5 Free Things to Do This Week

Partying at Gypsy Bar.
Partying at Gypsy Bar. Benjamin Leatherman
Attention cheapos! Need something to do this week? Try checking out the captivating oil portraits of Rachel Bess, spice up your Tuesday with some Latin dancing, or hear stories get grungy at this month's edition of Untidy Secrets. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

Lyric Opera Theater’s Musical Theatre Spring Showcase
The musical theater kids are all right. Want proof? Mark your calendar for Lyric Opera Theater’s Musical Theatre Spring Showcase, when Arizona State University’s song-and-dance students will perform the best they have to offer.

Cheer on these up-and-coming triple threats when they take the stage at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 23, at Phoenix Theatre, 100 East McDowell Road. Worth noting: This show contains adult language and mature themes; a.k.a. it’s probably best to leave the kids at home.

The ArtBar will be open to facilitate mingling before and after the show. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended via the Phoenix Theatre website. Becky Bartkowski

Caliente Tuesdays
Make the day after Monday less mundane at Caliente Tuesdays, where you can shake what you’ve got. This weekly dance party features tunes selected by DJ Johnny Galvez to get guests moving with a variety of Latin dance styles, including salsa, merengue, and bachata. Don’t worry if you’re rusty, free dance lessons kick off the night at 8 p.m. — so you can show off the rest of the evening. Drink specials like $4 drafts and $6 margaritas might also help with those nerves.

Strut your stuff until midnight on April 24 at Gypsy Bar, 50 West Jefferson Street. Admission is free. Visit the Facebook event page. Amy Young

Rachel Bess, Adventure Taking a Turn, 2013. Oil on panel, 12" x 16". - COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND LISA SETTE GALLERY
Rachel Bess, Adventure Taking a Turn, 2013. Oil on panel, 12" x 16".
Courtesy of the artist and Lisa Sette Gallery
“Adventure and Control”
Rachel Bess creates spellbinding oil portraits through the collision of traditional techniques with contemporary characters. She’s showing 18 paintings in “Adventure and Control” at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, 1 East Main Street. Typically, Bess paints people she knows, reflecting the complexity of their interior lives. “They all have this mood I can’t seem to get away from,” she says of her paintings. “It’s searching.”

Lately, she’s been fascinated by the sea. “Maybe that’s part of being a desert rat, or showing the force of nature overall,” Bess says. “I tend to paint small because I want people to have intimate conversations with my paintings.”

Get a good look between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25. The show continues through Sunday, August 5. Visit the Mesa Arts Center website. Lynn Trimble

Untidy Secrets
Untidy Secrets goes grunge on Friday, April 27. The monthly storytelling series draws its themes from song lyrics, and this time around, the event will feature seven tales vaguely or literally related to Nirvana’s buzzy “Negative Creep,” a song in which Kurt Cobain yell-growls the title words a cool 12 times. Performers will include New Times contributors Amy Young and Ashley Naftule, alongside storytelling faves Stina Sieg and Marnee Burrus.

Light-wash denim and flannel are optional for the all-ages, BYOB event, and attendees might want to bring a chair, as seating is limited at Ash Avenue Comics & Books, 806 South Ash Avenue in Tempe. Though children are welcome, stories will likely include adult themes. See the Facebook event page for details. Becky Bartkowski

Independent Bookstore Day Celebration
Changing Hands was founded on April Fools Day in 1974, but the independent bookstore is no joke. Joining more than 500 independent bookstores nationwide, Changing Hands is celebrating its unique beginning — and long run — during Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, April 28. Author readings, special day-of merchandise, and poetry on demand will be in the party mix, along with guests from activist groups like the ACLU Arizona, LUCHA, and Planned Parenthood. Like J.K. Rowling once said, “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”

Join the fun at 300 West Camelback Road or 6428 South McClintock Drive. The free event begins at 11 a.m. at both the Phoenix and Tempe locations, but run times vary. For more info, visit the Changing Hands website. Melina Zuñiga
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young