He sure plays a mean pinball.
He sure plays a mean pinball.
Benjamin Leatherman

The Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Weekend

Finally, the work week is over. That means it's time to celebrate Record Store Day, test your pop culture knowledge with Anwar Newton, and get your tiny derby cars ready for the Pinewood Classic. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

Xtra Ticket
One of the explanations behind the popularity of 4/20 starts at a Grateful Dead concert. A flyer that was passed out at one of the band’s shows invited attendees to “meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing.” Thus a smokin’ holiday was born — or at least further popularized.

The best way to celebrate this special day? Hang at Last Exit Live to see one of the region’s best Grateful Dead tribute bands, Xtra Ticket, perform at a 4/20 Party. Joining the band on guitar will be Dave Hebert of the Jerry Garcia Band.

The night lights up at 9 p.m. on Friday, April 20, at 717 South Central Avenue. Tickets are $12 to $15. For more information, visit the Last Exit Live website. Jason Keil

Sprout Film Festival
Since its founding in 2003, the Sprout Film Festival has inspired and informed its audience about the diversity of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This year is no different.

The touring event will make its way back to Tempe once again and will feature 46 short films focused on people with I/DD. By breaking down stereotypes through empowering and carefully created films, the festival will feature the work of filmmakers from around the world highlighting inclusivity of all audiences.

Sprout kicks off on Friday April 20, at Pollack Tempe Cinemas, 1825 East Elliot Road. The first screening will be at 9:30 a.m., with two more screenings throughout the day. General admission is $5. For more info and showtimes, visit the Arc of Arizona website. Melina Zuñiga

Arizona Record Label Fest
The countdown to Record Store Day is on. Annually, that’s the day to score specially offered music releases and merchandise at participating record stores. To fuel the energy for the shopping extravaganza, a group of Valley-based record labels have teamed up to throw a pre-party.

The Arizona Record Label Fest includes five bands and one DJ representing labels President Gator, Slope, Dirty Water, No Affiliation, 80/20, and Cactus Man will take the stage to rep their labels and show their skills. Styles will range from local masters of video game music, Minibosses, to Moonlight Magic, who keep things mellow with their swanky lounge tunes. Mean Motor Scooter, First or Last, Bear Ghost, and DJ Gila Man complete the lineup.

See what some local labels have to offer at 7 p.m. on April 20 at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $5 to $7. Visit the Crescent Ballroom website. Amy Young

Ada Palmer
Ada Palmer is a true polymath. In addition to her day job as a history professor, the Harvard-educated Palmer performs with the filk group Sassafrass at cons and Ren fairs across the country. She’s also an award-winning science fiction novelist.

That’s the hat Palmer will be wearing when she visits The Poisoned Pen on Friday, April 20. Palmer will discuss her “Terra Ignota” series, set in a 25th-century Earth ruled according to Enlightenment philosophy. Alas, all is not for the best in that best of all possible worlds, as a criminal and a spiritualist attempt to hide the existence of God in a society where religion is outlawed.

Palmer’s signing starts at 7 p.m. at 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale. Visit the Poisoned Pen website for more information. Michael Senft

FYI: Trivia Night with Anwar Newton
You might have heard of Anwar Newton, the stand-up fave who hosts recurring shows This Week Sucks, Tonight! or Literally The Worst Show Ever. There’s no denying that the Phoenix-based comedian is good at what he does — and then some. Doubling as a pop-culture wiz, Newton will host a night full of film, TV, and music references, putting your pop-culture IQ to the test with a chance to win prizes and claim yourself a master. Maybe.

Join the fun and challenge Newton during FYI: Trivia Night with Anwar Newton on Friday April 20, at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street. The event starts at 7 p.m. Individual tickets are $15, and $20 for a pair. Each ticket comes with one complimentary drink. Visit the SMoCA website for more info. Melina Zuñiga

ZapCon
Way back in the day, specifically the 1980s, arcades weren’t just a place to drain your quarter collection or waste an afternoon. They were major social hubs where you could show off your skills, see and be seen, or just geek out.

ZapCon in Mesa will pay tribute to these pixel paradises of yore when it serves up two days of classic arcade action.

The main hall of the Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street, will take on an arcade-like atmosphere and feature hundreds of old-school games and pinball units available for play. Numerous bleeps and bloops will fill the air on Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, as joystick jockeys and pinball wizards get their game on or participate in various tournaments and competitions. And best of all, you won’t need any quarters.

