Best Things to Do This Weekend: Big Freedia, Star Wars Pinball, “Figuratively Strasburger”

Dawn Marie reads at The Whole Story: Part III.
Dawn Marie reads at The Whole Story: Part III. Rachel Egboro
The weekend is here, Phoenix. Whether you wanna spend it bouncing with Big Freedia, hearing The Whole Story at Phoenix Art Museum, perusing the work of Tucson artist George Strasburger, or playing in Skee-Ball a competition, there's something for you. For more things to do, visit the New Times' curated calendar.

The Whole Story: Part III
Since January, Phoenix has been energized by quarterly storytelling evenings that represent the black community, thanks to The Whole Story and Phoenix Art Museum. Fostering both solidarity and outreach, the performances are curated and coached (as is typical for live literature) and relate events of the tellers’ lives in engaging and entertaining ways.

click to enlarge
Get ready to roll.
Megan Lundquist
In The Whole Story: Part III, on Friday, August 4, director Rachel Eseoghene Egboro (The Storyline) will draw from her experience, along with featured storytellers Sentari Minor, Floyd Galloway, Tina Brown, Dawn Marie Klecka, and Candice Tolliver. It’s a diverse set of worldviews, informed by the lives of teachers, activists, artists, consultants, journalists, and others.

The program is described as “PG-13” and begins at 7:30 p.m. at 1625 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $10. Call 602-257-1880 or visit the Phoenix Art Museum website. Julie Peterson

’90s Party and Skee-Ball Tournament
The Phoenix Fray, a social sports-league group, is pulling together two things for one party: 1990s nostalgia and Skee-Ball.

Visit Bevvy, 4420 North Saddlebag Trail, #100, in Scottsdale, for the two-in-one ’90s Party and Skee-Ball Tournament. Arrive ready to dance the night away (and battle it out, arcade-style) starting at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 4. Each six-person team gets two kegs at the start of the Skee-Ball throwdown — and the chance to win a cash prize. Registration for the competition is $10 per team at the Phoenix Fray website. Admission for the party is free. Lindsay Roberts

Melody Knudson, David Magadan, and Chavez Benally are [sic].
Kim See
Just as a black box theater is a small, modest space where things get experimental, your 20s can find you in a teensy apartment, trying out life skills, not always successfully. Playwright Melissa James Gibson, currently known for projects such as Netflix’s House of Cards, penned an Obie-winning script, [sic], about that very situation. Mesa Encore Theatre’s Black Box Series presents the play through Sunday, August 20.

Three young neighbors, struggling with career and personal stuff, make and break connections as they dwell behind their own walls yet within mere feet of one another. That’s kind of metaphorical.

Showtime on Friday, August 4, is 7:30 p.m. at 933 East Main Street. Tickets are $15. Visit the Mesa Encore Theatre website or call 480-834-9500. Julie Peterson

See Tucson artist George Strasburger's works at Alwun House.
Courtesy of George Strasburger
“Figuratively Strasburger”
Tucson artist George Strasburger paints men in vulnerable and exposed poses that contrast with our preconceived notions of masculinity in society. His exhibition “Figuratively Strasburger” uncovers a style resembling that of beat photographer Robert Frank in his classic book The Americans. Each stroke of the artist’s paintbrush strips away layers of virility to expose an isolation and tension you won’t find on the covers of Esquire and GQ.

See “Figuratively Strasburger” at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 4, at Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt Street. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Alwun House website. Jason Keil

Mas Lucha
There’s no spectator sport more fun than Mexican wrestling. Time to grab a ticket and join the ringside fun.

Lucha Libre Arizona’s Mas Lucha includes multiple bouts, which means more masks, a parade of colorful tights, and endless entertainment. These lively competitions feature luchadores (wrestlers) who utilize an array of outlandish and sometimes pretty crazy moves in order to become victorious. Whether they’re tossing one another through the air or bouncing off the ropes of the ring, it’s a blast from start to finish.

The family-friendly acrobatic matches start at 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 5, at AWF Arena, 5658 North 51st Avenue in Glendale. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids. Premium seats are available for $13. Visit the Facebook event page. Amy Young

click to enlarge
See the iconic photos by the Kolb brothers.
Courtesy of NAU Cline Library, Kolb Collection
The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon
Hardly a visit to the Grand Canyon goes by without a mention or a glimpse of iconic photographs taken by the Kolb brothers.

From a photography studio on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Ellsworth and Emery Kolb risked the elements to capture scenic snapshots of the stunning tourist spot in the early 1900s. Travel writer Roger Naylor tells the colorful duo’s story in his beautifully illustrated book The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon, a well-researched chronicle of how the siblings took chances time and time again to capture Arizona’s history.

Naylor shares his book at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 8, at Changing Hands, 300 West Camelback Road. Admission is free. Visit the Changing Hands website for more details. Jason Keil

click to enlarge
Ron May will (potentially) get turnt at the roast in his honor.
Eric Thurnbeck
Roast of Ron May
Stray Cat Theatre’s been a beloved institution since 2001. Founding artistic director Ron May is the company’s face, guts, and heart. Theater’s a collaborative art, you’d be nowhere without your teammates, blah blah blah, and May would be the first to point that out. But there’s just something about the guy.

So his close friends and colleagues will say terrible things about him during the Roast of Ron May, an evening of luau-themed dining and Stray Cat fundraising. Joe Kremer leads a panel including Cathy Dresbach, Brooke Unverferth, and Kerry Lengel. Auctions and a raffle-like game called Tops or Bottoms (perhaps not what you think) round out the festivities.

No-host cocktails and mingling begin at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 5, at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix Airport, 427 North 44th Street. Admission is $75, or $25 without dinner. Tickets and opportunities to be more generous are at the Stray Cat Theatre website or 480-227-1766. Julie Peterson

This hip-hop dance crew called Outlawz is based in Gilbert.
Hip Hop International
World Hip Hop Dance Championship
Check out dancers taking hip-hop to the next level when the World Hip Hop Dance Championship hits the Valley.

American dancers will compete in preliminary adult and mega-crew divisions on Saturday, August 5, during the U.S.A. Hip Hop Championship at Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, 8000 South Arizona Grand Parkway.

A $25 ticket gets you into preliminary competitions for the adult division, which runs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., and the mega-crew division, which runs from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Competitors include the Elektrolytes of Chandler. Visit the Hip Hop International website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
See what happens when ocean forms hit the desert streets at Eye Lounge.
Danielle Wood
“Symbiosis: Urbanity and the Natural Landscape”
Danielle Wood recently took her ocean-inspired ceramic art on the road. For the artist’s latest exhibition, “Symbiosis: Urbanity and the Natural Landscape,” she’s displaying photographs blending natural and urban landscapes accompanied by a wave-like installation of her ceramic forms.

Some photographs show her sculptural pieces placed around the city, in sites ranging from a light rail stop to a graffiti wall. Others show them in outdoor settings free from human constructions. It’s Wood’s way of exploring the interface of organic and manmade landscapes. But it also pays homage to the community.

See the free exhibition from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 5, at Eye Lounge, 419 East Roosevelt. Visit the Eye Lounge website. Lynn Trimble

Bounce it big with Freedia.
Courtesy of Big Freedia
Big Freedia
When music scholars write the history of bounce music, we’d bet Big Freedia will get her due as the artist who pushed the genre into the spotlight after years underground. That probably has something to do with Freedia’s numerous festival appearances or the popular Fuse reality program Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce. Beyoncé even sampled Freedia on the single “Formation.”

On Saturday, August 5, Freedia will bring her brand of bounce to the Valley to raise awareness about HIV in the black community.

Freedia is scheduled to perform at the Because We Care 2017 Music Series at 7:15 p.m. at The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, 1101 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $25 and up. For more information, visit the Big Freedia website. Jason Keil

Memories of a previous 24-Hour Theatre Project suggest high jinks to come.
Courtesy of Phoenix Theatre
24-Hour Theatre Project
We’ve described Phoenix Theatre’s annual 24-Hour Theatre Project as “vicarious torture,” “manic,” “moving and hysterical,” and “always popular.” All 100 percent accurate and objective. Normally part of the springtime Caleb Reese Festival of New Plays and Musicals, the project revisits its historic midsummer time slot this year, providing something phenomenal to do in August.

It’s a snowball of creativity, starting with a band of clueless actors and playwrights and crashing into an evening of new 10-minute plays, memorized and fully staged. You’ll have no idea what you’re going to see, but it should comfort you to know that mere hours ago, the writers and cast were in the same boat. The results tend to include a lot of laughs and “hold my beer” moments.

Watch what happens at 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 6, at 100 East McDowell Road. Tickets are $10 at 602-254-2151 or the Phoenix Theatre website. Julie Peterson

Watch actor Val Kilmer completely become Mark Twain.
Courtesy of Standup Live
Cinema Twain
Acting hits its most magical peak when one person seamlessly transforms into another. It’s especially good when it’s kind of hard to fathom, like actor Val Kilmer completely becoming author Mark Twain. Let him tell you what that was like at this film screening.

Join Kilmer at the Cinema Twain event for a screening of his one-man show, Citizen Twain, where he stars as the legendary author. The show offers insight about Twain’s life, as well as his rigid, and often humorous, perspectives. Kilmer performed the play at different theaters around Los Angeles, often to sold-out crowds. He will introduce the 90-minute movie and conduct a question-and-answer with the audience following the screening. See Kilmer at his 19th-century best at 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 6, at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Admission is $30 for guests 18 and older. There’s a two-drink minimum. Call 480-719-6100 or visit the Stand Up Live website. Amy Young

Geeks welcome.
Benjamin Leatherman
Star Wars Launch Party & Pinball Tournament
If you’re a pinball-playinStar Wars fanatic, you might think Tilt Studio’s Star Wars Launch Party & Pinball Tournament was created just for you. But actually, Tilt’s hosting the bash in honor of Stern Pinball launching its new Star Wars game. Attendees are encouraged to dress in their best Star Wars threads and enter a first-to-play contest. Getting to touch that machine before your friends could put you in an enviable position.

Form a group and compete in the Three-Strike Pinball Tournament for prizes and trophies. Geeky gamer fun happens from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 6, at Tilt Studio in the Arizona Mills Mall, 5000 Arizona Mills Circle, #669, in Tempe. Admission is free, and food and drink specials are available. Call 480-648-1222 or visit the Facebook event page. Amy Young

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young