Nerd Culture

Free Things to Do This Week: Harry Potter Party, Skee-Ball, Star Wars Pinball

Potterheads welcome.
Potterheads welcome. Benjamin Leatherman
You don't need full pockets to have a full week. This week, you can party with the Potterheads, team up for a Skee-Ball tourney, and see the latest art exhibition from Danielle Wood all for free. For more to do, visit our curated calendar.

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary

The first cohort of kids who devoured Harry Potter books is full-grown now. This makes adult fans feel less lonely and creepy. And there’s a new generation of young readers — as well as author J.K. Rowling’s sassy Twitter feed. All these things fill us with hope and courage.

Anniversaries and birthdays are the parties you get for just hanging in there, and The Boy Who Lived marks the vigintennial of his debut with Harry Potter 20th Anniversary! at Century Library, 1750 East Highland Avenue, from 12:30 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, August 1. Wand-making’s the activity of the day, and an interactive screening of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone begins at 1:30. Visit the Phoenix Public Library website or call 602-262-4636. Julie Peterson

click to enlarge Form your own opinions of John Armstrong’s Red Curtain at The Gallery at Mountain Shadows. - COURTESY OF REYES CONTEMPORARY ART
Form your own opinions of John Armstrong’s Red Curtain at The Gallery at Mountain Shadows.
Courtesy of Reyes Contemporary Art
“Classic Abstraction”
Basics like form, color, line, and gesture take center stage in abstract art. You can explore work by two vastly different artists in the “Classic Abstraction” exhibition at The Gallery at Mountain Shadows, 5445 East Lincoln Drive in Paradise Valley. John Armstrong creates undulating compositions of bold and translucent layers. Dorothy Fratt, an Arizona artist who passed away before the exhibition’s opening, played with intensity, contrast, and subtlety to strike a balance between harmony and discord.

See their work anytime on Tuesday, August 1. The gallery, curated by John Reyes of Reyes Contemporary Art, is open 24/7. Visit the Mountain Shadows website for more information. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Burgers, wings, and bacon Bloody Marys. - COURTESY OF DESERT ROSE PIZZA AND GASTROPUB
Burgers, wings, and bacon Bloody Marys.
Courtesy of Desert Rose Pizza and Gastropub
Cardinals and Cowboys Viewing Party
What does it take to get you to hop off the recliner to watch the game at a neighborhood hangout? Perhaps a zesty, bacon-laden Bloody Mary is an incentive.

click to enlarge Rollin' with the homies. - MEGAN LUNDQUIST
Rollin' with the homies.
Megan Lundquist
At Desert Rose Pizza’s Cardinals and Cowboys Viewing Party, you can get that particular drink, with or without the crispy pig, or something completely different. The beer menu has everything from stouts to sours, and on the food side, it’s classic bar fare like pizza, wings, salads, and burgers. Join other fans to cheer on the Arizona Cardinals, or be edgy and root for the Texas team from 5 to 11 p.m. on Thursday, August 3, at 6729 North 57th Drive in Glendale. There’s no cover. Call 623-937-3004 or visit the Facebook event page. Amy Young

’90s Party and Skee-Ball Tournament
Social sports league group the Phoenix Fray is pulling together two things for one party: 1990s nostalgia and Skee-Ball.

Visit Bevvy, 4420 North Saddlebag Trail, #100, in Scottsdale, for the two-in-one ’90s Party and Skeeball Tournament. Arrive ready to dance the night away (and battle it out, arcade-style) starting at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 4. Each six-person team gets two kegs at the start of the Skee-Ball throwdown — and the chance to win a cash prize. Registration for the competition is $10 per team at the Phoenix Fray website. Admission for the party is free. Lindsay Roberts

See Tuscon artist George Strasburger's works at Alwun House. - COURTESY OF GEORGE STRASBURGER
See Tuscon artist George Strasburger's works at Alwun House.
Courtesy of George Strasburger
“Figuratively Strasburger”
Tucson artist George Strasburger paints men in vulnerable and exposed poses that contrast with our preconceived notions of masculinity in society. His exhibition “Figuratively Strasburger” uncovers a style resembling that of beat photographer Robert Frank in his classic book The Americans. Each stroke of the artist’s paintbrush strips away layers of virility to expose an isolation and tension you won’t find on the covers of Esquire and GQ.

See “Figuratively Strasburger” at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 4, at Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt Street. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Alwun House website. Jason Keil

click to enlarge See what happens when ocean forms hit the desert streets at Eye Lounge. - DANIELLE WOOD
See what happens when ocean forms hit the desert streets at Eye Lounge.
Danielle Wood
“Symbiosis: Urbanity and the Natural Landscape”
Danielle Wood recently took her ocean-inspired ceramic art on the road. For the artist’s latest exhibition, “Symbiosis: Urbanity and the Natural Landscape,” she’s displaying photographs blending natural and urban landscapes accompanied by a wave-like installation of her ceramic forms.

Some photographs show her sculptural pieces placed around the city, in sites ranging from a light rail stop to a graffiti wall. Others show them in outdoor settings free from human constructions. It’s Wood’s way of exploring the interface of organic and manmade landscapes. But it also pays homage to the community.

See the free exhibition from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 5, at Eye Lounge, 419 East Roosevelt Street. Visit the Eye Lounge website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Join in the geekery. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Join in the geekery.
Benjamin Leatherman
Tilt Studio’s Star Wars Launch Party & Pinball Tournament
If you’re a pinball playin’ Star Wars fanatic, you might think Tilt Studio’s Star Wars Launch Party & Pinball Tournament was created just for you. But actually, Tilt’s hosting the bash in honor of Stern Pinball launching its new Star Wars game. Attendees are encouraged to dress in their best Star Wars threads and enter a first-to-play contest. Getting to touch that machine before your friends could put you in an enviable position.

Form a group and compete in the Three-Strike Pinball Tournament for prizes and trophies. Geeky gamer fun happens from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 6, at Tilt Studio in the Arizona Mills Mall, 5000 Arizona Mills Circle, #669, in Tempe. Admission is free, and food and drink specials are available. Call 480-648-1222 or visit the Facebook event page. Amy Young

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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young