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Five Must-Attend Lectures in Phoenix This December

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All right, smarty pants, you think you've got a handle on all things brainy?

We've got news for you: The Valley's rife with all sorts of experts who dabble in arts, sciences, and everything in between. And those pros offer up their knowledge readily at lectures all over town every month. Here are five that serve as irrefutable proof.

"Mayan Apocalypse Preparedness" @ REI While goof-around party people take to the clubs to revel in the potential end of the world, you'll have a handle on what to do in case of a Mayan-endorsed apocalypse come December 21, thanks to the outdoorsy crew over at Tempe's REI store.

See also: - Chow Bella's "Eating Christmas": Food Stories from Cynthia Clark Harvey, Robrt Pela, Tania Katan, and More at Crescent Ballroom - Pantone Announces 2013 Color of the Year, Emerald Green - Phoenix Taco Launches Online Shop with Limited-Edition Prints by Local Artists

One of the store's specialists will lecture on survival techniques that would certainly prove useful if doomsday's really upon us. Get your prepper on from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, December 11. Admission is free.

"How Do We Make Sense of Genius?" @ Heard Museum Ever wonder what makes genius genius and what sets it apart from the rest? So has Boston Globe music editor Matthew Guerrieri, who looked into the mysterious process of creativity, with a particular focus on composer Ludwig van Beethoven, in his book The First Four Notes: Beethoven's Fifth and the Human Imagination. He'll talk about his findings on Wednesday, December 12.

Zócalo Public Square and ASU Center for Science and the Imagination present the discussion at Heard Museum from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Admission is free.

"Learning from the Land" @ Pueblo Grande Museum Matthew Garcia, founder of Desert ArtLAB, will discuss his organization's latest social art project, LandKNOWLEDGE, which engages the local community in a discourse about native flora and how the city could benefit from embracing it. The talk takes place at Pueblo Grande Museum on Friday, December 14, at 6 p.m., and is followed by a workshop where attendees will make seed confetti bags. Both the lecture and workshop are free and open to the public.

"Making Sense of the American Civil War, Part Five: The Shape of War" @ Burton Barr Library Civil War historian James M. McPherson's book Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam will be the topic of scholar-led discussion at Burton Barr Central Library from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 15. The program will be held in the lecture room on the fourth floor. Admission is free.

"Jackson Pollock: A Life of Show and Tell, Give and Take" @ Desert Foothills Library Of great debate is the value of art made by iconic abstract painter Jackson Pollock. To some, he forged a new movement in American creativity. For others, his splatter style was to high art what Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is to Breaking Bad. If you have yet to make up your mind, get a closer look at Pollock when Perrin McEwen discusses the artist, his works, and his famously volatile temper at Desert Foothills Library, at 4 p.m. on Friday, December 21, as part of the Art Nosh series presented by SMoCA. Wine and cheese will be served. Admission is $10. RSVP by calling the library at 480-488-2286.

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