Welcome to Final Four weekend, Phoenix. While there are plenty of ways to celebrate the NCAA sporting event across the Valley, you'll also find cutting-edge abstract art, an immersive theater experience, and a WestWorld horse show that Parks and Rec fans will get a, uh, kick out of. Each event costs $11 or less, and four of them are free. For more things to do, see New Times' curated calendar of events.
Final Four Fan Fest
Despite the best efforts of no-nonsense head coach Bobby Hurley, the ASU men’s basketball program leaves a lot to be desired for local college hoops fans. The Devils haven’t made the tournament in years, and it might be a while before they do. This year, however, hoops fans suffering from the tournament-drought blues have been given the sweetest of reprieves: The Final Four is coming to town.
Even if coveted tickets to a game are out of the budget, the Mecca of collegiate sports, the Final Four Fan Fest, is coming to the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street, from March 31 to April 3. So your brackets busted and that Christian Laettner autograph has eluded you thus far? Redeem yourself at the Fan Fest while being doused with corporate sponsor swag on Friday, March 31, from noon to 8 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults. Visit the NCAA Final Four website or call 602-262-6225 for details. Rob Kroehler
With a warning as convincing as “Be there or be a car-head,” how could you not attend the March Critical Mass Ride?
Hosted by the Critical Mass PHX/Tempe group, the March Critical Mass Ride will meet at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 31 (sticking to the last Friday of the month tradition), at the Third Street entrance to Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road, in the parking lot next to the gate. Be sure to BYO bike (and lights, helmet, and sense of bravery) for this fearlessness-in-the-face-of-traffic outing rolling from 7:30 — giving everybody plenty of time to roll up one pant leg — to 10 p.m.
The ride is free to join. See the Facebook event page for more details. Lauren Cusimano
First, Grant Vetter filled the walls at Bentley Gallery with a bevy of abstract art works. Now, he’s showing more abstract art, in the form of small-scale abstract paintings by Arizona- and California-based artists. See the free “Abstract Miniatures” show between 1 and 4 p.m. on Friday, March 31, at Fine Art Complex 1101, Vetter’s gallery space located at 1101 West University Drive in Tempe.
Featured artists include Rachel Goodwin, whose online video interview with New Times explores her take on art and consumer culture. The show includes works by more than two dozen artists, including local favorites Bill Dambrova and Travis Rice.
“Abstract Miniatures” continues through Saturday, April 15, in case you need a little art therapy come tax time. Visit Fine Art Complex 1101's website. Lynn Trimble
Park of Four Waters Tour
It’s practically irresponsible to live here without learning about the people who used to live across from the Circle K, especially when Pueblo Grande Museum Archaeological Park’s literally on the site of a 15th-century Hohokam village.
On the final Friday of each month, October through April, the museum’s guided Park of Four Waters Tour leads visitors to the remnants of canal systems built by the Hohokam to water crops. The terrain includes undeveloped desert and a railroad grade, so keep mobility in mind when making your plans.
Museum admission is $3 to $6 and free for children younger than 6, and the tour, from 10 to 11 a.m., is an additional $5. Pueblo Grande is at 4619 East Washington Street. Visit the Pueblo Grande Museum website or call 602-495-0901.
Arizona Rattlers vs. Wichita Falls Nighthawks
The Arizona Rattlers have been a consistent bright spot in what has otherwise been a bleak landscape for Valley sports in recent years. So understandably, Rattlers fans held their breath when the team announced their move from the floundering Arena Football League to the stable, more competitive Indoor Football League this past offseason. Sure enough, the snakes struggled initially, losing their first two contests, before getting their slither going with a week-three win against the Colorado Crush.
Still in the season’s early goings, the Rattlers have plenty of time to get back to their winning ways, but it won’t be easy with the undefeated Wichita Falls Nighthawks stopping by Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street, at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 1. Tickets are $10 and up. Visit the Arizona Rattlers website or call 602-379-7800 for details. Rob Kroehler
Miniature Horse Show
Their gentle nature, playfulness, smaller stature, and intelligence make miniature horses ideal animals to show. During the Miniature Horse Association of Arizona’s 30th annual Touch of Class Miniature Horse Show on Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and 2, handlers of all ages will show miniature horses under 34 inches in halter, driving, jumping, costume, liberty, and showmanship classes. Spectators will have the chance to go up to the barns and experience the miniature horses up close throughout the weekend. Each day, Arizona Mini Mystique, a drill team that has appeared in the Tournament of Roses Parade, will entertain crowds with intricate maneuvers to music from Lionel Richie and Pitbull. The shows all start at 8 a.m. at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road, and have free parking and admission. Go to the AZ Minis website for more. Laura Latzko
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La Casa de Inez
Passive theater-going is being replaced, due in part to a new generation of storytellers, including Elisa Gonzales, who co-wrote and co-created a devised theater performance called La Casa de Inez.
Set within the context of Tempe’s first Mexican barrios, it’s conceived as a “personal and historical journey through time and inner space,” which elevates strong women and the relevance of the Latina/Chicana voice. It’s being presented by ¡Habla! AZ, founded by Gonzales in 2014 through ASU’s Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship, and the Tempe History Museum.
See La Casa de Inez at 7 or 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, at the Elias-Rodriguez House, 927 East Eighth Street, Tempe. Tickets are free, but space is limited, and donations will be accepted at the door. Visit ¡Habla! AZ to reserve your space. Lynn Trimble