New Times picks the best events and things to do in metro Phoenix from April 1 through 3.
The First Friday art scene has a habit of overflowing from galleries to doorsteps and stoops, and eventually into streets and vacant lots. Now a new monthly show, “Alley Art,” has tackled the final frontier in art space: the alley.
Created by Kharli Mandeville, the DIY-style show is lit and hung in the between-businesses alley connecting Fifth and Sixth streets, just off Roosevelt Row. This month’s “Alley Cats” exhibition is a knowing nod to its unconventional gallery and its typical inhabitants, featuring work from Dustin Youso, Jacki O, and Hector Fernando, among others.
Look for the art (and maybe watch your step) from 7 to 10 p.m. on First Friday, April 1, behind Lawn Gnome Publishing, 905 North Fifth Street. The event is free. For details, visit www.facebook.com/events/1308518729175252. Janessa Hilliard
Sometimes a world première just emphasizes, sadly, why no one has done the play before. But you can count on Nearly Naked Theatre and playwright Buddy Thomas (Devil Boys from Beyond), whose Wonderland Wives takes its funny, shocking, kinda-dirty baby steps right here in Phoenix, to make you glad you got in on the ground floor.
It’s a reality show the way it should be: A handful of rapidly aging fairytale princesses act out and complain of insensitive husbands, literally monstrous children, and insufficient alcohol. Belle, Snow, and other favorites are on hand. And many of the roles have been cast genderblind, so you get to enjoy some drag along with your comic sexy times.
The show previews at 8 p.m. Friday, April 1, at Phoenix Theatre, 100 East McDowell Road, and continues through Saturday, April 23. Call 602-254-2151 or visit tickets.phoenixtheatre.com for tickets, which start at $19 to $24. Julie Peterson
Despite metro Phoenix’s recent efforts to reduce traffic and encourage alternative means of transportation — namely the ever-expanding light rail and the recently implemented Grid Bike Share — two-wheeling aficionados continue to list our fair city as one of the least bike-friendly places in the nation. The CycloMesa Bicycle Festival would beg to differ. Previously known as the Great Arizona Bicycle Festival, the three-day event celebrates all things bicycle and includes both the Criterium and El Tour de Mesa races (a BMX freestyle show), an extreme sports zone, a beer garden, and a splash zone for the kiddos. CycloMesa kicks off in downtown Mesa on Friday, April 1, at 3 p.m. It’s a free, family-friendly event. Visit www.cyclomesa.com or call 480-890-2613 for details. Rob Kroehler
Modern Phoenix Week 2016
More often than not, Modern Phoenix Week offers a new way to discover the driven-by, and with a Central-y located focus on Uptown Plaza and the Central Avenue Corridor, this year is no exception. Even though (unsurprisingly) the Modern Phoenix Home Tour through the Marlen Grove and Northwood homes from Ralph Haver and Fred Guirey has already sold out, many of the mid-century focused lectures, mixers, and exhibitions that precede it are available to attend.
Numerous events are sprinkled throughout the 10-day “week,” beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 1, with a free reception for the MOD-AZ group showing of mid-century architecture, design, and community at Chartreuse Gallery, 1301 Grand Avenue. Other oughta-sees: the free Insider Tour of Uptown Plaza on Saturday, April 2, and the Ultimate Tour of the Hotel Valley Ho ($19.56) on Sunday, April 3. Admission varies per event. Plan outings and snatch up tickets at www.modernphoenix.net/hometour. Janessa Hilliard
Phoenix Pride Festival 2016
Warmer weather means fewer clothes and plenty of festivals, and there is perhaps no better marriage of the two than the annual Phoenix Pride Festival. The two-day party in the park rounds out a 10-day Pride celebration, spreading the love and boasting five stages, including the Dance Pavilion, the Erotic World tent area, and the Bud Light Main Stage — which has played host to many a drag queen and/or '80s teen sensation.
Last year’s celebration attracted around 300 LGBTQ-friendly small business and organizations as sponsors and drew crowds of 35,000 people. That same sense of partnership extends to this year's #CommunityStrong theme.
Pride weekend starts at noon on Saturday, April 2, at Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road. Single-day admission runs $15 to $20 (for express entry), while a pass for both days costs $30. Prices vary for VIP and meet-and-greet options. Tickets and event details are available at www.phoenixpride.org. Janessa Hilliard
Get your romance on – but not like that. This weekend at Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road, you can meet six best-selling romance novel authors at the Avon KissCon author signing event. The evening will include a speed round of author questions, romance trivia, an interactive Q&A, and book signings. KissCon features a slew of romance veterans, including number-one New York Times bestseller Julia Quinn, as well as Elizabeth Boyle, Lorraine Heath, Sophie Jordan, Jennifer Ryan, and Lori Wilde.
The Avon KissCon Author Signing starts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 2. The main event is free to the public, but RSVP via Eventbrite is encouraged (and enters you in a drawing to win a $25 Changing Hands gift card). For more information, call 602-274-0067 or visit www.changinghands.com. Katrina Montgomery
If you remember seeing a 6-foot-6-and-a-half white dude tap-dancing on Broadway (or in a movie or on TV), it was probably Tommy Tune. That’s his real name — so he’s lucky, as are we, that he didn’t become a leader of massive sing-alongs. Instead, he’s basically the best director/choreographer ever, in addition to having a spectacular career as a performer. One of his early dance teachers was Patrick Swayze’s mom. He’s won 10 Tonys. There is apparently no nugget of trivia about this man that is not amazing.
Tune brings his Tommy Tune: Taps, Tunes and Tall Tales show to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street, at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 2. Tickets are $55 to $89 at www.tickets.scottsdalearts.org or 480-499-8587. Julie Peterson
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Snap Battles Championship
After months of comedy cage matches pitting funny people against each other, a handful of notable names emerged largely unscathed. They’ll join former winners, all-stars, and other preliminary finalists during the Snap Battles Championship, an ongoing insult comedy competition reminiscent of a rap battle produced and created by stand-up Charlie Speez.
The chosen 16-person lineup will go head-to-head in another real-time, no-holds-barred roast. Wits will fly and barbs will be traded between stand-ups Rob Maebe (7-1), Anwar Newton (5-3), Hattie Jean Hayes (3-0), and others — including Alley Lightfoot who, with a 0-0 record, is making a pretty gutsy debut.
It’s a fight to the death — or at least for bragging rights — starting at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 3, at The Laugh Factory, 7000 East Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale. Tickets to the 21-and-over throw-down are $10, and there’s a two-drink minimum. For tickets, visit www.scottsdalelaughfactory.com or call the box office, 480-607-6878. Janessa Hilliard
Tour de Tempe
How often do you have a chance to ride your bike with a mayor? Assuming you don’t hang with one on the regular, we’re going to guess it doesn’t happen too frequently. But your super-specific dreams of rolling out with a powerful figure are more attainable than you might think. See, Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell will hop on a velocipede along with about 1,000 other cyclists (including some City Council members — ooh la la) during Tour de Tempe, a free group ride that takes off from Kiwanis Park, 6111 South All American Way, on Sunday, April 3. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m., and the ride departs at 9. Helmets are required, and you need to bring your own water. But you will get breakfast and coffee in exchange for your smushed hairdo (and safety). Get details at tempe.gov. Becky Bartkowski