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

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

Monday, March 4: Spring Butterfly Exhibit @ Desert Botanical Garden Normally, we're not big fans of bugs. In fact, we sort of hate them. The single exception to that rule is the butterfly. Attractive, harmless, and generally shy toward people, they're the easy favorite when it comes to crawly creepers. That's why you'll find us chasing the winged insect at the Desert Botanical Garden's Spring Butterfly Exhibit.

If you haven't visited a butterfly habitat before, then you've probably never seen the flocks of fluttering creatures that will sip nectar so close to you that you could reach out and pat them on the wing. From giant Great Southern Whites butterflies to the recognizable Monarch variety, you won't get a better view of their scaly wings anywhere else in the Valley. -- Lauren Saria

Tuesday, March 5: The Speak Easy @ Hollywood Alley Everyone secretly wants to be a beatnik, whether they know it or not. The pre-hippies matched the exclusivity of hipsterdom with the pretense of being an English literature major, embarking on wayward journeys and adopting artsy lifestyles because they had a lot of free time -- and trust fund dollars. Imagine taking off at any time you want, leaving behind your stresses to migrate to a new city, and experiencing new things -- just to do it over again the following week.

But of course you -- with your job and your mortgage and your stupid/lovable dependent dog -- aren't able to do that on a whim. Hollywood Alley has a solution. Every Tuesday, The Speak Easy blends jazz, poetry, live art, and dominoes to make you feel like a real cool cat. Plus, they have an open mic, so you can break out your latest song, poem, or live performance featuring a can of beans and a squirrel mask. Yeah, it's weird. Embrace it. -- Christina Caldwell

Wednesday, March 6: "Born of Fire: The Pottery of Margaret Tafoya" @ ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center Margaret Tafoya is often called the matriarch of the Santa Clara Pueblo potters. The late artist passed away in 2001, but her legacy lives as one of the carriers of Pueblo culture and tradition. Pueblo pottery dates back to A.D. 500 and has deep roots in New Mexico, where Tafoya's large, polished wares are viewed as a blend of the traditional and functional vessel and a fine art form.

Through Saturday, April 20, Tafoya's work will be on view at the ASU Ceramics Research Center. According to CRC staff, Tafoya utilized ancient techniques including coiling and wood firing her clay, which she adorned with a bear paw, a symbol of the Tafoya clan. "You have to have a good heart when you sit down to make this pottery; you have to live a good life," Tafoya once said. "The pottery knows." -- Claire Lawton

Thursday, March 7: Italy vs. Mexico @ Salt River Fields Baseball doesn't lend itself to nationalism like other sports. England and Argentina will always have bad blood not because of the Falklands, but because of Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" goal in the '86 World Cup. There was a national crisis when USA Basketball took bronze at the 2004 Olympics. By contrast, you probably didn't read about the US failing to medal in the first two editions of the World Baseball Classic.

Perhaps this year's Classic will inspire more emotion. If nothing else, the Group D matchups should be entertaining, with events at Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street, and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 North Pima Road in Scottsdale. Group D will feature a US team that is the prohibitive favorite to win it all, a Canadian team that would be favored to win most groups, a Mexican team loaded with Major League talent, and Italy. -- Ed Kummerer

Friday, March 8: "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

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

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