It's all love in metro Phoenix this week. Watch the love-driven horror The Love Witch at FilmBar, dance to the songs that you're embarrassed to like at The Van Buren, or show your love for baseball at the Diamondbacks Fan Fest. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.
Talk show hosts like Trevor Noah and Seth Meyers are funny dudes, but they can’t take all the credit for delivering the zesty one-liners that keep them in business.
Comedy writers like Michelle Wolf are partly responsible. She currently works for the former and has been employed by the latter.
And it was on Meyers’ show that Wolf made her TV debut as a stand-up comic. She tours consistently and starred in her own HBO comedy special, Nice Lady, in 2017.
Hear her hilarious take on a variety of topics like feminism, dating, and texting at 8 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, at Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive. Admission is $20 for the 18-and-over show, and there’s a two-drink minimum required. Call 480-921-9877 or visit the Tempe Improv website. Amy Young
Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show
Known for its spirit and athleticism, the Arabian horse has had a presence in the Valley for a long time. The 63rd annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show celebrates the breed of horses through a competition with more than 2,400 full and half-Arabian horses from Thursday through Sunday, February 15 to 25, at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road.
During the event, children, teens, and adults will show Arabian horses in over 1,000 different classes highlighting the breed’s beauty and versatility.
The event also offers barn tours, educational seminars, an international food court, a shopping area, stagecoach photo ops, and a petting zoo. Also on the docket are an ice cream social, gala parties, pony and camel rides, a live animal display, and a ceramic pony painting activity.
Proceeds from the show benefit local equestrian, health care, and pediatric nonprofits. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, and free for children 12 and younger. For more information, go to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show website. Laura Latzko
Best known as the playwright behind the critically-acclaimed drama Doubt, John Patrick Shanley also received a Tony Award nomination for his 2014 play Outside Mullingar. The dramedy revolves around two shy middle-aged eccentrics looking for happiness.
“Outside Mullingar is a lovely Irish story deep in poetic passion that is, at the same time, funny as hell, heartbreaking, and, ultimately, deeply moving,” says Arizona Theatre Company artistic director David Ivers. “This compassionate, delightful work is about how it’s never too late to take a chance on love.”
Find some romance at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Tickets are $25 to $50. For more information and additional dates, visit the Arizona Theatre website. Jason Keil
SMoCA Spring Opening Reception
Help Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street, celebrate three new exhibitions during a Spring Opening Reception from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, February 16. The free event is a chance to mingle with curators and fellow art lovers while exploring the museum’s latest offerings.
The fresh exhibition lineup includes the latest iteration of southwestNET, a series that highlights midcareer artists living in the Southwest region of the United States or Mexico. This is the 17th exhibition in the series, which has also showcased work by Postcommodity, an artist collective featured in last year’s Whitney Biennial.
SouthwestNET: Claudio Dicochea showcases the artist’s skillful manipulation of pop culture and history, which challenge prevailing narratives about both present and past. Dicochea is represented by Lisa Sette Gallery.
Other new exhibits feature work by a trio of Inuit artists, as well as Guadalajara-based Luis Alfonso Villalobos.
Visit the SMoCA website. Lynn Trimble
The SIC Sense: 10-Year Anniversary Part I
Your live comedy options have grown both wide and deep. From improv to stand-up to overly frank storytelling, something will make you laugh enough to imperil various physiological systems. Having grown up with Carol Burnett (and not in reruns) and every single season of SNL, we favor sketch comedy, complete with randomly placed songs. One of our favorite purveyors is The SIC Sense, now celebrating 10 years of disgusting mayhem with The SIC Sense: 10-Year Anniversary Part I, the first in a two-part retrospective.
We hope to all that’s holy that the lineup will include gems we privately refer to as “Toddler Fight,” “Horny Kittycats,” and “Weirdo OB-GYN.” We did glimpse the troupe’s notes, but all we could reliably decipher was “Tickle Me Emo.”
Showtime on Friday, February 16, is 8 p.m. Performances continue through Saturday, February 24, at 1902-1909 East McDowell Road. Tickets are $15 at The SIC Sense website or 773-733-9427. Julie Peterson
The 33rd Arizona Gay Rodeo
Giddy up. The 33rd Arizona Gay Rodeo is boot-scooting to the Valley. Details are still coming together for this year’s event, but cowboys who buck broncos and rope cattle are a given. During previous years, there’s been dancing, barrel riding, and calf-roping lessons, as well as a chili cook-off. Additionally, singers from around the Valley will compete for the title of Country Idol. And you won’t wanna miss the crowning of rodeo royalty when some lucky cowpokes taking home the title of king and queen of the rodeo.
Pull some leather from Friday, February 16, through Sunday, February 18, at Corona Ranch, 7611 South 29th Avenue in Laveen. Single-day tickets are $15. For more information, visit the Arizona Gay Rodeo Association website. Jason Keil
Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival
According to the Chinese zodiac, 2018 is the year of the dog. Whether you fall under that sign or not, make a stop at the 28th annual Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival to celebrate. There’s numerous ways to get festive at this yearly party.
