The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Mexico in art form.
Mexico in art form.
Courtesy of Gennaro Garcia
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Did you resolve to go out more this year? Perfect timing. This week you can hunt for gems, visit Gennaro Garcia's new exhibition, or have some anime fun at Taiyou Con. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

"MEXICANA: Home to the Soul of Mexico"
Gennaro Garcia was the second-ever Latino artist to have an exhibition at the Calvin Charles Gallery in downtown Scottsdale. And Garcia begins the new year with a return to the building where he made his mark. He’ll unveil a show that celebrates the heart of the country that inspires so much of his work. Garcia will be on hand for the opening night of “MEXICANA: Home to the Soul of Mexico,” which gives viewers a peek into the future of Arizona art while celebrating the painter’s remarkable past.

The opening reception of Garcia’s latest showcase starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 4, at 4201 North Marshall Way. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Calvin Charles Gallery website. Jason Keil

Thomas Perry
Thomas Perry is a jack-of-all-trades, having worked as a teacher, mechanic, fisherman, and a TV producer. But his greatest success has come as a mystery novelist.

Thirty-five years after his Edgar Award-winning debut, The Butcher Boy, the L.A. writer is back with his 25th novel, The Bomb Maker. Former bomb squad leader Dick Stahl has left his job with the LAPD to run a private security company in New Mexico. But when a routine call goes awry, he must return to his old department to track a bomber who seems to be targeting his former squad.

On Thursday, January 4, at 7 p.m., Perry will meet fans and sign copies of The Bomb Maker at The Poisoned Pen, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale.

Admission is free, but book purchase is required for autographs. The Bomb Maker is $26 in hardcover. Call 480-942-2974 or visit the Poisoned Pen website for more information. Michael Senft

Howling for a win?EXPAND
Howling for a win?

Arizona Coyotes v. Nashville Predators
When you hear that the coyotes and the predators are about to face off, it could just as easily be an announcement for an Animal Planet show as a hockey game between the Arizona and Tennessee teams. The latter is what you’ll get on Thursday, January 4, when the Arizona Coyotes and Nashville Predators clash on the ice, smashing sticks and bashing pucks as they vie for victory.

See if the Coyotes can take the win without forward Zac Rinaldo (who recently got a six-game suspension for punching Samuel Girard of the Colorado Avalanche). Game time is 6 p.m. on Thursday, January 4, at Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue in Glendale. Ticket prices range from $20.50 to $229.50. Call 480-563-7825 or visit the Coyotes website. Amy Young

Anime cosplayers outside of the Mesa Convention Center during Taiyou Con 2017.EXPAND
Anime cosplayers outside of the Mesa Convention Center during Taiyou Con 2017.
Benjamin Leatherman

Taiyou Con
The 2018 convention season kicks off with Taiyou Con. A celebration of anime, manga, and cosplay for Valley otaku, the convention runs from noon on Friday, January 5, through 6 p.m. on Sunday, January 7, at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street.

Now in its eighth year, the convention will feature more than 400 hours of round-the clock programming, including panels on costuming and makeup, learning Japanese, and even hentai for the over-18 crowd. Fans can watch their favorite anime or discover a new series (subbed, of course!). There will also be several guests, including voice actors from Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z.

Memberships are $45 at the door for the weekend, with discounted daily passes. Visit the Taiyou Con website for more information. And cosplayers should check out the convention’s weapon and prop policies on line in advance. Michael Senft

Laura Plecas’ work (detail, above) often explores her family’s immigrant roots.EXPAND
Laura Plecas’ work (detail, above) often explores her family’s immigrant roots.
Laura Plecas/Photo by Lynn Trimble

Phoenix artist Laura Plecas pays homage to her family’s immigrant roots in a new exhibition called “Lineage,” which opens on Friday, January 5, at Chartreuse gallery, 1301 Grand Avenue. Visit the gallery between 6 and 10 p.m. that night to explore her encaustic collage works inspired by Op art, folk art, and quilting.

“I seek to peel back layers to reveal the past and to explore the strength and struggles that my family endured,” Plecas says in exhibition materials. Often, her work includes repeated shapes and patterns, created with materials such as old papers and book pages.

