Nerd Culture

Best Things to Do This Weekend: Goat Yoga, Fourth of July Parties, Near Dark

See photography by William LeGoullon in the “Turbulent Landscape” exhibition at Modified Arts.
See photography by William LeGoullon in the “Turbulent Landscape” exhibition at Modified Arts. William LeGoullon
Consider your weekend planned. You can watch a screening of the Western-horror Near Dark, take a walk on the weird side with WesterCon 70, or learn about the intersection of Jazz and the Civil Rights movement. The choice is yours. For more things to do, visit our curated calendar of events.

“Turbulent Landscape”
Landscapes get a new twist at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt Street, where Jeff Chabot curated the current “Turbulent Landscape” exhibition. For Chabot, landscapes include topographical, personal, social, and political environments. And sometimes, they’re not pretty.

Explore landscape-related works by eight local and regional artists, including William LeGoullon and Lauren Strohacker, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, June 30. Strohacker’s work documents her recent art installation along the U.S.-Mexico border.

While you’re there, take a look at Hugo Medina’s new mural on the east-facing exterior wall. It’s a compelling take on recent changes to Roosevelt Row and the impact on the local arts scene. “Turbulent Landscape” runs through Saturday, July 15. Admission is free. Visit the Modified Arts website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Bottom power: An ass becomes king of the forest in Midsummer Dreamin’. - PATTY TORRILHON
Bottom power: An ass becomes king of the forest in Midsummer Dreamin’.
Patty Torrilhon
Midsummer Dreamin’
It’s been 50 years since the Summer of Love, and it shows. This one is more like the Summer of Crankiness, but there’s hope. Fountain Hills Theater’s in that same headspace through Sunday, July 30, as it revives the poppy, trippy Midsummer Dreamin’, a transformation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to a 1967 forest full of lovers, fairies, and hilarious amateur actors who are characters played by good actors. Got it? Peter J. Hill filled the script with beloved psychedelic songs, and the plot includes an “herb” that messes with one’s mind, just as it did in 1605.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 30, at 11445 North Saguaro Boulevard. Tickets are $23 to $30 at 480-837-9661, extension 3, or Fountain Hills Theater's website. Julie Peterson

click to enlarge Ain't no party like a Goat Yoga PJ Party. - MEGHAN CYR
Ain't no party like a Goat Yoga PJ Party.
Meghan Cyr
Goat Yoga PJ Party
Isn’t it about time you tried goat yoga with a pajama theme? Your chance is the Goat Yoga PJ Party hosted by AZ Goat Yoga, a group that’s all about pairing everyone’s favorite farm animal with acroyoga poses, which involve mixing traditional yoga with acrobatics.

These little guys are trained and certified to jump, cuddle, and play with participants while they bend and stretch at Welcome Home Ranch, 26601 South Val Vista Drive in Gilbert. You can get in on the action from 8 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 30. Tickets are $12 before tax through Eventbrite.

Those hoping to join are asked to check the FAQ at For more information, call 480-269-4144 or visit the Facebook Event page. Lauren Cusimano

Lasers and Liquor
There are plenty of imaginable scenarios in which Lasers and Liquor would make for a decidedly bad combo. Performing LASIK eye surgery, for example, or mounting an attack on the Death Star. But there’s a time and a place for every haphazardly alliterative combo, as they say. And, lucky for you, this one is happening downtown.

Lasers and Liquor is a grown-ups-only event hosted at the Arizona Science Center, 600 East Washington Street, that features multicolored laser light shows, booze, and plenty of rambunctious music. If drinking, listening to Alice Cooper, and watching an immersive laser show titled Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters isn’t the most effective legal means of hallucinating in town, then we’re not sure what is. Freak out from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 30. General admission is $10. Visit the Arizona Science Center website or call 602-716-2000 for details. Rob Kroehler

click to enlarge Hugo and Chesley award winning author Connie Willis is the Author Guest of Honor at Westercon 70. - G. MARK LEWIS
Hugo and Chesley award winning author Connie Willis is the Author Guest of Honor at Westercon 70.
G. Mark Lewis
WesterCon 70
Nerds take note: This weekend’s WesterCon 70 in Tempe is a little different from your average comics convention or geek gathering. And that’s not a slight by any means. WesterCon happens to be one of the more esteemed and long-running geek events in the world, as it’s taken place annually since the late 1940s in cities throughout the western U.S. It’s also less flashy and more low-key than the cons you’re used to attending, and the focus is more on science fiction and fantasy.

So when this year’s edition beams down into the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, 60 East Fifth Street, from Saturday, July 1, through Tuesday, July 4, expect close encounters with such guests of honor as award-winning sci-fi scribe Connie Willis, local writer Gini Koch, acclaimed artists Julie Dillon and Larry Elmore, and folk musician Tim Griffin. An art show, film festival, cosplay masquerade, and gaming rooms are also planned. Hours vary. Admission is $85 for adults, $55 for military and teens, $35 for children 7 to 12, and free for kids younger than 7. Visit the Wester Con website. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Remember when Near Dark was one of your favorite '80s vampire movies? - DE LAURENTIIS ENTERTAINMENT
Remember when Near Dark was one of your favorite '80s vampire movies?
De Laurentiis Entertainment
Near Dark
Gone-too-soon Bill Paxton’s breakthrough can be traced back three decades to his manic turn as Severen, one of the members of a vampire gang in Kathryn Bigelow’s horror-Western hybrid Near Dark. This slick-looking masterpiece tells the story of a farmer’s son (Adrian Pasdar) who reluctantly becomes a bloodsucker after falling in love with a fang-toothed drifter. Those expecting a sweet young adult romance will find themselves covering their eyes in terror. The movie nearly was awarded an X rating for its excessive violence.

Trivia and a taping of the BS Movies podcast will follow this screening at 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 1, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Admission is $9. Visit the Film Bar website. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Don't worry — Bow Wow's still in. - JAMIE LAMOR THOMPSON / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Don't worry — Bow Wow's still in.
Jamie Lamor Thompson /
Sound Splash
Splashing is certainly a summertime activity. And even though that kind of fun inspires visions of H20, there doesn’t have to be a body of water involved. Not necessarily.

For instance, there’s Sound Splash. This beach-themed indoor hip-hop concert and dance party isn’t a sand-and-surf adventure, but it does feature a fun lineup of acts. First of all, Bow Wow is the event’s host and a performer. Also hitting the stage that night are Ty Dolla Sign, Raven Felix, Chanel West Coast, and DJ Drama, who will spin tunes and perform some of his original music. Beach lovers will find an outdoor area for related fun. There is also a dance competition, door prizes, and raffle giveaways.

Have fun away from the sun starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 1, at The Pressroom, 441 West Madison Street. General admission is $50. VIP packages start at $100. Call 602-919-9217 or visit the Facebook event page. Amy Young

Ain't no fake news about it. - MELISSA FOSSUM
Ain't no fake news about it.
Melissa Fossum
Make America Dance Again Party
What’s almost as American as apple pie and fireworks on the Fourth of July? Dancing, that’s what.
During Tongue Tied’s Make America Dance Again party on Saturday, July 1, DJs Funkfinger and Roya will play an eclectic mix of patriotic tunes from David Bowie, Miley Cyrus, James Brown, LCD Soundsystem, Madonna, Big Country, and Kim Wilde. An “alternative facts” photo booth with Trump and Hillary masks will encourage tongue-in-cheek fun. To really show your American spirit, you can dress up in traditional red, white, and blue for a chance to win a $50 gift card.

The 21-and-over event runs from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Linger Longer Lounge, 6522 North 16th Street. Admission is free before 9 p.m. and $5 after. To find out more, visit the Tongue Tied Facebook page. Laura Latzko

click to enlarge Celebrate 10 years of laughs with Bully Mammoth. - MICHAEL MARKOWSKI
Celebrate 10 years of laughs with Bully Mammoth.
Michael Markowski
Bully Mammoth
Pulling anything off for a decade straight seems like a good reason to throw down.

It’s local comedy troupe Bully Mammoth’s birthday, and their 10-Year Anniversary Show is the celebratory event. They’ve performed at several area theaters and festivals and even made a movie. (It’s called #SantaScandal.) Member Ryan Gaumont tells New Times that even though it’s a party honoring their time spent together, it’s not a trip down memory lane. “This is all freshly written material,” he says. “See original members and hear some original music, too.”

Catch “a best-kept secret in town” at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 1, at Playhouse on the Park, 1850 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $12. Visit the Facebook event page. Amy Young

Benjamin Leatherman
Freedom Now: Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement
This summer, Roosevelt Row jazz hub The Nash is hosting an array of classes and workshops, including the one-off lecture “Freedom Now: Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement.” Led by Chris Wells, the talk focuses on the 1960 album We Insist!: Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite and how jazz musicians got involved with the civil rights movement.

Wells will cover the history of the famed Suite and guide attendees in listening to the work at 110 East Roosevelt Street on Sunday, July 2. Admission for the event, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon, is $30. For more information and to register, visit the Nash website. Lindsay Roberts

Trinity Taylor
Florida-native Trinity Taylor is one of the highlights of the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The self-proclaimed “mother-tucker of the world” is notorious for her excessive use of Botox and her impressive lip-sync performance in Episode 4. And she’s becoming an icon outside the hit VH1 reality show. Taylor was recently name-dropped on Saturday Night Live and, at the time of this writing, is one of the four finalists for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar.” Which is why you need to see her headline Ali L’aveau’s Drag Race Pit Stop before she takes “winner place.”

The sashaying begins at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 2, at Empire Nightclub, 5030 West McDowell Road. Admission is $15. Visit the L'aveau Entertainment website for more details. Jason Keil

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