There's so much to do in Phoenix this week, so get planning. Get a view of the afterlife at Curious Nature's “Meet A Mortician,” get a taste of international striptease at Birthday Suit Burlesque, or celebrate buns and puns at the Wurst Festival Ever. For more things to do, visit
Want to see if A’ja Wilson can play as well as she can tweet? Wilson, a rookie for the Las Vegas Aces of the Women’s National Basketball Association, caused a stir on Twitter when she advocated for higher pay for women players after Lebron James signed a $154 million contract. “Lord, let me get back in my lane,” she wrote. While James will make almost $40 million a year, the top WNBA salary peaks at around $115K.
But no matter how much she makes, Wilson is playing like an All-Star as she leads the Aces into the Valley on Thursday, July 19, against the hometown Phoenix Mercury, a game that will feature four of the league’s top 10 scorers: Wilson and teammate Kayla McBride, and the Mercs’ legendary Diana Taurasi and Brittany Griner. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street.
It’s also Hoops and Heroes Night: Veterans get 40 percent off. Tickets start at $11 at Ticketmaster. Stuart Warner
“Meet A Mortician”
What happens to us after we die? It’s the eternal question that pretty much all of mankind grapples with sometime during their lives. When it comes to our souls, it’s a topic best covered by theologians, philosophers, or scholars. As for what happens to our actual bodies once we shake loose the mortal coil, that’s something that a mortician might be able to answer. And if you’re, um, dying to know, and have questions that a Google search or that one web series Ask A Mortician can’t answer, head to Curious Nature, 5032 North Central Avenue, on Thursday, July 19. The odd emporium will host its first-ever “Curious Conversations” session from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. It has been dubbed “Meet A Mortician,” and will feature a moderated conversation with a local undertaker.
Tickets are $10 and seating is limited. Call 602-314-4346 or visit the Curious Nature website. Benjamin Leatherman
Science With A Twist: Harry Potter Birthday Bash
It’s that time of year when literature’s favorite adolescent wizard celebrates another trip around the sun, but this year the Arizona Science Center will be raising something stronger than a
The festivities begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 20, at 600 East Washington Street. Admission is $12 and is only open to those of legal drinking age. For more information, visit the Arizona Science Center website. Jason Keil
Birthday Suit Burlesque’s Around the World
Burlesque isn’t just an American phenomenon. Performers around the world
General admission tickets are $9. Birthday VIP packages for $60 and reserved tables for $50 come with perks such as party favors, raffle tickets, and reserved seating. VIP packages also include birthday shots and cupcakes. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Rips Bar, 3045 North 16th Street. For more information, go to the Birthday Suit Burlesque Facebook page. Laura Latzko
Happy Hour History Tour
Did you know the Tequila Sunrise cocktail was created at the Arizona Biltmore? Or that the iconic property, which is a Waldorf Astoria Resort, has hosted a slew of dignitaries and celebrities through the years, including U.S. presidents and film star Marilyn Monroe? Turns out, Monroe fancied sipping Catalina Spritzers by the resort’s Catalina Pool.
Learn all sorts of Arizona Biltmore lore during the Happy Hour History Tour happening at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 20, at 2400 East Missouri Avenue. It’s $20, which includes a tour of the hotel inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, plus two cocktails. Visit the Arizona Biltmore website. Lynn Trimble
Downtown Tempe Brunch Crawl
Is there anything better than brunch? (Hint: The answer is no). So dress in your brunch best and join other mimosa lovers at the Downtown Tempe Brunch Crawl.
The crawl will be making stops at El Hefe, The Original Chop Shop, Pita Jungle, and Rula Bula. Each location will have small bites and drink specials from $7 to $10. Tickets are $15 at
Wurst Festival Ever
We all know national food days are marketing garbage, but it might be in your interests to ignore this for one July day, National Hot Dog Day, and throw down with Short Leash Hot Dogs + Rollover Doughnuts, 110 East Roosevelt Street. Then, the cult favorite will be holding its third annual Wurst Festival Ever. There will be comics. There will be a pun competition. There will be franks and beer.
The results of the “wurst wiener” contest, which pits event goers against one another in a duel to create hypothetical hot dog toppings, will be revealed. Come hungry and bring $10 for admission. The fest runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Visit the Short Leash Hot Dogs website for more information. Chris Malloy
Crossroads of the West Gun Show
As long as we have the Second Amendment, we will have gun shows. In fact, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
No surprise that one of the big ones will land in Phoenix on Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22. After all, Arizona is a so-called constitutional-carry state, meaning most people 21 years or older can carry a concealed weapon without a permit. Trade professionals, hunters, collectors, and casual owners can check out the firearms for sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 West McDowell Road. Tickets are $16 and good for admission both days. Kids 12 and under are free with a paying adult. Buy at the door or at the Crossroads of the West Gun Show website. Deb Van Tassel
Zak’s Chocolate Tour
The closest you can get to Willy Wonka in metro Phoenix is drafthouse.com. And like the crazy dude in the purple suit, Zak’s will be opening its Scottsdale location, 6990 East Shea Boulevard, to the public. Gain all the cacao wisdom you can stomach in the course of a four-hour demo on how bean-to-bar chocolate is made. The event, geared toward the serious chocolate lover, costs $95 on eventbrite.com.
