It's not a bad thing to go to Hell City.
It's not a bad thing to go to Hell City.
Susumu Kumatsu

21 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Hey Phoenix, need plans? This week, you can see the comedy duo behind the podcast Tuesdays With Stories, get weird with the ASU Art Museum, or get an eyeful of killer ink at Hell City. For more things to do, see New Times' curated calendar of events.

Phoenix Mercury vs. Los Angeles Sparks
For Phoenix Mercury fans, the WNBA season is about the only thing that blows by quickly during these summer days. But don’t tell that to Brittney Griner.

The team’s towering center was well on her way to becoming the new face of the Merc — who have long touted veteran Diana Taurasi as the centerpiece of the franchise — before suffering a knee injury that sidelined her for eight games, an eternity in WNBA time.

Luckily, the team eked out a few wins while Griner was out, keeping them comfortably in the playoff race. But with just four games remaining in the season, it’s a safe bet that Griner and Co. will be looking to fast-track their postseason preparations. A 6 p.m. matchup against the dangerous Los Angeles Sparks at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street, on Thursday, August 24, should do just the trick. Tickets are $9 and up. Visit the Mercury website or call 602-379-2055 for details. Rob Kroehler

Make friends with Marc Norman and Joe List at Tuesdays with Stories.
Make friends with Marc Norman and Joe List at Tuesdays with Stories.
Courtesy of Tuesdays With Stories

Tuesdays With Stories
Tuesdays are dreadfully far from the weekend. But thankfully, there are some events that can liven up that front part of the week. The podcast Tuesdays With Stories is one of those things.

The show is making a local stop to record a live episode. The weekly podcast is hosted by New York comedians and friends Mark Norman and Joe List. The goal is to keep you laughing with true and hilarious stories, and each week they deliver new ones. Comedian pals sometimes join them.

Though the podcast drops on Tuesdays, you can be part of the action at 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 24, at Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive. Admission to the 18-and-older event is $20, and a two-drink minimum is required. Call 480-921-9877 or visit the Tempe Improv website. Amy Young

Head to the Ellis-Shackelford House for a historic home fix.EXPAND
Head to the Ellis-Shackelford House for a historic home fix.
Lynn Trimble

“The House is a Heart: Why Historic Homes Matter”
All eyes may be on Burton Barr Central Library, thanks to recent devastating storm damage. But just across the street is another important community resource. It’s the century-old Ellis-Shackelford House, located at 1242 North Central Avenue, which serves as the headquarters of Arizona Humanities. That’s the state affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities, which works to convey the lessons of history to all Americans.

On Thursday, August 24, Arizona Humanities hosts “The House Is a Heart: Why Historic Homes Matter,” a free discussion with Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The talk runs from 6 to 8 p.m., and it’s all about the role historic structures play in thriving communities. Learn more and RSVP at the AZ Humanities website. Lynn Trimble

Get Lit(erary).
Get Lit(erary).
Airi Katsuta

Phoenix Poetry Slam
Save it, football season. We prefer a face-off like the Phoenix Poetry Slam, when 10 Valley-based poets will compete for a $50 cash prize. Hosted at Megaphone PHX, 4700 North Central Avenue, #112, this all-ages poetry slam from Lawn Gnome Publishing already has poets like Delaney Kranz, Kyrin Veritas, Courtney Kennedy, and Luke Amargo signed up.

The slam goes from 8 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, August 24. Tickets are $12 the night of the event. Tickets and more information are available at the Lawn Gnome publishing website or the Facebook event page. Lauren Cusimano

Setting off down the Grand Canyon's Bright Angel Trail toward Phantom Ranch Canteen.
Setting off down the Grand Canyon's Bright Angel Trail toward Phantom Ranch Canteen.

National Park Service Birthday
Arizona’s national parks and monuments offer sights you can’t see anywhere else, including the majestic Grand Canyon and stunning Petrified Forest. Besides taking in the scenery, visitors can go exploring, hiking, boating, or fishing, and learn about the state’s history, plants, and wildlife.

On Friday, August 25, you can visit the state’s national parks and monuments for free as part of the National Park Service Birthday. Developed to conserve and protect such spaces, the park service started in 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed an act forming the organization. Other key figures, including President Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Stephen Mather played roles in the establishment and growth of the national organization.

