Phoenix Improv Festival
Many talented improvisers from around the United States are flocking to the Valley to join local acts for the Phoenix Improv Festival. From Thursday, April 19 to Saturday, April 21, the event features several showcases of diverse improvisation talent, with such local groups as ImprovMANIA, The Displacers, and Skewed News Hour. Festival favorites include Chicago’s Danny & Arnold, Honey from New York City, and San Diego-based Lipshtick.
For those interested in beginning or developing their own improv talent, workshops will take place throughout the festival. Prices range from free to $50. For more information, locations, and to register, visit phoeniximprovfestival.com. Home base for the event is Herberger Theater, 222 East Monroe Street, where tickets ($14 to $24) are available at the box office and several performances are scheduled to take place. See the Herberger Theater website. Tanner Stechnij
Open Studio and Free Flag-Making Workshop
Flags are a familiar sight for artist Erika Lynne Hanson, an assistant professor of fibers and socially engaged practice at Arizona State University. “I use flags as markers for points of dialogue and discussion,” Hanson says. For an artist residency with Scottsdale Public Art, she will hold an open studio and free flag-making workshop from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at Noriega Stable Livery, 3804 North Brown Street.
It starts with a walk, followed by a talk about what caught participants’ attention, and then attendees can make flags inspired by the urban landscape. Hanson will have fabric, paint, scissors, and other supplies on hand. “My goal is to get people attuned to the landscape rather than just moving through it,” she says. Visit the Scottsdale Public Art website. Lynn Trimble
Nirvana Food and Wine’s Second Annual Festival
Nirvana Food and Wine’s Second Annual Festival brings a blowout slate of events to Sanctuary on Camelback, 5700 East McDonald Drive in Paradise Valley.
Big-name chefs from Arizona and large cold cities will be “headlining.” The lineup of expensive events begins on Thursday, April 19, with a New Orleans-style masquerade featuring food, jazz, and cocktails as the centerpiece. A hurricane of high-end dinners, golf soirees, and champagne-and-fried-chicken events follows, culminating in a brunch that promises “tequila, tequila, and more tequila.” Locally renowned chefs like Matt Taylor, Doug Robson, and Christopher Gross will cook at events throughout, and the festival will wrap up on Sunday, April 22.
See nirvanafoodandwine.com for the lineup of events. You can get a pass to it all for $444, which is more than half the GDP per capita of Burundi. Chris Malloy
Famed Phoenix queen Valentina Knowles hosts The Rock’s
Doors open at 9 p.m. and the drag show featuring a rotating list of guest starts at 10 p.m. For more information visit the Rock website. Tanner Stechnij
One of the explanations behind the popularity of 4/20 starts at a Grateful Dead concert. A flyer that was passed out at one of the band’s shows invited attendees to “meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing.” Thus a smokin’ holiday was born — or at least further popularized.
The best way to celebrate this special day? Hang at Last Exit Live to see one of the region’s best Grateful Dead tribute bands, Xtra Ticket, perform at a 420 Party. Joining the band on guitar will be Dave Hebert of the Jerry Garcia Band. The night lights up at 9 p.m. on Friday, April 20, at 717 South Central Avenue. Tickets are $12 to $15. For more information, visit the Last Exit Live website. Jason Keil
Sprout Film Festival
Since its founding in 2003, the Sprout Film Festival has inspired and informed its audience about the diversity of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This year is no different.
The touring event will make its way back to Tempe once again and will feature 46 short films focused on people with I/DD. By breaking down stereotypes through empowering and carefully created films, the festival will feature the work of filmmakers from around the world highlighting inclusivity of all audiences.
Sprout kicks off on
Arizona Record Label Fest
The countdown to Record Store Day is on. Annually, that’s the day to score specially offered music releases and merchandise at participating record stores. To fuel the energy for the shopping extravaganza, a group of Valley-based record labels
The Arizona Record Label Fest includes five bands and one DJ representing labels President Gator, Slope, Dirty Water, No Affiliation, 80/20, and Cactus Man, who will take the stage to rep their labels and show their skills. Styles will range from local masters of video-game music, Minibosses, to Moonlight Magic, who keep things mellow with their swanky lounge tunes. Mean Motor Scooter, First or Last, Bear
See what some local labels have to offer at 7 p.m. on April 20 at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $5 to $7. Visit the Crescent Ballroom website. Amy Young
Ada Palmer is a true polymath. In addition to her day job as a history professor, the Harvard-educated Palmer performs with the filk group Sassafrass at cons and Ren fairs across the country. She’s also an award-winning science-fiction novelist.
That’s the hat Palmer will be wearing when she visits the Poisoned Pen on Friday, April 20. Palmer will discuss her “Terra Ignota” series, set in a 25th-Century Earth ruled according to Enlightenment philosophy. Alas, all is not for the best in that best of all possible worlds, as a criminal and a spiritualist attempt to hide the existence of God in a society where religion is outlawed.
Palmer’s signing starts at 7 p.m. at 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale. Visit the Poisoned Pen website for more information. Michael Senft
FYI: Trivia Night with Anwar Newton
You might have heard of Anwar Newton, the stand-up fave who hosts recurring shows This Week Sucks, Tonight! or Literally The Worst Show Ever. There’s no denying that the Phoenix-based comedian is good at what he does — and then some. Doubling as a pop-culture wiz, Newton will host a night full of film, TV, and music references, putting your pop-culture IQ to the test with a chance to win prizes and claim yourself a master. Maybe.
Join the fun and challenge Newton during FYI: Trivia Night with Anwar Newton on