Busy season is here, Phoenix. And this week? The Valley's to be seriously busy — and super crowded, too. That's because the NCAA's Final Four is coming to town, and bringing with it thousands of basketball fans. Now, the chances of you getting budget-friendly tickets to one of the games are slim, but there's plenty more to do this week. Here's a look at the best events — from Phoenix Pride and the Final Four fan fest to a Johnny Cash musical and a debut performance by a MacArthur Genius. For more, see New Times' curated calendar.
"LGBTQ: Rights & Justice"
Happy holidays. Yes, Phoenix Pride is a special time of year, and even the flagship branch of the Phoenix library system is joining in on the festivities. “LGBTQ: Rights & Justice” is an all-media art exhibit intended to showcase “the struggle that the LGBTQ community has had to endure to gain justice denied.”
“LGBTQ: Rights & Justice” is an Alwun House Foundation exhibit housed at Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central Avenue, in the North Gallery. This free exhibit will be on display starting Monday, March 27, when hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other features include displays from the Bj Bud Memorial Archives and a screening of Upstairs Inferno until the last day on April 22. Call 602-262-4636, or see the Alwun House website. Lauren Cusimano
The world is massive, right? Did you know that 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population is incarcerated right here in the United States?
That is one of the startling facts explored in 13th by Ava DuVernay, who also directed the critically-acclaimed Selma. The Oscar-nominated documentary takes an intense and critical look at how race, justice, and mass incarceration intersect. DuVernay explores ways that slavery has been perpetuated in this country since the end of the Civil War. The movie also scrutinizes privatized prisons and the related corruption the prison-industrial complex has spawned. A panel discussion follows this informative film, screening at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. Admission is free. Call 602-274-0067 or visit the Changing Hands website. Amy Young
Think all watercolor paintings are muted pastel-color takes on tired old landscapes? A group of Phoenix-area artists working in water-based media wants to change your mind on that. They’re called Watercolor Artists, and they’ve been around since 1993.
They’re showing diverse works by several watercolor artists in the free “Waterworks: Fragments 2017” exhibition at Vision Gallery, 10 East Chicago Street in Chandler. Featured artists include Carol Allen Bentley, Lynda Burruss, Myra Feldman, Nancy L. Herbst, Diane Kent, Lois Meyer, Laurie Sokiveta, and Hazel Stone. Together, they aspire to transcend traditional methodology and composition.
You can explore their work between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28. Leave extra time, and you can stroll nearby streets to enjoy the city’s outdoor sculpture collection. Visit the Vision Gallery website. Lynn Trimble
Thanks to Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, and Sharknado, sharks have become the stuff of nightmares. But the exhibition “Planet Shark: Predator or Prey” offers a different perspective on sharks’ evolution and role in an ocean ecosystem through an immersive, multisensory experience. See models of hammerhead, great white, tiger, and thresher sharks; fossils dating back to 370 million years ago; a shark-cage activity; and information on shark conservation efforts. Hands-on puzzles and games add to the interactive and educational encounter with the elasmobranchs. The exhibit, which runs through Monday, May 29, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the Arizona Science Center, 600 East Washington Street. Cost of entry is $11.95 for adults and $9.95 for children, in addition to general admission tickets priced at $18 for adults and $13 for children ages 3 to 17. Call 602-716-2000 or visit Arizona Science Center's website. Laura Latzko
Ring of Fire
We’d enjoy 38 Johnny Cash hits however we can get ’em, even on a playlist streamed through the stereo of our unnamed hoopty. But it doesn’t have to come to that: The 2005 jukebox musical Ring of Fire is in town. The cast of 10, six of whom tear up guitar, mandolin, fiddle, drums, upright bass, keyboards, accordion, trumpet, and harmonica, embody not just Cash’s music, but the journey of a man who was both more caring and more flawed (not to mention more talented) than strictly necessary.
The score includes “I Walk the Line” and the title tune, as well as the sentimental favorites “Flushed Down the Bathroom of Your Heart” and “Egg Suckin’ Dog.” Arizona Theatre Company’s production runs through Sunday, April 16, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Catch the 7:30 p.m. preview on Thursday, March 30. Tickets are $25 to $85 at Arizona Theatre Company's website or 602-256-6995. Julie Peterson
You might do a double take the first time you see Mark Greenawalt’s artwork. That’s because his canvas is the human body. He’ll be live painting from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, at Lotus Contemporary Art, 7077 Main Street. The gallery relocated to Scottsdale last year after losing its Roosevelt Row art space to development.
While you’re there, check out paintings by gallery owner Denise Fleisch and sculptures by Scott Woodward. Then hit more galleries for Scottsdale Art Walk, before you head home to dig out those old paintbrushes with the special living canvas in your life. Visit Denise Fleisch's website. Lynn Trimble
American Opera Lecture
The American Opera Lecture Series at Arizona Opera reaches its conclusion as Josh Borths, director of education and community engagement for the company, discusses the rise of opera on this side of the Atlantic in the 21st century. This ear-opening event will use rare music and video to demonstrate how the recent production of Riders Of The Purple Sage ties into the traditions set forth by George Gershwin and Scott Joplin. This event is a fundraiser for the Arizona Opera Department of Education.
