Feeling sprung on Phoenix? Spring will do that to you. Partly because there's so damn much to keep you busy in March. But we've taken out the guesswork. Here are your best bets for enjoying all the Valley has to offer this week — from Cactus League spring taining and cutting-edge theater to a handful of celebrity appearances and a swoon-worthy home tour. For more (seriously!), see New Times' calendar of events.
Diamondbacks vs. A's
Spring has sprung in the Valley, but savvy locals know better than to put off any plans of basking in the sunshine for too long. The breezy, glorious window is open, but it’ll slam shut in no time. So if you’ve yet to partake in Arizona’s most renowned springtime ritual — a Cactus League spring training game — you can remedy that on Monday, March 20, when the hometown Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Oakland A’s, who are helmed by former D-backs skipper Bob Melvin, at Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium, 1235 North Center Street, at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are $15 and up. Visit the Cactus League website or call 480-644-4451 for details. Rob Kroehler
No need to bring your own art materials. ASU pretty much has those covered, thanks to an exhibition of works by master of fine art students called “Materialize.” Check it out between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, March 20, at the Herberger Theater Art Gallery, 222 East Monroe Street.
It’s a chance to see paintings, sculpture, fiber art, photography, and other types of artwork — many created by artists working with powerful themes, such as the exploitation of people and land.
More than a dozen artists have work in the show — including Molly Koehn, Cyndei Mallory, Andrew Noble, Jessica Palomo, Buzzy Sullivan, and Zach Valent. One artist used hair as her medium, and another used 48 pieces of Tupperware. The free exhibition continues through Sunday, April 2. Visit Herberger Theater's art gallery website. Lynn Trimble
Snow White is over it. She’s done with poisoned apples, evil witches, and waiting around for Prince Charming to save her. Snow, along with Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and eight other Disney princesses, are ready to make their own damn happy ending in Disenchanted! on Tuesday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m. at Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street. This hilarious new musical is definitely not a family-friendly affair. Sure, the princesses croon catchy songs, but these tunes are more about the explicit struggles and sensualities of being a woman — from masturbation to having too-big breasts. The musical’s creator, Dennis Giacino, even delves into the reason it took Disney so long to have a black princess … in song, of course. Get tickets ($45) and more info at Mesa Arts Center's website. Evie Carpenter
Surprise Public Art Bus Tour
In partnership with the Surprise Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission, Benevilla is hosting the second annual City of Surprise Public Art Bus Tour, a morning journey to the artistic sites of the deep West Valley.
This sightseeing excursion starts with a meetup at 16752 North Greasewood Street to view the Surprise Community Garden. It continues with stops at the WHAM Art Center & Gallery, the WVAC HQ Art Gallery, the City Hall Galleries, and the Joe Tyler Learning Tree, among others. An optional lunch follows at Birt’s Bistro, which also has an art exhibition on display.
The free bus tour starts at 9 a.m. and goes till noon on Wednesday, March 22. Call 623-584-4999 to RSVP for the tour. For more information, see Benevilla's website. Lauren Cusimano
Ballet Arizona is keeping it classy with a new lineup of dance by contemporary choreographers, including its own artistic director Ib Andersen and Ballet Arizona dancer Nayon Iovino.
Both are presenting world-premiere dance works during this year’s Today’s Masters, which opens at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street. Get there 45 minutes early and you can hear a free pre-performance chat.
Thursday’s performance is your first chance to see Rio, Andersen’s new work inspired by Brazilian music and dance, which features music by Philip Glass. The lineup also includes Andersen’s Paquita, staged after Marius Petipa’s original 1881 choreography. Iovino’s new work, inspired by Igor Stravinsky’s Jeu de Cartes (House of Cards), explores the inner life of a person living with dissociative identity disorder. It all makes Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet look rather tame by comparison.
Tickets for Today’s Masters, which continues through Sunday, March 26, start at $25. Visit Ballet Arizona's website. Lynn Trimble
Actor and comedian Cheech Marin has seen a few lows in his life, but a lot more highs. One half of the iconic comedy duo Cheech and Chong, Marin recently added author to his resume with his 2017 memoir Cheech Is Not My Real Name … But Don’t Call Me Chong. In 1978, Marin’s star catapulted with the iconic film Up In Smoke, placing him firmly at the center of American counterculture. Intentionally or not, Cheech —whose real name is Richard — and his longtime partner in crime, Tommy Chong, have been fixtures of the recreational-drug-use zeitgeist ever since. Marin visits the Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, to discuss his memoir. Tickets start at $34 and include a book-signing. Visit Changing Hands' website or call 480-644-6500 for details. Rob Kroehler
Richard Wright’s popular 1940 novel Native Son shares a harrowing story of a young black Chicago man’s downward spiral through a world of rapidly dwindling options. Bigger Thomas’ dead end at the narrative’s climax finds him despised by both white and black characters. Meanwhile, the polarized, dysfunctional relationships between the book and its readers leave mostly questions in their wake: How responsible is Thomas for his fate? What role was played by society (i.e., the rest of us)? Can we unfuck this?
Native Son has been adapted for the stage as frequently as almost any work since A Christmas Carol. Nambi E. Kelley’s nonlinear, well-received 2014 version is presented by Stray Cat Theatre through Saturday, March 25, at Black Theatre Troupe’s Helen K. Mason Center for the Performing Arts, 1333 East Washington Street.
Showtime on Thursday, March 23, is 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $30 at Stray Cat Theatre's website or 480-227-1766. Julie Peterson
Artist Rachel Goodwin is leading an expedition of sorts into the vast expanse of vanity, consumerism, and social media clutter. See her free “Baggage” exhibition between noon and 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, at Step Gallery, located inside Arizona State University’s Grant Street Studios at 605 East Grant Street.
It’s an intriguing take on the challenges of keeping it real in a world consumed with perfection, where high expectations and artificiality dominate both interior and exterior landscapes. Goodwin describes “Baggage” as a one-of-a-kind retail store that gallery visitors can navigate while reflecting on ways objects are displayed and valued in contemporary culture.
No credit card required. But be forewarned: You’ll likely leave Goodwin’s show with new insights into your own lust for everything shiny and new. Visit ASU's events website for more. Lynn Trimble
In case you haven’t made it to the Zs on your nerdy bucket list yet, ZapCon is known formally as ZapCon Arcade and Pinball Convention, and it’s held in April at the Mesa Convention Center. As a follow-up, ZapCon Nights act as warmup sessions for local pinball wizards at The Grid: Games and Growlers, 525 South Gilbert Road, A-7, in Mesa.
This ZapCon Night will be the last one before the actual ZapCon, and goes from 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday, March 24. At 7 p.m., an IFPA-sanctioned pinball tournament is open to the first 32 people. Admission is free. Wear a ZapCon shirt or badge and get free tokens, which also goes for the pinball machines. Call 480-621-8088 or see the Facebook event page. Lauren Cusimano
Frankenstein Panel Discussion
When Mary Shelley penned the legendary novel Frankenstein about 200 years ago, her premise was unequivocally fantastical. A couple of centuries later, reanimation isn’t so far-fetched. And as advancements in science and technology bring us nearer the precipice, ethical questions need to be addressed. More than a bicentennial celebration of Shelley’s masterpiece, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art’s Frankenstein Panel Discussion aims to do just that. Three Valley-based experts, each with their own unique background and perspectives, will be on hand to address the very real possibility of Frankensteins in our future. Saunter down to the SMoCA Lounge, 7374 East Second Street, doing your best Boris Karloff impersonation, at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 24, and join the free conversation. Visit SMoCA's website or call 480-874-4666 for details. Rob Kroehler
Read on for more awesome things to do this week.
Sherlock Holmes Film Festival
Let’s measure Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most iconic character, by the numbers. Sherlock Holmes is at the center of 56 short stories and four novels by Doyle, at least four non-canonical comic books, three or so TV shows, countless pastiches, and more than 30 films (though that might be a conservative estimation). You’ll be happy to know that the folks behind Herberger Theater Center’s Sherlock Holmes Film Festival have been choosy in their selections, spotlighting everyone’s favorite violinist/brainiac/opioid addict.
Just five movies are featured, but their range spans decades and countries of origin. The festivities get rolling with a VIP reception at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 24. A screening of the 1916 silent film Sherlock Holmes follows at 7:30 p.m. and features live musical accompaniment by pianist Donald Sosin.
The festival concludes on Saturday, March 25, with a showing of Bill Condon’s 2015 flick Mr. Holmes at 222 East Monroe Street. Tickets range from $5 to $25 per screening. So if you’re looking to catch a few of the fest’s offerings, it’s probably worth springing for a $40 VIP pass, which grants access to all the films, discussions, and other programming. For details, visit Herberger Theater's website or call the box office at 602-252-8497. Becky Bartkowski
The Comedy Affair 2
Do you like to feel fancy while laughing at stand-up comedy acts? The Comedy Affair 2 encourages “classy attire” for its outdoor show that includes several comedians, along with some local music acts. The night is hosted by Erick Biez, and features headliner Brandt Tobler, who gained popularity a few years back when he started the Backyard Comedy Show in Las Vegas. The event also welcomes back Danielle Arce, an LA-based comic, for her first Phoenix show in two years. Laugh it up from 8 to 11 p.m. on Friday, March 24, at The Outer Space, 1015 North First Street. Admission is $5. Visit the Facebook event page for more. Amy Young
Men on Boats
The Powell Grand Canyon expedition of 1869 probably evokes images of a certain type of explorer. The ASU School of Film, Dance, and Theatre’s production of Jaclyn Backhaus’ Men on Boats delves into and turns on its head the idea of white masculinity and privilege by casting a diverse group of actresses in roles normally reserved for men, including a military veteran, a hunter, an adventure seeker, and a one-armed captain. Told through chronological scenes, the 10-person show engages in a unique form of storytelling blending historical themes, the writings of explorer John Wesley Powell, and contemporary language and humor.
