9 Free Things to Do in Phoenix This Week

Mural painting to help activate downtown Mesa.
Mural painting to help activate downtown Mesa. Mesa Arts Center

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click to enlarge The heart and soul of Mexico in art form. - COURTESY OF GENNARO GARCIA
The heart and soul of Mexico in art form.
Courtesy of Gennaro Garcia
"MEXICANA: Home to the Soul of Mexico"
Gennaro Garcia was the second-ever Latino artist to have an exhibition at the Calvin Charles Gallery in downtown Scottsdale. And Garcia begins the new year with a return to the building where he made his mark. He’ll unveil a show that celebrates the heart of the country that inspires so much of his work. Garcia will be on hand for the opening night of “MEXICANA: Home to the Soul of Mexico,” which gives viewers a peek into the future of Arizona art while celebrating the painter’s remarkable past.

The opening reception of Garcia’s latest showcase starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 4, at 4201 North Marshall Way. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Calvin Charles Gallery website. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Laura Plecas’ work (detail, above) often explores her family’s immigrant roots. - LAURA PLECAS/PHOTO BY LYNN TRIMBLE
Laura Plecas’ work (detail, above) often explores her family’s immigrant roots.
Laura Plecas/Photo by Lynn Trimble
Phoenix artist Laura Plecas pays homage to her family’s immigrant roots in a new exhibition called “Lineage,” which opens on Friday, January 5, at Chartreuse gallery, 1301 Grand Avenue. Visit the gallery between 6 and 10 p.m. that night to explore her encaustic collage works inspired by Op art, folk art, and quilting.

“I seek to peel back layers to reveal the past and to explore the strength and struggles that my family endured,” Plecas says in exhibition materials. Often, her work includes repeated shapes and patterns, created with materials such as old papers and book pages.

“Lineage” continues through January. Visit the Chartreuse gallery website. Lynn Trimble

Flagg Gem and Mineral Show
Rock collecting isn’t just for kids. At the Flagg Gem and Mineral Show from Friday to Sunday, January 5 to 7, you can look for specimens from more than 130 dealers and field collectors displaying fossils, gemstones, jewelry, and lapidary equipment.

The show will also have a food truck area, interactive activities, and opportunities to meet with local gold prospecting, lapidary, and mineral clubs. This year’s show takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the West Parking Lot of Mesa Community College, 1833 West Southern Avenue. Admission and parking is free. For more information, visit the Flagg Gem website. Laura Latzko

click to enlarge The shirt says it all. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
The shirt says it all.
Benjamin Leatherman
No Pants Light Rail Ride
Fast fact: You can legally go pantsless in public. True story. Under Arizona law, you’re permitted to stroll around without slacks, shorts, or a skirt, provided you’re wearing underwear or aren’t exposing any naughty bits. Not that we’d recommend doing such a thing, unless you’re participating in the No Pants Light Rail Ride.

The annual urban prank involves hordes of folks dropping trou, hopping on public rail transportation in cities worldwide, and earning shocked or amused reactions from onlookers in the process. Here in metro Phoenix, pantsless participants will board light rail trains at four different locations across the Valley starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, January 7, before traveling to downtown Phoenix.

A post-ride party will follow at DeSoto Central Market, 915 North Central Avenue. Colorful outfits and underwear is encouraged, but leave your pants at home. Visit the Improv AZ website for complete details. Benjamin Leatherman

Stacy’s Follies
It’s 2018, and those who resolved to see more drag performances are in luck.

Lady Christian will launch the weekly Stacy’s Follies, a show filled with fab Arizona queens like Espressa Grande and Kim Etiquette. The first sashaying show starts at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 7, at Stacy’s on Melrose, 4343 North Seventh Avenue.

Best part? There’s no cover. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Laura Latzko
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble