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Five Must-See Events This Week

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We know, Monday 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...

Tuesday, August 7: Summer League @ Octane Raceway Carefully put down the Nintendo controller. Your Mario Kart addiction is officially uncool. Yeah, we know it's super fun and that you're really good at Grand Prix mode. Shut up. Instead of sitting like a lump on the futon/bean bag/other sad furniture, we think some face-to-face-to-bumper multi-player action is in order.

Such an opportunity awaits at Octane Raceway. Avoid the lure of the bright arcade screens in favor of the weekly Summer Games, when the facility's half-mile indoor tracks fill up with go-karts that can cruise at speeds upward of 45 miles per hour.Unleash your inner Bowser Tuesday, August 7, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Octane Raceway.

Races are $50 per person and continue through Tuesday, September 4, with a final competition on Saturday, September 9. -- By Becky Bartkowski

Wednesday, August 8: Drop-in Improv Workshop @ The Torch Theatre Every first Tuesday of the month, Torch Theatre offers a free crash course in improv comedy.

The board includes members Bill Binder, Jose Gonzalez, Jacque Arend, Sam Haldiman, Nina Miller, Mack Duncan, Shane Shannon, and Tommy Schaeffer. There's no one leader or head decision-maker -- the group formed in 2007 when local performance troupes Apollo 12, Galapagos, Remainders, Mail Order Bride, Light Rail Pirates, Phoenix Neutrino Project, and Dangerville came together under one umbrella to offer classes and workshops for the community and to perform on a regular basis.

Since it started, Torch Theatre has seen a few graduating classes, weekly performances, new levels of instruction and a growing annual Phoenix Improv Festival. Members say the goal is to continue to be a home for community members to find a new passion, take risks, and collaborate with each other.

The introductory class is free and kicks off at 6:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month. -- Claire Lawton

Wednesday, August 8: Paint Life Beautiful @ FilmBarJoseph "Sentrock" Perez is skipping town sometime this month -- but not before he sees his face on the silver screen. The local artist was interviewed and shadowed by local documentary filmmakers who will showcase the finished product On August 8 at FilmBar in downtown Phoenix.

Paint Life Beautiful is a story of the local art scene through the eyes of Perez, who grew up in Phoenix, made a name for himself in the breakdancing and street art scenes, and is headed to Chicago to go to art school. Now we just have to wait for him to come back.

FilmBar doors open at 7 p.m. and the movie starts at 8 p.m.. Admission is free.-- Claire Lawton

Thursday, August 9: Lunch Time Theater: She Knows From Nothing / De Nada Sabe Recommended @ Herberger Theater Center Not everyone's life-altering experience makes for an entertaining story, but Herberger Lunch Time Theater audiences tend to get lucky with respect to true tales of transformation -- most recently, with the richly musical, sometimes funny and/or embarrassing She Knows from Nothing/De Nada Sabe. In it, professional musician Ruth Lara Vichules reveals her long love affair with Mexican culture, Spanish language, and Latin American music, a relationship that began with her first visit to Guadalajara as a "sorta-Jewish" student in 1979. James Garcia co-wrote the script and directed the show, which continues through Thursday, August 16, for Phoenix's New Carpa Theater Company.

The play features dialogue in English and music in Spanish and starts at 12:10 p.m. on the Kax Stage at Herberger Theater Center. You may order lunch in advance from Put a Fork in It Catering, bring your own lunch, or even refrain from eating at the theater -- you have free will. Tickets are $6. -- Julie Peterson

Thursday, August 9: Scareoke @ Monsterland

At most karaoke nights around town, performing Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers' corny, John F. Kennedy-era song "Monster Mash" will likely earn you looks of scorn and eye-rolling aplenty from fellow singers. Belt out that ditty at Mesa's Monsterland during the Scareoke session on Thursdays at the haunted house/restaurant, however, and it results in nothing but smiles.

According to Monsterland's Kristy Smith, the karaoke jockey often encourages people to sing appropriately themed (and appropriately goofy) numbers such as this, as well as tracks like Michael Jackson's "Thriller" or Ray Parker's "Ghostbusters," during the event. "He definitely tries to includes those sorts of songs in the mix to keep the mood going," she says. As with any events at the eerie establishment, patrons are encouraged to come in costume. Try not to let your mask muffle things up when the singing starts.-- Benjamin Leatherman

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