Nerd Culture

7 Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

Ashley White Jackson and Vinny Chavez demonstrate that the Nile is, in fact, a river in Egypt, in Aida.
Ashley White Jackson and Vinny Chavez demonstrate that the Nile is, in fact, a river in Egypt, in Aida. Nick Woodward-Shaw Event Photography
No plans this weekend? We can fix that. Walk the line at the June Carter and Johnny Cash exhibit at the Musical Instrument Museum, embrace your inner child at Arizona Toy Con, or go see Sirs Elton John and Tim Rice’s mega-musical Aida. The choice is yours. For more things to do, visit our curated calendar.

The performing arts have so many adaptations, homages, and “inspired by”s that it’s mildly shocking to realize Giuseppe Verdi pulled the plot of his opera Aida entirely out of thin air. But you still need not experience the original. Subsequent riffs exist, the best-known being Sirs Elton John and Tim Rice’s mega-musical Aida, continuing through Saturday, July 1, at Gilbert’s Hale Centre Theatre.

We’re glad Disney didn’t push its original plan to animate this story. Maybe there are child-friendly ways to depict poisoning, clandestine love, war, slavery, and horrible death, but flopping down in the family room to watch a cartoon version would be all kinds of wrong. Onstage, though, kids and adults will enjoy flashy costumes, dancing, and a moving score that ranges widely among genres.

Showtime on Saturday, June 24, is 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at 50 West Page Avenue. Tickets are $18 to $30 at 480-497-1181 or the Hale Theatre website. Julie Peterson

Walk the line with the Musical Instrument Musuem. - COURTESY OF MIM
Walk the line with the Musical Instrument Musuem.
Courtesy of MIM

Musical Icons: Johnny Cash and June Carter

When Johnny Cash met June Carter in 1955, she’d been performing since the age of 10 and was more than a match for Cash. Their musical careers were pure dynamite, and their 2003 deaths feel like last week.

To honor Carter’s June 23 birthday, the Musical Instrument Museum hosts Musical Icons: Johnny Cash and June Carter on Saturday, June 24, and Sunday, June 25, including team trivia, guitar and autoharp mini-lessons, screenings of The Johnny Cash Show, a photo booth, caricaturist, floor pianos (mostly just for fun), and displays of instruments, costumes, and other memorabilia.

Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4725 East Mayo Boulevard. Admission is $10 to $20, with children younger than 4 admitted free. Call 480-478-6000 or visit the MIM website. Julie Peterson

click to enlarge Embrace your inner child. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Embrace your inner child.
Benjamin Leatherman

Arizona Toy Con

Toys aren’t just for kids anymore. Sure, Saturday Night Live mocked aging Star Wars fanboys (and, by extension, all of nerdom) for meticulously hoarding geeky plastic playthings, but the fact remains that enjoyment of toys isn’t limited to a specific age range. Hence the reason you’ll see both grown-ups and kids alike at this weekend’s Arizona Toy Con at the Glendale Civic Center, 5750 West Glenn Drive.

The one-day event, which takes place on Saturday, June 24, will feature dozens of vendors and collectors displaying and selling scores of action figures, vehicles, and playsets, ranging from classics like Shogun Warriors and Kenner-era Star Wars toys to more modern stuff like Funko Pop! dolls. Heck, you might even spy a few gems, like a circa-1976 Muhammad Ali action figure made by Mego. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10. Call 480-442-1117 or see Arizona Toy Con. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge The eponymous Tommy Cannon: Action Figure lights up the Torch. - JOSE GONZALEZ/THE TORCH THEATRE
The eponymous Tommy Cannon: Action Figure lights up the Torch.
Jose Gonzalez/The Torch Theatre

Tommy Cannon: Action Figure
We don’t recall having teachers who were improv comedians, puppeteers, or comics artists in their downtime. But then, we probably wouldn’t tell our students if we were, either. One can handle only so much idolatry. Anyhow, schoolteacher Tommy Cannon is all those things, a Catherine wheel who spins onto center stage in a show called Tommy Cannon: Action Figure, wrapping up a limited run at The Torch Theatre on Saturday, June 24. With costume-wearing audience members (like you) and a playset-like world that you can help create with your mad drawing skills, the evening ventures into territory way beyond suggesting a place and occupation.

Embrace your inner weird kid at 8 p.m. at 4721 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $10. Call 602-456-2876 or visit the Torch Theatre website. Julie Peterson

Iron Boy 40
In boxing, hand-eye coordination, footwork, balance, stamina, and technique all play critical roles in a fighter’s ability to succeed. The Iron Boy 40 professional boxing event at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, will test the skills of boxers from different parts of Arizona, as they go head-to-head in such classes as super welterweight, bantamweight, welterweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. The event will spotlight such internationally known fighters as heavyweight BJ Flores, flyweight Adrian “Sharky” Servin, and super welterweight Daniel “El Chapulin” Valdivia.

The fight starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, and tickets range from $30 to $55. For more information, call 602-267-1600 or go to the Iron Boy Boxing website. Laura Latzko

click to enlarge Last year's winner, Savannah Stevens. - ALEXANDRA GASPAR
Last year's winner, Savannah Stevens.
Alexandra Gaspar
Miss Gay Arizona America
At the annual Miss Gay Arizona America competition, it’s the contestants who are fierce. How could they not be with the theme “Bond: Excellence Is Forever”?

This female impersonation pageant advances the winner to Miss Gay America in New Orleans next October to battle it out with other regional victors for the rights to the 2018 crown. Locals Olivia Gardens, Bianca Solei, Allonna Dee, Krisstina Fatale, and Claudia B. compete for the highest cumulative score in five categories: male interview, evening gown, presentation, onstage question, and talent.

The James Bond theme especially is celebrated in the presentation category, where contestants impersonate their favorite Bond spy/villain. The glamorous night stars Savannah Stevens, Miss Gay Arizona America 2016, and features Suzy Wong, Miss Gay America 2017. The spectacular shindig starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. Admission is $20. Call 480-350-2822 or visit the Miss Gay Arizona America website. Amy Young

click to enlarge Clayton Caufman co-stars in The Pledge. - COURTESY OF BRELBY THEATRE COMPANY
Clayton Caufman co-stars in The Pledge.
Courtesy of Brelby Theatre Company
The Pledge
When characters in a play perform magic, it’s a chance to lure magic aficionados into a theater audience, and it’s also an opportunity to turn theater buffs into magic fans. (Poof!) We won’t say which is more challenging, but it’s the second one. Magic is quite the love/hate discipline.

Speaking of which, Brelby Theatre Company presents a story about two people who happen to be magicians married to each other in The Pledge, continuing through Saturday, July 1. Natty and David live and work side by side until one cuts the other out of the stage act. See what that does to the home act at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, at 7154 North 58th Drive in Glendale. Tickets are $15 at the Brelby Theatre website or 623-282-2781. Julie Peterson

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Laura Latzko
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
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
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young