkowski

Tiny Tire Tweed Tour
Unless you’re an old-timey professor, you probably don’t have many occasions to wear tweed. We’re not sure if Sunday’s Tiny Tire Tweed Tour really counts. But if you’re looking for an excuse to wear your finest tweeds and/or ride a ridiculous-looking small-tire bike, the event definitely has something for you.

The event, run by Phoenix Spokes People, will roll through Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa through a combination of biking and riding the light rail. The organizers are hoping for a big turnout that will “pack the train with our small-wheel bikes.” So if you’re planning to ride the light rail for unrelated reasons on December 13 consider yourself warned.

The tour will meet at Phoenix Civic Space Park, 424 North Central Avenue, at 1:30 p.m. Ed Kummerer

U.S. Women's National Soccer Team vs. China
While it’s still nowhere near American football in terms of national popularity, the original game of football is undeniably the most popular sport on earth. And as it turns out, our National Women’s Team is really good. In case you’d forgotten, the U.S. Women are just months removed from defeating Japan 5-2 in the World Cup final behind Carli Floyd’s hat trick. To celebrate, the team has embarked on a victory tour, hosting exhibition games nationwide. So with all due respect to the Cardinals, the best team to take the field in the coming days at Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium, One Cardinals Drive, will be the U.S. Women’s team when they host China on Sunday, December 13. The match starts at 5 p.m. Tickets are $32 and up. Visit or call 800-745-3000 for details. Rob Kroehler

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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
Ed Kummerer
Zach Fowle
Contact: Zach Fowle
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
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
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