Oh yes, Valentina is back in Phoenix.
Oh yes, Valentina is back in Phoenix. Courtesy of King's Queens Entertainment
Ready for 2018? We are. What better way to ring in the year than attending the 2018 Flannel Ball, showing off all the trivia from this year that's still kicking around in your brain, or getting geeky at The Grid? For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

Arizona Drag Stars
The Arizona Drag Stars regularly strut their stuff across the stage of Crescent Ballroom. Whether it’s a sassy stand-up act or a sultry vocal number, this crew — including Neveah McKenzie, Olivia Gardens, and Luna St. James — wows crowds. They also slay with fierce fashions, and hair and makeup combos that are so on point, it hurts.

This holiday edition of the show features special guest star Valentina. Fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race know her from season 9, where she was named Miss Congeniality, before getting eliminated in the ninth episode. Expect her to deliver a spicy performance. After all, she chose her stage name from the label on a bottle of hot sauce.
The night heats up at 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 28, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $20 to $50; a $10 VIP upgrade is available. Call 602-716-2222 or visit the Crescent Ballroom website. Amy Young

click to enlarge Dress as your favorite Star Wars character for the 21+ Science With a Twist: Trek, Wars, and Who at the Arizona Science Center. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Dress as your favorite Star Wars character for the 21+ Science With a Twist: Trek, Wars, and Who at the Arizona Science Center.
Benjamin Leatherman
Extreme Geek Out with Trek, Wars, and Who
If you like Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars, or all of the above, you can let your inner geek loose during the holidays as part of the Arizona Science Center’s Extreme Geek Out with Trek, Wars, and Who event on Thursday, December 28.

The event will celebrate the pop culture touchstones with Star Wars-themed planetarium tours, a drone activity, laser tag, a Death Star explosion, and a limited-seating viewing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The event takes place at 600 East Washington Street. Admission is $18 for adults, $13 for children, and free for those 2 and younger. For more information, call 602-716-2000 or go to the Arizona Science Center website. Laura Latzko

click to enlarge Detail of Saskia Jorda's instllation for PhxArt Project at CityScape. - SASKIA JORDA
Detail of Saskia Jorda's instllation for PhxArt Project at CityScape.
Saskia Jorda
PhxArt Project: CityScape
You know that famous line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, he will come”? We think that’s what the folks at Phoenix Art Museum had in mind when they created PhxArt Project: CityScape, but for art nerds instead of Shoeless Joe Jackson.

The museum has taken over retail space at CityScape and filled it with an art installation and pop-up shop. Performances are held there, too.

Pop by to 1 East Washington Street between 3 and 10 p.m. on Thursday, December 28. It’s free to visit and remains open through Sunday, January 7. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

click to enlarge Look at them, they’re not Sandra Dee: Fans have fun at Sing-a-Long-a Grease. - SCOTTSDALE CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Look at them, they’re not Sandra Dee: Fans have fun at Sing-a-Long-a Grease.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Sing-a-Long-a Grease
From the people who brought you the wildly popular Sing-a-Long-a Sound of Music comes Sing-a-Long-a Grease, with fewer nuns and Von Trapps. Grease originated in Chicago as a much filthier musical, but what the 1978 movie version lost in grit and sleaze is made up for in goofy fun by those Sing-a-Long-a folks, who provide subtitles along with prizes, props, and an audience-wide costume contest. It’s an international phenomenon!

Your host will guide you in prop use and conduct a vocal warmup to prepare you for an evening of enthusiastic, egalitarian singing. It’s not one of those parties where four chorus boys burst into an unrequested 40-minute medley.

Round up your gang and become hopelessly devoted at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 28, at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Screenings continue through Saturday, December 30. Admission is $17. Visit the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts website or call 480-499-8587. Julie Peterson

Untidy Secrets Storytelling
We’ve all done shit that we feel bad about. In plenty of cases, we’ve realized the errors of our ways and tried to remedy it with an apology. Then there’s the stuff we know we should feel bad about, but aren’t remorseful over in the least. At the Friday, December 29, installment of Untidy Secrets Storytelling — a monthly storytelling, zine-swap, and networking event — a group of readers including Jason Simons, Ashley Naftule, Jessie Balli, Aaron Valdivia, Maya Tatum, and Courtney Wielgus will reveal personal tales that fit into that latter category.

