Need weekend plans? Perfect. There's the Marvel-filled Ace Comic Con, the Barrett-Jackson car auction, and the desert-inspired ballet Opus Cactus. Take your pick. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.
What began as a 20-minute act created for Ballet Arizona has transformed into a full-length dance production that marries the illusionist stylings of a dance company called MOMIX with iconic images of the Sonoran Desert — from towering cactus to elusive creatures. It’s called Opus Cactus, and it’s coming to Phoenix thanks to co-presenters Ballet Arizona and the Desert Botanical Garden.
Opus Cactus is the work of choreographer Moses Pendleton, the artistic director for Connecticut-based MOMIX, who shares his overall vision on the dance company’s website: “I continue to be interested in using the human body to investigate the non-human world.” After co-founding Pilobolus in 1971 and creating MOMIX in 1980, Pendleton became one of America’s best-known contemporary dance innovators.
MOMIX will perform Opus Cactus at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 12. Get tickets, starting at $35, through the Ballet Arizona box office or the Ballet Arizona website. Lynn Trimble
When it comes to the world of wrestling, there’s more going on besides what you see every week on WWE’s TV shows, pal. A lot more. Indie wrestling is thriving in cities around the world these days, including here in Phoenix, and typically offers more insane and entertaining action that what’s on Raw or SmackDown. Case in point: all the unique and hilarious matches at PartyMania 2.
It’s the biggest event of the year for local indie promotion Party Hard Wrestling and includes eight memorable bouts taking place inside the Nile Theater, 105 West Main Street in Mesa, on Friday, January 12. One of the biggest will be the first-ever “Pizza Party Match,” a free-for-all involving 10 wrestlers battling for PHW’s Golden Fanny Pack. Other matches include Owen Travers challenging PHW Multiverse Champion Jack Jameson for his title, and tag-team champs The Brothers of Wrestling battling The Uninvited. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. See the Party Hard Wrestling website. Benjamin Leatherman
Good Times: A Disco Party for Boys and Girls
Disco music was a part of an American subculture that brought together people of different backgrounds to express themselves freely. During Good Times: A Disco Party for Boys and Girls on Friday, January 12, DJs Mercurius FM and Fact135 will try to create an atmosphere similar to Studio 54 — albeit a much tamer version, where you can let go of your troubles and boogie to the music.
Mercurius FM is an electronic DJ with 12 years of experience, and Fact135’s a scene veteran with over 20 years behind the turntables. The duo will play a mixture of hit songs and lesser-known music. A special guest DJ will also join the pair on the decks.
The event starts at 9 p.m. at Rips Bar, 3045 North 16th Street. There is no cover, and the club will have free pizza and drink specials. For more information, call 602-266-0015 or visit the Facebook event page. Laura Latzko
Chandler International Film Festival
You simply can’t see all 150 movies at the Chandler International Film Festival. You could select by nation — Serbia, Mozambique, Ireland, Chile, Norway, Macedonia, Luxembourg, or Hungary. Or consume thematically linked blocks of short subjects. Or go for titles (Office Batman, Ostoja Will Move Your Piano).
Opening night, Friday, January 12, features a world premiere of The Competition at Harkins Crossroads 12, 2980 East Germann Road, at 8 p.m. Admission’s $35, including a red carpet stroll and after-party. Assorted venues host additional events through Monday, January 15, such as workshops and a market for independent filmmakers. Alamo Drafthouse screens The Mad Whale, in which institutionalized women stage Moby Dick with a few minutes of assistance from James Franco.
Prices vary. Visit the Chandler International Film Festival website or call 480-455-5214. Julie Peterson
Friday Poetry Series
Before poetry slams and jams and giant clams, there was straightforward recitation before an audience. Poetic language is moving and catchy, partly so that poems could be memorized and transmitted in our pre-literacy days.
Though bongos and smoke clouds have fallen by the wayside, Changing Hands Bookstore’s Friday Poetry series delivers the thrill of uncurated verse penned by everyday people, some of us — we mean some of them — authentically scruffy hippies, some of them not. You’re bound to hear a piece you can relate to and, if you’re very lucky, a piece you can’t relate to. Or read your own.
