Best Things to Do This Weekend: Live Salsa Fest, Doug Benson, Live-Music-Flow

Dangers await in Dogfight.
Dangers await in Dogfight.
Courtesy of Brelby Theatre Company
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Ready for a dull weekend? Well, change of plans. This week you can show off your nerdy knowledge at Bonus Round during the Fire Cannot Kill a Quizmaster: A Game of Thrones Quiz, spice up your night with a Live Salsa Fest (the dancing kind, not the sauce), or watch the Phoenix Rising take on the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. For more things to do, visit our curated calendar.

Brelby Theatre Company fosters a lot of new, local playwrights, but it also brought us the world-famous Ghost the Musical. Along those lines, the company’s current production is the Arizona premiere of Dogfight, an early work by songwriting team Pasek and Paul (La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen), based on a 1991 River Phoenix movie.

It’s 1963 in San Francisco. Three young Marines engage in a dogfight that might not be what you’re thinking. There’s also a traditional “I dated you to win a bet but I really like you” plotline. We’re just happy to see a show with a Vietnam War setting that doesn’t take place in the jungle.

Admission is $30 for the opening night gala on Friday, July 14, at 7:30 p.m. at 7154 North 58th Drive in Glendale. Tickets for the rest of the run, through Saturday, August 5, are $17 to $25 at the Brelby website or 623-282-2781. Julie Peterson

Patrick Roland
In the throes of grief, self-doubt, and addiction following the death of his partner, Patrick Roland contemplated jumping off the ledge of his Las Vegas hotel room. In Unpacked Sparkle, Roland writes a raw, emotional, and sometimes humorous memoir detailing the events that brought the writer to that moment above the lights of the Vegas strip and how he found his way back down. Roland honestly discusses LGBT rights, mental health, acceptance, and recovery.

Roland will sign Unpacked Sparkle starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 14, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. Admission is free, and the book costs $19.95. Visit the Changing Hands website for more details. Jason Keil

Stretch to sound.EXPAND
Stretch to sound.
Courtesy of Metta Yoga

If music helps you relax, think of what it will do to you when you combine it with yoga. This Live-Music-Flow class led by Alissa Will lets guests of all levels practice yoga to the live guitar sounds of Kurt Kleinhans. Stay after to class to meet others involved in the yoga community, as well as guests from benefiting charities.

Stretch to the sounds from 6 to 7 p.m. on Friday, July 14, at Metta Yoga, 4041 East Thomas Road, #106. Admission is free, and donations are accepted to benefit the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. Call 602-252-0662 or visit the Metta Yoga website. Amy Young

Night Lights Tour
Do you know what happens at Taliesin West after dark? We’re not sure about six out of seven nights, but on Fridays, the Frank Lloyd Wright home in Scottsdale is open for its Night Lights Tour.

Explore the Midcentury Modern masterpiece at 12621 North Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard as the sun sets. On Friday July 14, tours leave at 6:30, 7, and 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $40, and the tour isn’t intended for children younger than 13. For reservations, call 888-516-0811 or visit the Frank Lloyd Wright website for tickets. Lindsay Roberts

Support local arts by attending the Creative Catalysts Gallery Project exhibition.
Support local arts by attending the Creative Catalysts Gallery Project exhibition.
Creative Catalysts

Creative Catalysts Gallery Project
Want to inspire and assemble an arts community? Give local artists plenty of places to show and sell their work, then find creative ways to encourage people to explore them. For the city of Mesa, that includes Second Friday art walks and the Creative Catalysts Gallery Project.

Creative Catalysts is a Mesa Arts Center initiative geared toward the 40-and-under set. It’s all about bringing more art to the suburb’s downtown area and supporting its arts scene. Next up for the project is a free selfie-themed art exhibition taking place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 14. The group show is on view at K’é, 126 West Main Street, a small business center that takes its name from the Diné (Navajo) word for a system of kinship. The night includes not only visual art but live entertainment as well. Visit the Creative Catalysts Facebook page. Lynn Trimble

Read on for more of the best things to do in Phoenix this weekend — including Doug Benson's live podcast taping, the Salsa Fest, and a Game of Thrones geek-out.

Watch the magic happen during a live recording of Doug Benson's podcast Doug Loves Movies.EXPAND
Watch the magic happen during a live recording of Doug Benson's podcast Doug Loves Movies.
Gage Skidmore via Flickr/CC

Doug Benson
If you know anything about comedian Doug Benson, chances are it’s that two things make him a particularly happy dude: movies and weed.

He comes to the Valley on Saturday, July 15, to host a live edition of his podcast, Doug Loves Movies, which focuses on his affinity for film. Benson typically records the show, which has been going since 2006, at L.A.’s improv haven, Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, where guests visit to discuss movies and comedy. Given Benson’s penchant for pot, don’t be surprised that the Tempe Improv event starts promptly at 4:20 p.m. at 930 East University Drive. Admission is $20 for the 21-and-over event, and a two-drink minimum is required. Bring a movie-themed name tag for a chance to win prizes. Call 480-921-9877 or visit the Tempe Improv website. Amy Young

Michael Rincon/PHXRisingFC.com

Phoenix Rising v. Colorado Springs Switchbacks
Didier Drogba might not be a familiar name in the U.S., but the 39-year-old footballer hasn’t wasted much time making a name for himself in the Valley. The decorated Ivorian striker recently became a player and part-owner of the Valley’s lone professional soccer team, Phoenix Rising, making Drogba the first player/owner in professional soccer history.