In honor of the annual day of celebration, national parks in Arizona will waive entrance and vehicle fees for the day. Camping, reservation, and tour fees aren’t included. For more information about Arizona’s national parks, visit the NPS website. Laura Latzko

It's probably going to get weird.
It's probably going to get weird.
Lamp Left Media/Courtesy of ASU Art Museum

Get Weird
Remember the “mystery flavor” Dum Dums sucker? The wrapper was all purple and enticing, with little question marks all over it. Well, that’s exactly the vibe ASU Art Museum is going for with Get Weird.

You know about its Escape the Museum events? This is supposed to be bigger, badder, and, as you might’ve guessed, weirder. No one is giving away any details beyond that. Though we can tell you there’s free admission, free food, games, and photo ops galore.

Get Weird from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, August 25, at 51 East 10th Street in Tempe. Attendees are asked to register at Event Brite. For more information (good luck with that), call 480-965-2787 or see the ASU Art Museum website. Lauren Cusimano

The bar for admission to The Cemetery Club is relatively high.
The bar for admission to The Cemetery Club is relatively high.
Mark Gluckman

The Cemetery Club
The three old friends who constitute The Cemetery Club are widows who meet for tea each month before visiting their husbands’ graves. This sounds, frankly, like a rockin’ social event: Tea is good, friends are good, and we probably wouldn’t have cemeteries if people didn’t want to visit them. (Not nice cemeteries, anyway.)

But every person compares themself to others to some degree, so our Queens-dwelling heroines, Ida, Doris, and Lucille, are a tad competitive about who’s grieving/moving on better. Throw in an eligible man (a butcher, yet!), and insecurities rage, to often comic effect.

In 1993, Ivan Menchell’s play became a niche film featuring Olympia Dukakis, Danny Aiello, Diane Lane, and Ellen Burstyn. The stage version continues at Theatre Artists Studio through Sunday, September 17. Visit the Studio website or call 602-765-0120. Julie Peterson

It's not a bad thing to go to Hell City.
It's not a bad thing to go to Hell City.
Susumu Kumatsu

Hell City Tattoo Festival
Back in the day, the ultimate comeback when instructed to “go to hell” was to reply, “I’ve been there and I was so bad that I got kicked out.” Here’s an opportunity to go to hell and see what kind of mischief you can get into, as the annual Hell City Tattoo Festival is upon us.

Minus a break last year, the event has happened annually in the Valley since 2007. Hosted by Columbus, Ohio, tattoo artist Durb Morrison and crew, the three-day tattoo fest gives visitors a chance to get permanently adorned by artists from around the world. There are also contests, live music, live painting, vendors, and seminars.

Have inky, devilish fun from noon to 11 p.m. on Friday, August 25, at the Arizona Biltmore, 2400 East Missouri Avenue. Admission is $25, or $22 for presale tickets. Two-day and weekend passes are available. The event runs through Sunday, August 27. Visit the Hell City Tattoo Festival website. Amy Young

Beth Cato
Valley steampunk author Beth Cato is back with Call of Fire, the sequel to her Dragon Award-nominated fantasy, Breath of Earth. Set in an alternate America in 1906, where Japan and the U.S. are allied against the Chinese, the novel follows the powerful geomancer Ingrid Carmichael as she flees the wreckage of post-earthquake San Francisco in search of the magical diplomat, Theodore Roosevelt.

Joining her are Cy, the pacifist son of a munitions manufacturer; Lee, the missing heir to the Chinese imperial throne; and Fenris, a transgender airship mechanic. Hunted by a powerful Japanese fox spirit, Ingrid must come to terms with her growing power and mysterious family tree.

Cato will be signing copies of Call of Fire at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 26, at the Barnes and Noble Desert Ridge, 21001 North Tatum Boulevard. Paperback copies are $14.99. For more information, call 480-538-8520. Michael Senft

Fight Party
On Saturday, August 26, the greatest boxer alive will battle a man who has zero professional boxing experience. Each will walk away with millions.

Understandably, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. is heavily favored in The Money Fight, but mixed martial arts fans are salivating at the thought of their champ — Conor McGregor — beating the world’s best boxer at his own game. To be fair, Mayweather wouldn’t last a hot Vegas minute in an MMA fight against McGregor. And surviving two rounds in Mayweather’s domain will be a victory of sorts for the brash Irishman, though he’d never admit it.

