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

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, February 4: RuPaul's Drag Race Viewing Party @ The Rock Reality TV gets a bad rap, and usually for good reason. Fortunately for us tube-addicts, most shows aren't as ridiculous as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Sure, RuPaul's Drag Race can be pretty over the top (especially when queens imitate celebrities in "The Snatch Game"). But who doesn't love seeing an extra-fabulous Paris Hilton or a Puerto Rican queen's attempt at imitating Amy Winehouse's British accent?

The show's fifth season promises more fabulosity than ever thanks to the bevy of drag queens competing for the honor of being crowned America's next drag superstar. These fierce divas show their skills by making their own glamorous outfits, posing in photo shoots, and lip-synching for their lives - all to hang in there for another week of the same. The Rock will celebrate the season with a weekly RuPaul's Drag Race viewing party that includes karaoke, bingo, and snacks. -- Melissa Fossum

Tuesday, February 5: Books and Beakers Science Café @ Lawn Gnome

Science certainly has its enemies: Creationists still conjure up fantasies of Jesus palling around with dinosaurs, climate-change-deniers turn a blind eye to mild winters and numerous natural disasters, and even Bill Nye the Science Guy was killed by Twitter rumors last fall. Thankfully, it's not yet illegal for fans of scientific progress to gather, and Lawn Gnome Publishing's Books and Beakers Science Café takes advantage of that fact on Tuesdays.

Past topics of the laid-back seminars have included solar energy, how fermentation (and beer) have shaped humanity, and "Six Ways Mushrooms Will Destroy the World." While the science-based professionals that pop up to speak change from week to week, the one constant is affable downtown musician TK Campo moderating to keep things brisk and light. -- Jose Gonzalez

Wednesday, February 6: National Geographic Live! with Tim Laman and Ed Scholes @ Mesa Arts Center National Geographic, the official journal of the National Geographic Society, was once the king of dentists' waiting rooms and dusty school libraries. Lucky for it and us, now the publication's stunning visuals rock TV, the internet, and a live lecture series that brings the people behind the adventures to the forefront.

National Geographic Live: Birds of Paradise Revealed unveils the work of photographer and forest canopy researcher Tim Laman and ornithologist Ed Scholes as they captured the 39 species of birds of paradise. The duo shares tales, photos, and video of eight years in the wild of New Guinea documenting some of the world's most beautiful birds and their elaborate courting rituals. -- Jose Gonzalez

Thursday, February 7: "Order, Chaos, and the Space Between" @ Phoenix Art Museum In 1995, Diane and Bruce Halle began collecting Latin American art with a fairly flexible budget. Bruce is the founder and chairman of Discount Tire, and he and Diane, who live together in Phoenix, wanted to educate themselves and build a greater awareness for Latin American contemporary art.

Almost two decades later, the couple has one of the most impressive and notable collections of Latin American contemporary artwork that includes pieces by Gego, Félix Gonzalez-Torres, Matthias Goeritz, Jorge Macchi, Hélio Oiticica, and Doris Salcedo. And, lucky us, they've agreed to give the public a peek.

"Order, Chaos, and the Space Between" includes more than 50 works of art in a variety of media, including an installation of 30,000 individual black paper moths and butterflies that make up Carlos Amorales' Black Cloud. -- Claire Lawton

Friday, February 8: Spring 2013 Opening Celebration @ Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art "Multidisciplinary" probably wasn't coined to describe enjoying cocktails and buff acrobats while getting our highbrow culture on, but we're running with it now. Museum programmers realize that if you expose people to something fun while introducing something new, they might come back for that second thing. Sounds like our dating strategy.

It gets super-multi at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art on Friday evening, February 8, when the free Spring 2013 Opening Celebration showcases three exhibits that have debuted in the past couple of weeks, along with the opening of "MASHup: New Video Art." The no-host bar and hip schmoozing will, as usual, put the soignée in soirée, but what promises to be the coolest is a taste of the upcoming "Night Circus" gala, in which Arizona Circus School will invade SMoCA Lounge to show off flashy, trippy performances in the works (with Gregangelo and Velocity Entertainment) for the museum's fundraiser scheduled for Saturday, May 11. -- Julie Peterson

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

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