The Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Weekend

One of many performances during last year’s Phoenix Festival of the Arts.EXPAND
One of many performances during last year’s Phoenix Festival of the Arts.
Lynn Trimble
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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.
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

Bea Arthur, Carrie Fisher, Lumpy the Wookiee ... what's better than the Star Wars Holiday Special during the holidays?EXPAND
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

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.
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

Scene from Ib Andersen’s The Nutcracker, performed by Ballet Arizona.EXPAND
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

These are the Santas you're looking for.EXPAND
These are the Santas you're looking for.
Benjamin Leatherman

Santa Claus is coming to town this weekend — and he’s in the mood to party. Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick won’t be alone, however, as he’ll be rolling through the streets of downtown Phoenix in search of drinks and merriment with a ho-ho-horde of Christmas-inspired costumed characters, including countless Kris Kringle look-alikes.

It’s all a part of Santarchy, the annual costumed bar crawl that’s inspired by the Santa Claus mythos and features hundreds of participants dressed as reindeer, elves, snowmen, or anything else holiday-related. After taking place in Old Town Scottsdale the last several years, the 2017 edition of Santarchy on Saturday, December 9, will occur in downtown Phoenix and will include stops at multiple bars in the area starting at 7 p.m.

As always, it’s free to participate in the crawl, which is a little bit kooky, creative, and chaotic, not to mention a whole lot of fun. Costumes, however, are mandatory. For more info, including the starting location and participating bars, visit the Facebook event page. Benjamin Leatherman

The Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Weekend
Courtesy of Glam Squad Couture

Ford/Robert Black Agency’s Holiday Party
Looking good for a seasonal get together is one thing. When it’s the Ford/Robert Black Agency’s Holiday Party, you might want to crank it up a few notches. To add some extra sparkle to the bash, the talent and modeling agency got the team from the Scottsdale formalwear boutique Glam Squad Couture in on the action. That crew will present a fashion show featuring designs by Sherri Hill, whose creations have been worn by celebs like Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande.

Doors to this stylish soiree will open at 9 p.m., and the fashion show will begin at 10 on Saturday, December 8, at the W Hotel Scottsdale, 7277 East Camelback Road. Admission is free, but VIP tables are available. Call 602-405-0099 or visit the Facebook event page. Amy Young

It's out of this world.
It's out of this world.
Kathryn Maxwell

“Halfway Between the Earth and Stars”
“Halfway Between the Earth and Stars” opens at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum on Sunday, December 10. The astronomy-themed exhibition features the work of artist Kathryn Maxwell, and explores the far-reaching topic of humans’ connection to the larger universe. Maxwell drew inspiration from the structure of DNA and maps of constellations when creating her series. The ASU professor is known for creating nature-based, spiritual, and scientific artwork addressing the deeper issues of existence.

Sunday hours are from noon to 5 p.m., and the exhibition will run through March 25, at 1 East Main Street. Members of the public will have a chance to meet the artist during an opening reception at the museum on Friday, February 9. For more information on the free show, call 480-644-6560 or visit the Mesa Arts Center website. Laura Latzko

Khizr Khan
Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who spoke truth to power at the 2016 Democratic Convention, will present his vision of the American Dream at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 10. He will share his story and sign copies of his memoir, An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice.

Before he made headlines for angrily calling out then-candidate Donald Trump, Khan was the son of a Pakistani farmer, put himself through college, and came to America to pursue his dreams of freedom. After earning a law degree from Harvard, he became an American citizen and raised his children, including his late son Humayun, an Army captain killed in Iraq.

Tickets are required for the event at Central High School, 4525 North Central Avenue, and they are included with purchase of An American Family. It’s $34 for a book and single ticket, $40 for a book and two tickets. Call 480-730-0205 or visit the Changing Hands website for more information. Michael Senft

Fans at a 2016 Arizona Cardinals game.EXPAND
Fans at a 2016 Arizona Cardinals game.
Jim Louvau

Arizona Cardinals v. Tennessee Titans
Outside of Tom Brady and New England’s pigskin paradise, consistency in the NFL is hard to come by. A team poised to become a perennial contender is suddenly befallen by injuries or unable to pony up for coveted free agents, knocking them right back into a quagmire of mediocrity. Sound familiar?

In a nutshell, it’s how the Arizona Cardinals went from darlings to downers in just a year’s time. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans, who spent the last decade being the league’s punching bag, have found new life under head coach Mike Mularkey.

In a scenario that would have previously been unthinkable, Tennessee visits Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium, 1 Cardinals Drive, on Sunday, December 10, as the favorite against Arians' bedraggled Cardinals. Game time is 2:05 p.m., and tickets are $50 and up. Visit the Arizona Cardinals website or call 623-433-7101 for details. Rob Kroehler

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