Phoenix gets nerdy with it this week. Geek out this week by attending Phoenix Comicon, a stand-up performance by the unofficial nerd king Brian Posehn, or an exploration of butterfly species. For more things to do, see our curated calendar of events.
Phoenix Comicon is back, ready to fill downtown’s streets with cosplayers and general nerdy hoopla. Before retiring indoors for the summer season, the convention offers opportunities to connect, dress up, and geek out from Thursday, May 25, through Sunday, May 28, at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street.
Attendees can choose from a boatload of panels, vendors, escape rooms, celebrity guests, parties, exhibitors, and events like the Masquerade Costume Contest, the Film Festival, and Talk Nerdy to Me: A Byte of Burlesque. Guests include Dick-freaking-Van Dyke, Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, and the voice of the Niles Crane-esque K-2SO in Rogue One), Danny Trejo, Curtis Armstrong (a.k.a. Booger), and Anthony Michael Hall.
Tickets range from $20 to $299. Hours for opening day are 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Visit the Phoenix Comicon website for the full schedule and lineup. Lauren Cusimano
My Man Godfrey
So far, plays and movies are mostly immune from that whole “no writers” thing that turned TV into a reality-show wonderland during and after the 1988 writers’ strike. Hollywood’s had more than one Golden Age, and a prime example of throwing a Pulitzer-winning author at a movie and watching him stick is Morrie Ryskind’s 1936 screwball comedy My Man Godfrey, in which a homeless dude is scooped up by an heiress for a scavenger hunt, and high jinks ensue, as usual.
Eric K. Hatch’s stage version is presented by Don Bluth Front Row Theatre through Saturday, June 24, at 8670 East Shea Boulevard, #103, in Scottsdale. Showtime is 7 p.m. for the performance on Thursday, May 25, and tickets are $25 at 480-314-0841 or the Don Bluth Front Row Theatre website. Julie Peterson
Old School Skate
Nostalgia alert. During Great Skate Glendale’s Old School Skate, you can relive some of your favorite roller rink memories. DJ Rob Slick will supply the old-school hits, while you attempt to avoid falling while grooving along. The 18-and-over skating night costs $7 per person and takes place at 10054 North 43rd Avenue on Thursday, May 25, from 7:30 to 10 p.m. To find out more, visit the United Skates website. Laura Latzko
America’s the land we love for a lot of reasons. There’s the barbecue, the beer, and, of course, the parties. Speaking of which: Hotel Palomar’s Lustre Rooftop Bar will host a downright red, white, and blue Memorial Day bash dubbed the All-American Weekend. From May 26 through 29, the 21-and-over crowd is welcome to sip Tito’s vodka cocktails next to the rooftop pool, chow down on barbecue, and enjoy jams selected by a DJ. So pack those star-spangled bikinis, and get yourself to 2 East Jefferson Street at 11 a.m. on Friday. There is no cover for this weekend bash. Land of the free, indeed. Visit the Lustre Rooftopo Bar website for more information. Lindsay Roberts
The Duck Variations
Before moving into the collective consciousness as creator of Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet had been churning out plays and screenplays for decades. His first produced work was a double bill of Sexual Perversity in Chicago and The Duck Variations, the latter of which continues through Sunday, May 28, at Space 55 Theatre.
The classic “two guys on a park bench” one-act was presented this time last year, when you might’ve missed it, so celebrate its return at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 26, at 636 East Pierce Street. Stars Duane Daniels and Doug Waldo share their characters’ takes on the forces of nature without scorching your delicate sensibilities with profanity-laced tirades. Tickets are $12 to $15. Visit the Space 55 website. Julie Peterson
“Thin Air II: Art from Tech Shop”
What comes to mind when you hear the word “artist”? After seeing this new exhibition in Chandler, it’ll probably be lasers. Artist Lauren Copley uses a computer-guided laser to draw on metal. Emily Longbrake uses lasers to cut paper and wood. Like sculptor Jamie Cordelier, they’re members of a fabrication workshop and studio called TechShop Chandler.
Check out works by all three artists in a free show called “Thin Air II: Art from Tech Shop.” You’ll see Cordelier’s use of geometric forms to explore various cultures, Copley’s alien- and robot-inspired figures, and Longbrake’s take on landscapes and patterns within nature.
It’s happening at Vision Gallery, 10 East Chicago Street, through Friday, June 2. Gallery hours on Thursday, May 25, are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the Vision Gallery website. Lynn Trimble
The Goblin King’s City
Remember the 1986 movie Labyrinth? It’s a musical fantasy about a teenage girl navigating a maze to find her brother. It starred David Bowie as Jareth, the Goblin King, and was directed by Muppet master Jim Henson, who also included some of his puppet creations. This isn’t that — but it’s close. The Goblin King’s City is a live musical adaptation of that film, done Phoenix-style.
Pan Productions is at the helm of this reimagined show. They’ve tackled other known musicals, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Each leading role is shared by two performers who alternate nights. Local bands Jerusafunk and We Are Hologram perform a version of the score that also includes an original song by area musician and New Times contributor Serene Dominic. Get caught up in this twisty tale at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 26, at The Pressroom, 441 West Madison Street. Admission is $15. Visit the Pan Productions Facebook for information. Amy Young
A single style of music, dance, or dress can’t be used to describe the Caribbean. But Phoenix’s Caribbean Carnival will celebrate the diverse sights and sounds of the islands. The celebration of cultures kicks off on Friday, May 26, at 10 p.m. at Club Palazzo, 710 North Central Avenue, with the International Flag Party, an event where attendees showcase flags from around the world. The festivities will continue at 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, at Michael’s at Park Central, 3110 North Central Avenue, with the All White Masquerade Affair featuring live music from “Queen of Soca” Alison Hinds. On Saturday, May 27, people of all ages can experience the flavors of the Caribbean during a street parade with bands, dancers, and spectators decorated in paint and powder. The parade runs from Third Street and Thomas Road to Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road. Also slated for Saturday is a Carnival Village at the park, featuring performances from stilt walkers, fire breathers, and Latin and steel drum bands.
Tickets for the All White Masquerade Affair cost $25 at the door, and admission for the Carnival Village is $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and up, and free for children under 12. For more information, go to the Phoenix Carnival website. Laura Latzko
Garden Volunteer Day
Ever wish your skill set included gardening? Try learning by doing at Roosevelt Growhouse, 1025 North Second Street, where you don’t need a green thumb to make good things happen. Join fellow volunteers for Garden Volunteer Day between 8 and 11 a.m. on May 27.
It’s a great excuse to play in the dirt while helping beautify a formerly vacant lot. In case you missed it, the Growhouse recently moved to the grounds of the historic Leighton G. Knipe House.
Saturday’s lineup includes spreading mulch and watering plants. And there might be some painting, too. While you’re there, check out a new mural by Isaac Caruso, whose giant sunflowers grace the nearby monOrchid building. Visit the Roosevelt Growhouse Facebook page. Lynn Trimble
In addition to creating a ton of ridiculously killer music in his many years as a celebrity, Prince managed to keep facets of his life out of the public eye. His deep affinity for the color purple, however, was not even close to a secret. The Purple Rain artist often was clad head to toe in the color. So it makes perfect sense that an event honoring his talents would pay homage to his signature shade. The Automatic Response Performance Company’s production Purple tells stories about the musical legend through the art of dance. Performers include Krista Barker, Kaitlyn Conley, Ricky Maalouf, Jose Soto, and Jayar Fernandez. Shows take place at 1 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street. Admission is $20. Call 480-499-8587 or visit the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts website. Amy Young
Read on for more things to do on and around Memorial Day 2017.
We all know the ’90s are back, but thank God the decade’s resurgence hasn’t resurrected the butterfly tattoo. Well, not yet, anyway. Real rhopalocera fans don’t go for ink, but instead education and up-close experiences like the Butterfly Walk at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, 37615 East US Highway 60 in Superior.
Summer at the arboretum brings monthly butterfly walks, this year starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 27. The slow-paced tour is guided by ASU professor Ron Rutowski, and hits the Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, Demonstration Garden, and Children’s Garden collections — all via accessible trails.
Participants can see, photograph, and learn about butterfly species like Empress Leilia, Queen, and Spring Azure. Entry is $12.50 for adults, and includes the walk. Call 520-689-2811 or see the Arizona State Parks website for more information. Lauren Cusimano
Phoenix Mercury v. Dallas Wings
Unlike the ad nauseam pundit projections and hoopla surrounding the NBA and NFL drafts, the WNBA draft registers little more than a blip on the media radar. If it had, you would know that the Dallas Wings hauled in three of the top 10 picks. Not bad in a league with just 12 teams. And the Wings’ coveted rookies wasted no time in proving their value, leading their new team to a season-opening victory over the Phoenix Mercury on May 14. Having their home opener spoiled by a coupla spry rookies, expect Brittney Griner and company to exact their revenge when Dallas returns to Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Washington Street, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 27. Tickets are $9 and up. Visit the Mercury website or call 602-379-7800 for details. Rob Kroehler
If ever an official nerd king was to be named, stand-up comedian and actor Brian Posehn could rightfully rock that crown.
His 2006 debut comedy album was titled Nerd Rage, after all. And if that’s not testament enough, he hosts a podcast called Nerd Poker, where dorky warriors have gathered for the last five years to play Dungeons & Dragons. His hilarious and self-deprecating narratives combined with a distinctively slow delivery style have helped cement his status as a top-notch funnyman. Prior to his stand-up career, Posehn appeared on such TV shows as HBO’s Mr. Show with Bob and David, where he was also a writer. Opportunities to geek out with Posehn happen at 7:30 and 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 26, at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street.
Admission to the 21-and-over event is $22, and seating is first-come, first-served. All tickets require a two-drink minimum. Call 480-719- 6100 or visit the Standup Live website. Amy Young
Free Summer Sunday
Sometimes the herd mentality is good, like when you’re flocking to your local art museum for a free day of exhibitions, performances, and artist demonstrations. Sunday, May 28, is your chance. That’s when the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue, opens from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Free Summer Sunday.
You’ll get free museum admission, and pay $7 if you want to explore the “Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera” exhibition, featuring works by the renowned 20th-century Mexican artists. There’s also a gallery filled with interactive activities for kids — all inspired by Frida and Diego.
Other highlights include contemporary art by Rick Bartow, sculpture gardens, artwork from the Heard’s collection, and more than 400 katsina dolls. For more information, visit the Heard Museum website. Lynn Trimble
Burrito Eating Contest
Do you refer to your stomach as a bottomless pit? If you can eat a lot of food, and fast, the Crescent Ballroom’s second-ever Burrito Eating Contest is a chance for you to show off your devouring skills. Men get three minutes to down as many burritos as possible, while women get five minutes to test their talents. Prizes are awarded to the top three winners in each category: $250 in cold hard cash for the number-one eaters; second prize gets a $100 Crescent gift card; and third place means a $50 gift card to the music venue. Start chomping or cheering at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 28, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Admission and contest entry are free. Call 602-716-2222 or visit the Crescent Ballroom website. Amy Young
Arizona Filmmaker Showcase
Reasons for checking in on FilmBar’s monthly Arizona Filmmaker Showcase are myriad:
- A juried group of short films that are bound to be entertaining;
- A one-stop shop where local arts and media professionals can scope out new partnerships;
- An audience full of the people noted above, who are also interesting socially, shall we say;
- Prudently consumed alcohol (see below).