“Lineage” continues through January. Visit the Chartreuse gallery website. Lynn Trimble

Storyteller Rachel Eseoghene Egboro performs at Phoenix Art Museum.EXPAND
Storyteller Rachel Eseoghene Egboro performs at Phoenix Art Museum.
Courtesy of The Whole Story

The Whole Story Part V
The Whole Story Part V brings a new set of tales to Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, on First Friday, January 5. The storytelling series, which launched in January 2016, aims to “bring greater depth and breadth to our understanding of the human experience from the Black perspective,” according to museum materials.

Part V storytellers will include host Rachel Eseoghene Egboro, who will share a story about a time her heart almost gave out. The lineup also will feature Jessica Flagg Lamartiniere, Evan Roberts, Elaissia Sears, and Sule Wilson. Their stories address a wide range of experiences, from time spent online with a person assuming a false identity to being in a compromising situation while studying abroad.

Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. event are $10 (or $5 for museum members), and the doors to Whiteman Hall open at 7 p.m. Museum admission is free from 6 to 10 p.m. Visit the Phoenix Art Museum website. Lynn Trimble

Flagg Gem and Mineral Show
Rock collecting isn’t just for kids. At the Flagg Gem and Mineral Show from Friday to Sunday, January 5 to 7, you can look for specimens from more than 130 dealers and field collectors displaying fossils, gemstones, jewelry, and lapidary equipment.

The show will also have a food truck area, interactive activities, and opportunities to meet with local gold prospecting, lapidary, and mineral clubs. This year’s show takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the West Parking Lot of Mesa Community College, 1833 West Southern Avenue. Admission and parking is free. For more information, visit the Flagg Gem and Mineral website. Laura Latzko

Lluvia Flamenca
In flamenco, a style of dance originating in Spain, dancers move to guitar music as they create sound using handheld castanets. The returning Lluvia Flamenca showcase at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, will celebrate the art of flamenco with performances from 15 national and local flamenco artists, all with individual styles.

Among the artists will be dancer Angelina Ramirez and singer Olivia Rojas of Phoenix-based Flamenco Por La Vida. Ramierz will perform a special piece called /ser/. A pre-show will spotlight youth flamenco dancers from Arizona and New Mexico.

During the event, the artists will explore topics such the complexities of being Latinx and queer flamenco artists. The preshow begins in the lounge at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8:30 on Saturday, January 6. Tickets are $19.50 for general admission and $29.50 for reserved seating. For more information, go to the Crescent Ballroom website. Laura Latzko

Leslie Jones
Saturday Night Live cast member Leslie Jones admitted on her Instagram feed that she almost threw up on a recent episode of the show when host James Franco expectorated an inordinate amount of fake blood into the comedian’s mouth. So gross. But she held tough and kept it together.

Small wonder, her grace under pressure has been honed over decades of performing stand-up comedy. Mentored by Dave Chappelle, Jones came into her own, eventually scoring a breakthrough role in Chris Rock’s Top Five and a writing gig on NBC’s iconic weekend sketch show.

Watch one of the boldest comedians working today, when Jones takes the stage at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 6, at The Ballroom in Talking Stick Resort, 9800 East Talking Stick Way in Scottsdale. Tickets are $35 to $115. For more information, visit the Talking Stick Resort website. Jason Keil

Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End
Humorist Erma Bombeck, who lived in Paradise Valley for her last couple of decades, was embraced by millions and millions of readers through her syndicated newspaper column, pre-web. Inspired by life as a housewife and mom, Bombeck didn’t just make us laugh — she gave women dignity and a voice for more than 30 years. Crumbling yellow clippings continue to adorn American fridges.

Sisters (and newspaper people) Allison and Margaret Engel crafted Bombeck’s writings into a one-woman show, Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End, running through Sunday, January 21, at Fountain Hills Theater. Valley powerhouse Cathy Dresbach portrays Erma.

Brace yourself for ugly laughing at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 6, at 11445 North Saguaro Boulevard. Tickets are $18 to $25 at 480-837-9661, extension 3, or the Fountain Hills Theater website. Julie Peterson

Trust us, the music is always better live.
Trust us, the music is always better live.
Warner Bros.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Potterheads have likely exhausted any sense of discovery and wonderment watching the films based on J.K. Rowling’s series of books about the young wizard Harry Potter. One of them always seems to be playing on television at any given moment. But the Phoenix Symphony might have just the thing to help you relive what it felt like to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the first time. As the movie plays on a giant screen, the orchestra will perform composer John Williams’ score live onstage.

Recapture the magic at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 6, at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street. Tickets are $40 to $99. For more information, visit the Phoenix Symphony website. Jason Keil

Night of the Three Kings
Many don’t add the Baby Jesus figure to their Nativity scene until Christmas. Strict adherence to that concept would suggest the Three Wise Men arrive 13 days later. (Or two years later, depending how you roll.)

Wherever hermeneutics leads you, it should include Night of the Three Kings at the Phoenix Zoo. This rendition of a traditional Mexican mini-festival features richly costumed dudes riding in on camels for a meet-and-greet. Games and other kid-friendly activities, mariachis, and Mexican food rock the party.

The event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 6, at 455 North Galvin Parkway, and is included in ZooLights admission ($12.95 to $23.95, depending whether you purchase online and whether you want dinosaurs with your Magi). Call 602-273-1341 or visit the Phoenix Zoo website. Julie Peterson

The shirt on the far right says it all.EXPAND
The shirt on the far right says it all.
Benjamin Leatherman

No Pants Light Rail Ride
Fast fact: You can legally go pantsless in public. True story. Under Arizona law, you’re permitted to stroll around without slacks, shorts, or a skirt, provided you’re wearing underwear. Not that we’d recommend ditching your bottoms, unless you’re participating in the No Pants Light Rail Ride.

The annual urban prank involves hordes of folks dropping trou, hopping on public rail transportation in cities worldwide, and earning shocked or amused reactions from onlookers in the process. Here in metro Phoenix, pantsless participants will board light rail trains at four different locations across the Valley starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, January 7, before traveling to downtown Phoenix.

A post-ride party will follow at DeSoto Central Market, 915 North Central Avenue. Colorful outfits and underwear are encouraged, but leave your pants at home. Visit the Improv AZ website for complete details. Benjamin Leatherman

Stacy’s Follies
It’s 2018, and those who resolved to see more drag performances are in luck.

Lady Christian will launch the weekly Stacy’s Follies, a show filled with fab Arizona queens like Espressa Grande and Kim Etiquette. The first sashaying show starts at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 7, at Stacy’s on Melrose, 4343 North Seventh Avenue.

Best part? There’s no cover. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

Phoenix Suns v. Oklahoma City Thunder
Lebron James is the best basketball player on earth, but the distinction of being “most fun to watch” belongs to Russell Westbrook.

Hoops junkies living in Oklahoma City have had the luxury of watching the explosive guard whenever they please for the last decade. And the rest of us have scoured the web for the latest addition to Westbrook’s already scorching highlight reel while waiting for the Thunder to roll through town.

As if Westbrook needed the extra muscle, all-stars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony donned Thunder jerseys this season in an effort to lighten the superstar’s staggering workload. All this spells trouble for the Phoenix Suns, who will host the Thunder starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 7, at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Tickets are $19 and up. Visit the Suns website or call 602-379-2000 for details. Rob Kroehler

Up your art IQ as Heard Museum presents works by T.C. Cannon.EXPAND
Up your art IQ as Heard Museum presents works by T.C. Cannon.
Caesar Chavez/Heard Museum

"Of God and Mortal Men: Masterworks by T.C. Cannon from the Nancy and Richard Bloch Collection"
Perhaps you’re familiar with the art canon. But what about T.C. Cannon? He was artist of Kiowa, Caddo, and French descent who studied with Fritz Scholder. Cannon served in the Vietnam War, and died in a single-vehicle car crash in 1978.

He created vibrant, stylized depictions of American Indians that “reflect a wide range of social, political, and cultural influences,” according to materials for the “Of God and Mortal Men: Masterworks by T.C. Cannon from the Nancy and Richard Bloch Collection” exhibition.

Are they worth a spot in the canon? See for yourself from 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, January 8, at the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue, where admission is $18 for adults. The exhibition continues through April 15. Visit the Heard Museum website. Lynn Trimble

Explore the intersection of sculpture and technology at ASU’s Harry Wood Gallery.EXPAND
Explore the intersection of sculpture and technology at ASU’s Harry Wood Gallery.
Zach Valent

“The Speculative Object: Site in an Asynchronic Age”
Sculpture meets technology in a free exhibition titled “The Speculative Object: Site in an Asynchronic Age,” which features works by six digital sculptors and select students using diverse approaches and techniques.

Sculptors Mary Neubauer and Michael Rees organized the show following discussions about speculative fiction and imagined landscapes. Look for pieces by recent MFA graduates Cydnei Mallory and Zach Valent when you visit the show at Harry Wood Gallery, located inside the ASU School of Art building at 900 South Forest Mall in Tempe.

The opening reception runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 9, when the gallery is also open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The show continues through Friday, January 19. Visit the ASU Art website. Lynn Trimble

Drinkers and thinkers rejoice.EXPAND
Drinkers and thinkers rejoice.
Courtesy of Desoto Central Market

Trivia and Taps Tuesday
You’re smarter than all your friends, right? Prove it at DeSoto Central Market’s Trivia and Taps Tuesday.

Every Tuesday at 7 p.m., you can put your drinking and your thinking to the test with a quiz by Front Row Trivia Live. Arrive a little early for happy hour, which runs from 3 to 7, when DeSoto offers $5 pitchers of Blue Moon.

The questioning goes down at 915 North Central Avenue. For more information (or to challenge your friends to an intellectual beat-down), visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

Come meet Markiplier.EXPAND
Come meet Markiplier.
Count3D via Flickr/CC

The name Mark Edward Fischbach might not ring any bells. But if you keep tabs on the YouTube-famous, you may know him as Markiplier – as in, Mark plus multiplier. Get it?

The prolific gamer posts new videos daily on his current channel, OurMine, and he has over 19 million subscribers. Markiplier also holds the current title of Most Influential YouTuber.

Stopping in town on his You’re Welcome World Tour, Markiplier and a group of his cohorts will perform a mix of improv, sketch, and musical comedy. Don’t be surprised to find yourself engaging; audience participation is part of the mix.

Fischbach and fellow Tuber-pals take the stage at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 9, at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Tickets are $38 to $59. Call 602-379-2800 or visit the Comerica Theatre website. Amy Young

I Am Not Your Negro
In his unfinished manuscript Remember This House, writer James Baldwin reflected on the work, lives, and assassinations of activists Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers. Raoul Peck’s 2016 documentary I Am Not Your Negro uses footage from the past and present and Baldwin’s words to explore the history of race in the United States.

As part of a partnership with PBS, Project Humanities at ASU will screen the documentary from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Tempe History Museum, 809 East Southern Avenue, on Wednesday, January 10. A discussion will follow the screening. Poet and storyteller Leah Marche and Project Humanities founding director Neal Lester will facilitate the talk.

This spring, Project Humanities will show documentaries on conversation-provoking topics as part of its Indie Lens Pop Up series. For more information and to register to see I Am Not Your Negro, visit the Eventbrite website. Laura Latzko

Sustainability is always in style.
Sustainability is always in style.
Chris Loomis

“Fashion and Textile Design: An Innovative Approach for a Better Future”
It’s fashion forward, literally, when the Arizona Costume Institute kicks off this year’s Second Wednesday lecture series with a discussion about the future.

Centered on global concern for the environment, Galina Mihaleva’s talk “Fashion and Textile Design: An Innovative Approach for a Better Future” will examine how contemporary designers are bringing a focus on sustainability into their work. Mihaleva, who’s a visiting professor of fashion design at Arizona State University, will also address the use of natural and recycled materials.

Learn during the lunch hour at 12:30 p.m. on January 10 at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue. The event is free with museum admission, which is $18 for adults. Call 602-257-1880 or visit the Phoenix Art Museum website. Amy Young

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