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Five Must-See Arts and Culture Events This Week

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We know, the beginning of the work week sucks. But if you take a quick look at the calendar, you'll see we're off to a pretty good week of art events, sports games, dance parties, and more. Here are our must-see events from now to the weekend...

Monday, November 26: Beers With Friends Scrabble Party @ Handlebar & Grill Real talk. We play what probably would be classified as an excessive amount of Words With Friends. We love those triple word squares, picking up a "Q," and toiling to come up with killer plays. But, the Scrabble knockoff app doesn't live up to the real deal, and often leaves us craving physical letter tiles and keeping manual score.

To satisfy such a hankering, the cure resides at Tempe establishment Handlebar & Grill, which hosts the weekly Beers With Friends Scrabble Party. The booze-fueled tourney pits against each other teams of four and rewards gift cards, beers, and french fries for making special plays and winning. -- Becky Bartkowski

Tuesday, November 27: Jogja Hip-Hop Foundation @ Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts If, like many Americans, your knowledge of Indonesia is only slightly greater than your knowledge of advanced quantum mechanics, and if your vague perceptions of the country with the world's largest Muslim population are in need of shattering, a trip to Scottsdale Center For The Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street, on Tuesday, November 27, may do the trick.

Aside from coffee, the quintet known as Jogja Hip-Hop Foundation is quite possibly the Indonesian island of Java's finest export. In what is perhaps one of the most intriguing amalgamations of modern music-making, the crew blends Javanese poetry, traditional gamelan ensemble timbres, and western hip-hop beats to create a sound entirely their own. That makes them, without a doubt, the forebears of a genre that you probably never thought you'd see in print: Indonesian Hip-hop. Price: $9-$29 -- Rob Kroehler

Wednesday, November 28: "Designing the '20s" @ Phoenix Art Museum Fans of HBO's Boardwalk Empire (ourselves included) know that the show's 1920s-style wardrobe rivals in engrossing spectacle the intricate, gangster-heavy, Prohibition-set plot. Instead of focusing on Nucky Thompson's dilemmas or Gillian Darmody's endless mine of creepiness, a closer look at what they wear and why likely would prove just as exciting as a shootout or covert affair.

Serendipitously, Boardwalk's costume designer John Dunn will discuss the decade's duds and how he incorporates them into characters' closets during the talk "Designing the '20s."Accompanying Dunn will be Doris Raymond, who owns L.A. vintage boutique The Way We Wore and lent pieces to Phoenix Art Museum for its current fashion exhibition, "Modern Spirit." -- Becky Bartkowski

Thursday, November 29: "Micro Dwell 2012" @ Shemer Art Center & Museum

"Think big." That's the motto of optimists the world over. Sure, some stellar things fit into that category, like Sesame Street's best bird and that Tom Hanks movie. But, big isn't always best. See, for instance, one bad wolf and a watchful brother. We're more into realism, and so are the folks responsible for the exhibition "Micro Dwell 2012."

Turns out, living and working in teeny, tiny spaces is all the rage -- the more portable and minimal the structure, the better. That trend inspired this exhibition of owner-built structures that measure 600 square feet or less. -- Becky Bartkowski

Thursday, November 29: Arizona Pastorela: Mission to Mars @ Phoenix Theatre's Little Theatre Over the years, besides looking for baby Jesus, New Carpa Theater Company's American Pastorela has searched far and wide for intelligent life in Arizona. Makes sense that this year, the troupe's branching out with Arizona Pastorela: Mission to Mars. Usually, the more-or-less devout Hernandez family of Sonora, Mexico, faces temptations by El Diablo on the way to catch the Metro to Bethlehem. Expanding the journey into space allows Sheriff Joe to leave Earth's atmosphere in search of proof the President's an alien.

This holiday mashup has firm historical roots: Pastorelas are siblings of the First Shepherd's Play, one of the earliest pieces of medieval dramaturgy. To share early Christianity with illiterate heathens, artists sucked 'em in with some topical, establishment-bashing humor interspersed with the story of the Savior's birth. American English pastorelas are now taking off in several cities, and New Carpa's continues through Sunday, December 9. -- Julie Peterson

Check out more things to do today (and everyday) in our Calendar section ...

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