Five Must-Attend Arts and Culture Events This Week in Metro Phoenix

Adios, long weekend. Hello, jam-packed week.

Tuesday, May 28: "Learning to See" @ Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Artist Josef Albers was obsessed with two things: abstract art and color. The latter is the focus of Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's exhibition "Learning to See."

Albers wrote The Interaction of Color, and in it he proposed that the only way to truly understand colors was in relation to other colors. The book has been a staple in art classes for decades.

The show, on view through Sunday, September 22, comprises works from the museum's permanent collection, including paintings from Monique Prieto and Alexander Calder, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Albers' famed book.

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See the show on Tuesday, May 28, from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for students, and free on Thursdays. -- Becky Bartkowski

Wednesday, May 29: Topia @ Desert Botanical Garden When nature plays the muse of the artist, the results are often stunning. We've seen landscapes captured by photographer Ansel Adams and botanicals portrayed by painter Georgia O'Keefe that are iconic images in the art world.

This summer, nature inspires Topia, a ballet created by Ballet Arizona's artistic director Ib Andersen. From Tuesday, May 14, through Saturday, June 1, Andersen's dancers will transform an 80-foot panoramic stage at the Desert Botanical Garden into a natural venue and an artistic conversation with the environment.

Topia is set to Beethoven's Symphony No. 6. Tickets annually sell out, so nab a couple ($36 to $55) by calling 602-381-1096 or via www.ticketmaster.com. Performances start at 8 p.m. at 1201 North Galvin Parkway. -- Claire Lawton

Thursday, May 30: FunHouse Fashion Workshop @ Scottsdale Civic Center Library "Luster Kaboom's FunHouse" summer installation at Scottsdale Civic Center Library is an eye-popping, interactive environment inspired by the excess of carnivals. (It also makes tangible the rapturous anticipation we felt about library visits when we were young nerds.) Former Valley resident Kaboom, who has cartooned for New Times' Jackalope Ranch culture blog, drew on his experiences painting thrill rides, parenting small children, and muralling all over.

Beloved alt-artsy, fire-dancing, Tucson-based circus types Flam Chen will visit the "FunHouse" Thursday, May 30, for FunHouse Fashion Workshop. If your Mary Kay party makeovers always left something to be desired, this event is for you. Flam Chen will provide materials and expertise to release your inner whatever-you-are (sans fire) from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the library, 3839 North Drinkwater Boulevard. It's free and suitable for all ages, but space and stuff are limited, so RSVP now at www.scottsdalepublicart.org/events/funhouse-fashion-workshop. -- Julie Peterson

Friday, May 31: Nearly Naked Theatre Presents Side Show @ Phoenix Theatre There's no denying that society has a fascination with the unusual. From the original red-and-white-striped tents to the circus that is now reality television, people can't pass up the opportunity to watch little people operating a tractors, hillbillies competing in beauty pageants, and conjoined twins tackling the day-to-day ups and downs of high school.

But before Abby & Brittany (and the backward antics of reality TV), there were Daisy and Violet Hilton. The conjoined sisters made their fame in the Great Depression era, taking their vaudeville act from Europe to America and ultimately the big screen. Based on their incredible true story, Side Show, directed by Damon Dering, is a play told almost entirely song that details the lives of two women whose bondage was both a blessing and a curse.

The show runs through Saturday, June 8, at Phoenix Theatre, 100 East McDowell Road. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 31. General admission costs $26 via www.phoenixtheatre.com or by calling 602-254-2151. -- Katie Johnson

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