Things to Do

Seven Free Things to Do in Phoenix This Week

Mini Nova when it was part of Burning Man.
Mini Nova when it was part of Burning Man. Abram Santa Cruz/Liquid PXL

The only thing than getting out and having fun around metro Phoenix is doing it for free, right? This week, you can attend the online Phoenix Zine Fest, listen to some music in the morning at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center, and catch the second weekend of the Canal Convergence Festival.

click to enlarge One of many lovely views at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. - MCDOWELL SONORAN PRESERVE
One of many lovely views at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve

If Rocks Could Talk

If rocks could talk, they’d probably have something to say about the recent climate talks in Scotland. Of course, rocks don’t speak, which means we have to rely on geologists and other experts to explain their origins, properties, and significance. Mike Nolan, a steward with the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, will be talking rocks during a free presentation at the Mustang Library auditorium, 10101 North 90th Street, Scottsdale. He’ll focus on how rocks formed in the region and the fascinating history of their evolution over time to become the landscape we see today. If Rocks Could Talk: The Geology of the Sonoran Mountain Preserve takes place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Monday, November 8. Register online before you attend. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge A scene from El Milagro del Recuerdo. - ARIZONA OPERA AND ASU KERR
A scene from El Milagro del Recuerdo.
Arizona Opera and ASU Kerr

Music in the Morning

Even if you're not normally a morning person, it's worth setting an alarm for two programs happening this week at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. On Tuesday, November 9, the center will present a Tuesday Morning Music & Tea event. Tea service begins at 9:30 a.m., and at 10:30, Arizona State University guitar students will play in a variety of styles. On Wednesday, November 10, ASU Kerr and Arizona Opera will team up for a presentation on the opera's upcoming performance of El Milagro del Recuerdo, a mariachi opera. Arizona Opera Director of Community Alliances Courtney Clark will discuss the show, one of the opera's singers will perform, and coffee will be provided by Renegade Coffee Company. Both programs are free with an RSVP, but attendees are encouraged to bring a $5 donation and a can of food or sealed personal item to be donated to Vista del Camino Food Bank. Jennifer Goldberg

Arizona Speaks

Pandemic restrictions opened up a whole new landscape of online and virtual offerings that people are still enjoying today, including talks with various artists and authors. Arizona Humanities is presenting "From "Chief" to Code Talker: Four Profiles of the Navajo Code Talkers" as part of its AZ Speaks series online from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10. It’s being led by Laura Tohe, a Diné poet, librettist, and author whose own father was among the Navajo Code Talkers who had such a significant impact on World War II. She’ll be sharing stories of four members of the Navajo Nation, exploring the ways they demonstrated resilience and self-determination after returning from the war to accolades yet still living in poverty. The talk is free and you should register online if you’d like to participate. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Entwined Meadow by Charles Gadeken is one of many Canal Convergence artworks. - JONATHAN CONDIT
Entwined Meadow by Charles Gadeken is one of many Canal Convergence artworks.
Jonathan Condit

Canal Convergence

The annual Canal Convergence festival continues this weekend from Friday, November 12, to Sunday, November 14. The schedule of art, concerts, and activities includes a number of free options. The concert lineup includes Tindal Muzic (6 p.m.), NOLAZ Band (7:15 p.m.), and The Gaines Brothers (8:30 p.m.) on Friday; Courtney Cotter King (6 p.m.), Jimmy Pines and Washboard Jere (7:15 p.m.), and Outside the Line (8:30 p.m.) on Saturday; and Surfing Godzillas (6 p.m.) and the Betsy Ganz Trio (7:30 p.m.) on Sunday. The art is free to see, including Walter Productions' Floom, in which floating lily sculptures shoot flames into the air, and Entwined Meadow by Charles Gadeken, in which 10 sculptures emit changing patterns and colors. Public artworks will be installed along the Arizona Canal and the Scottsdale Waterfront between Camelback Road and Goldwater Boulevard. Look for the concert stage on Soleri Plaza near Scottsdale and Camelback roads. For more information, see our comprehensive guide to the event. Lynn Trimble

Arizona Railway Day

The general public can climb aboard the vintage trains of the Arizona Railway Museum, 330 East Ryan Road in Chandler, during this event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 13. All of its rolling stock – from a pair of antique locomotives from the Southern Pacific Railroad to the high-style luxury cars built by the Pullman Company – can be explored. You can also blow train horns, check out the various indoor exhibits, or purchase historic ephemera and models. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Getting in the mood for this year's virtual Phoenix Zine Fest. - CHARISSA LUCILLE
Getting in the mood for this year's virtual Phoenix Zine Fest.
Charissa Lucille

Phoenix Zine Fest

The folks behind Wasted Ink Zine Distro, 906 West Roosevelt Street, Suite 3, are staging this year’s Phoenix Zine Fest on Saturday, November 13, and Sunday, November 14, as a “virtual event,” owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That said, it will offer many of the hallmarks of an in-person version, like a lineup of workshops and panels (both of which will be conducted via ZOOM) featuring more than 80 zine creators and a sticker design contest. Participation in the event is free and more details can be had here. Benjamin Leatherman
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