If variety is the spice of life, then this week in Phoenix is gonna be pretty damn spicy. Upcoming events feature taxidermy animals as art, comedian Katt Williams, Monsoon Con 2017, jazz classes at The Nash, and an adults-only animated bash at the Arizona Science Center. So many choices, so little time. For more to do, visit our curated calendar of events.
Don’t cry if you don’t have a yacht. You can still party like you do.
Slip into some beachy indoor wear — linen pants, polo shirts, and frosty shades -— and head inland for drinking, mingling, and most importantly, the sounds of soft rock. At Sunset Cruise, DJs Dana Armstrong, Brandon McMahon, and TK Nicholson play a variety of tunes that help maintain a relaxed vibe. It’s your chance to request those Christopher Cross and Toto songs with abandon. The $5 margaritas and half-price bottles of wine also might serve as inspiration for you to channel your inner Hall & Oates from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, at Linger Longer Lounge, 6522 North 16th Street. Admission is free. Visit the Linger Longer website. Amy Young
Last year’s movie musical La La Land won over audiences with a charming love story set in the City of Dreams. Fifteen years earlier, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive also told a Los Angeles-centric romance, but no one dances on air or bursts out in song (despite an appearance by Billy Ray Cyrus). The avant-garde masterpiece, which is being rereleased with a 4K restoration, concerns an amnesiac actress investigating the circumstances surrounding the car accident she was in on the film’s iconic street. Things get weird with cowboys, ill-intentioned senior citizens, lip-synching flamenco performers, and mysterious men lurking in dumpsters. You won’t be humming the soundtrack afterward, but the film’s mysteries will continue to unravel long after the credits roll.
Mulholland Drive screens at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, at Alamo Drafthouse Chandler, 4955 South Arizona Avenue. Admission is $8.62. Visit the Draft house website. Jason Keil
“Dead, Dead, Live, Dead”
Chances are, you’ve seen artwork made of unusual materials before. But taxidermy animals take it to another level. That’s all the more reason to see “Dead, Dead, Live, Dead” at ASU Art Museum from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 15.
It’s the stateside museum debut of sculptural installation artist Gabriel Rico. The Mexico-based creative’s artful anthropological studies blend such elements as concrete, branches, and taxidermy foxes, and they’ve been exhibited in Seoul, Venice, and Mexico City. Now, they come to Tempe, thanks to a new artist residency called GDL>PHX Residencias Artísticas that supports select artists in both Phoenix and Guadalajara, Mexico, to develop new work.
Museum admission is free, and the show continues through Saturday, September 2, at 51 East 10th Street in Tempe. Visit the ASU Art Museum website. Lynn Trimble
Phoenix Mercury v. Chicago Sky
While she continues to etch her name into the record books, WNBA legend Diana Taurasi is nevertheless in the twilight of her prodigious career. However — if Brittney Griner’s play this season is any indicator — when the basketball gods close one door, they waste little time in opening another. Now in her fifth year with the Phoenix Mercury, Griner is blossoming into the MVP-caliber player pundits expected her to be, and she appears poised to take the torch from Taurasi.
Luckily, the league’s greatest three-point shooter still has a few records to break, which means that the Mercury are still deadly. For now. They’ll host the Chicago Sky at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street, at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 16. Tickets are $11 and up. Visit the Mercury website or call 602-379-7800 for details. Rob Kroehler
If you love stand-up comedy shows and are proud of your mad heckling skills, you might want to think twice before opening your big mouth at the upcoming Katt Williams performance.
The comedian, who also acts and raps, does what most comedians do in a heckling situation: He uses the mic to lob a comeback that takes the heckler down. Williams, however, has been known to take it to the next level, getting into the crowd to get up close and personal with mouthy interrupters. The multitalented and funny Williams has done several stand-up specials, including The Pimp Chronicles and Priceless: Afterlife. You may know him as Money Mike in Ice Cube’s Friday After Next and Next Sunday movies. He’s hilarious. Keep your comments to yourself at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 16, at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Tickets are $50 to $100. Call 602-379-2800 or visit the Comerica Theatre website. Amy Young
“Bait and Switch”
Think stickers are just cheap, easy ways for kids to decorate their stuff? For Phoenix artist Malena Barnhart, they’re an art medium. Barnhart uses stickers, along with other elements of contemporary culture — from YouTube videos to party decorations — to explore the messages society sends women and girls about their worth.
See her unique twist on stickers as Eye Lounge, 419 East Roosevelt, presents the opening for Barnhart’s “Bait and Switch” exhibition, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 16. It’s a chance to see Barnhart’s work, and talk with the artist about how and why she chose stickers as a vehicle for questioning the idea that beauty and perfection should be women’s ultimate goals.
Lest you think stickers don’t make for serious art, consider the fact that Barnhart’s work has been shown at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. “Bait and Switch” continues through Sunday, July 17. Visit the Eye Lounge website. Lynn Trimble
“Science With A Twist: This Animation Is Not for Kids”
On most days, kids rule at the Arizona Science Center, 600 East Washington Street, and that’s usually fine with everyone. But on third Fridays, the center hosts an after-hours, 21-and-over night with a cash bar, music and dancing, and live science demonstrations — all adhering to a theme.
From 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 16, it’s “Science With A Twist: This Animation Is Not for Kids.” Attendees can experience exploding watermelons, sip Looney Tunes-inspired cocktails, snack on a cartoonish pizza at the Beansprouts Café, and indulge other goofballery in the name of the center’s new featured exhibit, “Get Animated: Animation Academy.”
So maybe you can fry an egg on a Phoenix sidewalk this time of year. Honestly, though? Your time would be better spent exploring the local art scene, where dancers with vastly different styles are performing inside shipping-container galleries during this month’s Third Friday.
Look for the free “Sizzle Series” from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on June 16. Held in a trio of shipping containers on Roosevelt Street just east of Fifth Street, it’s an evening of art and movement presented by [nueBOX] and Rhetorical Galleries, featuring works by Valley-based choreographers Felix El Cruz, Grace Gallagher, and Jordan Daniels.
Also, look for a collaborative work by visual artist Daniel Funkhouser and dancers Nicole L. Olson and Daniels. Visit the Nue Box website. Lynn Trimble
Monsoon Con 2017
Bad weather can ruin your day — whether it’s rain at your wedding or 120-degree heat on your morning run. That is, unless you’re a weather nerd. If your head is stuck in the clouds, then you’ll be in good company at Monsoon Con 2017.
This convention brings together storm chasers, meteorologists, and weather enthusiasts to hang out and talk monsoons, typhoons, and everything in between. Catch the storm at 1300 North Central Avenue on Saturday, June 17. Doors open at 9:30 a.m., and the event starts at 10. This event is free and open to the public. Visit the Mad WX website. Lindsay Roberts
Super Indoor Custom Car Show
When Vin Diesel wraps his next Fast and Furious movie, we bet he’ll dream about the custom cars he might have seen at this year’s Super Indoor Custom Car Show at the Phoenix Convention Center, presented by In the Streets Magazine. Sure, the Acuras and Hondas the star drives in the seemingly endless movie franchise look slick on celluloid, but there’s something even more impressive about the shiny and chrome custom Cadillacs and Plymouths on full display. In addition, the show will feature bicycles, model cars, and ladies vying for the title of Miss Custom Arizona Pinup. Spectators can listen to live music or cool down in the beer garden.
The Super Indoor Custom Car Show is on Saturday, June 17, at Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street. Admission is $20. Military pricing is available, and children 12 and younger get in free. For more information, visit the Phoenix Convention Center website or call 602-262-6225. Jason Keil
Read on for more of the best things to do in Phoenix this week.
The Valley of the Sun Juneteenth Celebration
The Emancipation Proclamation took effect on January 1, 1863, but word of the abolishment of slavery didn’t reach Texas until June 19, 1965. In black communities across America, Juneteeth is celebrated as a day of freedom. The Valley of the Sun Juneteenth Celebration will bring together people of different ages to commemorate the holiday on Saturday, June 17, from 4 to 9 p.m.
The event will feature screenings of I Am Not Your Negro and All Eyez on Me, a kids zone with free swimming and arts and crafts, a youth freedom forum discussion, retail and food vendors, guest speakers, and poetry and jazz workshops. Throughout the day, youth groups, poets, rappers and gospel and jazz entertainers will perform. The event takes place at Eastlake Park and Community Center, 1548 East Jefferson Street. See details at the Facebook event page. Laura Latzko
Trans Queer Pueblo is a feisty, homegrown group that supports undocumented LGBTQ+ immigrants of color, including keeping their concerns on the radar of the rest of us. When you’re marginalized and threatened for at least three reasons, it’s good to have a safe place.
TQP’s best-known recently for demonstrating at Phoenix Pride Parade with an eye toward making Pride more inclusive and the parade less enmeshed with law enforcement. Such weighty issues will be joined by creativity, entertainment, and fun at Queer Artivismo (arts and activism), an evening of performance at 1726 East Roosevelt Street at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. Drag, theater, and poetry will light the night. A $5 donation is encouraged. Contact Trans Queer Pueblo on Facebook if you’d like to perform. Julie Peterson
We have a lot on our minds. Sometimes we can’t even focus on an entire Perry Mason episode, and those things are gripping. What we could use is the dim sum of drama — savory bites without long-term commitment — and Theatre Artists Studio has just the menu.
The company’s 11th annual Summer Shorts program presents eight 10-minute plays. Writers often start their careers with such short works because it’s a challenging format in which to hone the technical fundamentals of writing for the stage. But experienced playwrights return to shorts, too. This year, confront such intriguing titles as “The Emperor’s New Nose,” “Evolution Fast Track,” and “The Phoenix Coffin Club.”
