Spring, that brief, blessed sweet spot on the yearly calendar where the weather is perfect in Arizona, is here. This is no time to stay at home. Get out there and do something fun. Educate and entertain yourself — at the same time. Hit the streets and enjoy mingling with your fellow humans before we all end up living through Stephen King's The Stand.
Here are nine nerdy things you can do in Phoenix this month.
Rosemary's Baby Goes to High SchoolAside Theatre
3508 North Seventh Street
Being a teenager can be hell, but it’s even worse when your dad is from hell. Local playwright Paco Jose Madden imagines a hilarious theatrical sequel to Rosemary’s Baby in which Rosemary and Satan’s bundle of joy tries to navigate the minefield of hellfire and damnation that is high school. Will she fulfill her destiny and become the Antichrist, or will she tell her dad to go to heaven?
Presented by B3 Theatre and Aside Theatre Company, Rosemary’s Baby Goes to High School is running from Friday, March 6, through Sunday, March 22. Tickets are $15 to $20, and available via Aside Theatre. Friday and Saturday shows start at 7 p.m., Sundays at 1:30 p.m., and there's a special Monday "industry night" performance on March 9, at 7 p.m.
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure 35th Anniversary Tour with Paul ReubensArizona Federal Theatre
400 West Washington Street
All you rebels and loners, get on your shiny red bikes and book it to the Arizona Federal Theatre this month: Pee-Wee Herman is coming to town! Paul Reubens is bringing his classic 1985 film to Phoenix on March 7, to celebrate its 35th anniversary. In addition to screening this top-tier Tim Burton joint, Reubens will be on-hand to share stories about the making of the film. Just don't ask him to do the "Tequila" dance.
The screening starts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 7. Ticket prices range from $39.50 to $59.50 and can be purchased via Live Nation.
Dan DeaconCrescent Ballroom
308 North Second Avenue
Imagine a Tasmanian Devil who applied his whirlwind energy and ravenous hunger to composing experimental music, and you've got yourself a Dan Deacon. He's been pushing at the boundaries of music since the early 2000s. After making a splash with 2007's Spiderman of the Rings, Deacon has branched out in unpredictable ways: composing ESPN TV scores, working with ballets and symphonies, and delving deeper into New Age and synth-music. His latest album, Mystic Familiar, is the first to feature his natural singing voice. If you haven't seen Deacon live, it's a trip. He can get a crowd pumped up and moving like a deranged aerobics instructor, encouraging people to get as wiggly as a car lot's inflatable tube man.
Dan Deacon is performing with Treasure MammaL and Ed Schrader’s Music Beat on Tuesday, March 10. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.78 and available via the Crescent Ballroom website.
A God Awful Small Affair: Night at The Black LodgeThe Rebel Lounge
2303 East Indian School Road
The next time somebody tells you that burlesque shows and drag nights are all the same, tell them to go fix their hearts or die. Shows like A God Awful Small Affair aren’t just doing the same old feather-boas and retro-vaudeville routines. Bringing together drag, burlesque, music, and comedy, AGASA brings that early John Waters energy to their shows (but without the dogshit-chewing, thankfully). This month’s show is a Lynch tribute as the performers (Dahlia De La Nuit, Rusty The Clown, Sassy Charming Diaz, Hyperbella, Shantal Reed, Marshall Shore, and host Severely Mame) enter the extra-dimensional Black Lodge and get their freak on. Whether or not they commit so deeply to the bit that they start talking backward — well, you’ll just have to go to the show to find out.
A God Awful Small Affair: Night at The Black Lodge is happening on Wednesday, March 11, at The Rebel Lounge in downtown Phoenix. Doors at 8 pm, show starts at 9 pm. Tickets are $5 to $8 and available via Eventbrite.
Bus Rides to the Tucson Festival of BooksFor aspiring authors, published writers, bookworms, booksellers, and people looking to try out their literary pick-up lines, the Tucson Festival of Books is the place to be. A bustling combination of street fair and conference, it's an annual celebration of the written word. If you don't feel like putting mileage on your car to go to Tucson, you're in luck: The fine folks at Changing Hands have got you covered. Both locations are hosting round-trip bus rides to the Tucson Festival of Books. Buy a ticket, show up on the morning of Saturday, March 14, and they'll whisk you away for a day of bookish delights.