The next open reading starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, January 12, at 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. Call 480-730-0205 or visit the Changing Hands website. Julie Peterson
Ace Comic Con
Ace Comic Con debuts in the Valley on Saturday, January 13. The new convention from the founders of the Wizard World pop culture empire will visit Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue in Glendale, through Monday, January 15.
The convention will bring the “Hall H” experience to the west side, with a stunning list of A-List stars from the recent Captain America and Spider-Man movies including Chris Evans, Tom Holland, and Sebastian Stan. Wrestling superstars Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart, as well as Stan the Man himself, Stan Lee, will appear. Additionally, there will be more than 50 comic artists and writers, and a vendor hall.
Of course, such an amazing lineup doesn’t come cheap. Admission prices range from $45 to $95, with VIP autograph and photo pricing ranging up to $800. Visit the Ace Comic Con website for more information or to purchase tickets. Michael Senft
Free Open House
Maybe you’ve noticed the new book drop at Park Central Mall, 3110 North Central Avenue, where a temporary branch for Phoenix Public Library recently opened. It’s a new resource created to help patrons access library materials and programs while Burton Barr Central Library is temporarily closed for repairs due to last year’s storm damage.
You can explore the branch during a free open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 13. The lineup includes light refreshments, a 10 a.m. family story time, and several afternoon activities including old-school games for teens and a photo booth. Visit the Phoenix Public Library website. Lynn Trimble
47th Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction
Barrett-Jackson produces collector car auctions all over the United States. Arizonans don’t have to travel far, though, to drool over or bid on a selection of automotive masterpieces they assemble. Just visit the 47th Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction.
Matt Ferguson from the Barrett-Jackson team tells us that there are more than 1,600 cars to ogle, including vintage, sporty, and muscle car styles. New facets include an additional 20,000 feet of covered area, over 250 sponsors and exhibitors, and 70 food vendors. A biggie is the STEAM City display, featuring interactive displays from companies focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.
Feed your auto fetish from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 13, at Westworld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road in Scottsdale. Tickets are $17 to $25 for adults; $14 to $20 for seniors, students, and military; and free for children 12 and younger. Weeklong and VIP passes are also available. The event runs through Sunday, January 21. Visit the Barrett-Jackson website. Amy Young
Showmont: A Show of Sketch Comedy
Ryan Gaumont’s love for The Kids In The Hall and the zany antics of Mr. Show with Bob and David inspired the actor and comedian to form the local sketch troupe Bully Mammoth. The alternative comedy quartet performed around Phoenix for nearly a decade. Now, the self-described “unorthodox rock star” is bringing the laughs for one night only in Showmont: A Show of Sketch Comedy. Gaumont and his friends are incorporating surreal skits, strange videos, and music into a ribald extravaganza of hilarity.
Gather round for funny at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 13, at The SIC Sense Sketch Comedy Troupe, 1902-9 East McDowell Road. Admission is $5. For more information, visit the SIC Sense website. Jason Keil
2018 Synchrony Financial Rock and Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon
Alternative quartet Everclear will greet the finishers of the 2018 Synchrony Financial Rock and Roll Arizona Marathon and Half Marathon at Tempe Beach Park.
The starting gun fires at 7:50 a.m. for both distances on Sunday, January 14. The marathon starts at the corner of Van Buren and Second streets, while the half-marathon begins at the corner of University Drive and College Avenue in Tempe. Both races finish and all performances are scheduled at 800 West Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe.
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If you won’t be among the 20,000 runners lacing up for the area’s most popular race, then consider coming out to support them as they sprint along the 26.2- and 13.1-mile courses throughout the city. For more information, visit the Rock and Roll Arizona Marathon website. Jason Keil
Origami Folding Night
You have to admit it, 2017 was pretty much a disaster. So what else can we do besides wish for a better 2018?
Bring your hopes for the coming year (and fun colored paper) to Origami Folding Night at Wasted Ink Zine Distro, 2222 North 16th Street. All are welcome to join and write wishes onto the folded papers that will hang from the ceiling as part of an installation in the shop.
Get your folding fingers ready for the event, which runs from 4 to 7p.m. on Sunday, January 14. The event is free, but be sure to bring some cash for supplies. For more information, visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts