Up your pop culture IQ with a free lecture on manga and anime.
Up your pop culture IQ with a free lecture on manga and anime.
StockSnap/Scottsdale Arts

8 Free Things to Do in Phoenix This Week

Spending cash is lame. Instead, delve into manga's cult of cuteness, unleash your inner '90s kid at Rebel Lounge, or get creative at Spark! It won't cost you. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

“Exporting the Cult of Cuteness: Japanese Manga and Anime”
Take your pop culture IQ to the next level when art historian Deborah Deacon shares her expertise during “Exporting the Cult of Cuteness: Japanese Manga and Anime.” The free lecture is part of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ 2017-18 Discovery Series exploring Japanese culture through performance, film, and other offerings.

Deacon is a faculty associate with the ASU School of Art. For this talk, she’ll address the cultural impact of manga and anime, and highlight some of its most significant creatives and characters. It’s a chance learn about elements of Japanese culture that influence contemporary art and literature.

Take notes starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14, at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 North Drinkwater Boulevard. Visit the Scottsdale Civic Center Library website. Lynn Trimble

Robert W. Jensen speaks at ASU West Thursday.EXPAND
Robert W. Jensen speaks at ASU West Thursday.
Nerissa Escanlar

"The Pathology of Patriarchy: Challenging Male Dominance in a Pornographic World"
Turn your keyboard upside down and smack it gently. All sorts of grody things fall out — things no one will miss — and everything works a little better. This is what Robert W. Jensen would have you do with the world. Toward that end, he teaches journalism at the University of Texas, writes inspiring books with very long titles, and visits ASU West on Thursday, March 15, to present “The Pathology of Patriarchy: Challenging Male Dominance in a Pornographic World.” (Don’t worry — we suspect there’ll always be erotica.)

Once again: upside down, gentle smacking. If it sounds like birth, there’s a reason. Jensen’s free lecture commences at 7:30 p.m. in the Kiva Lecture Hall at 4701 West Thunderbird Road in Glendale. Visit the New College website. Julie Peterson

Jorge Pardo, Untitled, 2014. Seven hand-painted ceramic light fixtures, dimensions variable.
Jorge Pardo, Untitled, 2014. Seven hand-painted ceramic light fixtures, dimensions variable.
Courtesy the artist and Cerámica Suro

“A Dream on a Dream: Encounter with Claudio Dicochea”
There’s no shortage of talking heads when it comes to immigration issues. But creatives bring new dimension to the debate, with art that prompts deeper consideration of shared humanity and cultural connections. That’s certainly the case at ASU Art Museum, 51 East 10th Street in Tempe, where you can see three new exhibitions during its Spring Opening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 16.

“A Dream on a Dream: Encounter with Claudio Dicochea” explores what the American dream means today. “Bajo Presión/Under Pressure” reveals the powerful intersection of politics and art. And “Saber Acomodor” highlights the marriage of traditional techniques with contemporary ideas.

Several “Saber Acomodor” artists will be at the opening, along with guest curator Patrick Charpenel, the new executive director for New York’s El Museo del Barrio. Expect a great lineup of performances, as well. Museum admission is free. Visit the ASU Art Museum website. Lynn Trimble

Join author Elena Passerello for a free reading at Piper Writers House.
Join author Elena Passerello for a free reading at Piper Writers House.
Photo courtesy of Piper Writers House

Elena Passarello
Medieval books filled with images and tales of real and imagined creatures prompted actor and writer Elena Passarello to create the compendium Animals Strike Curious Poses. It’s a collection of essays about “16 famous animals named and immortalized by humans.”

See how Passarello blends history, culture, myth, art, and science, when she reads from the book on the back patio at Piper Writers House, 450 East Tyler Mall in Tempe, on Friday, March 16. The free event runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and includes an informal Q&A and book signing. Visit the Piper Writers House website. Lynn Trimble

Check out the fun spinning chairs at the festival.EXPAND
Check out the fun spinning chairs at the festival.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center

Spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity
Expect to bump into a lot of art car fans at the annual Spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity. The event will feature “Art Car World,” an exhibition of 16 such vehicles ranging from hot rods to lowriders, with names like Bohemian Rhapsody, Owl Car, and the California Fantasy Van. There will also be the community art car build and an interactive chalkboard car.

Some non-car attractions will include kinetic sculptures, a night garden, [nueBOX] performances, and Light Rail Plays by Rising Youth Theatre. The free event runs from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday, March 17, at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street. See more information at the Mesa Arts Center website. Lauren Cusimano

Spiny house: Dress up your indoors and outdoors at Desert Botanical Garden.
Spiny house: Dress up your indoors and outdoors at Desert Botanical Garden.
Courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden

Spring Plant Sale
The vernal equinox is just around the corner. Equinoxes get short shrift compared to sexy solstices, but if you don’t pay attention, you’ll wind up saying to yourself, “Here it’s the vernal equinox, and I haven’t done anything.” Beat the crowd at Desert Botanical Garden’s annual Spring Plant Sale through Sunday, March 18. Buy plants, plant them, and you’ll have spring in the bag.

Broaden your concept of desert vegetation beyond cactuses and succulents: The sale includes herbs and vegetables, trees, flowers, and other green stuff with leaves. Baby plants, big plants, 30,000 freakin’ plants — and expert horticultural advice. Hours on Saturday, March 17, are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1201 North Galvin Parkway. Call 480-481-8188 or visit the Desert Botanical Garden website for more info. Julie Peterson

Smells like teen spirit.EXPAND
Smells like teen spirit.
Melissa Fossum

TRL ‘90s House Party
MTV’s Total Request Live embraced hip hop, grunge, boy bands, and bubblegum pop. Rebel Lounge’s TRL ’90s House Party pays homage to the show with songs Carson Daly probably knows by heart.

On Saturday, March 17, DJ A Claire Slattery will spin tunes by popular artists and bands like Nirvana, NSYNC, Mariah Carey, the Backstreet Boys, Coolio, and Destiny’s Child.

Attendees are encouraged to dress in their favorite ’90s attire (ahem, overalls and scrunchies) for the free, 21-and-over party at 2303 East Indian School Road. Doors open at 10 p.m., and the fun starts at 10:30. For more information, go to the Rebel Lounge website. Laura Latzko

Keep an eye our for local artists like Aztec Smurf during the Oak Street Alley Mural Festival.EXPAND
Keep an eye our for local artists like Aztec Smurf during the Oak Street Alley Mural Festival.
Courtesy of Oak Street Alley Mural Festival

Oak Street Alley Mural Festival
If you’re a big fan of mural art, there’s an event that’s right up your alley. The Oak Street Alley Mural Festival will take place at 1450 East Oak Street between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 18. More than a dozen artists will gather to paint murals and share their skills.

The free event will include a stencil and wheat paste workshop, a community mural workshop, an open mic, and live music. Bring cash for food and drinks. Participating artists include Isaac Caruso, Maggie Keane, Aztec Smurf, Lucretia Torva, and Volar. For more information, visit Oak Street Alley Mural Festival. Lynn Trimble

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