Catch the carnage of Mayweather versus McGregor at Bar Smith’s Fight Party, 130 East Washington Street, from 2 to 11 p.m. Tickets to the 21-and-over event are $45. Visit the Bar Smith website or call 602-465-1991 for details. Rob Kroehler

Read on for more of the best things to do in metro Phoenix this week.

Who will take home the crown?
Who will take home the crown?
Melissa Fossum

Miss Native American USA Pageant
Pageantry isn’t defined by one look, body type, or personality. Different qualities, including a community-driven spirit and openness in sharing one’s culture and learning about others, make a strong titleholder, particularly in the Miss Native American USA Pageant.

During the sixth annual pageant on Saturday, August 26, Ashley Nailihn Susan of the White Mountain Apache and Walker River Paiute tribes will step down as a new winner is crowned. The contestants, who hail from different states and tribal communities, will compete for the title and scholarships. The pageant takes place at Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center, 1520 South Longmore. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the pageant starts at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students. For more information, see the Miss Native American USA website. Laura Latzko

Yes, Ogasawara is about a wedding. But it’s also about dynamite fishing. So something for everybody.EXPAND
Yes, Ogasawara is about a wedding. But it’s also about dynamite fishing. So something for everybody.
Frame from Ogasawara, directed by Tato Kotetishvili, courtesy of No Festival Required

Rural Route Film Festival
Created in 2003, NYC’s Rural Route Film Festival has become a three-day binge celebrating movies from all over the planet that don’t take place in big cities. Documentaries, animations, and films fictional and fantastical focus on farmers, flora and fauna, folkies, fishermen, faraway stars, natural disasters, coal miners, and various quirky hermits.

Each year, festival organizers send a Best Of program of shorts out into the world, and it visits Phoenix on Saturday, August 26, courtesy of No Festival Required.

The current program spotlights, among other things, heirloom seed preservation, scallop diving off Maine, and the mysterious science of starling murmurations, the eerily perfect Blue Angels-like choreography of massive flocks.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. screening at Phoenix Center for the Arts’ Third Street Theater, 1202 North Third Street. Advance tickets are $10 at the No Festival Required website. Day-of seats go for $12, or $11 to students with ID. Julie Peterson

Law lovers and movie buffs welcome.
Law lovers and movie buffs welcome.
Courtesy of Phoenix Educational Programming

The Storrs Objection: Film
Films about lawyers are known for their dramatic courtroom monologues. Now, comedians will turn this trope on its head in The Storrs Objection: Film, which takes place on the Kax Stage at the Herberger Theater Center. The show draws on local comedian Matt Storrs’ legal experience to confrontationally cross-examine stand-up comics about the humorous monologues they have written about movies. Storrs’ co-counsel will be Broadway legend “Patti LuPone.” The evening of hilarity should appeal to law buffs and movie lovers alike.

Laugh like you’re guilty at 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 26, at 222 East Monroe Street. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit the Herberger Theater website. Jason Keil

How pompadorable.EXPAND
How pompadorable.
Tara O. Photos

Sip & Shop Sundays
Shopping for a retro wardrobe is fun, but you’ll have to make a lot of stops to check out all the rad vintage shops in town. That is, unless you attend Sip & Shop Sundays at DeSoto Central Market, 915 North Central Avenue.

Also known as the PinUp PopUp, this retro and vintage-inspired marketplace and shopping event brings together vintage and retro reproduction clothing and handmade items like jewelry, dresses, and upcycled accessories.

You can shop, sip cocktails, and grab lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 27. Sip & Shop Sundays: PinUp PopUp is hosted by Tara O. Photos (a Valley pinup portrait photographer), and entry is free. For more information, see the Facebook event page. Lauren Cusimano

Imperial Assault Championship
You may have heard of Dungeons & Dragons, The Settlers of Catan, or Ticket to Ride. But what about Imperial Assault?