This month’s five moviettes include something post-apocalyptic, something ventriloquist-based, and, just to shake things up, a documentary about luthiery. Queue up for the mini-festival at 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 28. Admission is $7, and patrons younger than 21 are admitted only with a parent. Because of the alcohol. That’s why it’s called FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. See the Film Bar website. Julie Peterson
“Drawn to Pattern”
Perhaps you’ve fallen into a predictable pattern when it comes to making trips to the airport. Unless you’re catching a plane or are on pickup duty, you probably don’t go there. But you’re missing a lot, because Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has some impressive art offerings.
Leave your luggage behind and visit Sky Harbor, 3800 East Sky Harbor Boulevard, between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Monday, May 29. Stop in at Terminal 4’s third floor to explore the “Drawn to Pattern” exhibition inside the airport gallery and eight additional display cases. It’s on view through October 29, and features work by artists including Carrie Marill, Lara Plecas, and Kaori Takamura. Throughout the terminal, you’ll find four more exhibitions featuring work by Arizona artists. There’s no charge for admission. Visit the Sky Harbor Airport website. Lynn Trimble
2017 Memorial Day Divas Show
Remembering our veterans. The start of summer. A three-day weekend. Drag queen comedy shows. For regular visitors to Kobalt Bar, 3110 North Central Avenue Suite 125, Memorial Day means all these things — thanks to the hangout’s annual Memorial Day Divas Show.
Starting at 1 p.m. and running till 2 a.m. on Monday, May 29, TC Taylor will host the 2017 Memorial Day Divas Show, featuring Payda Parc, Savannah Stevens, and Charmaine K.C. Honeywell. Expect lots of cracking wise, deafening lip-sync performances, and American flag décor up the yang.
Entry is free, and we probably don’t have to tell you to bring singles for tips. For more information, call 602-264-5307 or see the Facebook event page. Lauren Cusimano
Raising Arizona Party
When “biology and the prejudices of others” conspire to keep odd couple H.I. McDunnough, a thrice-caught convenience store crook, and his police officer wife childless, they kidnap an infant quintuplet from the owner of an unpainted furniture store chain. That’s just the first 12 minutes of Raising Arizona, the second film from the Coen brothers. Filmed in and around the Valley, Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, and John Goodman star in this cult comedy, which features a diaper robbery that begins at the Circle K on Deer Valley Road and I-17.
The Alamo Drafthouse Phoenix is celebrating the movie’s 30th anniversary in style with props that include cap guns and Woody Woodpecker tattoos, bringing this unbelievable, eye-popping masterpiece to life.
The Raising Arizona party takes place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30, at 4955 South Arizona Avenue in Chandler. Admission is $13. Visit the Drafthouse website. Jason Kiel
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Remember the days when you’d make mixtapes to share with that special someone? Vinyl Voices brings that practice to the stage, pairing storytelling with songs of the teller’s choosing. Hosted by comedians Leslie Barton and Jose Gonzalez, the recurring event’s Tuesday, May 30, edition features Anwar Newton, host of Literally The Worst Show Ever. Find a spot on The Coronado’s patio, 2201 North Seventh Street, at 8 p.m. for a free night of music and true stories. Visit the Facebook event page, for more information. Lindsay Roberts
“All Art Arizona”
Ever wonder about the state of the arts in Arizona? See for yourself, when Gilbert gallery Art Intersection, 207 North Gilbert Road, #201, presents works by 100 or so Arizona artists. You can see the free “All Art Arizona” exhibition between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31. It includes paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, ceramics, and works in several additional media created by emerging and established artists.
Participating artists include Brian Boner, Daniel Friedman, Rembrandt Quiballo, Ann Tracy, and Brianna Voron, to name a few. Gallerygoers can cast their vote for the Viewer’s Choice Award, then stay tuned for news of the winning artist once the show ends its run on Saturday, July 15. Visit the Art Intersection website. Lynn Trimble