The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

Celebrating the Harvest Moon of September.
Celebrating the Harvest Moon of September. Benjamin Leatherman
It's time to stretch that green thumb. This weekend you can get some veggie know how at the Vegetable Container Gardening Workshop or learn how to grow herbs at Fall Herb Pot Workshop. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

Full Moon Festival: Harvest Moon

September’s full moon rises on September 24, but can you blame the folks behind Full Moon Festival: Harvest Moon for getting the party started a few days early? Start the Autumn Equinox off right with some yoga, performance art, fire spinning, delicious food and drink, and the best music that the community has to offer. This event is for those over the age of 18; organizers ask that revelers come dressed in attire that reflects “the magic and majesty of the moon.”

This marvelous night for a moondance begins at 8:08 p.m. on Friday, September 21, at The Pressroom, 441 West Madison Street. Tickets are $15-$20. For more information, visit The Pressroom website. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Trade soccer for music and dance at the Brazilian Day Festival. - SCOTTSDALE CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Trade soccer for music and dance at the Brazilian Day Festival.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Brazilian Day
Brazil has been in the news lately thanks to its soccer team — even President Trump added his two cents on Twitter after the 2018 World Cup. But there’s more to Brazil than soccer, as evidenced by Brazilian Day offerings in Scottsdale. Head to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street, from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, September 22, to enjoy a vibrant mix of Brazilian arts and culture — including dance, music, and other performances. Tickets are $15 for adults or $5 for the 11-and-under set. Check out Brazil-inspired food, crafts, and merch while you’re there. Visit the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts website. Lynn Trimble

A Museum Day ticket can get you two free admissions to Heard Museum. - CRAIG SMITH/HEARD MUSEUM.
A Museum Day ticket can get you two free admissions to Heard Museum.
Craig Smith/Heard Museum.
Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day
For museum nerds, the most wonderful day of the year will soon be upon us. It’s Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day, when select museums around the country offer free entry for anyone with a Museum Day ticket. Go online to the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day website to reserve your ticket and see the full list of participating museums, which will get you free admission for two at participating museums on Saturday, September 22. Plenty of Phoenix museums and cultural organizations are taking part, including the Desert Botanical Garden, the Heard Museum, the Pueblo Grande Museum, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Hours vary by museum. Lynn Trimble

Spend a morning sprucing up the Japanese Friendship Garden. - AIRI KATSUKA
Spend a morning sprucing up the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Airi Katsuka
Annual Garden Clean-up Day
No need to confess anything, unless it’s the fact that cherry blossoms always make you feel a bit sentimental. The Japanese Friendship Garden, 1125 North Third Avenue, is looking for volunteers to help out during its Annual Garden Clean-up Day, which runs from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 22. It’s a free morning filled with light pruning, raking, sweeping, and such. And it’s a chance to get a good look at the garden before it opens for a new season in October, along with fellow volunteers who share an appreciation for its serene, bountiful grounds. All you need is comfy clothes, closed-toe shoes, and garden gloves, plus your sunscreen and water bottle. Garden tools are welcome, but not required. Visit the Japanese Friendship Garden website. Lynn Trimble

Rushmore is the first collaboration between director Wes Anderson and Bill Murray. The actor plays Herman Blume, an industrialist who befriends an unfocused prep school student named Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman). Their relationship turns into a heated rivalry when they vie for the affections of art teacher Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams). This screening is presented by the PHX Film Collective, a group of cinephiles devoted to showcasing significant movies to central Phoenix.

The curtain rises at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 22, at Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road. Tickets are free with a donation, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Save Our Schools Arizona. For more information, visit the PHX Film Collective website. Jason Keil

Experience West Africa
There’s never a shortage of music at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard. But there’s an added bonus if you show up on Saturday, September 22, for the MIM’s Experience West Africa event, which is included with $20 general museum admission. The festivities run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a chance to learn more about the region, through music, storytelling, dance, crafts, and other activities. While you’re there, tour the museum’s Africa Gallery, or enjoy a curator talk on the ways drums instill and reflect cultural values. You’ll leave knowing more about the talking drum, balafon, and kora. And you might even master a West African drum beat or dance step or two. Visit the Musical Instrument Museum website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Earl Klugh will be there. - COURTESY OF CONCORD MUSIC GROUP
Earl Klugh will be there.
Courtesy of Concord Music Group
Firebird Jazz Festival
When it comes to music festivals in the Valley this fall, there’s seemingly one for every taste, ranging from dance music and hip-hop to indie rock and world sounds. And thanks to the inaugural Firebird Jazz Festival this weekend, that also includes the chance to enjoy some smooth jazz and R&B jams.

The newly launched outdoor concert event makes its debut on Sunday, September 23, at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 North Pima Road, and will feature an afternoon and evening filled with sets by such Grammy-winning musicians as Jeffrey Osborne, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Earl Klugh. Onetime American Idol judge Randy Jackson will host the festival, which runs from 2 to 10 p.m. Other artists scheduled to appear include jazz trumpeteer Rick Braun and renowned trio Jazz Funk Soul.

General admission lawn seats are $45, reserved seating is $55-$85, and VIP box seats are $150. Call 480-840-4175 or see the Firebird Jazz Festival website. Benjamin Leatherman

Rockin’ Democracy
Our state has a real chance to change its colors from red to blue this year, but it’s not going to happen without a fight. One of the ways the grassroots organization AZ Blue 2020 is engaging citizens in the politics is through events like Rockin’ Democracy. Featured speakers include Terry Goddard, the chairman of the Outlaw Dirty Money campaign, David Garcia, the Democratic candidate for governor, and author Nancy MacLean, who will discuss her book Democracy in Chains. Grateful Dead tribute band The Harvest will provide the music.

The festivities begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 23, at The Pressroom, 441 West Madison Street. General admission is free with packages for additional perks available from $10 to $50. For more information, visit The Pressroom website. Jason Keil

Explore some trails on the way to your Desert Botanical Garden workshop. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Explore some trails on the way to your Desert Botanical Garden workshop.
Lynn Trimble
Vegetable Container Gardening Workshop
It’s easier to buy your vegetables at the market. But there’s more satisfaction in growing them yourself, and it doesn’t have to be a big production. Plenty of people with small living spaces grow vegetables, thanks to the wonderful world of container gardening. Even so, it’s best to get a little veggie know-how before you haul off and plop a tomato starter plant into your favorite terracotta tub. Master gardener Liz Lonetti is teaching a Vegetable Container Gardening workshop at Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 23. The class costs $38. Go ahead. Veg out for a change. Visit the Desert Botanical Garden website. Lynn Trimble

Growing herbs can give you a positive outlook. - SOUTHWEST GARDENER
Growing herbs can give you a positive outlook.
Southwest Gardener
Fall Herb Pot Workshop
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Simon and Garfunkel made them famous in song. But now you can give them your own twist, with a Fall Herb Pot workshop led by Gregory Ware, resident grower for Southwest Gardener, 300 West Camelback Road. He’ll teach you how to plant, grow, and harvest these flavorful herbs, during his noon to 3 p.m. class on Sunday, September 23.

All you’ll need is gardening gloves, and you’ll go home with an herb pot filled with herbs for enhancing your culinary creations. It’s a rare opportunity to play in the dirt alongside fellow plant nerds. The class costs $50. Visit the Southwest Gardener website. Lynn Trimble
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble