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The Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Weekend

Instrument stand in the form of a divine beast.
Instrument stand in the form of a divine beast.
Courtesy of the Henan Museum

What's the best way to spend your weekend? We recommend a trip to the Convergence festival, watching The Room at Film Bar, and geeking out at Phoenix Fan Fest. But it's up to you. For more things to do visit Phoenix New Times' curated calendar.

“Ancient Musical Treasures from Central China”
Into time travel but don’t have the equipment to get you to those bygone days? Visit the Musical Instrument Museum for the exhibition “Ancient Musical Treasures from Central China.”

View more than 60 rare instruments and works of art dating back to the beginning of Chinese civilization. The show displays ancient flutes and drums, and bronze bells utilized in early Chinese rituals. Music-related art includes a ceramic pillow and a bronze drum stand sculpted in the shape of a beast.

Take in the archaic gems from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, November 10, at 4725 East Mayo Boulevard. Tickets are $7 with paid museum admission of $10 to $20 for adults. The exhibit will be on view through May 6, 2018. Call 480-478-6000 or visit the MIM website for details. Amy Young

It was Earth all along: Convergence at Arcosanti promises some grounding.
It was Earth all along: Convergence at Arcosanti promises some grounding.
Jeff Shewmon

We’re in awe of Arcosanti, the community north of Phoenix that continues to grow, albeit gradually. Construction began in 1970 under the leadership of the community’s late founder, Paolo Soleri, and it continues at a medieval-cathedral pace. The principles of arcology (architecture + ecology) inform buildings, agriculture, and events at the site, including the first Convergence festival and conference from noon Friday, November 10, through Sunday, November 12.

Programming ranges from exploration of economics, climate, and indigeneity to slow food, live performance, and getting right with the universe. For day-trippers, $20 gets you into Sunday’s annual Mesquite Pancake Breakfast, which includes a free tour.

Find 13555 South Cross L Road in Mayer, near the Cordes Junction exit from I-17. Admission starts at $80 for a day pass and tops out at $350. Visit the Arcosanti website or call 505-850-7602. Camping’s available onsite. Julie Peterson

Cupcake! co-promoter Betty Blackheart.EXPAND
Cupcake! co-promoter Betty Blackheart.
Benjamin Leatherman

Cupcake! Kiss Kiss Fang Fang
Halloween’s over, but that doesn’t mean vampires have been laid to rest.

The long-running fetish party Cupcake! is throwing another dance night. And this time, it’s vampire-themed. On Friday, November 10, Kiss Kiss Fang Fang will feature resident bloodsuckers Self.Destrukt, Betty Blackheart, and Beautiful John will spin danceable electro and industrial beats all night long.

Sport your best vampy attire for the bash, which starts at 9 p.m. at Rogue Bar, 423 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

There proves to be life after 40 in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.EXPAND
There proves to be life after 40 in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.
courtesy of Desert Stages Theatre

The Dark at the Top of the Stairs
The Dark at the Top of the Stairs sounds as though it should’ve been on digital cable — starring Vincent Price — or perhaps the opener in a franchise that continues with Darker Still, Dark All the Way to the Bathroom, and Darkness IV: The Recarpeting. But let us not mourn what might have been.

TDATTOTSis a play (later, a film) penned by William Inge, who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Picnic, so there you go. In addition to wearing sexual frustration like a latex catsuit, his characters generate welcome humor in the milieu of the small-town American Midwest of, oh, geez, pushing a century ago now.

The play runs through Sunday, November 19, at Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale Fashion Square, 7014 East Camelback Road. Showtime on Friday, November 10, is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 to $28 at the Desert Stages Theatre website or 480-483-1664. Julie Peterson

The Room
Next month, The Disaster Artist is scheduled to hit theaters. It features James Franco and his brother Dave playing director Tommy Wiseau and actor Greg Sestero, respectively. The new indie film is based on Sestero’s account of the production of the 2003 cult movie The Room, which is considered an ironic masterpiece by such comedians as Patton Oswalt and David Cross.

Prep for the Francos’ flick by seeing Wiseau’s catastrophe-slash-work of genius at 10 p.m. on Friday, November 10, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Admission is $9. For more information, visit the FilmBar website. Jason Keil

Can you dig?EXPAND
Can you dig?
Courtesy of Discogs

Crate Diggers Record Fair and After-Party
If you have the website Discogs bookmarked, chances are good you’re a vinyl junkie who never gets tired of hunting for another must-have record.

Get your flipping fingers ready. The popular site for buying and selling musical goodies is sponsoring the Crate Diggers Record Fair and After-Party, where more than 30 vendors will be on-site with records galore to help you expand your collection. By day, vendors will sell their wares. At night, local and national DJs will provide the party soundtrack. Out-of-towners include DJ Day from California, and Breakbeat Lou and Kenny Dope from New York.

Shop for records from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 11. Then, go home, alphabetize your purchases, and come back for the party from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Admission is free. Call 602-716-2222 or visit the Crescent Ballroom website. Amy Young

Stuffed animals are welcome at Phoenix Fan Fest.EXPAND
Stuffed animals are welcome at Phoenix Fan Fest.
Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix Fan Fest
Everyone’s allowed to feel a longing for their childhood days every now and again. According to fantasy writer Barry Hughart in his book, Bridge of Birds, it’s downright vital. “Don’t be ashamed of reliving your childhood,” he notes. “Because all of us must do it now and then to maintain our sanity.”

