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, May 6: LOOPS PHX @ Downtown Civic Space Park Anyone who has seen Premium Rush, the New York City-based film about a fixie-riding bike messenger, knows just how sick it can be jamming along without brakes or the ability to coast in traffic. Our hero -- for he is that -- performs amazing skid turns and jumps while challenging taxis and police during his day-in-the-life saga. It's a rush to watch. However, it's not what the weekly LOOPS PHX rides are about.

While the State Bicycle-sponsored ride features mostly fixed gear bikes (and those obsessed with riding them), the group ride is focused on socializing and hitting up cool spots, beginning with Civic Space Park, 424 North Central Avenue. Sure, some riders might get a little crazy, but that's part of the fun, too. -- Glenn BurnSilver

See also: - Our 10 Favorite Moments from RuPaul's Drag Race: Season 5 - ASU's Center for Science and the Imagination Introduces Project Hieroglyph

Tuesday, May 7: South Central Swing @ The Duce Give us enough booze and, yeah, we'll cut a rug. But, to offset our proverbial two left feet, we almost always require a large dose of liquid courage and a short lesson on the proper moves.

That means heading to The Duce on Tuesdays for South Central Swing, an evening of drinking, dancing, and old school tunes in the warehouse district. The "no partner required" clause means we don't need a date to swing the night away and, with plenty of specials all night long, we're betting we'll find one anyway. -- Lauren Saria

Wednesday, May 8: Contemporary Forum Grants Announcement @ Phoenix Art Museum Contemporary Forum is dedicated to bringing contemporary artwork to Phoenix Art Museum. That's why every year the organization awards grants to one mid-career and seven emerging artists. This year's winners are revealed at the Contemporary Forum Grants Announcement at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, at 1625 North Central Avenue.

Photographer Annie Lopez won 2012's mid-career artist award. She'll discuss her work and current exhibition of cyanotype-print dresses during the announcement event. Works from 2012's emerging artists, including Carolyn Lavender, James Angel, and Kristin Bauer, are also on view. -- Becky Bartkowski

Friday, May 10: Orange Theatre Group: You You Shouldn't Come Back @ Levine Machine Building Not long after Sunset Boulevard showed how dangerous it is to orbit a declining film diva, Tennessee Williams wrote Sweet Bird of Youth, a play about another gigolo type, Chance Wayne, hitching his wagon to a fading star in pursuit of his old girlfriend, Heavenly Finley. Very Gatsby-esque, as well. And holy Christ, those character names!

Phoenix's high-tech experimental Orange Theatre Group uses the dreamy-yet-perilous Sweet Bird as a jumping-off point for their production You You Shouldn't Come Back. The troupe tends to jump way off, filling the venue with cameras, microphones, multimedia playback, and visceral physicality. The performance applies myth-like revisionism to not just literature and art, but the past and present, exploring how people and things and the world end with help from "John Hughes, Euripides, and Werner Herzog," according to OTG's web site. -- Julie Peterson

Friday, May 10: "Arizona Catalyst: Artists Working In and Beyond The State" @ Mesa Contemporary Arts Much as we wish that the bounty of talented artists who find fame in Arizona would stay in Arizona, we've come to terms with our state's status as a launchpad for up-and-comers. Seems like Mesa Contemporary Arts recognizes it, too, as it presents the multi-media group exhibition "Arizona Catalyst: Artists Working In and Beyond The State."

On view in the North Gallery, the show brings together the latest works from painter Fausto Fernandez, ceramic sculptor Wesley Anderegg, printmaker Angela Young, and sculptor Angel Cabrales, whose careers as artists took off in the Copper State. Some live here, and some used to. But all of them have been influenced by their time spent in AZ. -- Becky Bartkowski

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

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