New week, new events. This week, you can bug out at Volkstock, sample sweet and savory fare at the Chiles and Chocolate Festival, or throw back a cold one at NovemBEER. For more things to do, visit
Mesa Music Festival
The Mesa Music Festival returns for a fourth year, complete with local bands, speakers, food trucks, beer garden, and music-related vendors designed to help you feel the music love. The three-day festival kicks off on Thursday, November 8, with nighttime performances on two stages. The 6 to 10 p.m. lineup at the Interchange Audio Room at The Galleria, 29 West Main Street, Mesa, includes Wanderer, Alistair, and DS1. The Mesa Music Festival Welcoming Party runs from 8 p.m. to midnight on the Mesa Sessions Stage at The Castle, 18 West Main Street, where you can hear Sharkk Heartt, Danielle Durack, MALU, and more. The festival is free, and continues at various downtown Mesa venues through Saturday, November 10. Visit mesamusicfest.com. Lynn Trimble
To be a great comedian, having a podcast is a prerequisite for success. Doug Benson has at least three (we’ve honestly lost count), including the popular Doug Loves Movies, in which the perpetually high humorist discusses all things cinematic with his hilarious friends. Benson will be recording an episode of the show at the Tempe Improv on Saturday. If you want to catch the Getting Doug With High star behind the microphone, he’ll be at StandUp Live in downtown Phoenix sharing his thoughts on marijuana and McGriddles.
Inhale and laugh at 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 8, at 50 West Jefferson Street. Tickets are $20 with a two-drink minimum. For more information, visit phoenix.standuplive.com. Jason Keil
Party Hard Wrestling
Party Hard Wrestling owner Brandon “Brains” Reichard recently told FOX 10 news that the Mesa-based extreme league is professional wrestling for people who don’t realize they like wrestling. Filled with nerdy, colorful characters, the homegrown sports organization continues to grow with each ounce of blood spilled on the mat. At Raising Chairizona, the first-ever Chairizona State Champion will be crowned. To win the title, he must endure staples on the forehead, landing on thumbtacks, and a few metal chairs to the face.
The starting bell rings at 8 p.m. on Friday, November 9, at Nile Theater, 105 West Main Street in Mesa. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for kids 12-years-old and under. For more information, visit partyhardwrestling.com. Jason Keil
Music is better in a Volkswagen, whether it be a vintage Beetle or a classic Van. Celebrate the most popular auto brand of the ’60s at Volkstock, a three-day festival that kicks off on Friday, November 9, with performances by Phunk Junkeez, Kuinka, AJ Odneal, and Jeordie. Get there by 2 p.m. if you want to hear the full line-up perform. Tickets start at $25 for general admission, but bring $6 for parking when you enter Pleasant Harbor, which is located at 8708 West Harbor Boulevard in Peoria. You won’t pay a thing to enter your VW in the festival competition. For food and drink, your options include a beer garden and more than a dozen food trucks. Visit volkstock.com. Lynn Trimble
Chiles and Chocolate Festival
Fall is in the air, and pumpkin spice isn’t the only seasoning to sample this time of year. At the Chiles and Chocolate Festival at the Desert Botanical Garden, a variety of local vendors will be serving up sweet and savory delights for you to sink your teeth into. When the food gets too hot to handle, stroll over to the live cooking demonstrations or feast your eyes on live Spanish dancing.
