Robot sculptures by Jordan-Alexander Thomas.
Robot sculptures by Jordan-Alexander Thomas.
Practical Art

7 Free Things to Do This Week in Metro Phoenix

Even if your wallet is empty, you can still fill your week by meeting the author of Star Wars: Most Wanted, trying your hand at creating a tiny bubbles painting, or soaring through the stars at “Space Next.” For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

“Obsolete Dreams”
Phoenix-based assemblage artist Jordan-Alexander Thomas has a thing for robots, science fiction, upcycling, and handmade objects. And he’s found a way to combine them, by creating sci-fi-inspired robots using wood and upcycled materials that give each of his quirky robot sculptures a unique personality and style. For more than a decade, he’s been assembling, then painting them, so no two robots look alike.

Check them out between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday, May 27, at Practical Art, 5070 North Central Avenue. That’s where the artist’s “Obsolete Dreams” exhibit continues through Thursday, May 31. Visit the Practical Art website. Lynn Trimble

Lena Klett explores psychogeography for "In Your Own Backyard."EXPAND
Lena Klett explores psychogeography for "In Your Own Backyard."
Lynn Trimble

“In Your Own Backyard”
This summer, you’ll get to see work by emerging artist Sam Fresquez in the “Arizona Biennial 2018” exhibition at Tucson Museum of Art. But you can explore her art ahead of time, and much closer to home, if you head to Xico Arte y Cultura, 1008 East Buckeye Road, #220.

Fresquez is one of more than a dozen artists with work in Xico’s “In Your Own Backyard” exhibition, which she also curated. It’s filled with works related to map-making, and the idea that artists should make work about what they know. Featured artists include Janet Diaz, Lena Klett, and Koryn Woodward Wasson Valle.

Check it out between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30. The free show runs through Tuesday, June 5. Visit the Xico inc. website. Lynn Trimble

See what your favorite space scoundrel is up to.
See what your favorite space scoundrel is up to.
Michelle Daniel Photography

Rae Carson
Best-selling young adult scribe (and Arizona resident) Rae Carson’s latest project takes readers to a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away. The author of the "Gold Seer Trilogy" has written the prequel to the blockbuster film Solo: A Star Wars Story. Titled Star Wars: Most Wanted, the teen novel revolves around the misadventures of the famous pilot as he gets caught up in the criminal underworld of his home planet of Corellia. When a job goes wrong, he and his partner Qi’ra go on the lam.

Learn how your favorite space scoundrel got started at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30, at Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road. This is a free event. For more information, visit the Changing Hands website. Jason Keil

Dogsled racer turned poet Laird Barron.EXPAND
Dogsled racer turned poet Laird Barron.
Courtesy of Jessica M.

Laird Barron
Former dogsled racer turned poet Laird Barron is best known for his award-winning horror short fiction. When he visits The Poisoned Pen, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard, Scottsdale, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 31, however, he’ll be showcasing Blood Standard, his first foray into crime fiction.

Kicking off his “Isaiah Coleridge” series, the novel follows an exiled Alaskan mob enforcer as he tracks down a missing girl through the hard-boiled New York underworld.

Admission is free, but purchase of Blood Standard is required for the signing. For more information, visit the Poisoned Pen website or call 480-947-2974. Michael Senft

Celebrate Diné resilience with Native art and music at the Heard Museum.
Celebrate Diné resilience with Native art and music at the Heard Museum.
Heard Museum

Diné Resilience
The Heard Museum is celebrating Diné resilience on Friday, June 1, with a concert by the Diné band Sihasin inside the museum and an artisan market in the south foyer of the Steele Auditorium, 2301 North Central Avenue. The event references a treaty signed at Fort Sumner in the New Mexico Territory on June 1, 1868, between the Navajo Nation and the U.S. government.

Participating artists include Lane Jensen, Rykelle Kemp, Julius Badoni, Jeremy Singer, and OXDX Clothing. The Tempe-based fashion brand highlights Native issues and the beauty of Native culture. The free event runs from 6 to 10 p.m., when museum admission is also free. Current exhibits include “Dear Listener: Works by Nicholas Galanin.” Sihasin performs at 7 p.m. Visit the Heard Museum website. Lynn Trimble

“Space Next”
Soar through the stars and learn about the future of spaceflight in “Space Next,” an upcoming show in the sparkling new Jim and Linda Lee Planetarium in Prescott. The state-of-the-art facility is an astrophile’s dream, and it just opened in October as part of the new, $22 million STEM education center at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

The visually spectacular “Space Next” is a free, 40-minute show. Catch it on Friday, June 1, at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., or 8 p.m., or on Saturday, June 2, at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., or 4 p.m. Seats are limited, so be sure to make a reservation at the Jim and Linda Lee Planetarium website. Ray Stern

Try your hand (and breath) at making bubble paintings with Ryan Carey.
Try your hand (and breath) at making bubble paintings with Ryan Carey.
Ryan Carey

Tiny Bubbles Painting Workshop
Artist Ryan Carry creates abstract compositions using thinned oil paint and air exhaled from his lungs. He’ll be sharing his technique during a free Tiny Bubbles Painting workshop at The Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. The all-ages event runs from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 2.

It’s a chance to make your own art by placing paper over cups filled with paint, soap, and water, Carey says. The paint bubbles over, creating unexpected patterns. While you’re there, explore the new “Draw” exhibit, which runs through Saturday, September 1. Visit the Tempe Center for the Arts website. Lynn Trimble

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