The Star Wars-themed board game was released in 2014 and features role-playing gameplay. If you’re ready to get down and nerdy, get to Imperial Outpost, 4920 West Thunderbird Road, #121, in Glendale, for the Imperial Assault Championship. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 27, gather your troops for a board game beatdown. Admission is $20. For more info, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

See contemporary art infused with wonder at ASU’s Gallery 100.
See contemporary art infused with wonder at ASU’s Gallery 100.
Courtesy of ASU

“Good Wonder”
Weary of contemporary art that’s cold and pretentious, artist Lily Montgomery curated an exhibition that’s all about revealing a world filled with wonder. “Good Wonder” features artists who work in the language of myth, beauty, and self-contained truths. You can see the exhibition on Monday, August 28, from noon to 5 p.m. It’s on view at ASU’s Gallery 100, located inside Suite 199 at 951 South Mill Avenue in Tempe, near the ASU Art Museum.

More than a dozen artists will show works that counter the mechanization of everyday life with magic, awe, and humility. They include Elijah Bourque, Camilla Galofre, Bill Dambrova, Ryan Perra, and the Dream Collective Agency. The free art show continues through Friday, September 1. Visit the ASU Events page. Lynn Trimble

Stan Lee Tribute Screening
If you’re into comics and superheroes but don’t know who Stan Lee is, you probably deserve to have doors to comic book stores close and lock upon your arrival.

Learn about him at the Stan Lee Tribute Screening. The movie is a recording of a live event hosted by comedian Chris Hardwick. It examines the life of the icon who served in several positions at Marvel Comics, including editor-in-chief, vice president, and publisher. Lee also co-created characters too numerous to list. We’ll give you a few though: Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Thor. Several celebrities appear to discuss how he influenced them.

Two screenings celebrate the comics master at 3 and 6 p.m. on Monday, August 28, at Mesa Community College, 1833 West Southern Avenue. Admission is $15. Visit the Mesa Community College website. Amy Young

Every Sun Devil has their day.EXPAND
Every Sun Devil has their day.
Jim Louvau

Are you just bursting at the seams with local pride — so much that you want to scream about it with others in a big stadium? If so, we know about a sporting event with your name on it.

During ASU Day at Chase Field, the Arizona Diamondbacks and L.A. Dodgers rivalry continues as the teams compete. But the on-the-field excitement is only part of the fun. A special ticket package gets you discounted admission and a custom-designed Diamondbacks ASU soft-style T-shirt. Show your support for sports and swag at 6:40 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29, at Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street. Admission is $25. Visit the Diamond Backs website. Amy Young

Night Cruiser
Music lovers expecting to lose themselves in some weeknight EDM beats will be dancing to a different tune when they show up at the cocktail bar The Womack for a three-hour set from DJ Gila Man and TK Nicholson. During Night Cruiser, the duo will spin soul and disco records that perfectly match the retro atmosphere of this swanky establishment. The vibe is decidedly more bell-bottoms than rave gear, but the urge to get down will be hard to deny.

Catch the Tuesday night fever from 8 to 11 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29, at 5749 North Seventh Street. There’s no cover. For more information, visit the Womack website. Jason Keil

Explore quilts stitched with compassion at Tempe History Museum.EXPAND
Explore quilts stitched with compassion at Tempe History Museum.
Migrant Quilt Project

“What the Eye Doesn’t See Doesn’t Move the Heart: Migrant Quilts of the Southern Arizona Borderlands"
Using blue jeans, bandanas, and other items discarded by migrants crossing the Sonoran Desert, quilters are telling the powerful stories of people who’ve died while making the journey from Central America or Mexico into the United States.

The Migrant Quilt Project is featured in a free exhibition at Tempe History Museum, 809 East Southern Avenue, next to Tempe Public Library. Every quilt represents migrant deaths documented by the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office during a specific federal fiscal year.

See “What the Eye Doesn’t See Doesn’t Move the Heart: Migrant Quilts of the Southern Arizona Borderlands” between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 30. It continues through Thursday, September 21. Visit the Tempe website or the Migrant Quilt Project website. Lynn Trimble

Keep calm, plant on.EXPAND
Keep calm, plant on.
Mehdi Taghavi

Plant Nite
For those of us who don’t have a green thumb, decorating with plants can prove fruitless. Luckily, there’s Plant Nite, a recurring hands-on workshop. On Wednesday, August 30, participants will work with air plants.
Also known as Tillandsias, these plants get the majority of their nutrients from the air. Which means they can survive even the worst plant owners.

Sound like the perfect fit? Then get crafty from 6 to 7 p.m. at El Panzon y Frida, 7323 Shoeman Lane in Scottsdale. Participation costs $56 per person. For more, visit the Plant Nite website. Lindsay Roberts

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