Hannah McCormick and Jake McCormick mashed up Guardians of the Galaxy with Mary Poppins.EXPAND
Hannah McCormick and Jake McCormick mashed up Guardians of the Galaxy with Mary Poppins.
Benjamin Leatherman

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Forget your FOMO. This week you can get your geek on at the Phoenix Comic Fest, laugh with Cedric the Entertainer, or go see the Tony-award winning play The Humans. Need more? Head to the Phoenix New Times calendar for more things to do.

Phoenix Comic Fest
Unless you’ve been trapped in the Phantom Zone for the past year, you’re probably aware that Phoenix Comicon has changed its identity, and become Phoenix Comic Fest. But while its name has changed, pretty much everything else about the phenomenally popular annual culture event remains the same. It will still offer four days of geeky fun, panels, cosplay events, celebrity guests, and (of course) more comics than you can shake an Infinity Gauntlet at.

This year’s edition runs from Thursday, May 24, to Sunday, May 27, at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street, and will feature appearances by such special guests as Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, Jeremy Bulloch, Tim Curry, Ming-Na Wen, and William Shatner.

Operating hours vary. Daily admission is $30-$55, a four-day pass is $110, and VIP tickets are $350. See the Phoenix Comic Fest website for full details. Benjamin Leatherman

Star Wars v. Star Trek: The Music of Deep Space
If there’s one fandom rivalry that will never end, it’s Trekkies versus Warsies. (Star Trek versus Star Wars for those who aren’t caught up on the fandom lingo.) But in a rare moment, both fandoms will be welcome at the Phoenix Symphony on Thursday, May 24, for a night of amazing intergalactic music. For just $33 to $79 you can help decide which fandom will reign supreme. There will be a live text-in vote to choose the final number of the show. The force may be strong with this one, but enough Trekkies could be beamed up into the audience for the 85-minute, uninterrupted musical showdown.

Will the force be with you, will you live long and prosper, or will you be like J.J. Abrams and play both sides? The show begins at 8 p.m. at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street.

Tickets are available at the Phoenix Symphony website. Dillon Rosenblatt

Let him entertain you.EXPAND
Let him entertain you.
Courtesy of Stand Up Live

Cedric the Entertainer
Comedian Cedric the Entertainer began his career in the late ’80s, but got a boost a few years later when he started hosting It’s Showtime at the Apollo. That show set the foundation for showcasing his comic chops, but it was his appearance as the very-quotable barber Eddie Walker in the 2002 movie Barbershop, starring Ice Cube, that earned him a giant and loyal fan base.

Catch his opening night performance at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 25 at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street, followed by two shows on Saturday, May 26 and one on Sunday, May 27. Friday admission is $42.50 for 21 and older. Attendance requires a two-drink minimum. Call 480-719-6100 or check out the Stand Up Live website. Amy Young

Bad Buddhist: A Trip Through The Divine & The Absurd
Ain’t no party like a film-debut party, right?

It’s Storyline SLAM host Dan Hoen Hull’s birthday, and for the special occasion he will be debuting his one-hour film Bad Buddhist: A Trip Through The Divine & The Absurd. The film explores Hull’s attempts at becoming a Zen Buddhist. Head to Changing Hands, 300 West Camelback Road, for movie snacks, a Q&A with Hull, and, of course, birthday cake.

The screening starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 25. Visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

Laurel and Hardy Go to Heaven
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were the Key and Peele or Poehler and Fey of their day, getting their start in the 1920s. In Laurel and Hardy Go to Heaven, you’ll see writer Paul Auster’s absurdist take on what happens to the humorous duo after they leave this mortal coil for a trip upward to the biblical paradise. Locals Dennis Frederick and Phoenix New Times contributor Ashley Naftule star as the funny dudes, while Ernesto Moncada directs.

See what a heavenly journey looks like for the classic comics at 8 p.m. on May 25 at Space 55, 1524 North 18th Avenue. Tickets are $10. Visit the Space 55 website. Amy Young

Up, up, and away.EXPAND
Up, up, and away.
Courtesy of Aerial Solutions, LLC.

Cave Creek Balloon Festival
The Arizona sky is generally awesome around sundown. Load it up with colorful balloons of multiple sizes and different designs, and its eye-candy value skyrockets. At the Cave Creek Balloon Festival, you can ogle these floating hot-air-filled beauties. When you’re not giving your neck a workout, this balloon party offers plenty of other enjoyment. Live music, for one, with acts like singer-songwriter Madison Holmes, and The Josh Roy Band.

Fun on the ground and in the air happens from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 26 at the Rancho Manana Golf Club, 5734 East Rancho Manana Boulevard. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for kids 12 and younger, and free for kids 2 and younger. Discounted and VIP tickets are available online. Visit the Cave Creek Festivals website. Amy Young

Sing Your Face Off Karaoke
Do you like karaoke but hate it when a wannabe who should know better keeps heading onstage to sing another Shania Twain song? It has happened to all of us, but drag diva Pandora DeStrange has found a way to keep the poseurs from ruining the evening. At Sing Your Face Off Karaoke, you’re invited to step up to the microphone and give it your all. There is a catch, though: If the crowd doesn’t think you’re up to snuff, for a small charitable donation someone can gong you off the stage.

Get pitchy at 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Crescent Ballroom website. Jason Keil

Robert Indiana's iconic LOVE sculpture at Scottsdale's Civic Center Mall is a popular place for pet portraits.
Robert Indiana's iconic LOVE sculpture at Scottsdale's Civic Center Mall is a popular place for pet portraits.
Lynn Trimble

Dog Days @ SMoCA
Put a new twist on walking the dog as Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street, presents Dog Days @ SMoCA. It’s a guided walk around Scottsdale’s Civic Center Mall, an outdoor space adjacent to the museum and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

It’s home to several works of public art, including an iconic LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana, which makes a delightful backdrop for pet portraits or selfies. The walk starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, and culminates with sunset sky-gazing inside James Turrell’s Knight Rise. Tickets are $10. Visit the SMoCA website. Lynn Trimble

The Barbra Seville Show
One of Phoenix’s favorite drag queens, Barbra Seville, is bringing her very dry humor to the stage at The Rock Phoenix this Saturday, May 26.

Head to 4129 North Seventh Avenue, for wisecracking jokes, plenty of drinks, and your fill of the fabulously funny Seville. The show begins at 10 p.m. Cover for this 21-and-up event is $5. Call 602-248-8559 to make a reservation. Visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

Sheila Earley and Friends
The Sheila Earley and Friends show at The Nash on Saturday, March 26, will not only feature a nationally renowned drummer, but a movie star as well. And both are named Sheila Earley. The University of Arizona grad co-starred in the award-winning 2017 independent film Sugar!, about the wife of a Republican U.S. Senate candidate who forms an all-female jazz band. Earley, you might have guessed, played the band’s drummer, Cindy. Talk about typecasting.

Earley has been playing since she was 8 years old and has performed at top jazz venues around the country, including The Blue Note and The Village Vanguard. Saturday’s show will feature Renee Grant-Patrick, vocals; Mary Petrich, sax; Joaquin Rosales, trumpet; Nicole Pesce, piano; and Ben Hedquist, bass. The Nash is located at 110 East Roosevelt Street. Tickets are $10 and up. Visit the Nash website. Stuart Warner

Refik Anadol's Infinity Room uses mirrors to set viewers in a shifting landscape.
Refik Anadol's Infinity Room uses mirrors to set viewers in a shifting landscape.
Courtesy of Refik Anadol

Infinity Room
“Mirror, mirror on the wall.” It’s a famed fairy tale expression, but today it sounds pretty old-school. That’s because contemporary artists like Refik Anadol are making mirrors do things the Brothers Grimm never imagined.

The Turkish-born, Los Angeles-based artist merged light, sound, and technology with mirrored walls to create an installation called Infinity Room, which sets the viewer within an ever-shifting visual landscape created with projection mapping. The installation premiered in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2015. Basically, it’s an immersive, kinetic environment meant to shift viewer perceptions of place, and their own position within space. Museum materials describe it as “an imagined environment that attempts to merge the space between the physical and the virtual.”

See it at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street, from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 27. Admission is $10 for adults. The exhibition continues through Sunday, September 30. Visit the SMoCA website. Lynn Trimble

Be there, be queer.EXPAND
Be there, be queer.
courtesy of Queer Girl Events

Phoenix Queer Girl Launch Party
Local DJ Cristy Lawrence, also known as Jewelz, will be headlining the Phoenix Queer Girl Launch Party at BS West. If you are not familiar with Queer Girl, they are an event company dedicated to working with entertainers and performers in the lesbian community to put on a party that reflects the values of the queer-female audience.
This bash is all-inclusive. Anyone of legal drinking age is invited to the celebration, which will include beer pong tournaments and go-go dancers.

Get on the floor from 3 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 27, at 7125 East Fifth Avenue, in Scottsdale. Admission is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. For more information, visit the Queer Girl Events website. Jason Keil

Enter the snake pit.
Enter the snake pit.
Bruce Young

Arizona Rattlers v. Nebraska Danger
Arizona football fanatics that follow the NFL but don’t give the Indoor Football League (IFL) any love, it might be time for you to change up your game. Attend the Arizona Rattlers versus Nebraska Danger game to see if our home team keeps up its winning streak; so far this season, our desert snakes are killing it with a 9-1 record. It’s not a fluke, either: They lead the league with six world championships.

The home team tackles the Midwestern visitors at 3:05 p.m. on Sunday, May 27, at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Tickets start at $19. Visit the Arizona Rattlers website. Amy Young

Helio Basin Brewing Company
In these pages, we have spilled ink on some of the wild food being cooked by Tamara Stanger, chef at Helio Basin Brewing Company, 3935 East Thomas Road. The food is wild in that barrel-cactus semifreddo ice cream is crazy stuff. It’s also wild in that Stanger snips and plucks ingredients from the land. Her Sonoran style of cooking will be on full display at Helio Basin from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 27.

