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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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.