Phoenix Free Events September 11-17: WordPlay Café, Downtown Pedal, “Rise and Grind” | Phoenix New Times

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Free Things to Do This Week: WordPlay Café, Downtown Pedal, “Rise and Grind”

No money, no problem.
Sex and the kitty: Jaguars don’t have Tinder, but they do have the “Tension and Territory” art show.
Sex and the kitty: Jaguars don’t have Tinder, but they do have the “Tension and Territory” art show. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library System
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You don't need money to have a good time this week. You can hear local poets, storytellers, and musicians share work at the WordPlay Café, put the pedal to the metal to explore downtown, and meet author J.A. Jance. Best part? It's all free. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' curated calendar.

“Tension and Territory”
For decades, no jaguars were spotted (jaguar joke!) in the United States, and we figured they’d written us off. But in the last several years, a few lone males have appeared on Arizona wildlife surveillance cameras. These furry gentlemen can’t start families by themselves, though, and existing fencing at the U.S.-Mexico border inhibits their natural movements and courtship behavior. That fencing threatens several other organisms, as well.

Artist Lauren Strohacker has created an installation, including time-based digital artwork, that illuminates the jaguar’s situation vis-à-vis border issues. “Tension and Territory” continues through Friday, October 20, in the Art Gallery at Mesa Community College, 1833 West Southern Avenue. Hours on Monday, September 11, are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Call 480-461-7294 or visit the Mesa Community College website. Julie Peterson

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Retirement or solving a mystery?
Courtesy of Poisoned Pen Bookstore
J.A. Jance
Think when retirement comes, you’ll be ready to chillax? What if you had the chance to get embroiled in a murder mystery?

That’s the dilemma faced by investigator J.P. Beaumont, the main character in author J.A. Jance’s new mystery, Proof of Life. Beaumont’s one step away from post-employment lounging when his nemesis, a Seattle crime reporter, dies in a fire. Beaumont gets dragged into the investigation by none other than the deceased victim. He travels some dark paths to discover what really happened to his adversary.

Get a signed copy for your crime collection from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 13, at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale. Admission is free; books for the signing are $27.99. Call 480-947-2974 or visit the Poisoned Pen website. Amy Young

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See work by six artists, including Monica Aissa Martinez, at Royse Contemporary in Scottsdale.
Monica Aissa Martinez/Courtesy of Royse Contemporary
“Southwest Contemporary Today”
After years of curating art shows at other venues, Nicole Royse has started her own gallery. Her new downtown Scottsdale art space’s inaugural exhibition is called “Southwest Contemporary Today.” The free opening happens from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, September 14, at Royse Contemporary, 7077 East Main Street, #6. It’s located in Marshall Square, a complex that’s home to other art venues, including Tilt Gallery and Lotus Contemporary Art.

“Southwest Contemporary Today” includes work by six artists, including Texas-based Angel Cabrales. Charmagne Coe, Monica Aissa Martinez, Daniel Shepherd, Marilyn Szabo, and Fred Tieken are based in metro Phoenix. They work in diverse media such as photography, painting, and sculpture.

The reception includes live music, light bites and refreshments, a chance to talk with featured artists, and opening remarks by Royse. “Southwest Contemporary Today” continues through Saturday, September 30. Visit the Nicole Royse website. Lynn Trimble

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During monthly WordPlay Cafe open mics, artists can share their poems, stories or songs.
Mesa Arts Center
WordPlay Café
Through song lyrics, stories, and verse, artists can give greater insight into who they are and the world around them. WordPlay Café, a second Thursday event with its next installment on September 14, lets local poets, storytellers, and musicians share work and connect with audiences on a deeper level. Each session focuses on one of the seven deadly sins, with envy taking center stage in September. A 6 p.m. performance, storytelling ,or writing workshop precedes each open mic, which begins at 7.

Featured storytellers, spoken word artists, and musicians will also perform during the monthly event. The open mic night takes place at Volstead Public House, 105 West Main Street, through February 8 and moves to Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, on March 23 for a final Story Slam. The event is free to the public, but donations are encouraged. For more information, go to the Mesa Art Center website. Laura Latzko

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Explore works by dozens of Arizona artists as Grand ArtHaus presents “Rise and Grind.”
Robert Gentile/Photo by Lynn Trimble
“Rise and Grind”
Some people need a daily coffee fix. Others get a similar jolt from creativity. That’s the thinking behind “Rise and Grind,” an exhibition of work by more than 50 artists opening on Friday, September 15, at Grand ArtHaus, 1501 Grand Avenue.

Join the free opening reception, which doubles as the venue’s one-year anniversary party, from 7 to 11 p.m. Besides the art show, the evening will feature an art raffle, music from DJ Fact 135, and other festivities. Above all, it’s a celebration of the rugged grit and drive shown by creatives amid an ever-changing urban landscape. Visit the Facebook page. Lynn Trimble

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Head over wheels.
Charissa Lucille
Downtown Pedal Around Edition #5
Group bike rides tend to be fun regardless of theme. But just in case you need one in order to mount up, how about a two-wheeled tour of downtown? Hosted by Grid Bike Share, Phoenix Spokes People, and Downtown Phoenix Inc., Downtown Pedal Around Edition #5 is an all-ages, all-levels, community bike ride through the central streets of the Valley.

The free, two-hour ride (followed by dinner and drink at a TBD but local eatery) leaves from Civic Space Park, 424 North Central Avenue, at 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 17. If you don’t have a rig, you can rent one at the Grid Bike Share station right at the park. Pro tip: download the Social Bicycles mobile app first. See the Facebook event. Lauren Cusimano

Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.
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