Enjoy traditional Chinese music and dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, and table tennis. Vendors will offer items ranging from arts and crafts to food. There’s a whole pavilion for kids to engage in youth-centric activities, while a photo booth provides the selfie souvenirs.
The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on February 16, at Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 West Culver Street. Admission is free. The event continues through Sunday, February 18. Visit the Phoenix Chinese Week website. Amy Young
Guilty Pleasures: Lady Gaga vs. Kesha
Lady Gaga and Kesha have revolutionized pop music with their distinctive sounds, fashions, and personas. On Friday, February 16, DJs A Claire Slattery and Becktron (a.k.a. New Times’ arts and music editor Becky Bartkowski) will pay tribute to the artists during a 21-and-older dance party at The Van Buren devoted to the two superstars.
During Guilty Pleasures: Lady Gaga vs. Kesha, the DJs will play hits from the two singers and mix in songs from popular artists such as The Weeknd, Gwen Stefani, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Pink, Lorde, Ellie Goulding, and Liam Payne. Fans of Gaga and Kesha can rep their fave with buttons given out during the event.
The event starts at 9 p.m. at 401 West Van Buren Street and costs $5 per person. For more information, call 480-659-1641 or go to the Van Buren website. Laura Latzko
Diamondbacks Fan Fest
Punxsutawney Phil recently saw his shadow, but here in the Valley, we’re casting plenty of our own shadows thanks to all this blistering sunshine. Maybe it’s the record-setting temperatures that January hurled at us, or maybe it’s a post-Super Bowl lull, but it certainly feels like spring is sneaking up on us like an old pair of gym shorts. At least they’re cozy at first.
Van BurenThe silver lining? Baseball. Clouds likely will be absent from the Diamondbacks Fan Fest on Saturday, February 17, at Scottsdale’s Salt River Fields, but D-backs fans have seen enough gloominess since their team was bounced from postseason play by the reviled Dodgers just a few short months ago.
The free event kicks off at noon. Visit the Diamondbacks website or call 480-270-5000 for details. Rob Kroehler
Experimental Art Night
The relationship between audience and artist is explored in nueBox’s Experimental Art Night at Mesa Arts Center. Creatives bring work to an intrepid and attentive audience eager to see something new. It could be a performance piece, interpretive dance routine, a new graphic design, or even a sculpture. Artists do not have to audition or submit their work for review before the show, so most of what you will see are raw works-in-progress looking to be taken to the next level as attendees offer supportive feedback to the creators.
See something new at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 17, at 1 East Main Street. Admission is pay what you can. For more information, visit the nueBox website. Jason Keil
Folk-punk singer-songwriter Kimya Dawson is retuning to the Valley for a show at Trunk Space, the local DIY venue where she often performs. The venue’s owner, Stephanie Carrico, is thrilled for Dawson’s return.
“I am excited to have Kimya back because she is such a wonderful storyteller,” Carrico says. “Also, I think she is a great role model, especially for teen girls. She doesn’t pretend to be someone she’s not, and I really admire the honesty in her music.”
Dawson has been making music for more than two decades. From 1994 to 2008, with a break in the middle, she was part of the duo Moldy Peaches. During and since that project, she has made a bunch of solo records, including an album for kids called Alphabutt.
Rock out with her at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 17, at 1124 North Third Street. Tickets are $12. Visit the Trunk Space website. Amy Young
Fiesta Bowl Overwatch Collegiate National Championship
There’s nothing like an old-fashioned showdown between college teams. It’s a hallmark of the sports world that offers plenty of excitement as squads from respective schools square off in pursuit of guts, glory, and a major championship. It’s just as true of collegiate battles taking place in the world of eSports, or competitive video gaming, which features teams of gamers representing universities from across the U.S. battling for supremacy.
You can witness such a competition on Saturday, February 17, during the Fiesta Bowl Overwatch Collegiate National Championship. Teams from the University of California Berkeley, University of Toronto, UC Irvine, and UC San Diego will face off while playing competitive rounds of Overwatch in a four-team tournament to crown a national champion. An exhibition match between ASU and the University of Arizona is also planned.
The action will unfold at the ASU’s Sun Devil Fitness Complex, 500 East Apache Boulevard, starting at 3 p.m. General admission is free; reserved seating is $10. See the Fiesta Bowl website. Benjamin Leatherman
Phoenix Rising v. Sporting KC
Despite an untimely exit from the playoffs last season, the Phoenix Rising — Arizona’s premier professional soccer team — certainly lived up to its namesake. The club set records in both wins and goals scored, among others, giving Valley soccer fans quite an alluring invitation to hop on the Rising bandwagon. In a savvy move toward both improvement and national exposure, the USL team has scheduled three preseason games against MLS clubs. By sparring outside their weight class, Phoenix can prep for the regular season while showcasing their talent to a broader audience. Kinda like scoring two goals with one ball.
See the Rising host Sporting KC at Scottsdale’s Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, 741 North McClintock Drive, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 17. Tickets are $16 and up. Visit the Phoenix Rising website or call 623-594-9606 for details. Rob Kroehler
Sense & Sensibility
Early 19th-century English novels don’t especially lend themselves to an episode of bingeing and chilling and whatnot. Though many challenging things turn out to be fun and/or good for you, we’ll instead recommend a super-accessible, extra-fun version of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility, adapted by Kate Hamill and presented by Southwest Shakespeare Company.
The show, fast-paced and wildly creative, could be said to violate the second or third wall — costumes and furniture fly about, and our own century’s obsessions inform the gossipy action. In this setting, Austen’s astute observations shine brighter than usual. The production closes on Saturday, March 10. Showtime on Sunday, February 18, is 2 p.m. at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street. Tickets are $45 to $47 at the Southwest Shakespeare Company website or 480-644-6500. Julie Peterson
The Love Witch
How does one find love? Witchcraft, of course.
Next up in FilmBar’s Women in Horror Month comes The Love Witch, a 1960s-style scarefest that follows a young witch looking for love using potions and spells. But when the magic works a little too well, she leaves a long line of unlucky men in her wake.
The screening starts at 8 p.m. on Sunday, February 18, at 815 North Second Street. There will be a tea party prior to the film at 7 p.m. Fancy hats are recommended. For more information, visit the FilmBar website. Lindsay Roberts
Raw and SmackDown
A few things in life are best experienced live and in person. And if you’re a pro wrestling fan, attending an action-packed live broadcast of the WWE’s two biggest weekly shows, Raw and SmackDown, certainly qualifies. This week, WWE fans of Phoenix will have two opportunities to do so when both Raw and SmackDown are broadcast from Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street.
Sure, you could catch them on TV, but even the highest of high-def screens can’t replicate the thrill of watching things unfold while cheering and booing along with the rest of the crowd. Both shows will feature the latest storyline developments as the WWE builds to WrestleMania in April. Raw will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, February 19, and feature appearances by Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns, and John Cena.
SmackDown takes over the arena at 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, February 20, and will include appearances by AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, and Charlotte Flair. Tickets are $20 to $115 for each event via Ticket Master. Benjamin Leatherman
2018 Arts Congress
It’ll be all hands on deck for arts advocates on Monday, February 19, when Arizona Citizens for the Arts convenes the 2018 Arts Congress at the Arizona State Capitol, 1700 West Washington Street. The statewide advocacy organization presents the Art Congress each year, just as legislators are considering how much arts funding ought to be included in the next state budget.
It’s a chance to gather with fellow art supporters and learn strategies for being a more effective arts advocate. The day kicks off at 7:30 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. Individuals can register online for $30, which includes a boxed lunch, tote bag, and training materials. Typically, several hundred people take part, including artists, arts administrators, art students, and community members. Visit the Arizona Citizens for the Arts website. Lynn Trimble
Join local author, actor, and educator Tom Leveen as he celebrates the release of his latest teen thriller, Mercy Rule, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 20, at Changing Hands Tempe, 6428 South McClintock Drive.
Coming on the heels of his Lovecraftian horror novel Hellworld, which earned a nomination for the prestigious Stoker Award, Mercy Rule explores the real-life horrors of bullying against the backdrop of high school football.
The novel follows Brady, an outcast loner in his first year in public school, and his altercations with the captain of the football team, leading to a tragedy that shakes the community.
Hardcover copies are $17, and available for preorder. For more information, visit the Changing Hands website or call 480-730-0205. And if you’re unable to make the release party, you can meet Leveen when he visits The Poisoned Pen, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 2. Michael Senft
The Photo Ark
Animals have routinely become extinct since long before human screwups, but we’re really good at enabling it. One way to help people care is to introduce them to the creatures in peril. They, too, have homes and families, goals and challenges, and the right to live undisturbed by us.
National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore has documented more than 7,500 species (and growing) in his project The Photo Ark; he estimates it will take 15 more years to complete the catalog. He’ll appear at Phoenix Zoo from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21, at 455 North Galvin Parkway, to share pics and stories from his career. Hors d’oeuvre will be served, and a cash bar is available. For tickets, $35, call 602-273-1341 or visit the Phoenix Zoo website. Julie Peterson
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“We Are Currents: A Conversation on Water”
Maybe you love the way light dances on the water, or long for environmental and cultural justice. Either way, you’ll want to join choreographer Ana Maria Alvarez of CONTRA-TIEMPO and Mohave American poet Natalie Diaz for “We Are Currents: A Conversation on Water.”
It’s a performative conversation about water happening outdoors from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21, at the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, 3131 South Central Avenue. Presenting partners include ASU’s Performance in the Borderlands.
The event is part of a multiyear binational arts residency that aims to “connect cultural communities” in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. It’s free, but you should register online before you attend. Visit the Binational Arts Residency website. Lynn Trimble