Nerd Culture

Free Events This Week in Phoenix: Drag Bingo, Burrito-Eating Contest, “Flourish”

Consider whether the apple falls far from the tree at Practical Art.
Consider whether the apple falls far from the tree at Practical Art. Painting by Mark and Rosemary Christopher/Photo by Lynn Trimble
Don't let your finances get you down: Your guide to free fun from May 22 through 28 is here. And whether your idea of a perfect evening is playing '80s-themed bingo, partying it up at Lustre Rooftop Bar, or entering a burrito-eating competition, there's something for you that costs exactly zero dollars. (For more things to do, see our curated calendar of events.)

“The Apple & The Tree”

It appears the next generation of Phoenix artists is already showing work alongside some pretty well-known creatives. It’s happening at Practical Art, 5070 North Central Avenue. That’s where “The Apple & The Tree,” an exhibition featuring art by parent/child pairings, is on view from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 22.

Featured professional artists include Kristin Bauer, Emmett Potter, Lara Plecas, Carrie Marill, Linda Pullinsi, Lori Fenn, Shannon Youso, Denise Yaghmourian, and Gennaro Garcia. Some created work with their children. Others are showing separate parent and child artworks side by side.

The show includes works in several media — such as encaustic, drawing, video, painting, photography, and fiber art. Visit the Practical Art website. Lynn Trimble

Naughty or Nice Bingo
What's one way to spice up a droll game of Monday night bingo? By adding drag queens, of course. Make your Monday a little less ordinary with Naughty or Nice Bingo. This week is '80s night, so expect some totally tubular surprises. The game night takes over Kobalt, 3110 North Central Avenue, on Monday nights starting at 9:30 p.m. Admission for this 21-and-over event is free. Visit the Kolbalt Bar website for more details. Lindsay Roberts

click to enlarge Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker, Driving By The Moon, 2017, Oil and mixed media on canvas with custom lightbox assemblage, 20 x 32 inches. - COURTESY OF MESA CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM
Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker, Driving By The Moon, 2017, Oil and mixed media on canvas with custom lightbox assemblage, 20 x 32 inches.
Courtesy of Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
“Flourish: A Survey of the New Contemporary Movement”
Muralism, pop surrealism, installation and street art, graffiti, hyperrealism, illustration, and portraiture — all of this and more is on display across three galleries at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, One East Main Street, for “Flourish: A Survey of the New Contemporary Movement.”

Curated by Thinkspace Gallery based out of Los Angeles, the Flourish exhibition displays works from new and relevant artists from a wide range of styles in the Main Gallery, Project Room, and South Gallery. There’s a Felipe Pantone installation in the Project Room, murals from Esao Andrews and Nosego, and more on display till August 6.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Tuesday, May 23. Admission is free. For more information, call 480-644-6560 or see the Mesa Arts Center website. Lauren Cusimano

click to enlarge The Poisoned Pen will host over 20 sci-fi authors before Phoenix Comicon during Elevengeddon. - COURTESY OF THE POISONED PEN
The Poisoned Pen will host over 20 sci-fi authors before Phoenix Comicon during Elevengeddon.
Courtesy of The Poisoned Pen
Phoenix Comicon’s author track is one of the hidden gems of the Con, lost amid the movie stars and cosplayers. But hustling between panels doesn’t leave much time to track down autographs.

But The Poisoned Pen has your solution with Elevengeddon at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24, at the Hilton Doubletree Resort, 5401 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale.

Conceived by Iron Druid author Kevin Hearne and hosted by Sam Sykes, the third annual pre-con celebration features bestselling con attendees Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jim Butcher, Robin Hobb, and Scott Lynch, along with another 20 authors.

Admission is free, and there is no purchase required to attend. Books by all authors will be available as well. Call 480-947-2974 or visit the Poisoned Pen website for more information. Michael Senft

Poolside at the Lustre Rooftop Garden at Hotel Palomar. - TINA RIDDLE
Poolside at the Lustre Rooftop Garden at Hotel Palomar.
Tina Riddle
All-American Weekend
America’s the land we love for a lot of reasons. There’s the barbecue, the beer, and, of course, the parties. Speaking of which: Hotel Palomar’s Lustre Rooftop Bar will host a downright red, white, and blue Memorial Day bash dubbed the All-American Weekend. From May 26 through 29, the 21-and-over crowd is welcome to sip Tito’s vodka cocktails next to the rooftop pool, chow down on barbecue, and enjoy jams selected by a DJ. So pack those star-spangled bikinis, and get yourself to 2 East Jefferson Street at 11 a.m. on Friday. There is no cover for this weekend bash. Land of the free, indeed. Visit Lustre Rooftop Bar website for more information. Lindsay Roberts

Garden Volunteer Day
Ever wish your skill set included gardening? Try learning by doing at Roosevelt Growhouse, 1025 North Second Street, where you don’t need a green thumb to make good things happen. Join fellow volunteers for Garden Volunteer Day between 8 and 11 a.m. on May 27.

It’s a great excuse to play in the dirt while helping beautify a formerly vacant lot. In case you missed it, the Growhouse recently moved to the grounds of the historic Leighton G. Knipe House.

Saturday’s lineup includes spreading mulch and watering plants. And there might be some painting, too. While you’re there, check out a new mural by Isaac Caruso, whose giant sunflowers grace the nearby monOrchid building. Visit the event Facebook page. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Get ready to burri-go. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Get ready to burri-go.
Benjamin Leatherman
Crescent Ballroom’s Burrito Eating Contest
Do you refer to your stomach as a bottomless pit? If you can eat a lot of food, and fast, the Crescent Ballroom’s second-ever Burrito Eating Contest is a chance for you to show off your devouring skills. Men get three minutes to down as many burritos as possible, while women get five minutes to test their talents. Prizes are awarded to the top three winners in each category: $250 in cold hard cash for the number-one eaters; second prize gets a $100 Crescent gift card; and third place means a $50 gift card to the music venue. Start chomping or cheering at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 28, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Admission and contest entry are free. Call 602-716-2222 or visit the Crescent Ballroom website. Amy Young

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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Michael runs the Sci-Fridays Book Club at the Poisoned Pen, and volunteers at local pop-culture conventions. He can be found at the occasional prog-rock concert.
Contact: Michael Senft
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