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Five Must-See Events This Week

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

Monday, September 17: Dog and a Movie Night @ Urban Beans The dog days of summer have passed, but that doesn't mean we've forgotten about our poochy pals. That's why we'll take those canines out on the town for Dog and a Movie Night on at Urban Beans.

The coffee house is a longtime favorite in midtown for caffeine-seekers and board-game-players alike, and its patio is the perfect spot for spending time with four-legged friends and catching a flick projected outside every third Monday. Phoenix food truck superstar Short Leash Hot Dogs rolls up to offer up their tasty weiner-centric creations. -- Jose Gonzalez

Tuesday, September 18: Ishmael Beah @ La Sala Ballroom If anything, Ishmael Beah's life has revolved around luck - good and bad. Born in Sierra Leone, he was separated from his family when civil war broke out and then forced to join the government army -- all by the age of 13. In his late teens, he successfully fled the country with aid from UNICEF. Then, he rejoined society, something he's said was more challenging than becoming the brainwashed and addiction-addled child soldier.

Eventually, Beah resettled in America and penned the best-seller A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, his tale of war, fear, and dead-eyed violence. Beah will share his experiences at ASU's West Campus at 7 p.m.. -- Becky Bartkowski

Tuesday, September 18: "Word Up: Artists Using Language" @ Art Intersection Visual art is a language all its own, but more than a dozen artists discuss and draw inspiration from language in a new exhibition at Art Intersection.

"Word Up: Artists Using Language" will showcase paintings, sculptures, printmaking, letterpress, and drawing from a collection of artists who have a connection to Arizona including Peter Bugg, Barbi Crisp, John Mann, Dan Mayer, John Randall Nelson, John Risseuw, Chris Rush, Rosalind Shipley, Diane Silver, Linda Smith, Buzz Spector, Ingrid Wells, and Kelsey Viola Wilskirchen. While the use of language varies from "full bodies of literature to barely readable scribbling," according to organizers, the approach and conversation is cohesive. -- Claire Lawton

Wednesday, September 19: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry Screening at Phoenix Art Museum China's most prominent artist and political activist Ai Weiwei is known for his outspoken political views, controversial art installations, and fiery past with Chinese authorities. He was arrested in April 2011 for "economic crimes," though arts communities worldwide suspected that Chinese officials wanted to silence his outspoken criticism of the country's government. He was later released on bail.

From 2008 to 2010, before authorities shut down his blog, tore down his studio, and held him in detention, Ai was followed and interviewed by American filmmaker and journalist Alison Klayman. The result is Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a 90-minute documentary that reveals the voice and struggle of Ai, who blends art and political discussion during a time of censorship, conformity, and strict government. The rated-R film premièred at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and, with the help of Lisa Sette Gallery, will screen at Phoenix Art Museum. -- Claire Lawton

Thursday, September 20: Stray Cat Theatre: punkplay @ Tempe Performing Arts Center To find traces and embraces of teenage rebellion, the easiest in is through music. Since teens rose to cultural and societal relevance with rock 'n' roll in the 1950s, they've held a special place in the wallets of advertisers and the lyrics of the ever-changing "alternative." Nowadays that designation can be applied to artists ranging from pop trio fun. to Insane Clown Posse - both alternatives to some unnamable something (ahem, Nicki Minaj) that requires rebelling against.

In the pre-Internet, Reagan-ruled world of Gregory S. Moss' punkplay, that angsty need to be different leads its characters Mickey and Duck into a world of spikes, chains, screaming, and pissiness. Michael Peck directs the comic look at the adolescent's affair with punk rock and theirdiscovery that it might not be as "alternative" as they imagined. -- Becky Bartkowski

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

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