New Times picks the best things to do in metro Phoenix from Monday, August 30, through Thursday, September 1. For more events, see our curated online calendar.
"Find Your Park in Arizona"
Traveling by commercial airline will get you more than 30,000 feet in the air. But you don’t have to board a plane to get a terrific view, and maybe even a natural high, thanks to a free exhibition at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, 3400 East Sky Harbor Boulevard.
“Find Your Park in Arizona” features photographs and historic artifacts representing National Parks throughout the state. Visit the museum art gallery in Terminal 4 on Monday, August 29, and you can celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, with National Park Rangers well-versed in the 22 National Parks located right here in Arizona.
The exhibit continues 24 hours a day through January 29, 2017. Visit www.skyharbor.com/museum. Lynn Trimble
Lately, when you don’t see Hasan Minhaj on The Daily Show (as, for example, Senior Congressional Correspondent or Senior Indian Correspondent), the comedian’s probably touring with his solo show, Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King. More storytelling memoir than stand-up, the performance charts the ups and downs of relocating from India to the U.S., social isolation and bullying, romance, family, and finding one’s calling. While the show does impart enlightenment and life lessons, it’s also extremely funny — which you might expect from the person who delivered a report called “Donald Trump: The White ISIS.”
Sit down with Minhaj at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 30, in the Piper Repertory Theater at Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street. Tickets are $35 to $45 at 480-644-6500 or www.mesaartscenter.com. Julie Peterson
It’s no secret that downtown Phoenix has blossomed in recent years. Countless renovations, restorations, and new additions have yielded a vintage redu,x along with a burgeoning urban identity. But if you hop just north of the interstate into Willo and Coronado, things go from urban to urbane in a hurry, although there’s nothing hurried about it. Vinyl Voices: Storytelling & Record Sharing at The Coronado, 2201 North Seventh Street, is one such example. The vinyl crackles and the whiskey flows as locals settle in for a story and selected song from featured community members. The floors might creak, but events like this one offer a peaceful reprieve from the bustling city below. Stop in from 8 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, August 30. You’ll feel right at home during the free, 21-and-over event. Visit www.thecoronadophx.com or call 602-252-1322 for details. Rob Kroehler
All those years of memorizing and practicing the lyrics to “Walk Like an Egyptian” and Blondie’s “Rapture” are finally going to pay off. It’s Ladies '80s – a monthly, literally underground dance party – where DJs spin lady-singer faves like Madonna, Cyndi, Paula, Dolly, Barbra, and Bette. And here’s where we answer your first question: Yes, men are allowed to go.
Doors open at 8 p.m. for the 21-and-over dance party at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue, on Wednesday, August 31. Entrance is free. Be prepared to sing along to Exposé and Berlin with the crowd while sporting multiple headbands – you’ll need them when things turn sweaty.
Arizona's Funniest Comedian
Sure, our neighbors to the west churn out more actors and comedians than Arizona does. But they’ve got Hollywood and roughly six times more residents. That said, some highly notable jokesters have both come from and come to the Valley over the years. Garry Shandling, Robert Schimmel, David Spade, and many more have all hung their proverbial hats here at one point or another. The candidly named Arizona’s Funniest Comedian Contest is an annual attempt to hoist Arizona’s most laudable laugh merchants into the limelight. Stop in to Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive, on Wednesday, August 31, as the state’s saints duke it out in one of several Valley-wide preliminary rounds. This one starts at 8 p.m. Tickets to the 18-and-over event are $10, and there’s a two-drink minimum. Visit www.tempeimprov.com or call 480-921-9877 for details. Rob Kroehler
Jen Kirkman has no idea what Chelsea Handler’s doing these days, and you probably shouldn’t ask. After getting her Hollywood start as a writer and actor on Chelsea Lately, Kirkman successfully struck out on her own — and it’s been keeping her busy. She recently re-released last year’s hilarious Netflix special, I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) as a comedy album, and her second book, I Know What I’m Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself, hit shelves this spring.
Now, the 40-something comedian has returned to her stand-up roots on the club circuit, closing out her summer tour with a five-show appearance at Stand Up Scottsdale featuring all-new material.
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Catch Kirkman on stage at 5101 North Scottsdale Road on Thursday, September 1. The 21-and-over show starts at 7:30 p.m.; a two-item minimum is required (and encouraged). Additional sets will take place throughout the weekend. Tickets are $15 via www.standupscottsdale.com or by calling 480-822-0730. Janessa Hilliard
Patricia Colleen Murphy & Sarah Vap
First Friday on Thursday? Don’t freak out. Instead, get ready for an earlier-than-usual dose of local literature, where two award-winning poets read work from recent books. Patricia Colleen Murphy, founder of Superstition Review, reads poems from Hemming Flames that address topics like addiction and grief. Sarah Vap presents Viability, a book of prose-style poems that explore elements of capitalism. This collection won the 2014 National Poetry Series Award. Words flow at 7 p.m. on September 1 at Changing Hands, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. Admission is free, and the authors’ book prices vary. For details, call 480-730-0205 or visit www.changinghands.com. Amy Young
For most people, paper is an ordinary object with purely practical value. But for artist Melissa Button, it’s one of several art media in a body of work exploring the intersection of order and structure with chaos and nature.
See works reflecting diverse influences from architecture to Chinese culture during the free opening reception for her “Paper Expeditions” exhibition from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, September 1, during the Scottsdale ArtWalk. It’s happening at Tilt Gallery, 7077 East Main Street, where you can also meet the artist.
Through her work, Button seeks to reveal “an underlying beauty and balance that supersedes the individual and is a part of all things.” Clearly, paper has a higher purpose beyond grocery lists and office memos. Visit www.tiltgallery.com. Lynn Trimble