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The Best Free Things to Do in Phoenix This Week

Jammin' out at the Bluegrass Festival.EXPAND
Jammin' out at the Bluegrass Festival.
Jesse Fitton Smith

There's no reason to spend money this week: You can browse music memorabilia at Punk Rock Swap Meet, celebrate all things literary at Tempe Book Festival, or get cultured at Día de los Muertos Festival. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Religion, Journalism, and Democracy
Daniel Burke has been reporting on the recent Catholic Church sex abuse scandal in Pennsylvania as the religion editor at CNN. He has also penned some of the most personal and thoughtful pieces on spirituality, including an enlightening piece for the network about his search for the reason his life was spared in the tragic Amtrak Train 188 crash three years ago. He will discuss the connections between faith and government when he visits Arizona State University for a presentation titled Religion, Journalism, and Democracy.

The discussion begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 29, at the First Amendment Forum in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 North Central Avenue. This is a free event. For more information, visit cronkite.asu.edu. Jason Keil

ASU Humanities presents the film Dawnland at Tempe History Museum.EXPAND
ASU Humanities presents the film Dawnland at Tempe History Museum.
Courtesy of PBS

Taking indigenous children from their families and placing them in white homes has been common practice in many American communities, where child welfare systems have been part of a long history of cultural genocide. It’s an issue at the heart of Dawnland, a film that follows the work of a truth and reconciliation commission in Maine working to address injustices against the Wabanaki people. ASU Project Humanities is screening the film at Tempe History Museum, 809 East Southern Avenue, Tempe, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 1. Dawnland is part of a PBS Indie Lens Pop-Up series designed to engage communities in conversations about important issues. The film is free, but you should RSVP online before attending. Visit projecthumanities.asu.edu. Lynn Trimble

Brian Keating
Despite recognizing the achievements of those in the fields of science and the arts, the Nobel Prize has courted its fair share of controversy. Professor Brian Keating explores how the temptation of winning the award changed the course of a groundbreaking study in his nonfiction book Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor. In 2014, a clue to the Big Bang Theory revealed itself thoruhg the world’s most powerful telescope. But instead of studying it, the scientists who witnessed this discovery became consumed by the money and recognition that accompany the prestigious award.

The discoveries begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 1, at Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road. This is a free event. For more information, visit changinghands.com. Jason Keil

The Best Free Things to Do in Phoenix This WeekEXPAND
Jesse Fitton Smith

Third Annual Bluegrass Festival
Porter Barn Wood has a reputation in local home improvement circles for being the place to procure reclaimed wood for your next do-it-yourself project. The store also knows how to throw a family-friendly party: The Third Annual Bluegrass Festival will feature five bands to pick from (sorry, we can’t resist a banjo joke) along with instruments that the kids can fiddle with (yes, we did it again). There will also be food trucks and woodworking demonstrations.

Get up for this hoedown from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, at 901 South Seventh Street. This is a free event. For more information, visit porterbarnwood.com. Jason Keil

Punk Rock Swap Meet
Music and pop culture memorabilia hoarders who are looking to sell your wares, be sure to visit The Record Room’s Punk Rock Swap Meet. This event isn’t limited to three-chord rock classics. There will be merchants selling patches, posters, pin-ups, and other assorted items. For those interested in local music, there will be plenty of merchandise celebrating the great music of the Valley’s past.

Hey, ho, let’s go from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, at 2601 West Dunlap Avenue, #21. This is a free event. Vendors can reserve a table for $10. For more information, visit facebook.com/therecordroom. Jason Keil

Arizona Fall Festival
If you’re all about showing the local love, you’ll want to hit the free Arizona Fall Festival, where local businesses will be sharing their wares in a friendly, casual environment complete with food tastings, crafts, live music, lawn games, and farmers market. Presented by Local First Arizona, it’s happening at Margaret T. Hance Park, 67 West Culver Street, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 3. It’s family-friendly, and dog-friendly. And it’s a great way to start your holiday shopping, while supporting local businesses and hanging out with other community members who share your commitment to localism. Expect more than 200 vendors, from Palabras Bilingual Bookstore to Practical Art. The music lineup includes Fairy Bones, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, The Stakes, Whitherward, and many more. Visit localfirstaz.com. Lynn Trimble

Indulge your lit love at the Tempe Book Festival.EXPAND
Indulge your lit love at the Tempe Book Festival.
Courtesy of Tempe Public Library

Tempe Book Festival
After Sue Halpern moved to a tiny town with no public library, she helped to start one. Then she wrote a book about it. Now the Vermont-based Guggenheim Fellow and Rhodes Scholar, who holds a doctorate from Oxford, is coming to Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural Road, Tempe. She’s the featured author for the Tempe Book Festival, a free event that celebrates reading, writing, books, and the communities they help create. Check it out between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 3. Dozens of vendors, including Kryptic Leaf and Wasted Ink Zine Distro, will be showing and selling their lit-related wares. Visit tempe.gov. Lynn Trimble

See Lalo Cota live painting during the Dia de los Muertos Festival at Azukar Coffee Shop.EXPAND
See Lalo Cota live painting during the Dia de los Muertos Festival at Azukar Coffee Shop.
Lynn Trimble

Día de los Muertos Festival
You’ve seen Day of the Dead, a holiday that elevates both life and those who’ve passed away, celebrated with altars, flowers, and processions. But the Día de los Muertos Festival happening from 4 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, adds a new twist. Several artists, including Lalo Cota and A-Bomb will be live painting at Azukar Coffee Shop, 7246 South Central Avenue. The free, family friendly event, which is being presented by Murals of Phoenix, includes art, music, entertainment, and food. Ballet Folklorico Esto Es Mexico performs at 5 p.m., and a procession from Azukar to Sagrado Galleria starts at 6 p.m. Show up wearing Sugar Skull facepaint, or have your face painted during the event. Visit muralsofphoenix.com. Lynn Trimble

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The Best Free Things to Do in Phoenix This WeekEXPAND
Peter Jordan

Fifth Annual Día de los Muertos Festival
Bring pictures of loved ones who have passed on to the historic St. Mary’s Basilica Parish in downtown Phoenix and light a candle in their memory at the Fifth Annual Día de los Muertos Festival. The event features a procession to commemorate those who have gone before us.  Additionally, there will be live music, a car show featuring vehicles fashioned with trunk altars, fun activities for children of all ages, and merchandise and crafts from local vendors, including the Crafty Chica, Kathy Cano-Murillo.

The celebration lasts from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 4, at 231 North Third Street. This is a free event, but a donation of canned goods to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank is suggested. For more information, visit saintmarysbasilica.org. Jason Keil

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