American Opera Lecture Series: Part 3 takes place on Thursday, March 30, at the Arizona Opera Atrium, 1636 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $20 per lecture; $60 for the entire series. Showtime is 7 p.m. Visit the Arizona Opera website or call 602-266-7464. Jason Keil
Final Four Fan Fest
Despite the best efforts of no-nonsense head coach Bobby Hurley, the ASU men’s basketball program leaves a lot to be desired for local college hoops fans. The Devils haven’t made the tournament in years, and it might be a while before they do. This year, however, hoops fans suffering from the tournament-drought blues have been given the sweetest of reprieves: The Final Four is coming to town.
Even if coveted tickets to a game are out of the budget, the Mecca of collegiate sports, the Final Four Fan Fest, is coming to the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street, from March 31 to April 3. So your brackets busted and that Christian Laettner autograph has eluded you thus far? Redeem yourself at the Fan Fest while being doused with corporate sponsor swag on Friday, March 31, from noon to 8 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults. Visit the NCAA Final Four website or call 602-262-6225 for details. Rob Kroehler
With a warning as convincing as “Be there or be a car-head,” how could you not attend the March Critical Mass Ride?
Hosted by the Critical Mass PHX/Tempe group, the March Critical Mass Ride will meet at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 31 (sticking to the last Friday of the month tradition), at the Third Street entrance to Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road, in the parking lot next to the gate. Be sure to BYO bike (and lights, helmet, and sense of bravery) for this fearlessness-in-the-face-of-traffic outing rolling from 7:30 — giving everybody plenty of time to roll up one pant leg — to 10 p.m.
The ride is free to join. See the Facebook event page for more details. Lauren Cusimano
First, Grant Vetter filled the walls at Bentley Gallery with a bevy of abstract art works. Now, he’s showing more abstract art, in the form of small-scale abstract paintings by Arizona- and California-based artists. See the free “Abstract Miniatures” show between 1 and 4 p.m. on Friday, March 31, at Fine Art Complex 1101, Vetter’s gallery space located at 1101 West University Drive in Tempe.
Featured artists include Rachel Goodwin, whose online video interview with New Times explores her take on art and consumer culture. The show includes works by more than two dozen artists, including local favorites Bill Dambrova and Travis Rice.
“Abstract Miniatures” continues through Saturday, April 15, in case you need a little art therapy come tax time. Visit Fine Art Complex 1101's website. Lynn Trimble
Park of Four Waters Tour
It’s practically irresponsible to live here without learning about the people who used to live across from the Circle K, especially when Pueblo Grande Museum Archaeological Park’s literally on the site of a 15th-century Hohokam village.
On the final Friday of each month, October through April, the museum’s guided Park of Four Waters Tour leads visitors to the remnants of canal systems built by the Hohokam to water crops. The terrain includes undeveloped desert and a railroad grade, so keep mobility in mind when making your plans.
Museum admission is $3 to $6 and free for children younger than 6, and the tour, from 10 to 11 a.m., is an additional $5. Pueblo Grande is at 4619 East Washington Street. Visit the Pueblo Grande Museum website or call 602-495-0901.
If all your knowledge of all that is mystic comes courtesy of Spencer Pratt and his penchant for crystal therapy, it might be time to leave your Hills-founded notions behind. As luck would have it, Fantasia Crystals is hosting a three-part series delving into “tarot, the esoteric meaning of numbers, and symbol interpretation” at 5108 North Seventh Street. Beth Rodriguez leads “Tarot 101” at the shop from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 31. The course begins, fittingly, with the origins of card-reading and the basics of using tarot as a tool. Register for the introductory course by calling 602-277-0538. Cost is $60, and follow-up classes take place the following Fridays. See details at the Facebook event page. Becky Bartkowski
Read on for more of the best events Phoenix has to offer this week.
Members of the LGBTQ community and allies are encouraged to “stand up” and “stand proud” during the annual Phoenix Pride Festival and Parade. Held at Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road, from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and 2, the festival engages different crowds with family-friendly activities, live body painting, entertainment from burlesque dancers and drag performers, and fetish demonstrations.
Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go’s will headline on the festival main stage on Saturday and serve as the celebrity grand marshal during the parade. Other main stage performers include Ninel Conde, Aaron Carter, and America’s Got Talent finalist Brian Justin Crum. The Sunday parade steps off at Third Street and Thomas Road at 10 a.m. Festival admission is $75 for VIP passes, $15 to $20 for one-day admission, $30 to $35 for two-day admission, $12 for seniors 55 and older and youth 13 to 17, free for children under 12 and active military, and $12 for former military. Go to the Phoenix Pride website for more. Laura Latzko
Neil Gaiman doesn’t do book tours anymore, but that doesn’t mean he’s a complete hermit. The award-winning author of The Graveyard Book visits the Mesa Arts Center, One East Main Street, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, for an evening of stories and readings. Tickets range from $35 to $65 and are available at the MAC box office, 480-644-6500, or mesaartscenter.com.
