Free Things to Do This Week: Fiesta de Frida, All-Female Improv, First Friday

Work by Lynda Burruss featured in the “Modern Perspectives” exhibition at Shemer Art Center.
Work by Lynda Burruss featured in the “Modern Perspectives” exhibition at Shemer Art Center. Lynda Burruss
Who said being cultured is just for the wealthy? This week, going out won't break the bank — especially if you want to celebrate the life and work of Frida Kahlo, check out elevated watercolor art, or enjoy First Friday festivities. For more things to do, check out our curated event calendar.

“Modern Perspectives”
The “Modern Perspectives” exhibition at Shemer Art Center, 5005 East Camelback Road, includes more than 80 watercolor and mixed-media works created by 25 members of an artist group called Contemporary Watercolorists of Arizona. Curated by Pat Cain, the show highlights a variety of water-media styles.

Participating artists include several whose work isn’t regularly shown during First or Third Fridays. Which means this show will likely introduce you to a new crop of artists working in and beyond the Valley of the Sun.

See “Modern Perspectives” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 6. The exhibition is free, but Shemer Art Center suggests a $7 donation. Visit the Shemer Art Center website. Lynn Trimble

Join the artsy party. - JOSEPH MADDON
Join the artsy party.
Joseph Maddon
First Friday
It’s been a long time since First Friday meant leisurely strolling to galleries to check out some art. That event morphed into a huge party years ago, and now everyone’s in on the action.

Revolver Records gets in the mix on July 7, with an artsy party hosted by creative Leyla Havok, who works under the moniker I Am Havok. She will show and sell prints, paintings, and some fashion items. Join the creative chaos from 4 to 11 p.m. on Friday, July 7, at 918 North Second Street. Admission is free. Visit the Facebook event page. Amy Young

click to enlarge Celebrate Frida Kahlo’s birthday with the Phoenix Fridas at Heard Museum. - COURTESY OF HEARD MUSEUM
Celebrate Frida Kahlo’s birthday with the Phoenix Fridas at Heard Museum.
Courtesy of Heard Museum
Fiesta de Frida
Before there was Beyoncé or Madonna, there was Frida. Just a single name is all it takes to conjure images of the Mexican artist famous for self-portraits channeling a life marked by physical and emotional pain. Like her husband, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo is one of the best-known painters of the 20th century. And for her fans, celebrating the artist’s birthday each year is a must.

The Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue, is commemorating the 110th anniversary of her birth with Fiesta de Frida. The free event, happening from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, July 7, includes music, poetry, and artwork by members of the Phoenix Fridas art collective. There’s also an 8 p.m. Marcha de las Fridas procession.

Museum admission is free, and there’s special $7 pricing for the “Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera” exhibition that night. Visit the Heard website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Calling all hilarious ladies. - TORCH THEATRE
Calling all hilarious ladies.
Torch Theatre
Riot Jam: All Female Improv Jam
Calling all hilarious ladies who can deliver off-the-cuff humor and are on the hunt for a little mic time. There’s a Central Phoenix stage with your name on it.

Riot Jam: All Female Improv Jam is the regular event hosted by the Torch Theatre, where Arizona’s improvisers show off their skills. Torch education director Jacque Arend says their group sees the event as a great way to showcase and celebrate the wealth of female talent that exists in our local improv community. Participants show up, drop their name in a bucket, and then names are drawn to form the teams. The performances start immediately. Watch this impromptu hour of fun from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, July 8, at 4721 North Central Avenue. Admission and participation are free. Visit the Torch Theatre website. Amy Young

Constance McBride, Balasana, 2016. Ceramic, under glaze, stains, wax, wire. Courtesy of the artist. - WILLIAM LEGOULLON
Constance McBride, Balasana, 2016. Ceramic, under glaze, stains, wax, wire. Courtesy of the artist.
William LeGoullon
“2016 Contemporary Forum Artist Grant Winners”
Maybe you’ve seen everything from Michelangelo to Kehinde Wiley at Phoenix Art Museum. That’s great, but it’s hard to top the thrill of seeing pieces by Arizona artists exhibited at the CenPho institution. And now’s the time to do it.

Contemporary Forum, one of the museum’s many support groups, gives grants to several Arizona artists annually. The following year, it presents a group exhibition of their artwork. See “2016 Contemporary Forum Artist Grant Winners” from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 9. It includes work by David Emitt Adams, Christine Cassano, Bryan David Griffith, Constance McBride, and Mary Meyer. They work with hair, oil drums, and forest-fire embers, among other media.

Museum admission is free that day. The exhibition is on view through Sunday, September 17. Visit the Phoenix Art Museum website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Chat with the author of Down a Dark Road. - COURTESY OF LINDA CASTILLO
Chat with the author of Down a Dark Road.
Courtesy of Linda Castillo
Linda Castillo
What happens when man escapes from prison and returns to the Amish community he’s fallen out of favor with? He goes on a kidnapping spree, of course.

Or at least that’s what he does in Down a Dark Road, by Linda Castillo. The best-selling author’s new novel keeps the excitement on high, as escaped convict Joseph King grabs five children as hostages and lures a detective into an ambush. As the cop gets closer to King, she discovers there’s more to the story. From 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 9, Castillo will discuss and sign the book at the Poisoned Pen, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale. Admission is free, and a copy of the book costs $26. Call 480-947- 2974 or visit the Poisoned Pen website. Amy Young

click to enlarge Library patrons break the first rule of Book Club. - COURTESY OF PHOENIX PUBLIC LIBRARY
Library patrons break the first rule of Book Club.
Courtesy of Phoenix Public Library
Book Club
Graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi is best known in the U.S. for Persepolis, her multivolume memoir about coming of age in post-revolutionary Iran that became an Oscar-nominated animated film. Satrapi’s Embroideries, a narrative with a more leisurely feel, eavesdrops on her grandmother’s friends sipping tea and discussing love and sex — because that apparently remains a fascinating mystery for our whole damn life. The latter work is the topic of July’s Book Club meeting at South Mountain Community Library.

Book Club at the library is a commitment-free, episodic experience that focuses on an entire book at each meeting. Check it out (library joke!) from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, at 7050 South 24th Street. Admission is free. Visit the Phoenix Public Library website or call 602-243-8187. Julie Peterson

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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