7 Things to Do in Phoenix This Weekend for $13 or Less

Phoenix Film Fest is here — and budget friendly if you play your cards right.
Phoenix Film Fest is here — and budget friendly if you play your cards right. Photo Courtesy of Victoria Negri
Wanna experience the best Phoenix has to offer? This weekend, there will be a whole lot of awesome to choose from. And best of all, you can do it on a budget. Whether you want to take in a selection at Phoenix Film Festival, tour Scottsdale's world-class public art, or pick and choose Bird City comedy shows, here's your guide to making that happen for less than $13 apiece. For more things to do, see our curated calendar of events.

Phoenix Film Festival 2017
Right before summer forces us into cool, freon-filled auditoriums to watch yet another blockbuster, the Phoenix Film Festival, the state’s largest, takes over the Harkins Scottsdale 101. The event runs for eight days with more than 175 film screenings, including critically acclaimed independent work. Highlights include a screening of the historical adventure The Lost City Of Z, the director’s cut of the cult Japanese film Inherit the Stars, and The Hero, a dramedy starring Sam Elliott and Nick Offerman that was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. In addition to movie premieres, attendees can participate in workshops and have a chance to network with members of the film industry.

Phoenix Film Festival runs from Thursday, April 6, through Thursday, April 13, at 7000 East Mayo Boulevard. Individual screenings are $13. Visit the Phoenix Film Festival website or call 602-955-6444. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Ben Berkley is a headliner for the 2017 Bird City Comedy Festival in Phoenix. - JIMMY HASSE OF THE ONION
Ben Berkley is a headliner for the 2017 Bird City Comedy Festival in Phoenix.
Jimmy Hasse of The Onion
Bird City Comedy Festival
Remember in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when the knight tells Jones, “You must choose, but choose wisely”? Now, there’s an event that calls on you to utilize that piece of wisdom.

At the Bird City Comedy Festival, some performances happen simultaneously — choices will need to be made. View entire shows or flit from venue to venue, getting a sampling of as much hilarity as you can handle from both visiting acts and humorous locals. Opening night talent includes Danny Lobell doing stand-up. The comedian has been featured on This American Life and Marc Maron’s popular WTF podcast. Mister Chris’ Apartment Show is also on the roster, which means you can see an in-person episode of Facebook’s first live TV show. The festival runs through Sunday, April 9, at multiple Phoenix locations. Single and multi-day passes are available, but select shows cost $2.50 or $5. Visit the Bird City Comedy Festival website. Amy Young

Mercedez Holtry rules and schools at Word-Up Live. - COURTESY OF MESA ARTS CENTER
Mercedez Holtry rules and schools at Word-Up Live.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center
Word-Up Live
April is National Poetry Month. (T.S. Eliot, who called April “the cruelest month,” was in fact a poet. And an American until he was 39. Shut the front door!) Reading, writing, sharing: All are mind-expanding paths to honoring the muse.

You can also get your rhythmic, lyrical groove on by attending Word-Up Live. Part of the fifth annual Young Voices Rise Youth Poetry Festival, the event showcases G Yamazawa, finalist and champion of many massive poetry slams, and Chicana feminist poet Mercedez Holtry, a lifelong Burqueña (that’s Albuquerquean) who has asked Donald Trump — not face to face, but is that a bad thing? — “Who the fuck taught you history?” Okay, we can see why Eliot eventually gave up U.S.-ing.

The spitting commences at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 7, in the Piper Repertory Theater at Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street. Tickets are $10 at the Mesa Arts Center website or 480-644-6500. Julie Peterson

Phoenix Rising vs. LA Galaxy II
A lot of Phoenicians probably aren’t aware that there’s a professional soccer team in town. That’s about to change, however, with the team’s ultra-visible stadium popping up seemingly overnight just off of the 202. Moreover, the Phoenix Rising Football Club recently submitted an expansion bid to join Major League Soccer. Given MLS’s growing popularity, it’s downright baffling that Phoenix doesn’t have an MLS team already. Ranging from World Cup pedigree vets to yet-unknown youngsters, Phoenix currently plays in the Division II United Soccer League — a notch below MLS — and will look to right the ship after a season-opening loss when the LA Galaxy II visit the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, 751 North McClintock Drive in Scottsdale, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. Tickets are $10 and up. Visit the Phoenix Rising website or call 623-594-9606 for details. Rob Kroehler

Courtesy of Party America
Onesie Mania Pub Crawl
Clothes — what a hassle. Tops, bottoms, and what are belts even doing anymore? Going out on a Saturday night makes the process even more difficult, which is probably why Party America is hosting the 2017 Phoenix Onesie Mania Pub Crawl. It’s a massive gathering of adults in zippered jumpers ready to hit some of the Valley’s dress-code-free bars.

The crawl goes from 5 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, April 8. Tickets are $15 per 21-and-over participant via, and include access to drinks specials, waived covers, and multiple stops to places with live DJs and dancing.

Check in at The Duce, 525 South Central Avenue, between 5 and 7 p.m. to get started. Find more info at Facebook. Lauren Cusimano

Scottsdale Public Art
Cycle the Arts Bicycle Tour
The weekend struggle is so real. Do you spend it outdoors, maybe get a little active, or do you explore the unappreciated arts and culture of your city? The Scottsdale Public Art program and the City of Scottsdale have made the weekend of Sunday, April 9, easy for you thanks to the 12th annual Cycle the Arts Bicycle Tour.

In the spirit of Arizona Valley Bike Month, the Cycle the Arts public art bike tour hits a number of new and classic, permanent and temporary art installations throughout Scottsdale. The free, leisurely paced ride meets at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, 3830 North Marshall Way, for registration starting at 8:30 a.m., with the ride leaving at 9 a.m. The two-and-a-half-hour outing is scheduled to conclude at 12:30 p.m. And P.S., helmets are required. Might want to think about sunscreen and water, too. Call 480-874-4645 or see the Scottsdale Public Art website. Lauren Cusimano

click to enlarge The glitz gets going at 5 p.m. - COURTESY OF MISS GAY ARIZONA USOFA NEWCOMER
The glitz gets going at 5 p.m.
Courtesy of Miss Gay Arizona USOFA Newcomer
USofA Newcomer 2017 Pageant
It’s pageant season — in Scottsdale’s gay and drag-centric nightclub scene, that is. The Miss Gay Arizona USofA Newcomer 2017 Pageant is coming to BS West, 7125 East Fifth Avenue in Scottsdale, on Sunday, April 9.

Presented by USofA Pageants and Jesus Chuy Moreno, the evening will end with a crowned Miss Gay Arizona USofA Newcomer after a boisterous and glitz-heavy pageant starting at 5 p.m. (Registration is 11 a.m. for contestants.) The pageant will feature Vanity St. James (Miss Gay USofA Newcomer 2016) and Sasha Lauren (Miss Gay USofA At Large 2016), and will honor Kimberly V. Devin (Miss Gay Arizona USofA Newcomer 2016) and Diva (Miss Gay Arizona USofA Newcomer At Large 2016).

Call 480-945-9028 or see the BS West website for details. Lauren Cusimano
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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
Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Rob is a Phoenix native, husband, dad, and an active member in the local music scene. He's written original songs for feature films.
Contact: Rob Kroehler
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson
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