Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Exploring the “Medieval Piñata” exhibit.
Exploring the “Medieval Piñata” exhibit. Lynn Trimble
Get ready for a fun week at no cost. This week, you can dive into the rich history of local television at the Phoenix Television book event, pick up a few new stickers for your water bottle or laptop at Sticker Shogun, or listen to some true-life storytelling at POC Jam Session. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

‘Medieval Piñata’

You’ve seen pinatas shaped like hamburgers, cartoon characters, and cactus. But odds are, you’ve never seen a fine art pinata that pays homage to art history while exploring issues related to race and sexuality. Now, you can see a gallery filled with pinata sculptures created by California artist Roberto Benavidez. His “Medieval Piñata” exhibit at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, 1 East Main Street in Mesa, includes meticulous creations inspired by illuminated medieval manuscripts and the famous Garden of Earthly Delights painting by Hieronymous Bosch. It’s one of several free exhibits you can visit between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 17. The exhibit continues through January 12, 2020. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Phoenix knows how to do television. - LUSTER KABOOM
Phoenix knows how to do television.
Luster Kaboom

Phoenix Television

Phoenix has a rich history of great local television — and not just Wallace and Ladmo or the, um, hilarity, that is Kari Lake. Authors Lisa Honebrink and Dr. John E. Craft have written the definitive history of the Valley’s broadcast lineage in their book Phoenix Television and presenting their work to the public. Their talk is like a great history lesson spanning the last 50-plus years, from the first TV shows in Phoenix to some of the latter-day small-screen stars.

The event is free and begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 19, at the Rosson House, 113 North Sixth Street. Books will be for sale, and everything benefits the scholarship fund of the Arizona House of Broadcasting, Inc. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Calling all volunteers! - PHOESTIVUS
Calling all volunteers!

Green Team Volunteering

White tents will dot the urban landscape on Thursday, December 19, as Phoestivus returns to the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market, 721 North Central Avenue. But it’s all about going green, as event organizers work to promote recycling and composting during the festive holiday market with Green Team Volunteering, and they’re looking for people like you to help.

The first volunteer shift runs from 4 to 7:30 p.m. The second shift runs from 7 to 10: 30 p.m. If working on the zero-waste team isn’t your thing, you can sign up to help in other ways. We’re told some unique volunteer gifts are in the works this year, but the biggest reward is getting to know more people in your community. Lynn Trimble

Snow Blast

Maybe you’re ribbing your Midwestern friends right about now, reveling in the sunshine as they’re digging out from the latest snowfall. But you’re a little bit jealous, right? Try getting a snow fix during Snow Blast happening from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 14. The free community event takes place at Reach 11 Sports Complex, 2425 East Deer Valley Road.

Look for snow slides and a children’s snow play area, plus a craft zone and plenty of food vendors. Or spend some time decorating cookies, getting a fun holiday look with face painting, or having your picture taken with Santa Claus. It’s a great excuse for hauling out the boots and mittens. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Pausing from live painting. - MESA ARTS CENTER
Pausing from live painting.
Mesa Arts Center

Sticker Shogun

Fans of sticker art will converge on Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main in Mesa, for a Sticker Shogun happening from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 21. The free event features stickers designed by local creatives, plus live painting by several of the Valley’s best-loved street artists, including Lalo Cota and Such Styles. Look for six sticker stations, live screen-printing, and more activities with an arts and culture twist. The evening also includes live music, a photo area with a street art theme, and a community sticker and mural space. Everyone is welcome, but some stickers may have adult imagery or content. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Checking out a POC Jam Session. - CARRIE BEHRENS
Checking out a POC Jam Session.
Carrie Behrens

POC Jam Session

Every third Saturday of the month The Torch Theatre, 4721 North Central Avenue, puts together a POC Jam Session that gives local creatives and community members of color a chance to take to the stage and share their myriad of talents with local audiences. The next jam session happens from 7 to 7: 55 p.m. on Saturday, December 21. Show up by 6:45 p.m. if you’re a person of color, and you want to throw your name into the hat. Organizers will draw names and put improv teams together before the show gets underway. Everyone is welcome to attend and watch the improv action unfold. The event is free. Lynn Trimble

Luminaria Bicycle Tour

Whereas parts of the country must suffer near-arctic temperatures during communal holiday celebrations, Phoenicians have a more leisurely experience. Case in point: the annual Luminaria Bicycle Tour, in which the collective Valley spits in the face of winter with a bike ride around the beautiful Willo Historic District to enjoy the luminarias. Because winter should be enjoyed at 10 MPH — and possibly in flip-flops.

Guests will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 22, at Encanto Park Amp Island, 2605 North 15th Avenue. Following hot cocoa and snacks, the ride commences at 6:30 p.m. Cheris Coplan
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble