Nerd Culture

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Check out the mural art when you hit Fund the Farm.
Check out the mural art when you hit Fund the Farm. Lynn Trimble
Need plans? No problem. This week you can check out “The Echo of Nature” exhibition, hang with actor and funnyman Harland Williams, or you can craft at the Snail Mail Soirée. For more things to do, visit the Phoenix New Times calendar.

Fund the Farm
Be part of bringing a new farmers market to life at a community garden in South Phoenix. Desert Botanical Garden, Roosevelt School District, and Cultivate South Phoenix are raising money for a farmers market pavilion at Spaces of Opportunity, 1200 West Vineyard Road, through an event called Fund the Farm. It’s happening from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 17. Tickets run $100, and include a hosted bar, farm-fresh hors d’oeuvres, and a live performance by the Chicano alt-folk band Las Cafeteras.

While you’re there, enjoy icy tequila tastings and check out the garden’s mix of mural art. Visit the Desert Botanical Garden website. Lynn Trimble

Harland Williams
As a movie and TV actor, Harland Williams has set a standard for bringing humor to creepy and strange characters through roles such as a silent biker in Superstar, a urine-drinking state trooper in Dumb and Dumber, a murderer/hitchhiker in There’s Something About Mary, an incompetent astronaut in Rocketman, a redheaded “sorority girl” in Sorority Boys and a diabetic-horse killer in Half Baked. He has also given voice to animated characters such as Monster in Robot and Monster.

The Canadian actor, writer, comedian, podcaster, producer, and director will bring his offbeat, interactive style of comedy to Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street, from Thursday, May 17, through Saturday, May 19. Showtime on Thursday is 8 p.m. Tickets are $22, and the club has a two-drink minimum. For more information, call 480-719-6100 or go to the Standup Live website. Laura Latzko

D&D Weekly Adventure
“Get in, nerds, we’re playing Dungeons & Dragons.” At least that’s what we imagined was said to kick off the D&D Weekly Adventure at Desert Sky Games.

Every Thursday at 3875 West Ray Road, #7, in Chandler, Dungeon Master David Teel will lead a Tier 1 adventure that explores the Tomb of Annihilation. Beginners are welcome to try their hand at the geeky game. Enter the tomb Thursday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m.

It is $5 to play every week. For more information, visit the Facebook event page or call 602-615-5214. Lindsay Roberts

Capture!PhotoCon 2018
Thanks to Instagram, being a photographer is the new cool thing to do. So if you are new to photography and looking to learn new skills and network a little head to Capture!PhotoCon 2018.

The three-day convention includes a keynote presentation from Joel Grimes, and over 150 classes, workshops, photowalks, and model shoots. Including classes on pet photography, food photography, poolside photography, and creative compositing.

The conference runs from 3 to 10 p.m. Friday, May 18 to Sunday, May 20, at Ability 360 Conference Center, 5025 East Washington Street. Tickets to the full conference are $399. Discounts are available for returning attendees, and full-time students. For more information, visit the Capture!PhotoCon website. Lindsay Roberts

From Broadway Live
1980s pop star Cyndi Lauper gave a shoutout to the #RedForEd movement during the Arizona teachers’ strike and the Phoenix Symphony will return the acknowledgment by featuring two of the songs she wrote for the hit musical Kinky Boots during the orchestra’s From Broadway Live performances, Friday, May 18, through Sunday, May 20. Lauper’s “The Soul of a Man” and “History of Wrong Guys” are both on the set list, as is a selection from Hamilton and plenty of Andrew Lloyd Webber classics, just in case you are the only person on the planet who hasn’t seen “Memory” performed on stage.

Well-traveled Stuart Chavetz is the guest conductor and soloist Crystal Kellogg will hit the high notes. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 20 at Phoenix Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street. Tickets start at $43 at the Phoenix Symphony website. Stuart Warner

Jazz quintet explores musical allusions in Stones' classic. - THE NASH
Jazz quintet explores musical allusions in Stones' classic.
The Nash
Union32 Plays Sticky Fingers
The show Union32 Plays Sticky Fingers at The Nash will demonstrate that there is more to the landmark Rolling Stones album than the provocative Andy Warhol cover art, which featured a real metal zipper on a picture of a tight pair of jeans hugging a man’s genitalia. The quintet, led by Dr. Brett Reed, will explore the jazz arrangements and deeper musical meaning hidden in the 1971 record, known for its hazy song lyrics depicting dirty basements and allusions to drug use. Beyond the killer riffs of “Brown Sugar” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” are the country blues of “Wild Horses” and “Dead Flowers” and the tenderness of “Moonlight Mile.”

Let the wild horses drag you away at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 18, at 110 East Roosevelt Street. Tickets are $20 or $10 for students with ID. For more information, visit the Nash website. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Filmmakers escape from Milwaukee. - SONY PICTURE CLASSICS
Filmmakers escape from Milwaukee.
Sony Picture Classics
Cult Film in Review
Two decades ago, no film critic could predict that Milwaukee would become part of cinema’s future, but the Wisconsin metropolis is the setting of the 1999 cult documentary American Movie. Director Chris Smith, who would go on to direct the Netflix film Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond, follows local filmmaker Mark Borchardt and his friend Mike Schank as they struggle (often humorously) to make Coven, a short horror movie project he abandoned years before but resurrects as his way to escape a life filled with failure. The podcast Cult Film In Review will host a live show discussing the movie afterwards.

The screening begins at 10 p.m. on Friday, May 18, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Admission is $9.95. For more information, visit the FilmBar website. Jason Keil

Paint Nite Phoenix!
What’s better than making your own personal magnum opus? Making your masterpiece while eating sandwiches.

Come create something beautiful at Even Stevens with Paint Nite Phoenix! Whether you are a bona fide artist or nothing more than a finger painter, head to 21 West Van Buren Street on Saturday, May 19, to try your hand at painting called Bonsai Cliffs.

Admission to the event is $45. The class begins at 1 p.m. Visit the Paint Nite website for tickets. Lindsay Roberts

Soil & Seed Garden Market
With summer right around the corner, it’s your last chance to pick up all your produce needs this season from the Soil & Seed Garden Market.

You can purchase herbs, eggs, and flowers each weekend at The Shed next to the garden from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Head to 6106 South 32nd Street on Saturday, May 19, and get shopping.

Check out the Farm at South Mountain website to see what’s growing. Admission to the market is free. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

Play Date: Adult Prom
Did you ever wish you could do high school over again? If you do not happen to own a time-traveling DeLorean, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix is offering an opportunity to relive the greatest night of your teenage life with Play Date: Adult Prom. Make your own corsage to pin on your date as you sip on cocktails and craft beer (because you’re of legal drinking age now) and perform karaoke. If you want another crack at being prom king or queen, nominate yourself (or a friend) for the royalty contest.

Hit the dance floor from 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, at 215 North Seventh Street. Tickets are $15-$50. For more information, visit the Children's Museum website. Jason Keil

Carmela y Mas
How about a little salsa with your gyros? Local Latina legend Carmela Ramirez and her eight-piece salsa band, Carmela y Mas, will perform at the Opa Life Greek Café, 227 East Baseline Road in Tempe, on Saturday, May 19. Ramirez, a fixture on the local arts scene since the 1970s, was featured in the 2010 Latina Trailblazers series at Phoenix College for her work as a producer, actor, vocalist, and arts advocate.

The show begins at 7 p.m. Admission and salsa dance lessons are free but the ouzo and the souvlaki are not. Visit the Music Scene website. Stuart Warner

click to enlarge Artwork you'll spot along Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Artwork you'll spot along Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe.
Lynn Trimble
Self-guided Tour
Leave your band at home, and head down to Mill Avenue in Tempe for a lazy Sunday on May 20. It’s a great place to take a free, self-guided tour of Tempe Public Art. You’ll find works by local artists in post office window displays, utility boxes painted with diverse styles, and sculptures that include a group of towering rabbits tucked a bit off the beaten path.

Start at Mill Avenue and University Drive if you want to see the giant sneaker artist Clyde painted for a Phoenix Suns project. Then walk towards Tempe Town Lake, watching for newsstands along the way. More than a dozen feature art depicting women, created by female artists for a Downtown Tempe Authority project called She Tempe.

While you’re in Tempe, stop by Daley Park to see Jake Early’s new mural. Or look for more public art along the lake, and inside the arts center. Visit the city of Tempe website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Anna Lentz and Gus Cuddy in The Diary of Anne Frank. - TIM FULLER
Anna Lentz and Gus Cuddy in The Diary of Anne Frank.
Tim Fuller
The Diary of Anne Frank
Anne Frank’s diary, written while the Jewish teen hid with seven others inside a small Amsterdam attic, continues to illuminate the dark history of the Holocaust. It’s inspired some compelling performance art, which helps people remember the perils of complacency.

Arizona Theatre Company is performing The Diary of Anne Frank at 1 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. It’s a Wendy Kesselman adaptation of the 1955 script by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. And it’s being co-produced with New York’s Geva Theatre Center.
Tickets start at $41, and there’s a free post-show discussion with cast members after Sunday’s matinee. Best of all, it’s being directed by David Ira Goldstein, former artistic director for the company. Visit the Arizona Theatre Company website. Lynn Trimble

Fahrenheit 451
Artist Valeska Soares, whose exhibition “Any Moment Now” is currently showing at the Phoenix Art Museum, uses parts of books to create her minimalistic art. This might be one reason she selected the 1966 science-fiction film Fahrenheit 451, based on the Ray Bradbury novel, as one of the movies that influenced her work.
In the future, firemen no longer put out fires — they torch books. Guy Montag, played by Oskar Werner, lights a creative flame within himself when he begins reading what he should be burning.