Doors open at 10 a.m. each day. Admission is $30 for Saturday, $20 for Sunday, or $40 for the weekend. (Kids' rates are also available.) Visit the ZapCon website for more info. Benjamin Leatherman

Arizona Diamondbacks v. San Diego Padres
In his first two starts in the Major Leagues in April 2015, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Archie Bradley outpitched arguably baseball’s two best, Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. Two games later, the clean-shaven rookie was hit in the face with a 115-mph line. He was never an effective starting pitcher again.

Fast forward to 2017. Bradley reinvented himself as the team’s best relief pitcher and reinforced his facial security with a bushy cushion that has made him a fan favorite.

On Saturday, April 21, the D-backs will celebrate Bradley and the beard by giving away Archie Bradley Audio Bobbleheads to the first 20,000 fans in attendance at the 5:10 p.m. game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street. Tickets begin at $19 via Ticketmaster. Stuart Warner

One of the stylish racers featured at a previous Pinewood Classic.
One of the stylish racers featured at a previous Pinewood Classic.
Courtesy of Short Leash Hotdogs

Pinewood Classic
Giving beloved childhood activities an adult twist has become a big thing over the last decade or so. Hence the reason why pastimes like dodgeball, kickball, or even coloring books have all been re-embraced by grownups looking for a good time.

The Valley’s annual Pinewood Classic is along the same lines. Inspired by the Pinewood Derby races made popular by the Cub Scouts, the event involves local adults crafting custom-built wooden cars weighing five ounces or less, many of which feature cute or clever themes. These pint-size vehicles are then raced along a 40-foot-long track set up outside of Short Leash Hotdogs, 110 East Roosevelt Street, with the winners getting prizes.

This year’s classic takes place on Saturday, April 21, starting at noon and will feature races for both adults and kids, as well as live music and beer vendors. Admission is free. Call 602-795-2193 or visit the Facebook event page. Benjamin Leatherman

Arizona Rattlers v. Green Bay Blizzard
Traditionally, a sports team’s name was intended to strike fear into the hearts of opponents and to galvanize the team around a common identity. It makes you wonder what the rallying cry for Idaho’s Butte Pirates might involve, or how team morale is affected when schools prefer Biblical names, such as Michigan’s Watersmeet Nimrods. But if Arizona’s snakes have anything to say about it, old traditions die hard. Not only are the Diamondbacks off to an impressive start, the Arizona Rattlers — true to their moniker — have drawn first blood this season as well.

The defending champs will look to uphold their fearsome reputation against the Green Bay Blizzard on Saturday, April 21, at Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street, at 6:05 pm. $8 and up. Visit the Rattlers website or call 602-379-2000 for details. Rob Kroehler

Phoenix Night Market
Cosplay-friendly might not be the first thing you’re looking for in a farmers market, but if it’s part of the gig, why not? At Phoenix Night Market, you can don your costume of choice or just regular clothes while you spend the evening perusing for-sale goods from more than 40 vendors. Grab some dinner while you’re there. Krazy Taters will do it up with different style spuds, and you can probably guess what Noodle Bar will be serving up.

Drop some dollars from 6 to 10 p.m. at Phoenix Public Market, 721 North Central Avenue. Admission is free. Visit the Facebook event page. Amy Young

American Voices
Watching high school students read poetry inspired Frances Smith Cohen, artistic director for Center Dance Ensemble, to create American Voices. The annual production features work by various choreographers, each working with a poem they’ve chosen as the foundation for their piece. See this year’s show at 2 p.m. at Sunday, April 22, on the Kax Stage at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. It’s an intimate space well-suited to poetic movement.

Center Dance Ensemble is the resident modern dance company at Herberger Theater Center, but this production features both modern and contemporary dance. American Voices includes performances by several guest artists, including Nicole Olson and Halo Movement Collective. Cohen describes it as “a very diverse and unique offering.” Tickets are $16. Visit the Center Dance Ensemble website. Lynn Trimble

Rooftop Yoga
It’s hard to be a broke person who enjoys the bougie side of life. But on April 22, you can enjoy a day of poolside yoga and mimosas for super cheap.

Grab your yoga mat and a water bottle, and get to 2401 East Camelback Road. That’s where Kandi Neal will lead a complimentary class on the rooftop of the very fancy Camby hotel. After class, you can sip $2 poolside mimosas. And yogis will get 10 percent off brunch at Artizen Kitchen & Bar.

There will be a complimentary valet for the event. For more information (or to invite a friend), visit the Facebook event page. Lindsay Roberts

RAIN
Good morning, good morning. Wanna spend a day in the life celebrating 50 years since the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band?

RAIN will bring the acclaimed — some say the greatest of all time — album to life at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street, on Sunday, April 22.

Relive a classic work of art with a little help from your friends for $38.50 per person. We hope you will enjoy the show, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Visit the RAIN tribute website for details. Dillon Rosenblatt

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