A family-style meal co-hosted by Localist Program will incorporate desert ingredients like mesquite, chiles, and gourds. Stanger will kick things off by leading a “sensory exploration.” There will then be taco and beer pairings. $25 for localists, $40 for non. Visit the Eventbrite website. Chris Malloy

Robot sculptures by Jordan-Alexander Thomas.
Robot sculptures by Jordan-Alexander Thomas.
Practical Art

Jordan-Alexander Thomas
Phoenix-based assemblage artist Jordan-Alexander Thomas has a thing for robots, science fiction, upcycling, and handmade objects. And he’s found a way to combine them, by creating sci-fi-inspired robots using wood and upcycled materials that give each of his quirky robot sculptures a unique personality and style. For more than a decade, he’s been assembling, then painting them, so no two robots look alike.

Check them out between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday, May 27, at Practical Art, 5070 North Central Avenue. That’s where the artist’s “Obsolete Dreams” exhibit continues through Thursday, May 31. Visit the Practical Art website. Lynn Trimble

12th Annual “Flags for our Fallen” Rally
Chillin’ and grilllin’ are no doubt among the most popular activities for celebrating Memorial Day weekend. But if you’re looking for a patriotic spectacle, head to the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 North Cave Creek Road, on Monday, May 28.

Hours before the official 8 a.m. ceremony inside the cemetery, more than 200 motorcycling members of Riders USA will start lining up near the entrance, amid 500 U.S. flags, to honor the military men and women who died serving our country. The national anthem will be performed at 7 a.m.

The 12th Annual “Flags for our Fallen” rally is free, but for a $10 donation, you can sponsor a flag for a veteran. Register at the Rider USA website. Deb Van Tassel

Arizona Diamondbacks v. Cincinnati Reds
Seriously, if the Tuesday, May 29, game between the slumping Diamondbacks and the last-place Cincinnati Reds isn’t exciting enough to get you out to Chase Field, how about a chance to paint like Picasso while sampling a little vino? The Paint at the Park special includes art supplies, lessons, a sampling of Beringer wines, and all-you-can-eat ballpark food on the PetSmart Patio. (A cabernet, perhaps, to complement your all-beef hot dog?)

Tickets for the special event are $50. Game time is 6:40 p.m. but the art event will begin earlier. If you’re just interested in baseball, the teams also play at 1:10 p.m. on Memorial Day and 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30. Tickets start at $19. Go to the Diamondbacks website. Stuart Warner

Humanizing the average family.EXPAND
Humanizing the average family.
Julieta Cervantes

The Humans
Broadway shows often bring realism and humor to larger issues affecting everyday people. Stephen Karam’s funny and dramatic play The Humans gives an intimate glimpse into the lives and relationships of a middle-class, Catholic family facing issues of illness, religion, economic standing and love. It takes place during a family dinner filled with eerie moments. The play won four Tony Awards, including Best Play. The national tour will visit ASU Gammage, 1200 South Forest Avenue, from Tuesday, May 29, to Sunday, June 3.

The production runs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1 and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets range from $20 to $150. For more information, call 480-965-3434 or go to the ASU Gammage website. Laura Latzko

Lena Klett explores psychogeography for "In Your Own Backyard."EXPAND
Lena Klett explores psychogeography for "In Your Own Backyard."
Lynn Trimble

“Arizona Biennial 2018”
This summer, you’ll get to see work by emerging artist Sam Fresquez in the “Arizona Biennial 2018” exhibition at Tucson Museum of Art. But you can explore her art ahead of time, and much closer to home, if you head to Xico Arte y Cultura, 1008 East Buckeye Road, #220.

Fresquez is one of more than a dozen artists with work in Xico’s “In Your Own Backyard” exhibition, which she also curated. It’s filled with works related to map-making, and the idea that artists should make work about what they know. Featured artists include Janet Diaz, Lena Klett, and Koryn Woodward Wasson Valle.

Check it out between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30. The free show runs through Tuesday, June 5. Visit the Xico website. Lynn Trimble

Young adult author Rae Carson.
Young adult author Rae Carson.
Michelle Daniel Photography

Rae Carson
With her latest project, best-selling young adult scribe (and Arizona resident) Rae Carson takes readers to a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away. The author of The Gold Seer Trilogy has written the prequel to the blockbuster film Solo: A Star Wars Story. Titled Star Wars: Most Wanted, the teen novel revolves around the misadventures of the famous pilot as he gets caught up in the criminal underworld of his home planet of Corellia. When a job goes wrong, he and his partner Qi’ra go on the lam.

Learn how your favorite space scoundrel got started at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30, at Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road. This is a free event. For more information, visit the Changing Hands website. Jason Keil

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