Top-notch acting and directing class everything up and contribute to your enjoyment. Performances continue through Sunday, June 25, at 4848 East Cactus Road. Showtime on Sunday, June 18, is 2 p.m. Admission is $15 to $25. Visit the Studio website or call 602-765-0120. Julie Peterson
Eddie Izzard is a multi-hyphenate who stretches beyond the usual show-business shtick. He is a transgender comedian best known to American audiences for his award-winning special Dress to Kill and, oh yeah, he also ran 27 marathons in as many days throughout South Africa for charity. Izzard’s an actor who advocates for LGBT+ rights and is now the author of Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens, a candid chronicle of his rise from street performer to Wembley Stadium headliner. Izzard visits Mesa Arts Center to familiarize the fans of his comedy with his other accomplishments, to take questions from the audience, and to sell his book, of course.
The hilarity ensues on Sunday, June 18, at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street. The event is currently sold out, but visit the Changing Hands website to put yourself on the waitlist. Jason Keil
The Mystery Show
Of three special guests allegedly slotted to appear at The Mystery Show — Donald Trump, Fappy the Anti-Masturbation Dolphin, and Bill Murray — we bet you can guess who will show.
Additionally, the comedy event hosted by Paul Horner and Erick Biez features a full roster of local comedians, including Mike Enders, Matt Micheletti, Dana Whissen, Leslie Barton, and Daniel Amaro. When you’re not busy laughing, get involved in the raffles. There are giveaways all night with goodies from local businesses. The night includes live music and is a benefit for SockItForward.com, an area charity that provides socks to homeless people. The 21-and-older set can yuk it up at 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 18, at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. Admission is $5. Visit the Valley Bar website. Amy Young
Summer Jazz Workshops
If you’re a jazz fan, then you might already know about the Summer Jazz Workshops going on at downtown Phoenix’s The Nash, 110 East Roosevelt Street. With topics ranging from “Hard Bop” to “Jazz Session Etiquette,” the workshops are clearly tailored to serious musicians and offer a unique opportunity for players of all levels to interface with some of the Valley’s most accomplished jazz educators.
Those looking to broaden their horizons beyond America’s greatest art form might consider taking a trip south of the idiomatic border with Arizona State University’s Director of Jazz Studies, Michael Kocour, for the Afro-Cuban Jazz Workshop, beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 19. The four-day workshop costs $150, culminating in a concert on the evening of Thursday, June 22. Visit the Nash website or call 602-795-0464 for details. Rob Kroehler
Summer solstice is an unofficial kickoff of the season that’s celebrated differently in a variety of cultures. Naked sprints through town is one way some get festive. Not at this event, though.
Phoenix Art Museum’s Sensory Solstice gives attendees an opportunity to experience light and space artist James Turrell’s Mohl Ip through meditations, installations, and activities for visitors of all ages. The permanent installation is part of the artist’s “Tall Glass” series and features large rectangular lights that are digitally programmed to slowly transform. Stay clothed for an artsy foray into summer at 4 p.m. on Monday, June 21, at 1625 North Central Avenue. General admission is $9 to $18 for adults, and free for kids 5 and younger. Call 602-257-1880 or visit the Phoenix Art Museum website. Amy Young
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Rarely do we get to see life from the perspective of someone whose mind works a little bit differently, especially during a play. The national traveling production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time gives an immersive look into the mind of Christopher, a 15-year-old boy who is highly intelligent but communicates and processes information differently from others around him.
Adapted from a mystery novel by Mark Haddon, the Tony-winning show uses light and sound to immerse you in the world of this unique yet likable protagonist, who is played by Adam Langdon and Benjamin Wheelwright. The production will visit ASU Gammage, 1200 South Forest Avenue, from June 20 through Sunday, June 25. Tickets start at $20. Showtime on Tuesday is 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 480-965-3434 or go to the ASU Gammage website. Laura Latzko
“David Kroll & Jessica Joslin”
Delicate creatures inhabit Lisa Sette Gallery, thanks to artists David Kroll and Jessica Joslin. Kroll infuses his oil paintings with birds and butterflies, while Joslin creates sculptures that blend tiny skeleton parts with antiquated fixtures.
See their works at the gallery, 210 East Catalina Drive, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20. They’re part of the free “David Kroll & Jessica Joslin” exhibition, which presents two vastly different takes on artmaking and the natural world. It continues through Saturday, August 26.
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Kroll’s paintings resemble Dutch Golden Age artwork. But Joslin’s pieces, created without soldering or welding, harken back to turn-of-the-20th-century circus attractions. Both artists are meticulous, and each compels viewers to consider mysterious inner worlds and the strange workings of nature. Visit the Lisa Sette Gallery website. Lynn Trimble
Agritopia Free Farm Tour
Besides cactus and creosote, a lot of folks wonder what kinds of plants can be grown in the desert. The answer might come as a surprise: What can’t you grow in the desert? Agritopia is living proof. On Wednesday, June 21, you can tour the Gilbert farming utopia for free.
The tour begins at 10 a.m. and includes a history lesson about the farm and its founders, as well as the Johnston Family Foundation for Urban Agriculture, which supports farm operations. Meet at the Farm Store on the west side of Barnone. Find your way to Building 5 at the farm, located at 3000 East Ray Road. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts