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The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Courtesy of Valley Bar
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Nothing to do this week? No problem. Hear a reading from the poet behind "Good Bones," spend an evening with Ira Glass, or kick back for a special edition of Phoenix New Times' Shooflies. For more things to do, visit New Times' calendar.

Spelling Bee-r
Ever heard of a Spelling Bee-r? Let us define it for you. “Spelling Bee-r:” an event where you can relive your elementary school spelling bee days by competing against friends and other bargoers. Oh, and there’s lots of beer.

Competitors should brush up on spelling skills and beer terminology, and spectators should bring some extra cash for drink specials. Hosted by Brooksie, the competition will start at 8 p.m. on Thursday, January 18, at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue.

Email hautestew@gmail.com if you’d like to compete. Admission for the 21-and-over event is free. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

Apparently, embarrassing your family until they try to get you committed generates good comedy, not just dreadful memories that last a lifetime. Mary Chase’s Harvey won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for drama and was wildly successful on stage and screen, starring Jimmy Stewart as a man whose best friend is a tall, invisible rabbit. Transported by the script’s virtues and Stewart’s acting chops, thousands of people allegedly remembered having seen Harvey during the performance (which does not actually happen, on account of the invisibility).

The cozy-yet-thought-provoking play continues at Don Bluth Front Row Theatre through Saturday, February 24, at 8670 East Shea Boulevard, #103 in Scottsdale. Showtime is 7 p.m. for the performance on Thursday, January 18, and tickets are $27 at 480-314-0841 or the Don Bluth Front Row Theatre website. Julie Peterson

Jazz up your jokes.EXPAND
Jazz up your jokes.
Lynn Trimble

Jazz & Jokes
Used to be that stand-up comedians got their start performing in jazz clubs and variety shows. Jazz & Jokes throws it back to those days. It’s a monthly event that brings together musicians and comedians to create funny, thoughtful, and improvisational new work.

Every third Thursday at The Nash, 110 East Roosevelt Street, a jazz trio performs alongside jokesters putting on routines. Each edition features improvisational moments, as the players and comedians collaborate on the spot. The 18-and-older show starts at 9 p.m. on January 18, and tickets are $10. For more information, call 602-795-0464 or go to the Nash website. Laura Latzko

Maggie Smith will visit ASU.EXPAND
Maggie Smith will visit ASU.
Studio127 Photography

Maggie Smith
In August 2016, Maggie Smith captured the shock and zeitgeist surrounding the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando and the assassination of British politican Jo Cox with the title poem of her collection Good Bones. It became a viral sensation worldwide, and has since been translated into numerous languages, from French to Tamil. It earned Public Radio International’s “Official Poem of 2016” and was even read by Meryl Streep at the 2017 Academy of American Poets Gala at Lincoln Center.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, January 19, Arizona State University’s Virginia G. Piper Center of Creative Writing welcomes Smith for an intimate poetry reading and signing at the Piper Writers House, 450 East Tyler Mall in Tempe.

Admission is free, but space is limited and RSVPs are recommended. Smith’s poetry collections will be available for purchase. For more information or to RSVP, visit the Virginia G. Piper Center of Creative Writing website or call 480-965-6018. Michael Senft

See Julio U. Medina perform during Breaking Ground 2018 in Tempe.EXPAND
See Julio U. Medina perform during Breaking Ground 2018 in Tempe.
Courtesy of Carley Conder

Breaking Ground Dance and Film Festival
Several years ago, Carley Conder launched the Breaking Ground Dance and Film Festival that’s become an annual staple of the Phoenix dance scene. Conder is artistic director for Conder/DANCE, a Tempe-based company that specializes in contemporary dance. Her festival returns to Tempe Center for the Arts, 7000 West Rio Salado Parkway, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 19. But, there’s a new twist.

After the mainstage performance ends Friday night, ticket holders can stick around for a free after-party featuring more dance performances, catered bites, and a cash bar. The after-party dance lineup features short pieces called Tiny Dances, performed on 4-by-4-foot stages.

During the first evening of a two-night festival, attendees will see eight dances and one dance film. Expect hip-hop, yarn, Bach, and psychology, among other things. If you love Friday’s show, go back Saturday, January 20, to see more dancers in motion, performing a different bill of works. Advance tickets each night are $25 for adults. Visit the Conder/DANCE website. Lynn Trimble

Benjamin Leatherman

Silent Party
Silent parties are a thing. Sure, those two words don’t seem to make sense together, but for those who whine about parties being too loud to have a decent conversation, these events are on the money. This Silent Party, hosted by Urban Fêtes, might be your new jam.

Here’s how it works: When you get to the club, you receive a pair of wireless headphones that allow you to switch between three different DJs playing reggae, R&B, hip-hop, and Top 40 faves. You’re also in control of the volume, making it easy to jump between dancing and chatting.

The party that’s all in your head starts at 9 p.m. on Friday, January 19, at the Monarch Theatre, 122 East Washington Street. Tickets are $20. Visit the Facebook event page or call 602-456-1991. Amy Young

Ran is the final saga by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. The filmmaker put his heart and soul into this ambitious and visually powerful award-winning 1985 film, which is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Generations clash for power when a 16th-century warlord gives up his throne to his three sons.

Enjoy this influential cinematic masterpiece on Friday, January 19, at the Virginia G. Piper Theatre at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street. After the screening, Arizona State University assistant professor and film historian Jason Davids Scott will lead a discussion about Ran’s continued impact on modern filmmaking.

Admission to the 7 p.m. screening is $7. For more information, visit the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts website. Jason Keil

Alan Austin and Vanessa Benjamin are Trying.
Alan Austin and Vanessa Benjamin are Trying.
Mark Gluckman

Francis Biddle was one of FDR’s attorneys general and later presided over the Nuremberg trials. He embraced positions during wartime that he repudiated later (better late than never). During his long, productive retirement, he had trouble retaining personal secretaries, due to a trait known as “cussedness.” The final assistant, a young Saskatchewanian named Joanna McClelland Glass, eventually wrote a play, Trying, about her years working with Biddle in the 1960s.

The two-person show, at Theatre Artists Studio through Sunday, February 4, isn’t just about yelling and filing. Explorations of aging and communication will suck you in, even if super-lawyers aren’t your thing.

On Friday, January 19, showtime is 7:30 p.m. at 4848 East Cactus Road. Admission is $15 to $25. Visit the Studio website or call 602-765-0120. Julie Peterson

The science behind the sound.EXPAND
The science behind the sound.
Courtesy of MIM

Discover Science: How Science Brings Music to Life
When you’re rocking out to your favorite tunes, you probably aren’t thinking about how science is involved. No worries, the folks at the Musical Instrument Museum thought about it for you.

The two-day event Discover Science: How Science Brings Music to Life will feature workshops, hands-on activities, lectures, and performances to examine how science and technology influence how music is created and heard. Make your own electronic music at a workshop hosted by AZ Beat Lab or watch the B1 Duo explore the sounds made by different metal objects. There’s also a photo booth with music- and science-themed props, to memorialize the day.

Learn about the science of sound from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, January 20 and 21, at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard. The event is included in museum admission of $10 to $20, and it’s free for kids 3 and younger. Call 480-478-6000 or visit the MIM website. Amy Young

Veg out.EXPAND
Veg out.
AZ Veg Food Fest

Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival
Living a plant-based lifestyle is about more than just what you eat. The U.S. Veg Corp’s Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival on Saturday and Sunday, January 20 and 21, will present different facets of veganism through chef demos of various cuisines, guest speaker discussions, storytellers, arts and crafts, and vendors with innovative vegan food and beverages, beauty products, and clothing and accessories.

During the festival, attendees can participate in yoga and meditation sessions or take in performances by acoustic, pop, hip-hop, and country musicians. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at Scottsdale Civic Center Amphitheater, 7380 East Second Street. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $75 for VIP, and free for children 10 and younger. For more information, see the Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival website. Laura Latzko

Arizona State Sun Devils v. Quinnipiac Bobcats
Phoenix isn’t exactly been a hotbed for cold-weather sports, but arid desert landscapes be damned. If Dubai can have a ski resort, Phoenix can have its own professional hockey team. This season, however, the Arizona Coyotes’ play have left Valley fans feeling a little icy about the hometown team.