Meetup time for the Phoenix store is 6:45 a.m., and the Tempe store will start loading up at 7:15 a.m. The bus is scheduled to arrive at the Tucson Festival of Books around 9:30 a.m. and will depart back to Phoenix around 5:45 p.m. that day. Tickets for the trip cost $65, which includes coffee, water, continental breakfast, and a swag pack with advanced copies of forthcoming books. Tickets can be purchased in advance via Changing Hands.
Ladies on Fire XIAlwun House
1204 East Roosevelt Street
To paraphrase a popular tune: This girl is on fire! And this one. And this one. And that one over there. At the Alwun House, all the ladies are on fire on March 14, burning up with artistic intensity and a desire to thrill the crowd as part of the venerable gallery’s annual Ladies on Fire variety show. Originally started at the Firehouse Gallery (R.I.P.) as part of its Firestage series, Ladies on Fire is organized by underground theater maestros Sheri Amourr, Ernesto Moncada, and the Alwun House. The 14th edition of the event brings together a dizzying variety of female performers from the worlds of poetry, comedy, burlesque, dance, music, and performance art, to come together for an evening of fiery performances.
Ladies on Fire XI is happening on Saturday, March 14 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 day of the show, and are available via the Alwun House website.
OldboyAlamo Drafthouse Cinema
1140 East Baseline Road, Tempe
Thanks to Parasite’s many well-deserved Oscar wins, the mainstream is finally catching up with a truth that cinephiles have known for years: South Korean cinema ain’t nuthin’ to fuck with. The country has been producing astonishing films for decades — films like Chan-wook Park’s brutal and haunting revenge flick Oldboy. While it's well known for its brilliantly choreographed hallway fight scene and bone-crunching (and ear-stabbing) violence, it’s also a very funny film. We'd defy anyone to watch actor Choi Min-sik devour a live octopus on camera and not crack up over the horrific absurdity of the scene.
Oldboy screens at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, March 18, at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Tempe. Tickets are $7 via the theater's website.
Bird City Comedy Festival 2020Unexpected Gallery
734 West Polk Street
If comedians were wild animals, what would you call a group of them? A flock? A bill? A kvetch? Whatever you’d call them, these birds of a comic feather will be flocking together at the Bird City Comedy Festival. This year’s BCCF will take place at a centralized location (Unexpected Gallery), assembling a murderers’ row of local and national comics for three days of funny-bone-shattering good times. It’s not just all stand-up shows, either. You can expect oddball formats like the beloved Storrs Objection and other shows that mix a little storytelling, improv, and variety weirdness in with the tight-five comedy sets and crowd work.
Bird City Comedy Festival is happening on Thursday, March 26, through Saturday, March 28. A three-day pass for the fest is $75 and available via Bird City Comedy Festival.
Bechdel 3.0: Beyond the TestTempe Center for the Arts
700 West Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe
The Valley’s theater scene is full of prolific female playwrights, perceptive directors, and talented actresses looking for places to shine and to help them develop work that speaks to and through their experiences. The local organization The Bridge Initiative has been helping these artists hone their craft. One of their big events is their Bechdel Festival. It highlights work that doesn’t just pass the famous “Bechdel Test” of two women talking to each other about something other than men, but goes far beyond that criterion. This year’s event will feature three plays: a musical called Fabulous Monsters by Diana Burbano (music by Moises Vazquez), Glory by N.N. Ewing, and Susan Cinoman’s Guinevere (which tells the story of Camelot from the queen’s point of view).
The Bechdel 3.0 Festival is happening on Saturday, March 28. Fabulous Monsters is at 11 a.m., Glory at 1:30 p.m., and Guinevere at 4 p.m. You can buy individual tickets for each play, or get all admission to all three in a discounted bundle. Prices range from $12 for one play to $25 for all three. Tickets can be purchased via the Tempe Center for the Arts.