At this year’s Phoenix Fan Fest, folks who happened to adore the likes of as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Ghostbusters, and Matilda can enjoy a heaping helping of nostalgia. The two-day geek event on Saturday, November 11, and Sunday, November 12, at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street, will feature appearances by Ernie Hudson, Mara Wilson, and four of the actors and actresses who played the kids in the 1970’s cinematic version of Willy Wonka.

As always, Fan Fest will also feature a variety of programming celebrating comics, creators, collectibles, and cosplay. Hours vary. Daily admission is $15 to $20 and the full weekend is $30. See the Fan Fest website for more info. Benjamin Leatherman

Steve Strange dons his rabbit head for a previous PAPA Parade.
Steve Strange dons his rabbit head for a previous PAPA Parade.
Jessica Hately

Grand Avenue Festival
Downtown community members will converge on Saturday, November 11, for the 2017 Grand Avenue Festival. The free event will be packed with things to do and see, including a fashion show with attire made of recyclables, hanging gardens and woven fence art installations, and tours of the area’s historic buildings. Art exhibitions, food vendors, children’s crafts, and live music will add to the fun, which will run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Phoenix Annual Parade of the Arts procession will kick off at 6 p.m. It’s a chance to strut your funkiest dress-up gear, or revel in the creativity of human-powered floats. And there’s an after-hours lineup for people who can’t bear to leave all that happiness behind before 10 p.m. Visit the Grand Avenue website for details. Lynn Trimble

Time to exercise that green thumb.
Time to exercise that green thumb.
Courtesy of Dig It

“The Green Indoors”
Maybe you have a not-so-green thumb that seems to kill even the easiest indoor succulents. Don’t worry. The folks at Dig It can help. The CenPho plant store will host “The Green Indoors,” a class covering everything from placement of houseplants to proper fertilizing techniques, on Saturday, November 11. This is an interactive course — so expect to get your hands a little dirty.

Class is in session from 10 to 11 a.m. at 3015 North 16th Street. It costs $10 for adults to attend, and kids get in for free. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Dig It website. Lindsay Roberts

It's finally that time of beer.EXPAND
It's finally that time of beer.
Jim Louvau

New Times’ NovemBEER Festival
During the summer, Valley dwellers whose palates favor hops and barley are hard-pressed to find opportunities to hang out with their fellow suds enthusiasts. But the cooler months bring more than enough fermented grains to wash away the drought. Case in point: New Times’ NovemBEER Festival.

In case the name leaves any doubt, the fourth annual event will feature more than 100 varieties of beer — and a lot of people to drink with. The 21-and-over event will run from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 11, along Adams Street between Second Street and Central Avenue . General admission is $30, Visit the NovemBEER website or call 877-987-6487 for details. Rob Kroehler

View from the Drafting Room, Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ, 1940 silver gelatin print h 24.5 “ w 27.5 “- framed
View from the Drafting Room, Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ, 1940 silver gelatin print h 24.5 “ w 27.5 “- framed
Pedro Guerrerro (1917-2012)

“FLW150: Image & Influence”
Frank Lloyd Wright didn’t just design stunning structures. The architect inspired creativity in his students. And his work influenced artists around the world. On the 150th anniversary of his birth, the Gallery at Mountain Shadows is paying tribute to the architect with “FLW150: Image & Influence,” an exhibition of artists who have drawn inspiration from Wright.

The show, which is on view 24 hours a day through Saturday, December 30, also highlights work by contemporary artists from different parts of the country. Take a look at 5445 East Lincoln Drive. For more information, call 855-485-1417 or go to the Mountain Shadows website. Laura Latzko

Comfy chairs await your writer butt for Writing Group at Songbird Coffee and Teahouse.
Comfy chairs await your writer butt for Writing Group at Songbird Coffee and Teahouse.
Songbird Coffee and Teahouse

Four Chambers Press’ Writing Group
It’s satisfying to combine our rampant need for discipline (settle down — not that kind of discipline) with mild socializing and, really, just getting out of the dang house. Hence the perfect storm of a writers’ group. Four Chambers Press’ Writing Group at Songbird Coffee and Tea House, continuing on the second Sunday of each month until at least next summer, furnishes just the right amount of structure and inspiration. Participants read what they’re working on, and the group discusses and critiques the pieces.

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Meanwhile, buy yourself a fabulous beverage and snack. Heck, buy someone else a coffee — it’s cheaper than a cocktail. Admission is free to the scribefest from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Sunday, November 12, at 812 North Third Street. Visit the Four Chambers Press website. Julie Peterson

Annual Turkey Contest
How funny can a comedian get when there are prizes on the line? Attend the Annual Turkey Contest at Stand Up Live to find out.

The show is an extension of the New Faces of Comedy AZ showcase held regularly at the club, and encourages new comedians to get in front of a crowd to deliver five minutes of laugh-worthy material. This time, it’s up to the audience to decide who wins $100 cash and a holiday turkey.

The holiday hilarity starts at 7 p.m. on Sunday, November 12, at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Admission is $5 for guests 18 and older. There’s a two-drink minimum. Call 480-719-6100 or visit the Stand Up Live website. Amy Young

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