His pop-culture star is still ascending, thanks to the current bestseller, Norse Mythology, and an upcoming TV series on Starz based on his novel American Gods. The novel Good Omens, which he co-wrote with the late Terry Pratchett, is also getting the TV treatment from Amazon later this year.
Gaiman will not be signing afterwards; however, autographed copies of his books are available for order from Changing Hands Bookstore and will be available for pickup at the event. Call 480-730-0205 or visit the Changing Hands website for more information. Michael Senft
Arizona Rattlers vs. Wichita Falls Nighthawks
The Arizona Rattlers have been a consistent bright spot in what has otherwise been a bleak landscape for Valley sports in recent years. So understandably, Rattlers fans held their breath when the team announced their move from the floundering Arena Football League to the stable, more competitive Indoor Football League this past offseason. Sure enough, the snakes struggled initially, losing their first two contests, before getting their slither going with a week-three win against the Colorado Crush.
Still in the season’s early goings, the Rattlers have plenty of time to get back to their winning ways, but it won’t be easy with the undefeated Wichita Falls Nighthawks stopping by Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street, at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 1. Tickets are $4 and up. Visit the Arizona Rattlers website or call 602-379-7800 for details.Rob Kroehler
Release Pool Party
One surefire way to draw out the party crowd is to have a popular DJ provide the soundtrack for a pool party, and the people behind Release figured this out a while ago.
Los Angeles-based DJ and known goofball Dillon Francis kicks off the 2017 Release at The Pool season at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 1, at Talking Stick Resort, 9800 Talking Stick Way in Scottsdale. Hit the pool, or watch that wildman Francis do his thing. Or both.
Tickets start at $30 for standing room only at this 21-and-over event. Reservations for Talking Stick Resort cabana rental packages can be made by calling 866-877-9897. And note, as this is a special event, registered hotel guests do not get complimentary admission. Call 480-850-7777 or visit the Release website. Lauren Cusimano
Choreographer Kyle Abraham is a genius. Just ask the MacArthur Foundation, which gave the New York-based dance artist its coveted Genius Fellowship in 2013. See for yourself, when the Abraham.In.Motion dance company performs an avant première of his new work titled Dearest Home. Basically, that’s a public première for a piece that’s still a work in progress.
Featuring Abraham’s visceral choreography and intimate movement tinged with vulnerability, Dearest Home features mainly solos and duets “generated in conversation and collaboration with people of many ages and subcultures.” Think dance meets demographics. It’s meant to spur cross-cultural conversations and community action.
It’s coming to ASU Gammage, 1200 South Forest Avenue in Tempe, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 1. Tickets are $20. There’s even an after-party with the artists at the Graduate Tempe hotel, 225 East Apache Boulevard, although space is limited. Get tickets and after party details at the ASU Gammage website. Lynn Trimble
You could spend a long evening talking the ear off a hotel desk clerk about your fascinating life, but you might prefer watching someone else do that in Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie, presented by iTheatre Collaborative through Saturday, April 15. Your desk clerk will appreciate it, too.
The 1941 one-act, one of the renowned O’Neill’s last works, stars Greg Lutz as Erie, a bottom-feeding gambler whose audience of choice was the previous clerk. Christopher Haines plays Charlie Hughes, the new guy. The cast or the script alone should get your butt in that seat — the combination sounds even more compelling.
The production’s at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Tickets are $20 at www.itheatreaz.org or 602-252-8497. Showtime on Sunday, April 2, is 2 p.m. Julie Peterson
Miniature Horse Show
Their gentle nature, playfulness, smaller stature, and intelligence make miniature horses ideal animals to show. During the Miniature Horse Association of Arizona’s 30th annual Touch of Class Miniature Horse Show on Saturday and Sunday, April 1 and 2, handlers of all ages will show miniature horses under 34 inches in halter, driving, jumping, costume, liberty, and showmanship classes. Spectators will have the chance to go up to the barns and experience the miniature horses up close throughout the weekend. Each day, Arizona Mini Mystique, a drill team that has appeared in the Tournament of Roses Parade, will entertain crowds with intricate maneuvers to music from Lionel Richie and Pitbull. The shows all start at 8 a.m. at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road, and have free parking and admission. Go to the AZ Minis website for more. Laura Latzko
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La Casa de Inez
Passive theater-going is being replaced, due in part to a new generation of storytellers, including Elisa Gonzales, who co-wrote and co-created a devised theater performance called La Casa de Inez.
Set within the context of Tempe’s first Mexican barrios, it’s conceived as a “personal and historical journey through time and inner space,” which elevates strong women and the relevance of the Latina/Chicana voice. It’s being presented by ¡Habla! AZ, founded by Gonzales in 2014 through ASU’s Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship, and the Tempe History Museum.
See La Casa de Inez at 7 or 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, at the Elias-Rodriguez House, 927 East Eighth Street, Tempe. Tickets are free, but space is limited, and donations will be accepted at the door. Visit ¡Habla! AZ to reserve your space. Lynn Trimble