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
See what happens when hair and Tupperware replace traditional art materials.
Christina Kemp Sullivan/Photo by Lynn Trimble
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
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center
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
Surprise! It's a 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
Dance meets dissociative identity disorder during Ballet Arizona’s Today’s Masters 2017 at the Orpheum Theatre.
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
Brittany Watson as Mary Dalton, Micah Jondel DeShazer as Bigger Thomas, and Jason Hammond as Jan. Alan Johnson in background as The Black Rat.
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?
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
See work by Rachel Goodwin at Step Gallery.
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.