Turn the page at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, at 1625 North Central Avenue. Admission is included with the purchase of a general admission ticket. For more information, visit the Phoenix Art Museum website. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Daniel Shepherd delivers flower power at Royse Contemporary. - DANIEL SHEPHERD
Daniel Shepherd delivers flower power at Royse Contemporary.
Daniel Shepherd
“The Echo of Nature”
Phoenix artist Daniel Shepherd has been busy arranging flowers lately. Not for vases, but for works of collage art created by affixing scraps of paper to repurposed surfaces such as wood or book covers. He’s one of the city’s most prolific collage artists, and he’s found fresh inspiration in the ways flowers reflect the prevalence of repeated patterns in the natural world.

See his free exhibition called “The Echo of Nature” from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, May 21, at Royse Contemporary, 7077 East Main Street in Scottsdale. It continues through Friday, May 25. Visit the Royse Contemporary website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Get crafty. - SUNSHINE CRAFT CO.
Get crafty.
Sunshine Craft Co.
Snail Mail Soirée
Now that email has become the preferred method of sending messages to friends and family, heading out to get the mail has become a lackluster affair procuring little more than bills and junk ads. The Sunshine Craft Company remembers how it felt to get a handwritten card from someone you love. The Snail Mail Soirée is an opportunity to literally put pen to paper and make going to the mailbox fun again.

Sign, seal, and deliver some fun from 6 to 8 p.m. at 700 West Campbell Avenue. You can customize your letter or card using the provided art supplies or bring your own. Each card purchase comes with a free stamp. For more information, visit the Sunshine Craft Company website. Jason Keil

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Before putting on a top hat and spouting nonsense in Disney’s Alice In Wonderland, Johnny Depp donned a white bucket visor as Raoul Duke in director Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Based on the bizarre Hunter S. Thompson book, the film follows the protagonist and his lawyer (Benicio del Toro) on a road trip through the Southwest as they take numerous psychedelic detours on their search for the American Dream.

Buy the ticket and take the ride at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22, at Alamo Drafthouse Chandler, 4955 South Arizona Avenue. Tickets are $7.55. For more information, visit the Alamo Drafthouse website. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Head to Found:RE Phoenix for ArtPrize Pitch Night. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Head to Found:RE Phoenix for ArtPrize Pitch Night.
Lynn Trimble
ArtPrize Pitch Night
Five artists are hoping to leave Found:RE Phoenix, 1100 North Central Avenue, with more than just 15 minutes of fame. They’ll be vying for $5,000 during a competition called ArtPrize Pitch Night, which starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 22. Each artist will pitch an art project, then take questions from audience members and panelists before the panel names a winner.

The $5,000 will fund the winning art installation, and that artwork will be shown at Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan this fall. You can attend ArtPrize Pitch Night for free, then be the first to know which artist will be showing work as part of the international ArtPrize competition that runs from September 19 to October 7 in Grand Rapids this year. Visit the ArtPrize website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Explore works by Matt Magee at Phoenix Art Museum. - PHOTO: MATT MAGEE
Explore works by Matt Magee at Phoenix Art Museum.
Photo: Matt Magee
Contemporary Forum
Once each year, a Phoenix Art Museum support organization called Contemporary Forum recognizes several Arizona artists with grants, and one with a special award. This year, they’ll announce the winners at the museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, during a free 6:30 p.m. event on Wednesday, May 23. The Scult award winner will get $5,000, and grant recipients will receive $2,000 each.

That same night, they’ll open an exhibition of works by last year’s winners, including Laura Spalding Best, Jennifer Day, Casey Farina, Chris Jagmin, and Matt Magee. The “2017 Contemporary Forum Artists’ Grants Winners” exhibit continues through Sunday, November 4. Visit Phoenix Art Museum website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge It's storytime. - DENISE OFELIA MANGEN
It's storytime.
Denise Ofelia Mangen
The Moth Presents: StorySLAM
Do you have a story about that time you got caught doing something you shouldn’t? Or maybe there was an instance where you did the tattling? Bring it to Crescent Ballroom for this month’s The Moth Presents: StorySLAM. May’s theme is BUSTED! This a competition open to anyone with a five-minute story about the evening’s subject, so step up to the microphone to share your tale onstage or just sit back and listen.

The show begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, at 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $10. For more information, visit the Crescent Ballroom website. 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
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Stuart Warner was the editor of New Times from 2017 to 2019. He has been a journalist since the stoned ages of 1969, playing a major role on teams that won three Pulitzer Prizes. He is also the author of the biography JOCK: A Coach's Story.