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, sporting events, dance parties, and more. Here are our must-see events from now to the weekend . . .

Monday, March 18: "Out West" @ Burton Barr Central Library We say "gay cowboys," and you automatically think Brokeback Mountain. We can't fault you, as Ang Lee's film adaptation of Annie Proulx's short story is an obvious cultural touchstone. But if Burton Barr Central Library's latest exhibit, "Out West," is any indication, then there's much more to learn about the LGBT community's impact on western America.

The exhibit is a collection of ephemera, including belt buckles, posters, and programs from the Arizona Gay Rodeo Association. On view through Sunday, March 31, it's supplemented by programming including a lecture and film screening. -- Becky Bartkowski

Tuesday, March 19: Cactus League Week Four Roundup @ Salt River Fields Baseball is the most predictable team sport ever invented. A clever statistician can predict -- with surprising accuracy -- how many wins your team's big off-season acquisition will bring to the table. Sadly, the better people get at modeling baseball, the more the sport becomes an exercise in determinism. The Cactus League sort of eludes this phenomenon because so many players are not in top-form (either because of conditioning, injury, or simply a lack of will to win a meaningless exhibition). That means outcomes are relatively tough to predict. The fact that spring games don't count almost makes the games more interesting.

There will be plenty of unpredictable ball played in the Valley on Tuesday, March 19. Among the matchups will be a tilt between the World Champion Giants and the Mariners at Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 North 83rd Avenue, a Cubs-Rangers battle at Mesa's Hohokam Stadium, 1235 North Center Street, and a D-backs-Padres showdown at Salt River Fields, 7555 North Pima Road. All games start at 1 p.m. -- Ed Kummerer

Wednesday, March 20: "Adventures in the Arts Market" @ Phoenix Art Museum We've been known to marathon reality shows like Storage Wars, Pawn Stars, and American Pickers because it's fascinating to see what people are willing to spend big money on: Hot Wheels wrapped in plastic, golf clubs, and weird old swords. It's more fascinating yet when these bidders hawkishly home in on items, dollar signs in their eyes, because they already know how much moolah that random Felix the Cat knickknack is worth.

For Antiques Roadshow art appraiser Alasdair Nichol, there's a little more nuance involved. During his free talk, "Adventures in the Arts Market," he'll impart tales from his experiences at the PBS standby and discuss his approach to appraising artwork in the current market. Pick up a few pro tips at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 20. -- Becky Bartkowski

Thursday, March 21: Diane Ladd Book-Signing @ Barnes & Noble When relatives of the already famous tout their familial ties, normally it does not bode well. So weary of name-droppers are we that it takes quite the moniker to pique our interest.

In the case of actress and writer Diane Ladd, discovering that she's a cousin of playwright Tennessee Williams' gave us reason aplenty to peek at her latest short story collection, A Bad Afternoon for a Piece of Cake -- not that such an afternoon could exist in our most fiendish nightmares. That, however, is beside the point, which is this: Ladd will present her book at Barnes & Noble. -- Becky Bartkowski

Friday, March 22: Honey Harvest @ GROWop New, vintage, and handmade goods meet gardening at Roosevelt Growhouse and GROWop Boutique. Makes sense, then, that the shop/community plot's Honey Harvest garden party promises more than just sweetener. Along with a big batch of nectar-infused treats, the garden party will feature an exclusive collection of 25 paintings from Rebecca Green and six pieces from Brooklyn/Oakland-based clothing label Feral Childe's spring line, "The Searchers."

GROWop co-founder Josh Hahn says that Green's collection of paintings, which imagine farm animals in party hats, embody the store's concept of cooperative retail and urban farming. And Feral Childe fits in the mix with sustainable fabrics (one's named "farm print") and original textiles. "Their designs feel vintage and modern simultaneously," Hahn says. -- Becky Bartkowski

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