Despite struggling early on, Phoenix hasn’t lost since Drogba’s June debut, posting one win and three draws. And although the United Soccer League is a step down for a player with Drogba’s pedigree, his presence has been a considerable step up for the team. The Rising host the Colorado Springs Switchbacks at Scottsdale’s Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex, 751 North McClintock Drive, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 15. Tickets are $10 and up. For details, visit the Phoenix Rising website or call 623-594-9606. Rob Kroehler

Jaleo serves the musical condiment at The Live Salsa Fest.
Jaleo serves the musical condiment at The Live Salsa Fest.
Courtesy of Stateside Presents

Live Salsa Fest
The first thing we always check into about a salsa festival is whether it’s the snacking kind or the dancing kind. Although The Live Salsa Fest at Crescent Ballroom is the latter, you can always order a burrito and anoint it with the former. You’ll be spicy inside and out.

Organizers have set up the event like a well-oiled machine that chugs through the assorted emphases of dance classes, performances, and “social” dancing (y’know, the kind we might be able to do), all with the pervasive buttercream frosting of two sets of live music from Jaleo, followed in the late evening by a sizzling Mambo on Wax set from DJ D-Lo.

Stay placid above the waist and snake those lower extremities over to 308 North Second Avenue on Saturday, July 15, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Admission’s $15 and limited to folks 21 and older. Call 602-716-2222 or visit the Crescent Ballroom website. Julie Peterson

Fire Cannot Kill a Quizmaster: A Game of Thrones Quiz
Do your eyes well up when someone shouts “Hold the door!”? Is your dog, cat, or firstborn child named Khaleesi? Though the night is dark and full of terrors, it is time to gather your smartest warriors and head to Bonus Round to drink and prove that you know things about the sixth season of the popular HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones. Those who emerge victorious will not rule the Seven Kingdoms, but they will get a cash prize.

Fire Cannot Kill a Quizmaster: A Game of Thrones Quiz starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, at Bonus Round, 24 West Camelback Road, Suite DE. The quiz is $5 per team member. Visit the Bonus Round website for more details. Jason Keil

Take a trip to the old West.EXPAND
Take a trip to the old West.
Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

“The Rennard Strickland Collection of Western Film History”
Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, 3830 North Marshall Way, goes Old West in Old Town with its July exhibition. “The Rennard Strickland Collection of Western Film History” features over 100 posters, lobby cards, and pieces of graphic arts on classic Western films spanning the 1890s to the 1980s.

Movie posters included depict 1898’s Denton’s Moving Pictures, 1937’s Mickey Mouse Silly Symphony: Hiawatha, 1940’s Grapes of Wrath, and 1931’s Stagecoach (starring The Duke in his early 30s, yowza). The exhibition commemorates the American West, Native Americans, cowboys, movie industry history, and Strickland — whose 5,000-item collection stocks this show.

The exhibition is included with admission, which is $13 for adults, and it’s on display till Saturday, September 30, in the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation Great Hall. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Sunday, July 16. See the Western Spirit website or call 480-686-9539 for details. Lauren Cusimano

Best Things to Do This Weekend: Live Salsa Fest, Doug Benson, Live-Music-FlowEXPAND
Will Denney

“Wilderness Survival” Class
Being self-reliant while indoors is hard enough, but what about survival in the outdoor world? You know, actual survival. The folks at Arizona Hiking Shack, 3244 East Thomas Road, can help. They’re hosting a four-hour “Wilderness Survival” class from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 16, in a new outdoor classroom.

The interactive course covers traditional backpacking in the Southwestern deserts, Bushcraft techniques, water and food procurement, shelter and fire crafting, backwoods hygiene, and signaling for rescue. The instructor is the certified wilderness advocate Jon Mincks.

Participants need to bring a water bottle and pack knife. The class costs $40 and includes an essential survival packet and booklet. For details, call 602-944-7723 or visit the Facebook event page. Lauren

Sometimes, the struggle is real.EXPAND
Sometimes, the struggle is real.
Courtesy of Argot Pictures

Tyrus: The Story of Tyrus Wong
Sometimes the struggle is real. Need an inspirational story to help you plow through the tough times? There’s a film that might do the trick.

Tyrus: The Story of Tyrus Wong is Pamela Tom’s feature-length film about the 104-year-old artist who faced racism and poverty to become a successful modernist painter, Hollywood sketch artist, and integral part of the artistic arm of the Disney empire when he used innovative techniques in animation on the 1942 classic movie Bambi. Asian Pacific Community in Action (APCA) co-sponsors the event and is accepting donations of children’s books for its new learning center. Donations get you $1 off entry. See Wong’s story at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 16, in the Third Street Theater at Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 North Third Street. Admission is $10 in advance, $11 for students with ID, and $12 the day of the screening. Visit the Brown Paper Tickets website. Amy Young

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

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