New Year's Eve 2011: What to Do and Where to Go on the Last Night of the Year

As far as year's go, 2011 wasn't one of the best. Sure, getting our mitts on Tom Waits' latest album was pretty sweet, but we coulda lived without the major tragedies and the never-ending financial nightmare. We're eager for this year to end, but not before we send it out on a positive note with a memorable New Year's Eve. If you're also hoping for high jinks and high adventure as you toast Auld Lang Syne, check out the list of potent parties taking place around the Valley on Saturday, December 31.


Celebrity Theatre
440 N. 32nd St.
Fans of Mötley Crüe and Van Halen won't wanna miss KUPD's New Year's Eve affair starring tribute acts Motley, Inc. and The Atomic Punks. Doors are at 8 p.m.; $5 general admission, $10 reserved seating. Call 602-267-1600.

The Compound
Farmer Avenue & University Drive, Tempe
More than 60 artists (including The Molten Brothers, Lalo Cota, Colton Brock, and Jenny Ignaszewski) will participate in the art and culture extravaganza "Maybe 2012 Will Be Better." Local bands like Biologia, Playboy Man Baby, North Dakota, and others will perform throughout the evening. 8 p.m., $10.

Fiesta Bowl Block Party
Mill Avenue, Downtown Tempe

There really are only two types of people in Phoenix on New Year’s Eve: Those who will spend the evening at the and everyone else. An estimated 20,000 folks will descend upon Mill Ave to while away the waning hours of 2011. Highlights include a mini-museum of rock ’n’ roll history, magic shows, BMX demonstrations, carnival rides, and EDM dance club, drink vendors, and a food court. The live music lineup includses Gin Blossoms as the block party’s featured band, as well as Sawyer Brown, Kelley James, and The Jeff Clay Band. Gates open at 5 p.m. Admission is $20 (with $16 discount tickets available at Safeway stores). See

Fort McDowell Casino
10424 N. Fort McDowell Rd., Fort Mcdowell
Enjoy free appetizers, party favors, a free champagne toast at midnight, and music from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the Lucky 7 Saloon from The Whip-its. Call 602-843-3678.

Goblin King New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball
815 North Second Street

The 1980s were an awesome time to be an aficionado of fantasy films. Besides epic adventures like Dragonslayer, The Beastmaster, or Clash of the Titans, the era of parachute pants and President Reagan produced such memorable cinematic escapes as Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and Legend. The latter three films (as well as Willow and The Princess Bride) will be celebrated during the Goblin King New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball on Saturday, December 31. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed as creatures and characters from the flicks. Meanwhile, upbeat ’80s alternative and pop tunes will be played in a “decked-out ballroom,” Djentrification will offer beats in the lounge area, and Futurekind and dancers from the Scottsdale AZ Jazz Ensemble will perform. The 21-and-over (sorry, cosplay kiddies) event starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $15. Call 602-595-9187.

Hotel Valley Ho
6850 E. Main St., Scottsdale
The iconic hotel will host a "Shake & Twist Like '56" Bash featuring a four-course repast with Grey Goose and Henriot Champagnes pairings, '50s and current hits from DJ P-Body, and a midnight champagne toast on the rooftop. Seatings are at 6:30 p.m. ($95 per person) and 9:30 p.m. ($125 per person). Reservations reccomended. Call 480-248-2000.

Montelucia Resort & Spa
4949 E. Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale
Radio Junket and DJ XXXclusive will be the featured entertainment at the resort's New Year's Eve gala, which also promises dancing, champagne, and more. 7 p.m.; $45-$75 for general admission, $1,500 for VIP entry. Call 480-627-3200.

Orpheum Theatre
203 W. Adams St.
It wouldn't be Auld Lang Syne without a concert by perennial New Year's Eve favorite Jerry Riopelle, who will present an evening of his blues-rock hits with support from Garland Jeffreys. 9 p.m. $45-$100. Call 480-784-4444 or visit

Stand Up Live
50 W. Jefferson St.
Comedian and actor Christopher Titus performs two sets. 7 and 10 p.m., $30-$65. Call 480-719-6100.

The Marquee Theatre
730 N. Mill Ave., Tempe
Jason DeVore and the boys from Mesa's Authority Zero will be celebrating New Year's Eve in front of a hometown crowd with an evening of ska-punk along with the Voodoo Glow Skulls. Valley bands Lookoutlook, Inept Hero, and Riot Act are also scheduled to appear. 6 p.m., $22. Call 480-829-0707.

Scottsdale's Ultimate Block Party
Craftsman Court, Scottsdale
The Old Town fete mixes champagne, cocktails, and bands aplenty, as well as the usual staples, like a fireworks show at midnight. Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers headline the main stage, which also includes performances by Veragroove and The Black Moods. Various food, beverage, and street vendors also will be on hand. 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door. See

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.