You will get chocolate samples along the way. By the end, you’ll have an understanding of cacao farmers, processes like roasting and winnowing, and the joy gained from a single-origin chocolate tasting. For more information, visit the Zak’s Chocolate website. Chris Malloy
There are no magical pumpkin coaches or talking mice in Rossini’s Cinderella, but that does not mean the opera isn’t family-friendly. Watch the San Francisco Opera perform in an hourlong film adaptation of a tale of evil stepsisters, royal masquerade balls, and mistaken identity with your children at the Arizona Opera’s Second Annual Opera and Gelato Film Festival.
Put on the glass slipper for some
“Revisiting Bob Dylan”
You might say rock historian Vincent Bruno is a rolling stone. Based in Arizona and New Jersey, he’s traveled plenty of other places, sharing insights about the ’60s hottest musicians, from the Beatles to Bob Dylan. Now the Beatles scholar and storyteller is headed to the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 North Drinkwater Boulevard. That’s where he’ll be giving a free talk on poet, songwriter, and performer Bob Dylan’s life, work, and legacy, at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 22. “Revisiting Bob Dylan” has a little something for everyone, from casual music fans to hardcore Dylan types. Visit the Scottsdale Civic Center Library website. Lynn Trimble
"Footprints on the Desert: Frank Lloyd Wright in Arizona”
“Frank Lloyd Wright made a profound impact on the history of Arizona that continues to define how we build and live in the desert Southwest today,” says Stuart Graff, president
Several years ago, most movie theaters converted to digital projection, but the new Tempe location of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has a 35mm film projector. The theater is putting it to good use with a screening of the eye-popping comedy Raising Arizona. Starring Holly Hunter and Nicolas Cage, it was the second film directed by the Coen Brothers. This tale about a childless couple who decide to nab one of a local furniture store owner’s quintuplets because he and his wife “have more than they could handle” was filmed around Tempe and Phoenix.
Steal some Huggies beginning at 7:40 p.m. on Monday, July 23, at 1140 East Baseline Road in Tempe. Admission is $11.89. For more information, visit the Alamo Drafthouse website. Jason Keil
A Fine Line
Consider who does most of the cooking around your house, then think about how many of your favorite restaurants have female owners or head chefs. There’s a vast gender gap in the culinary world, and discussions have been heating up over the issue in recent years. Now you can hear the perspectives of women culinary experts, and follow a single mom’s journey as a small town restaurateur, with a documentary called A Fine Line.
It’s being screened at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street, in partnership with Devour Phoenix. It starts at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, July 23. Tickets are $14. Visit the FilmBar website. Lynn Trimble
“Shemer Instructor & Student Exhibition”
There’s a long tradition in art history of teachers passing skills down through their students. It’s happening right here in Phoenix, at places that include Shemer Art Center, 5005 East Camelback Road. That’s where you can see this year’s “Shemer Instructor & Student Exhibition” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24. Last year’s iteration featured works by esteemed artists such as Constance McBride, Turner G. Davis, and Danielle Wood.
Now, you can see a new mix of Shemer students and instructors, who work in diverse media. The exhibit is free, but the suggested donation is $7. Visit the Shemer Art Center website. Lynn Trimble
Pull the plug on your television set — just for one night — and take a ride to downtown Mesa to see one of your favorite shows in person. American Idol is on the road and they’re stopping here so that you can see performances by Caleb, Catie, Gabby, Jurnee, Maddie, and Michael. To top off those lively acts, get treated to some music by the program’s Season Eight winner, Kris Allen. Need a boy band
Tickets are $30 to $35; VIP tickets are available. Call 480-644-6500 or visit the Mesa Arts Center website. Amy Young
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Operation Indie: Indie Music Trivia Night
If you know what the members of TV on the Radio eat for breakfast or can’t wait to rattle off the production notes from every Built to Spill release, the time you’ve spent as a contemporary music fan could really pay off. At Operation Indie: Indie Music Trivia Night, you get to tap into that vault of sonic knowledge. Form a formidable team of know-it-alls and compete in this
There’s a gallery space tucked away downstairs within the Information Commons, located at the University Center building on Arizona State University’s downtown campus, 411 North Central Avenue. The Vault Gallery rotates exhibitions, which are free and open to the public. Between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25, you can explore minimalist abstract pieces by Barb Goldberg, whose art career follows a career in the corporate sector. Goldberg describes her work as “simple yet complicated at the same time,” much like human lives.
“There is always turmoil or movement,” she says. Goldberg works primarily in acrylic paint and mixed media. Visit the ASU Library website. Lynn Trimble