Nerd Culture

Free Things to Do This Week: Seinfeld Trivia, Pong, “Turbulent Landscape”

Are you ready for movie after movie with these people?
Are you ready for movie after movie with these people? Courtesy Warner Bros.
Attention, cheapos. This week, Phoenix is full of über-cool events. The best part? They're all free. Whether you choose to test your knowledge everyone's favorite show about nothing, join other "potterheads" at a movie screening, or check out what visual art two of the Franco brothers have cooked up, it won't affect bank account.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
No need for concern, No-Majs. (That’s the American term for the magically disinclined.) The Scottsdale Public Library’s presentation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is not a lecture on Newt Scamander’s textbook for wizards. Rather, it’s a screening of the film based on the fictional author’s adventures in 1920s New York City. His study of mystical creatures takes a turn for the worse when a misplaced case sets off a war between wizards and the extremists who believe magic is a threat to their way of life.

Wave your wands on Monday, June 26, at 6 p.m. at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 North Drinkwater Boulevard. Admission is free. Visit the Scottsdale Library website or call 480-312-7323 for details. Jason Keil

click to enlarge What is the deal with Valley Bar? - COURTESY OF VALLEY BAR
What is the deal with Valley Bar?
Courtesy of Valley Bar
Seinfeld Trivia
Seinfeld, the infinitely popular TV show about absolutely nothing, sure left us with a new vocabulary and a lot to discuss, like low-talkers, close-talkers, anti-dentites, manziers, and mimbos.

If you know what any, or all, of those terms mean, or have the intricacies of characters Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer’s lives burned into your memory, you’ll want to throw down during Seinfeld Trivia. The competition for prizes and bragging rights is hosted by Emily The Lewis. DJ Shane Kennedy provides music. Enjoy $1 off cans of craft beer.

Sign-ups start at 7 p.m. in the Rose Room. The trivia throwdown that is real and spectacular begins promptly at 8 on Tuesday, June 27, at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. Admission is free. Visit the Valley Bar website. Amy Young

Open Voice: Pride Day Event
You’ll recall the Phoenix Pride Festival that was held in April, but if we’re being technical, June is actually LGBTQ+ Pride Month (and the anniversary of Manhattan’s 1969 Stonewall riots). Holding the parade earlier is totally weather-related, and it’s probably why events held during Pride Month proper tend to take place in air-conditioned environments — like Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue.

PAM is hosting the Open Voice: Pride Day Event, where local artists, community members, and museum staff gather for informal discussions on personal identity and, of course, art starting at 5 p.m. on June 28. The public event is part of the #freeafterthree Wednesday programming, meaning general admission and the event are free from 3 to 9 p.m. — though donations are appreciated.

For more information, call 602-257-1880 or see the Phoenix Art Museum website. Lauren Cusimano

click to enlarge Sewage pipes meet ceramic art at ASU Art Museum’s Ceramics Research Center. - COURTESY OF TOM FRANCO
Sewage pipes meet ceramic art at ASU Art Museum’s Ceramics Research Center.
Courtesy of Tom Franco
“Pipe Brothers: Tom and James Franco”
What will they think of next? This summer, you can see human hair exhibited at Phoenix Art Museum, chewed gum on display at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and sewer pipes at ASU Art Museum’s Ceramics Research Center.

The pipes are included in an exhibition called “Pipe Brothers: Tom and James Franco,” featuring column-style sculptures created by the brothers using pipes from the Mission Clay Products factory in Phoenix. Tom is an Oakland, California, artist who works primarily in mixed-media sculpture. And yes, James is that James Franco, the actor who also works in visual art, sometimes collaborating with his brother and sometimes with internationally renowned artist Marina Abramovic.

See the free exhibition from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 29, at 699 South Mill Avenue in Tempe. It continues through Saturday, September 23. Visit the ASU Art Museum website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Meet the author who fights heartache with humor. - BRANDON WERTH PHOTOGRAPHY
Meet the author who fights heartache with humor.
Brandon Werth Photography
Nora McInerny
In the span of a month and a half, author Nora McInerny had a miscarriage and lost both her husband and her father to cancer. She documented her heartache with humor and grace in her book, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too). When friends would ask her how she was doing, she began to reply honestly instead of with the dismissive “fine” and spoke openly about the grief we all share. These conversations became the basis of her critically acclaimed public radio podcast, Terrible, Thanks for Asking.

Bring some tissues and give yourself permission to cry when McInerny brings her book to Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 29. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Changing Hands website. Jason Keil

Pong Tournament
Pong isn’t just a drinking game played at parties with red cups, beer, and tiny balls. During the weekly pong tournament at the Blasted Barley Beer Company, 404 South Mill Avenue, it’s a fairly serious competition where you and a partner can test your hand-eye coordination while aiming to win prizes. First place gets you $50, and there’s a second-place prize of $25. The game, which attracts anywhere from eight to 16 teams of two each Thursday, follows similar rules as the national tournament in Las Vegas. But here, you’re competing with water instead of beer.

The event starts at 10 p.m. and is free to enter. For more information, call 480-967-5887 or go to the Blasted Barley Facebook page. Laura Latzko

See photography by William LeGoullon in the “Turbulent Landscape” exhibition at Modified Arts. - WILLIAM LEGOULLON
See photography by William LeGoullon in the “Turbulent Landscape” exhibition at Modified Arts.
William LeGoullon
“Turbulent Landscape”
Landscapes get a new twist at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt Street, where Jeff Chabot curated the current “Turbulent Landscape” exhibition. For Chabot, landscapes include topographical, personal, social, and political environments. And sometimes, they’re not pretty.

Explore landscape-related works by eight local and regional artists, including William LeGoullon and Lauren Strohacker, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, June 30. Strohacker’s work documents her recent art installation along the U.S.-Mexico border.

While you’re there, take a look at Hugo Medina’s new mural on the east-facing exterior wall. It’s a compelling take on recent changes to Roosevelt Row and the impact on the local arts scene. “Turbulent Landscape” runs through Saturday, July 15. Admission is free. Visit the Modified Arts website. Lynn Trimble

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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.
Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Laura Latzko
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