Luckily, there are a few backup plans, most notably the ASU men’s hockey squad. But don’t get too excited, puckheads. The Devils haven’t fared any better this season. But at least taking in a collegiate game when the Devils host the Quinnipiac Bobcats at Tempe’s Oceanside Ice Arena on Saturday, January 20, will present a change of scenery.

The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. at 1520 North McClintock Drive. Tickets are $15 and up. Visit the Sun Devil website or call 480-965-3482 for details. Rob Kroehler

Ira Glass is speaking at the Orpheum Theatre – stay calm.EXPAND
Ira Glass is speaking at the Orpheum Theatre – stay calm.
Jesse Michener

Seven Things I’ve Learned: An Evening with Ira Glass
Ira Glass is best known as the host of the popular public radio show and podcast This American Life. During “Seven Things I’ve Learned: An Evening with Ira Glass,” he’ll talk about how working in every position imaginable as a 19-year-old intern at NPR led to the creation of the award-winning program.

His presentation will also include stories about the show’s most popular episodes, a multimedia presentation featuring artwork by cartoonist Chris Ware, and a Q&A session with the audience.

The show starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 20, at Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street. Tickets are $29 to $69. For more information, visit the Orpheum Theatre website. Jason Keil

Meet fellow resisters during the Women’s March to the Polls: Phoenix.EXPAND
Meet fellow resisters during the Women’s March to the Polls: Phoenix.
Women’s March to the Polls

Women’s March to the Polls: Phoenix
“We marched to resist, and now we much march to rise.” So reads the Facebook page for Women’s March to the Polls: Phoenix, a free event designed to elevate progressive voices, inspire women to run for public office, increase voter registration, and boost solidarity among those fighting for social justice. The march kicks off at 10 a.m. on January 21 at the Arizona State Capitol, 1700 West Washington Street.

In January 2017, about 20,000 people took part in the Women’s March in Phoenix, a local event tied to a massive march in Washington, D.C., meant to resist the policies of the newly elected president, Donald Trump. He’s still around, but so are fierce activists and thriving communities.

Go to the Capitol on Sunday to hear speakers address immigration, civil rights, wage equity, LBGTQ rights, environmental justice, disability rights, and ending violence. Then, stick around to march. Visit the Facebook event page. Lynn Trimble

Wax nostalgic over Pluto’s bygone planetary days at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.EXPAND
Wax nostalgic over Pluto’s bygone planetary days at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
Mary Shindell

“As Above”
Pluto lost its planetary status several years ago, but it’s still special in the eyes of Mary Shindell. The Phoenix artist has created a mixed-media installation exploring landscapes both within and beyond Earth’s solar system.
Titled “As Above,” it’s being shown in the North Gallery at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, 1 East Main Street. The free show focuses on “the Arizona terrain and our state’s economic impact on space exploration,” according to exhibition materials. Expect botanical elements, but also nods to Earth, Mars, and Pluto.

The exhibition, which reveals the beauty of geography and topology, is equally suited to math and art geeks. Hours on Sunday, January 21, are noon to 5 p.m., and the show’s on view through Sunday, April 8. While you’re there, make time to see other art shows at the museum. Visit the Mesa Arts Center website. Lynn Trimble

Ready murderinos?EXPAND
Ready murderinos?
Robyn Von Swank

My Favorite Murder
Less than two years since launching, My Favorite Murder has built a worldwide community of true crime fans who refer to themselves as “murderinos.”

These devoted followers, along with the popular podcast’s hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, seek humor in stories of savage serial killers, creepy cult leaders, and true crime tales. Don’t miss your chance to see the duo take the circular stage at the Celebrity Theatre as they inspire camaraderie, laughter, and sighs of relief in a way that bingeing episodes of Dateline never can.

Stay sexy and don’t get murdered at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 21, at 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets are $29.50 to $180. For more information, visit the Celebrity Theatre website. Jason Keil

No fate is too horrible for the characters of Candide.EXPAND
No fate is too horrible for the characters of Candide.
Cory Weaver

Arizona Opera Book Club
Say it’s the mid-18th century and you take issue with Gottfried Leibniz’ Monadology. You’re Voltaire, so you write Candide, a novel satirizing Leibnizian optimism. Leibniz has been dead only 43 years by the time it’s done. Way to ignite that very long fuse! But it was all worth it to stamp out the creeping plague of pretty much any kind of philosophy whatsoever.

Thanks largely to Leonard Bernstein’s 1956 English-language Candide operetta, people still talk more about Voltaire than about Leibniz, Spinoza, or even the Cartesians. The Arizona Opera Book Club tears into the charming, violent original, in advance of next month’s live performances. Bring your discussion points to Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road, at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 22. It’s free. Call 602-274-0067 or visit the Changing Hands website. Julie Peterson

Local rap is the best rap.EXPAND
Local rap is the best rap.
courtesy of Teek Hall

Teek Hall
On his newest album, The Living Daylights, Mesa-based rapper Teek Hall gives listeners deeper insight into his childhood and weaves stories of heroes and villains into his own narrative. Hall collaborated with underground hip-hop artists and groups on tracks such as “Hunger Pains,” “The Gospel,” and “Beautiful Loss.”

The artist will celebrate the release of his new 11-track album on Monday, January 22, at The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road. Along with new music from Hall, the release party will showcase local rappers Dela Preme, Johnnie ApeShxt Bananerrz, Toure Masters, Mega Ran, and Juan Pedro Stude. There will be live art by IxChel Tolteca. Tickets to the 21-and-over event are $10 to $15. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8. For more information, visit the The Rebel Lounge website. Laura Latzko

Hear from your friendly neighborhood high school kids.EXPAND
Hear from your friendly neighborhood high school kids.
Melissa Fossum

Senior year of high school is the best. And the worst. Finally getting out of high school is exciting, but figuring out what comes next can be nerve-wracking. At Shooflies, you can hear what’s going on in the minds of some area seniors, when a group of Arizona School for the Arts (ASA) students share personal stories.

The event is the brainchild of Amy Silverman, Phoenix New Times’ managing editor and co-creator of the monthly Bar Flies storytelling event, and Julie Hampton, ASA faculty. In her classes, Hampton guides students through the personal-narrative writing process. See the results as you explore the young adult mind at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 23, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $5. Call 602-716- 2222 or visit the Crescent Ballroom website. Amy Young

Jersey Boys' Corey Greenan, Tommaso Antico, Jonny Wexler, and Chris Stevens.
Jersey Boys' Corey Greenan, Tommaso Antico, Jonny Wexler, and Chris Stevens.
Joan Marcus

Jersey Boys
Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons’ journey from Garden State nightclub act to international sensations unfolds in Jersey Boys. The Tony-winning jukebox musical gives audiences a peek behind the scenes of the quartet known for the hits “Sherry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” Stories about love, heartbreak, gangsters, and Joe Pesci (yes, the actor) are told from the perspective of the group’s members. You will likely be humming “Big Girls Don’t Cry” all the way home.

Showtime is 7:30 p.m. on opening night, Tuesday, January 23, at Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street. Performances continue through Sunday, January 28. Tickets are $65.25 to 75.25. For more information, visit  the Orpheum Theatre website. Jason Keil

Rooftop Bingo
Are you dying to win a plastic toy dinosaur while taking in the view from the rooftop of the Clarendon Hotel? You’re in luck.

On Wednesday, January 24, Arizona history enthusiast Marshall Shore and ball-girl Jenny Kuller will host rooftop bingo at 401 West Clarendon Avenue. Expect a couple of rousing rounds of bingo mixed with interesting tidbits about Arizona’s checkered past. Winners at previous bingo nights have gone home with prizes like pot holders, nut trays, and, yes, reptile replicas.

The family-friendly event will begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

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