The production opens at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 24, and runs through Sunday, April 2, at the Paul V. Galvin Playhouse, 51 East 10th Street, on the ASU Tempe Campus. Admission is $16 for the general public, $12 for ASU faculty members and staff and senior citizens, and $8 for students. Visit ASU's events website. Laura Latzko
As you’d expect from the voice of “Anger” in the Disney-Pixar film Inside Out, being wound up is Lewis Black’s modus operandi. The Daily Show commentator takes the black coal of infuriating nonsense in the world and shoves it up his ass. Squeezing that bullshit through his expletive-filled, thoughtful, and sympathetic filter, Black raises his voice and transforms our rage into comedic diamonds. He simultaneously encapsulates our disgust over our nation’s sad state of affairs and hilariously reassures us everything is going to be okay.
Two months into President Trump’s administration, Black’s “Rant, White and Blue” tour comes to those of us who desperately crave rationality when we possibly need it the most.
Black comes to Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street, on Saturday, March 25. Tickets start at $39.50. Showtime is 8 p.m. Visit Comerica Theatre's website or call 602-379-2800. Jason Keil
Jacques Pépin and Claudine Pépin
You know you love to watch other people work. Leisure’s hard won, and schadenfreude makes it better. Watching a chef work is particularly diverting — it smells and sounds enticing, and he’s really good at something you’ve at least tried to do, so it all seems attainable.
The father-and-daughter team of Chef Jacques Pépin and Claudine Pépin have shared their food and wine mastery for decades. Pépin père, one of the best-known TV chefs ever, built most of his career around making cuisine accessible to the bumbling home cook. He’s also authored dozens of books and been showered with awards on two continents as well as international waters.
The pair will demonstrate a few dishes and take questions starting at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Admission is $12 and includes hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail. Visit Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts' website or call 480-499-8587. Julie Peterson
Haru in the Garden
Temperatures may go from wintery to blistering without a nod, but Phoenix does have a spring season. The Japanese Friendship Garden celebrates it annually.
Haru in the Garden is a cultural event where you can experience the sights and sounds of spring in a traditional Japanese garden setting. Stroll lighted pathways as you absorb seasonal beauty. Enjoy live music acts, as well as a performance by Kika Shabata, a master of Ikebana, the Japanese flower-arranging art. The night also includes visual art displays, food trucks, and a chance to enjoy the garden’s tea house. The garden will be open from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, at 1125 North Third Avenue. Admission is $5 to $25, but is free for kids ages 2 and younger. Call 602-274-8700 or visit the Japanese Friendship Garden website. Amy Young
Most Hated Grand Opening Ride
Come fall in love with Most Hated Bicycle and Parts’ impressive custom cruiser bikes and creations during their grand opening celebration. To commemorate the store’s arrival on Grand Avenue, Most Hated will be having a family-friendly bike ride starting from ThirdSpace. Enjoy drink specials and raffle items as you peruse all things shiny and chrome. Nearby Novel Ice Cream will be offering 15 percent off your delicious purchase when you mention Most Hated.
Most Hated Bicycle and Parts Grand Opening Ride is on Saturday, March 25, at ThirdSpace, 1028 Grand Avenue. The ride is free. Meetup for the ride is 1 p.m., with kickstands up at 2 p.m. Visit Most Hated Bicycles on Facebook or call 623-293-7438. Jason Keil
Encanto-Palmcroft Historic Home Tour and Street Fair
Your two years is up, and the 2017 Encanto-Palmcroft Historic Home Tour and Street Fair is all set to show off one of the most historic neighborhoods in Arizona.
Here’s how it works: Park in the Encanto neighborhood somewhere, or walk/bike to the area. Tickets may be purchased at 12th Avenue and Holly Lane for $20 (or $18 in advance online), where there will be a street fair, food vendors, and a beer garden.
An old-fashioned trolley will cart you around on a tour of the Encanto-Palmcroft neighborhood. A booklet and tour guide will provide information on pre-World War II homes, plus tidbits on famous residents, architectural features, and more.
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The tour, fair, and trolley runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 26. See Encanto Palmcroft's website. Lauren Cusimano
Ken Ludwig’s Leading Ladies combines a bunch of our favorite things: the 1950s (though civil rights would’ve been nice), men dressed as women, women dressed as men, and a bit of Shakespeare. Ludwig’s scripts (Lend Me a Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo) are internationally beloved, and while the Czech production of Leading Ladies was probably fun, you can’t do much better than to see a farce presented by Fountain Hills Theater. They’re a bunch of goofballs out there.
The play upholds the time-honored tradition of wearing the wrong sex’s clothes when you fall in love — this time, in Pennsylvania! Catch the closing performance on Sunday, March 26, at 2 p.m. at 11445 North Saguaro Boulevard. Tickets are $23 to $30 at 480-837-9661, extension 3, or Fountain Hills Theater's website. Julie Peterson