Nerd Culture

Best Things to Do This Weekend: Poefest, Phoenix Suns, Harry Potter

Don’t tell this guy you’re out of Reese’s.
Don’t tell this guy you’re out of Reese’s. Courtesy of Poefest
Time to get a little festive this weekend. Whether that be at Poefest, the all things Edgar Allan Poe festival or the LGBTQ friendly Rainbows Festival, the choice is yours. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' curated calendar.

Edgar Allan Poe created his own franchise in the 1840s: gross, terrifying, and tailored to a mass audience. It was the Romantic era, but that doesn’t mean people were charming. Poe was pathetic, annoying, and, for most of his life, a snot-nosed loser.

Nevertheless, the annual Poefest inspires quickened breathing and a sinking tummy. These stories delivered by professional actors are about as creepy as anything gets. Each program’s a little different, so you can mix and match.

On Friday, October 20, at 8 p.m., The Oval Portrait and The Cask of Amontillado will haunt the Hotel San Carlos, 202 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $22 and $27; visit or call 888-343-4228 for details. Poefest continues through Tuesday, October 31, including a performance at Don Bluth Front Row Theatre on Monday, October 30 (Don Bluth Front Row Theatre website), and the traditional Halloween marathon of The Raven at Rosson House (timed tickets are $10). Julie Peterson

Maybe they won't lose to this L.A. team. - BARRY GOSSAGE/PHOENIX SUNS
Maybe they won't lose to this L.A. team.
Barry Gossage/Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns v. Los Angeles Lakers
Recently, the Los Angeles Dodgers made quick work of the Diamondbacks — Arizona’s 2017 darlings — sweeping the team’s postseason aspirations to an unceremonious end.

With the bitter taste of defeat still lingering on the tongues of Valley sports fans, the Lakers — the lone Los Angeles sports franchise that’s more irksome than the Dodgers — will bring the purple and gold to Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street, to battle the Phoenix Suns.

Although it’s a somewhat inconsequential regular-season game between two fledgling teams, you can bet that Suns fans in attendance will be hoping for an extra dose of retribution. It won’t fully ameliorate the pain that the Dodgers inflicted, but a victory over the Lakers is a good start.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 20, and tickets are $28 and up. Visit the Suns website or call 602-379-2000 for details. Rob Kroehler

Amanda Mollindo, Good ‘N Plenty Artist Award winner 2016. - COURTESY OF SMOCA
Amanda Mollindo, Good ‘N Plenty Artist Award winner 2016.
Courtesy of SMoCA
Good ‘N Plenty Artist Award
On Friday, October 20, six Valley creatives will present innovative art project pitches for the chance to win the Good ‘N Plenty Artist Award, which entails a cash prize of $500 to $1,000 to make their ideas into realities.

Audience votes determine the winner. Past awards have helped fund community-focused projects such as the Blushing Soup Press zine and lathe-cut record printing press, and the aftrART professional artist resource organization. During the presentations, audience members can snack on pastries and sip coffee.

The event starts at 7 p.m. at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street. Admission is $10 for the general public and $8 for members. For more information, call 480-874-4666 or go to the SMoCA website. Laura Latzko

The band Mastadon will be at the Big Red Night of the Dead. - TRAVIS SHINN
The band Mastadon will be at the Big Red Night of the Dead.
Travis Shinn
98KUPD’s Big Red Night of the Dead
If holidays were assigned official music genres to represent them, it makes sense that metal would be partnered with Halloween. Don’t agree? 98KUPD’s Big Red Night of the Dead might convince you.

This annual concert is held at the already spooky site of the Fear Farm. This year, it’s a shred-fest, featuring a day-into-night roster of metal bands from the U.S. and Sweden whose heavy riffs run from thick and chunky to speedy and blistering. The lineup includes Of Mice & Men, Avatar, In This Moment, and local Tempe band DED, who perform leading up to a set from headliners Mastodon. Food, drink, and a variety of goods can be purchased from on-site vendors.

The headbanging Halloween fun starts at 3 p.m. on Friday, October 20, at Fear Farm Haunted House, 2209 North 99th Avenue. All ages are welcome. General admission is $45. A $125 VIP ticket includes complimentary food and drinks, a private bar area, and front-of-stage access. Visit the 98KUPD website for details. Amy Young

click to enlarge It will be fab. - LEAKED GLASS
It will be fab.
Leaked Glass
Rainbows Festival
Phoenix Pride has been producing the Rainbows Festival for 15 years. The two-day celebration of diversity invites attendees to be their true selves. All members and allies of the LGBTQ community of any background are welcome to participate.

This year’s festival will feature more than 150 exhibitors and two entertainment stages at Heritage Square Park. Expect talent and variety shows, dance parties, and a “doggy drag show.” Performers include DJs, local musicians, and drag performers, including Aja from the ninth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The festivities are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, October 21 and Sunday, October 22, at 113 North Sixth Street. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Phoenix Pride website. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Single. Check. White. Check. You can see where Depend on Me might be going. - COURTESY OF BRELBY THEATRE COMPANY
Single. Check. White. Check. You can see where Depend on Me might be going.
Courtesy of Brelby Theatre Company
Depend on Me
Have we mentioned how much fun it is to go to a play so new you know you’ve never seen it before? (Especially in this theater season, where tonight, you can see a play 20 minutes from where you saw it the night before, with all new people and stuff! Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Depend on Me, at Brelby Theatre Company through Saturday, October 28, is a new work with a somewhat familiar setup: Someone gets a new roommate and then realizes you can’t really get to know someone that quickly. (Or in six years, but that’s another story.)