Bite into some fun from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting on Friday, November 9, until Sunday, November 11, at 1201 North Galvin Parkway. Admission into this event is included with your ticket into the botanical garden. For more information, visit dbg.org. Jason Keil
Scottsdale Public Art had a bright idea: Why not expand the popular Canal Convergence event, featuring large light-based art installations, to 10 days? That’s just what’s happening, starting at 4 p.m. on Friday, November 9, along a section of the Arizona Canal bounded on the northeast by Scottsdale and Camelback Roads in Scottsdale. Friday night offerings include giant floating, fire-shooting lotus flowers, live mural painting by Kyllan Maney, tours of Canal Convergence art installations, artist talks, and live music on two stages. The event is free, and day one festivities end at 10 p.m. Visit canalconvergence.com. Lynn Trimble
Desert Light: A Celebration of the Arts
More than 40 artists are converging on Taliesin West, 12345 North Taliesin Drive in Scottsdale, for a three-day art showcase called Desert Light: A Celebration of the Arts. Show up Friday, November 9, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. if you want to be among the first to check out their works, created in an intriguing assortment of media. It’s a refreshing change of pace from other Valley art traditions like First Fridays in downtown Phoenix, and it’ll introduce you to some creatives who aren’t yet on your radar. Participating artists are all part of the Arizona Arts Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes arts education and appreciation. Free admission includes live performance by several musicians who do vocals, piano, and guitar. Lynn Trimble
LFA 53 will feature the future of mixed martial arts fighting when the event makes a stop in Phoenix. In the flyweight category, Tucson native Casey Kenney will face Brandon Royval. In welterweight action, native Arizonian and Marine Corps Sergeant Kyle “Gunz Up” Stewart will face off against Braden Smith. Both are eager to get back into title contention, but it will be a long and bloody battle to the top of the rankings.
The best man wins starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 9, at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Tickets are $33.50 to $81.50. For more information, visit comericatheatre.com. Jason Keil
Teen Science Social: Harry Potter
The Teen Science Social: Harry Potter is only for those wizards, witches, and muggles of high school age, so there will be no adults allowed at this magical event. Learn the science behind “expecto patronum” and the other spells and charms used in J.K. Rowling’s novels about the boy who lived to battle Lord Voldemort.
Board the Hogwarts Express from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, at Arizona Science Center, 600 East Washington Street. Tickets are $4 in advance and $5 at the door, and include a dinner and a drink ticket. For more information, visit azscience.org. Jason Keil
Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-Off
Once upon a time, there were mobile kitchens called chuck wagons that dished out grub during late 19th century cattle drives. Get a feel for how that went down during the Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-Off, which happens from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 10. You’ll find cooks in period garb working with period equipment when the event rolls into Tumbleweed Ranch, 2250 South McQueen Road in Chandler. Arrive early if you want to snag a $15 ticket for a five-course chuckwagon meal that’ll be served at noon. While you’re there, explore a 1917 home and historic grocery store. Country music performers take the stage at 10 a.m. and noon. Spurs and bandannas optional. Visit chandleraz.gov. Lynn Trimble
Like throwing back some cold ones? The variety of choices on tap can be a little overwhelming, but Phoenix New Times’ fifth annual NovemBEER Festival can help narrow down the options. Over 50 local and national breweries will descend upon downtown Phoenix to offer sudsy samples. There will also be drinking games, entertainment, and greasy food to keep the party going all afternoon.
Hop to it from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, at West Washington Street between First and Third Avenue. Ticket packages range from $30 for general admission to $50 for VIP tickets. For more information, visit novembeer.com. Jason Keil
Vegan BBQ Battle
Carnivores aren’t the only ones who can fire up something delicious on the grill. The Arizona Vegan BBQ Battle pits cooks who specialize in preparing plant-based proteins against each other to win your vote for the best animal-free chef in the state. Slather the sauce over some tofu or sample some smoked seitan. Other options include savory vegan ribs, grilled veggie burgers, and veggie kebabs.
Cast your ballot from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, at Urban Beans Bar and 24 Hour Cafe, 3508 North Seventh Street. General admission tickets are $15. For more information, visit zennights.org. Jason Keil
Cat Film Festival
We now interrupt your cat nap to inform you that there’s a cat-stravaganza coming to town. Spend a good hour of your weekend exploring feral cats, animal psychics, a woman who knits cat hair into useful objects, and more fascinating cat fare. FilmBar, 815 North Second Street, is showing a NY Cat Film Festival compilation of short films called “Nobody Owns a Cat,” at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 10. Your $10 ticket includes a post-screening Q & A with feline behaviorist Jane Ehrlich. Stick around (and get another $10 ticket) if you want to see another batch of short cat films called “Little Works of Art,” which starts at 3 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will go to Maricopa County Animal Care & Control. Visit thefilmbarphx.com. Lynn Trimble
Dog Film Festival
Dogs are also getting their due at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street, as the NY Dog Film Festival rolls out two programs featuring short films about dogs and their companions on Sunday, November 11. “Life With Dogs” starts at 1:30 p.m., and “Who Rescued Whom” begins at 3:15 p.m. Tickets are $10 per program. The first includes a music video, animated film, and several other short pieces with a wild mix of topics, from doggy speed dating to a man who launches a revolution in Paris after turning himself into a dog. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Maricopa County Animal Welfare & Control. Visit thefilmbarphx.com. Lynn Trimble
Arizona Harvest Fest
Before Chandler became recognized as one of Arizona’s technology hubs, the suburb was known for growing cotton, corn, and alfalfa. The Arizona Harvest Fest and Farmers Market celebrates that agricultural heritage with seasonal samples from neighborhood beer breweries, pie eating contests, pumpkin pageants, and corn shucking. This family-friendly event will also feature music from Bluesman Mike and Shari Rowe. For those looking for that unique holiday gift, local vendors will be selling their wares.
