One of many performances during last year’s Phoenix Festival of the Arts.
One of many performances during last year’s Phoenix Festival of the Arts. Lynn Trimble
It's finally the weekend. What better way to celebrate surviving another work week than letting your geek flag fly at Libcon West 2017, getting the DL on DIY with Kyllan Maney, or being on your best model behavior at the Ford/Robert Black Agency’s Holiday Party? You really can't go wrong. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

Phoenix Festival of the Arts
Picture outdoor holiday shopping amid palm trees and green grass. That’s what you’ll find at Phoenix Festival of the Arts, when more than 100 artisans and cultural organizations fill booths with original art, handmade wares, and information about cultural resources in the Valley. It’s a relaxing way to cross more names of your gift list while catching some rays, mingling with fellow art lovers, learning more about the city, and supporting local arts and culture.
The free fest will run from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday, December 8, and continue through Sunday, December 10, at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 North Third Street. It’s a chance to explore fresh art, diverse performances, food trucks, and live mural painting. You’ll have plenty of great choices, as featured artists work in ceramics, drawing, fiber, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, painting, and textiles. Get details at the Phoenix Festival of the Arts website. Lynn Trimble

Keep your arms inside the vehicle in general, including for The Light Rail Plays. - COURTESY OF RISING YOUTH THEATRE
Keep your arms inside the vehicle in general, including for The Light Rail Plays.
Courtesy of Rising Youth Theatre
The Light Rail Plays
About once a year, Rising Youth Theatre introduces itself to new audiences and expands the definition of public art with The Light Rail Plays, a collaboration between adult professional theater artists and young artists from Valley schools. Metro passengers are taken by surprise as short original plays in diverse genres burst onto the scene. Meanwhile, other audiences have planned ahead to witness the offbeatness and those witnessing it.

Performances will take place on selected light rail platforms in Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa through Sunday, December 10. The timetable for Friday, December 8, indicates scheduled arrivals at the Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street stop at 6 p.m. and again at 7. Admission is free, but you can reserve a spot and get more info at the Rising Youth Theatre website. Julie Peterson

click to enlarge Bea Arthur, Carrie Fisher, Lumpy the Wookiee ... what's better than the Star Wars Holiday Special during the holidays? - COURTESY OF FILMBAR
Bea Arthur, Carrie Fisher, Lumpy the Wookiee ... what's better than the Star Wars Holiday Special during the holidays?
Courtesy of FilmBar
The Star Wars Holiday Special
Dan Stone, the man behind The Unfathomable Film Freakout, continues his annual tradition of showing the greatest bootleg video of all time: The Star Wars Holiday Special. It aired just once in November 1978.

“It does work as a time capsule of the brief period of time before the sequels expanded the Star Wars mythology, where any of the characters and settings created by George Lucas could have gone in any direction,” Stone says. “It just so happens, where it went was a variety show centered on a Wookiee space holiday featuring Harvey Korman and Jefferson Starship.”

Feel the force at 8 and 10 p.m. on Friday, December 8, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Admission is $7. For more information, visit the FilmBar website. Jason Keil
courtesy of Firestage

Firestage Presents: Ladies On Fire

Firestage Presents: Ladies On Fire was inspired by an epiphany that Ernesto Moncada, the show’s host, had at an open mic.

“We were like, ‘Where are the artistic ladies? We know they are out there,’” he recalls. “So we dedicated an entire [show] to showcase only female performers with the clause that any male performer involved in the show had to be dressed lady-like on stage.”

It became Firestage’s most successful event. Though that venue shuttered, Moncada is keeping the flame going with a fresh mix of musicians, dancers, and poets.

Ladies On Fire Nine starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 8, at Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt Street. Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information, visit the Alwun House website. Jason Keil

Libcon West 2017
Pop culture fiends already might have Libcon West 2017 marked on their calendars. The all-ages library and comics convention at the Glendale Public Library, 5959 West Brown Street, will have vendors, panels, and of course, cosplay.

The second annual edition of the event will offer a slate of things to do, including the Author Chat (a panel of graphic novel and science fiction writers, including Nate Evans, Amy K. Nichols, Beth Cato, and more) and the interactive show, Syndicate Saber Presents: The Jedi Trials. Other to-dos include Storytime with the (Drag) Queen, the Retro Trivia Challenge, and a DIY Cosplay Cape Demo with the Southwest Costumers Guild. There will also be food trucks, cosplay photo ops with Phoenix Ghostbusters, and plenty of shopping.

The free con runs from11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 9. For more information, call 623-930-3537 or see the Libcon West 2017 website. Lauren Cusimano

Kyllan Maney poses in front of her "Bio-Empowerment" pieces at {9} The Gallery. - JIM LOUVAU
Kyllan Maney poses in front of her "Bio-Empowerment" pieces at {9} The Gallery.
Jim Louvau
How to Create Silk Screens
Silk screening isn’t as complicated as you might think. Get the D.L. during an interactive class on how to create silk screens using organza fabric, an embroidery needle, and acrylic paint. Mixed-media artist and muralist Kyllan Maney will give a demonstration of the process and provide samples of screen prints. Beginners or professional artists can bring drawings and prints to the course, or use images provided. The class takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, at Practical Art, 5070 North Central Avenue, and costs $20 per person. For more information, call 602-264-1414 or see the Practical Art website. Laura Latzko

click to enlarge Scene from Ib Andersen’s The Nutcracker, performed by Ballet Arizona. - ROSALIE O’CONNOR
Scene from Ib Andersen’s The Nutcracker, performed by Ballet Arizona.
Rosalie O’Connor
The Nutcracker
Clara dreams of toy soldiers and dancing sweets in The Nutcracker, a classic Christmas tale that’s fueled many a young girl’s hopes of becoming a ballerina. It’s performed throughout the country, but only a handful of ballet companies have the distinction of being deemed one of the nation’s very best productions by New York Times dance critic Alastair Macauley.

Ballet Arizona is one such company. With magical snowfall, giant sparring rats, and pirouettes galore, it’s a must-see for dance aficionados and Christmas traditionalists, the troupe will perform The Nutcracker, choreographed by artistic director Ib Andersen, with Tchaikovsky’s dramatic score performed live by the Phoenix Symphony, at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street. On Saturday, December 9, performances happen at 2 and 7:30 p.m. The Nutcracker continues through Sunday, December 24. Tickets are $25 and up. Visit the Ballet Arizona website. Lynn Trimble

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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.
Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
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
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
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