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, at 7154 North 58th Drive in Glendale. Tickets are $17 to $25 at the Brelby Theatre Company website or 623-282-2781. Julie Peterson

Biketober Bike Bazaar
If you’re the type of person who can’t wait for a weekly bike ride to the farmers market, this event is for you.
Phoenix Public Market has joined forces with the Phoenix Spokes People to add a twist to the traditional farmers market during the Biketober Bike Bazaar. This Saturday, October 21, event will feature crafts with bike-related materials, and bike shops selling assorted gear.

The bazaar runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 14 East Pierce Street. See the Facebook event page for details.?Lindsay Roberts

click to enlarge See work by Alison Sweet at Step Gallery. - ALISON SWEET
See work by Alison Sweet at Step Gallery.
Alison Sweet
“Westering Women”
History, feminism, and landscape — those are the three driving forces behind work by artist and Arizona State Unviersity graduate student Allison Sweet. She’s bringing those interests to Step Gallery, for an exhibition titled “Westering Women.”

Sweet’s art practice reflects her perspectives on popular misconceptions and mythologies surrounding the American West, during an era often viewed through incomplete histories that exclude women while elevating misguided romanticism about rampant colonization.

For her intermedia installation at Step Gallery, 605 East Grant Street, Sweet uses historical photographs from her great-grandfather’s failed homestead, sewing typically viewed as women’s work not worthy of documentation, patterns constructed from sifted flour, and an anti-western dual-channel video projection. It’s a feminist take on ways women are wrongly portrayed in history and media.

Check it out between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, at Grant Street Studios, 605 East Grant Street. Visit the ASU Events page. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Joshua Vern and Patti Davis Suarez are anything but neutral in Switzerland. - MARK GLUCKMAN
Joshua Vern and Patti Davis Suarez are anything but neutral in Switzerland.
Mark Gluckman
Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith is produced less in her homeland than in other countries. She may feel some kinship with Patricia Highsmith, author of Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley, who felt unappreciated by her native United States. Murray-Smith’s Switzerland, one of her most recent works, imagines an episode in Highsmith’s later years when a visiting editor sets her life askew — and vice versa. The crime novelist’s collection of weapons enables additional high jinks, and she and her guest are trapped in a textbook psychological thriller.

Theatre Artists Studio’s production of the play continues through Sunday, November 5, at 4848 East Cactus Road. Showtime on Sunday, October 22, is 2 p.m. Admission is $15 to $25. Visit the Theatre Artists Studio website or call 602-765-0120. Julie Peterson

Do you believe in magic? - COURTESY OF WARNER BROS
Do you believe in magic?
Courtesy of Warner Bros
Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History Of Magic
Knowing how to treat werewolf bites is a useful life skill, but you won’t find Defense Against the Dark Arts in ASU’s course catalog. No bother, for we truly live in magical times. The book Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History Of Magic is a peek inside Hogwarts from the British Library. It stems from an exhibition celebrating J.K. Rowling’s world of wizards and spells.

Changing Hands Bookstore will celebrate the book’s release with magic-themed games and activities during a family-friendly, Dementor-free event.

Bring your wand to the event, which starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 20, at 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. Your $20 purchase of the book admits a family of four. For more information, visit the Changing Hands website. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Gunnar M. Widforss, Grand Canyon, 1924, watercolor; On loan from The A.P. Hays Collection. - SCOTTSDALE MUSEUM OF THE WEST
Gunnar M. Widforss, Grand Canyon, 1924, watercolor; On loan from The A.P. Hays Collection.
Scottsdale Museum of the West
Hanging Kokedama Workshop
All the best hipster homes are decked out in hanging plants. Wanna try your hand at making your own — with a Japanese-meets-Southwest twist? Get ready for a little DIY action on Sunday, October 22.

The Farm at South Mountain, 6106 South Thirty Second Street, hosts a Hanging Kokedama Workshop from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendees will create two hanging succulent kokedamas (a.k.a. “moss balls”) to take home. All of the supplies for the workshop will be provided. Don’t worry if you don’t have a green thumb; the class includes instructions for care and maintenance. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

“Grand Canyon Grandeur”
Perhaps you’ve peered into the Grand Canyon at some point, and marveled at its magnificent lines, textures, and colors.

Now, you can experience Arizona’s natural wonder through the work of artists who’ve tackled the subject matter, as Scottsdale Museum of the West, 3830 North Marshall Way, presents an exhibition called “Grand Canyon Grandeur.”

The show includes more than 100 oil paintings, watercolors, and prints dating from the 1850s to 1950s — created in artistic styles including naturalism, abstraction, and impressionism. Get a good look between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 22. The exhibit is free with museum admission, which is $15 for adults. Visit the Scottsdale Museum of the West website. Lynn Trimble
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Rob is a Phoenix native, husband, dad, and an active member in the local music scene. He's written original songs for feature films.
Contact: Rob Kroehler
Laura Latzko
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble