9 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

New Times picks the best arts and culture events and things to do in metro Phoenix from December 4 to December 6.

Heathers could have passed as a horror movie, but with a tender-yet-squicky love story and a trio of characters basically dressed as a traffic light, it wound up being just horrifying. Heathers: The Musical is the logical evolution of the 1988 film, and Stray Cat Theatre’s production is the very new work’s Valley première. The dark tale of high-school pressures and their consequences was written by Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness) and Laurence O’Keefe (Legally Blonde) and is directed by the twisted Louis Farber. The Slurpee and the red scrunchie are present — we are so there. “There” being Tempe Performing Arts Center, 132 East Sixth Street. Catch the Heathers at 8 p.m. Friday, December 4, for $25 to $40. Get tix at or 480-227-1766. Julie Peterson

Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest
Waiting patiently for June to come around so you can head back to Phoenix Comicon? Newb. True believers are already ironing out the wrinkles on their Batman capes to prepare for Fan Fest. A much more focused event than Comicon, Fan Fest puts the spotlight on comic books, actors, and cosplay. Attendees will have the chance to sit in on seminars by legendary comic book artists like Tim Seeley, Aaron Lopresti, Livio Ramondelli, and Mike S. Miller; meet favorite sci-fi stars like Sean Maher of Firefly, Karen Gillan, companion of the eleventh Doctor on Dr. Who, Alaina Huffman from Painkiller Jane, and Hercules himself, Kevin Sorbo; and show off their costuming skills in a variety of cosplay meet-ups and contests.

Geek out at the Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest from Friday, December 4, to Sunday, December 6, at University of Phoenix Stadium, 1 Cardinals Drive in Glendale. Single-day passes start at $10. Visit for more. Zach Fowle

Some people count down the days until Christmas; we’ve been counting down the days until our favorite craft fair. Now in its 10th year, Crafeteria is the staple event of Phoenix’s local holiday shopping scene. The festival is coming to Medlock Plaza, on the northwest corner of Camelback Road and Central Avenue, on Friday, December 4, with tons of local hand-made crafts, live music, and food trucks. Trade in the mall mania for a crowd of artsy locals – you won’t be disappointed.

Crafeteria is taking over Medlock Plaza from 6 to 10 p.m. The fair includes everything from jewelry to screen prints and home decor. For more information, call Frances at 602-279-5467 or visit Katrina Montgomery

Festivals can be exhausting or, around now, wildly chilly. A mini-fest inside Great Arizona Puppet Theatre, 302 West Latham Street, sounds better. So make your plans for Friday, December 4, when Balboa Poet House joins the theater to present the second annual RISE! Intercultural Poetry & Arts event. A diverse clutch of spoken worders is on deck, including Ernesto Moncada, Susanna Velarde Covarrubias, Joel Joelskii Salcido, and Joe Montano III. Visual art’s been donated for a raffle that will also include live art created by Edgar Fernandez. Mix in music, dance, and the ones and twos from DJ Filiangel Morales for a super time from 7 to 10 p.m. Admission is $5 and includes one raffle ticket. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets. Julie Peterson

Las Noches de las Luminarias
When it comes to making your days merry and bright, Desert Botanical Garden can help with at least one this holiday season. Las Noches de las Luminarias returns to the garden with 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags and thousands of twinkle lights along its trails and brightening its bountiful plant life. Bask in the glow during an evening stroll, accompanied by hot cider, handbells, and Mariachis. Which, last we checked, those three things together unequivocally qualify as cheer. But feel free to to see for yourself on select dates from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Get tickets ($30 for adults) and details at, or call 480-941-1225. Becky Bartkowski

Black Nativity
Black Theatre Troupe’s presentation of Black Nativity is the same play the troupe has mounted frequently over the years, but this year’s production is new, says the theater’s website. Taking its dialogue and narration from the gospel according to St. Luke (in case you want to study up on the plot) and a script by poet Langston Hughes, the beloved 1961 classic is solemn and joyous by turns, featuring dancers, actors, and a choir that sings traditional carols in gospel arrangements. It’s a pageant on steroids, if steroids made you beautiful.

Performances take place at the Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center, 1333 East Washington Street, through Sunday, December 20. Tickets are $32. Saturday, December 5’s performance begins at 8 p.m. Visit or call 602-258-8129. Julie Peterson

F.Q. Story Holiday Home Tour and Street Fair
Even without the snow, Phoenix’s historic neighborhoods look downright picturesque during the holidays. This weekend, you can get a peek inside some of the Valley’s oldest homes during the F.Q. Story Historic Home Tour on December 5 and 6. The first night, there will be luminarias, holiday lights, and carolers. The following day, there will be a street fair with craft vendors and food.

On Saturday, December 5, you can tour the F.Q. Story neighborhood from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets (to go inside the homes) are available online or at the event for $15; visitors are free to roam the sidewalks without a ticket. The ticketing booth will be located on 11th Avenue and Portland Street. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Katrina Montgomery

Snow Queen
It's the 25th year of Frances Smith Cohen's Snow Queen at Herberger Theater. The tale is told through dance by the Center Dance Ensemble — the theater’s resident dance troupe that’s directed by Cohen — to the sounds of Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev and is based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen story. In the icy yarn, Gerda is separated from the love of her life, Kai, and must face the Snow Queen to save him.

Frances Smith Cohen’s Snow Queen chills at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street, on Saturday, December 5, with shows at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $28, and the production continues through December 20. Visit for more info. Jose Gonzalez

Nonfat Soy Peppermint Mocha Latte . . . with Sprinkles
Some theaters revive A Christmas Carol every year. Others opt for It’s a Wonderful Life. Will someone give us the will to leave the house? Yes! Brelby Theatre Company goes friskily contemporary as it presents a return engagement of Brelby co-honcho Brian Maticic’s script Nonfat Soy Peppermint Mocha Latte . . . with Sprinkles (in a red cup that does have snowflakes and reindeer on it), with performances continuing through Saturday, December 19. Our hero, Darren, has had his holiday heart hardened horribly. Can a coffee-loving spirit named Spirit defrost Darren’s determinedly dreary depths? (Chances are good.) Enjoy the surprising twists at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 6, at 6835 North 58th Avenue in Glendale. Tickets are $10 to $20. Get them at or 623-282-2781. Julie Peterson

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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
Katrina Montgomery
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