Hear what they’re unapologetic about from 8 to 10 p.m. at Ash Avenue Comics, 806 South Ash Avenue, in Tempe. Admission is free. Chairs are limited; feel free to bring your own. Visit the Facebook event page. Amy Young

click to enlarge And your host, of course, Joel McHale. - CLIFF LIPSON/CBS
And your host, of course, Joel McHale.
Cliff Lipson/CBS
Joel McHale
The Soup is gone, and Community was canceled, but Joel McHale remains as busy as ever. When he’s not guest-starring on various television shows, the actor and comedian is gearing up for his return as Tad O’Malley, the talk show host who specializes in conspiracy theories on the upcoming season of The X-Files.

Last year, McHale made his first foray into publishing with his self-help memoir Thanks For The Money, written with the trademark snarky tone that made him such a draw on the stand-up circuit.

Phoenix somehow made McHale’s nice list this year, as he is closing out the last three nights of 2017 with a series of shows downtown at Stand Up Live.

The laughter begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 29, at 50 West Jefferson Street. Tickets are $35. For more information, visit the Stand Up Live website. Jason Keil

Ravage 2099 Redux”
Imagine a world obsessed with sterility, where so-called polluters could be put to death. That’s the premise of a Marvel Comics series called Ravage 2099, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Paul Ryan. The 33-issue series launched in 1992. Now, 25 years later, it’s inspired an art exhibition called “Ravage 2099 Redux.”

See the free exhibition at The Hive art gallery, 2222 North 16th Street, during the opening reception from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, December 29. The show features work by eight artists who’ve collaborated to reimagine, rewrite, and redraw all 24 pages of Ravage 2099, #1. The pages will be displayed sequentially, so gallerygoers can experience the first account of Ravage 2099’s Orwellian world.

Participating artists are Brad Dwyer, Reset Survivor, Damon Begay, Denny Riccelli, Eric Mengel, Robin Holley, Adam Yeater, and Christopher Ness. The exhibition continues through Sunday, January 14. Visit the Hive website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge News junkies welcome. - COURTESY OF VALLEY BAR
News junkies welcome.
Courtesy of Valley Bar
Year in Review Trivia 2017
Revisiting the last 12 months might not be good for your mental state, but it could lead to fun and prizes. You and up to five of your news junkie friends can battle it out during Year in Review Trivia 2017 at Valley Bar. Teams will be asked 20 questions on topics including news, sports, and pop culture during the game night, which is also a benefit for Central Arizona Shelter Services (C.A.S.S.). The two groups with the most points will be awarded prizes, and so will the team that raises the most money for C.A.S.S.

Find the answers at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, December 29, at 130 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $35. For more information, visit the Valley Bar website. Jason Keil

Fiesta Bowl Parade
As if traffic on Central Avenue weren’t slow enough, once a year the city of Phoenix allows the Fiesta Bowl Parade down the pivotal thoroughfare that separates the streets from the avenues. Were it not for the Fiesta Bowl, a boon for the Valley’s economy that takes place during the holidays, the parade might just be a nuisance. But doldrums be damned, the annual event delights onlookers who relish the celebration. Maybe they’re onto something.

The Fiesta Bowl Parade rolls through central Phoenix on Saturday, December 30, beginning at 9 a.m. General admission is $10. Visit the Fiesta Bowl website or call 480-350-0911 for details. Rob Kroehler

click to enlarge It’s all in a day’s rumba for these members of Zoppé — an Italian Family Circus. - COURTESY OF CHANDLER CENTER FOR THE ARTS
It’s all in a day’s rumba for these members of Zoppé — an Italian Family Circus.
Courtesy of Chandler Center for the Arts
Zoppé an Italian Family Circus
Wild animals perform in fewer circuses nowadays, and we, along with the animals, approve of that development. Zoppé an Italian Family Circus, a mainstay of Valley holidays, employs domestic horses and dogs, in case that matters to you, but mostly spectacular human beings from around the world, a true family whose ages range from 7 to “ahem.”

Join Zoppé in celebration of its 175th anniversary through Sunday, January 7, 2018, at 250 North Arizona Avenue in Chandler. (Look for the enormous tent on the Chandler Center for the Arts campus.) Saturday, December 30’s showtimes are 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $40 at the Chandler Center for the Arts website or 480-782-2680. There’s also a circus camp on-site next week for kids ages 8 to 13 — check the website. Julie Peterson

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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
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
Laura Latzko
Ashley Naftule
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
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
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