Explore an exhibit of LGBT issues at the library.
Explore an exhibit of LGBT issues at the library. Holly Shoemaker
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

Dive into art with watercolor works at Vision Gallery in Chandler. - PHOTO COURTESY OF VISION GALLERY
Dive into art with watercolor works at Vision Gallery in Chandler.
Photo courtesy of Vision Gallery
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

See Mark Greenawalt transform the human body into a canvas at Lotus Contemporary Art. - MARK GREENAWALT
See Mark Greenawalt transform the human body into a canvas at Lotus Contemporary Art.
Mark Greenawalt
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

click to enlarge Take a bite out of science. - COURTESY OF THE ARIZONA SCIENCE CENTER
Take a bite out of science.
Courtesy of the Arizona Science Center
"Planet Shark"
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

click to enlarge It’s a can-al, not a can’t-al, on the Park of Four Waters Tour. - COURTESY OF PUEBLO GRANDE MUSEUM
It’s a can-al, not a can’t-al, on the Park of Four Waters Tour.
Courtesy of Pueblo Grande Museum
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

click to enlarge Rendering for the set of Arizona Opera's Riders of the Purple Sage. - ARIZONA OPERA
Rendering for the set of Arizona Opera's Riders of the Purple Sage.
Arizona Opera
"Body Art"
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

Ride on.
David Robles
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

click to enlarge Performance artists explore their own personal and ancestral histories as Elisa Gonzales directs La Casa de Inez. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ASU HERBERGER INSTITUTE FOR DESIGN AND THE ARTS
Performance artists explore their own personal and ancestral histories as Elisa Gonzales directs La Casa de Inez.
Photo courtesy of ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
Critical Mass
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

click to enlarge Performance artists explore their own personal and ancestral histories as Elisa Gonzales directs La Casa de Inez. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ASU HERBERGER INSTITUTE FOR DESIGN AND THE ARTS
Performance artists explore their own personal and ancestral histories as Elisa Gonzales directs La Casa de Inez.
Photo courtesy of ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
"Abstract Miniatures"
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

click to enlarge Greg Lutz (foreground) stars in Hughie. - ITHEATRE COLLABORATIVE
Greg Lutz (foreground) stars in Hughie.
iTheatre Collaborative
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.

"Tarot 101"
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.
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski
Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Rob is a Phoenix native, husband, dad, and an active member in the local music scene. He's written original songs for feature films.
Contact: Rob Kroehler
Laura Latzko
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
Michael runs the Sci-Fridays Book Club at the Poisoned Pen, and volunteers at local pop-culture conventions. He can be found at the occasional prog-rock concert.
Contact: Michael Senft
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