Cultivate some fun from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 11, at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park, 3 South Arizona Avenue in Chandler. This is a free event. For more information, visit arizonaharvestfest.com. Jason Keil
Fans of YA author Marissa Meyer were delighted to learn her Renegades novel was merely the first of a three-part series. Now the second book, Archenemies, is out, letting readers dive back into her fictional world of human prodigies seeking to use their special abilities to bring not just order, but peace, to what remains of a crumbling society. Meyer will talk about her latest work at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock, in Tempe on Monday, November 12. Buying a $21.61 (plus fees) ticket ahead of time will get you event admission, and a book the author can sign for you that night. Seating opens at 6:30 p.m. Visit changinghands.com. Lynn Trimble
"The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon"
Playing air guitar is all good and fine, but you might get inspired to tackle the real thing after you see a new exhibition called “The Electric Guitar: Inventing an American Icon.” Head over to the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, November 12, to give it a good look. The exhibit includes more than 80 of the world’s rarest guitars and amps, from early editions to instruments used by musical icons like Bo Didley and Les Paul. Even instruments played by members of The Rolling Stones and The Who made the cut. Related materials set the instrument in its cultural and historic context. Pay $10 to see just this exhibit, or $7 to see it if you’ve also got a MIM ticket (which runs $20 for adults). Visit mim.org. Lynn Trimble
"Ragnar Kjartansson: Scandinavian Pain and Other Myths"
You can explore the multi-sensory, performative world of Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson in a new exhibition of contemporary art at Phoenix Art Museum. Titled “Ragnar Kjartansson: Scandinavian Pain and Other Myths,” the art show illuminates recurrent themes at the heart of this artist’s work, including “Nordic identity, melancholia, repetition, and popular culture.” Expect nods to ABBA, Edvard Munch, and other Scandinavian icons. Featured works include a 9-channel video called The Visitor, installations with 144 paintings, and a text-based neon work that reveals the artist’s gift for mixing humor with angst. Take a good look between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 13. The exhibit is free with general admission, which is $23 for adults. Visit phxart.org. Lynn Trimble
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Sorry To Bother You
Sorry To Bother You was a surprise hit this past summer thanks to its blend of social commentary, science-fiction, and surreal comedy. The story of a telemarketer (Lakeith Stanfield) who only finds success when he uses his “white voice” came from the mind of multi-hyphenate Boots Riley, who will be in attendance to present the film and take part in a Q & A session afterward. The movie is being shown on the field of Sun Devil Stadium, so be sure to bring a blanket and dress appropriately for the weather.
This special screening begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 14, at ASU 365 Community Union (Sun Devil Stadium), 500 East Veterans Way in Tempe. Tickets are $3. For more information, visit asu365communityunion.com. Jason Keil
National Geographic Live: The Search for Longevity
For two decades, Dan Buettner and David McLain traveled the globe, seeking out the healthiest and happiest old people. One’s an author, and the latter both photographer and filmmaker. Together they’ve been searching for the key to living a long life, and they’ve shared what they found with National Geographic. Head to Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street in Mesa, to learn about their travels, friendship, and discoveries during National Geographic Live: The Search for Longevity. With any luck at all, they’ll tell us it’s espresso, listening to live music, and living in a dry heat. The presentation starts at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 14. Tickets start at $27. Visit nationalgeographic.com. Lynn Trimble