Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Look for Jaira Joshue Munoz Zavala's work at Shemer Art Center.
Look for Jaira Joshue Munoz Zavala's work at Shemer Art Center. Shemer Art Center
Are you looking to save a buck and still have fun? This week, you can eat your weight in tamales at the Christmas Tamales! event, spellcheck your way to the finish line during Hip-Hop Spelling Bee, or put your writing muscles to work during the Creative Writing Workshop. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

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We hear tamales calling your name.
Megan Leetz

Christmas Tamales!

Everybody has their own family traditions around the winter holidays. For some, it’s creating and eating tamales. The process of making tamales takes time and plenty of TLC. Whether you’ve tried to make them or still working on your technique, you can enjoy sharing tamales with fellow community members at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 25.

That’s when Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, is holding its free Christmas Tamales! event in the Lounge. They’ll have both veggie and non-veggie options, served with lots of community spirit. Of course, you can buy drinks while you’re there if you want to up the festive factor. Lynn Trimble

Hip-Hop Spelling Bee

How do you take a spelling bee and make it cool? If your first thought was some Hunger Games-style revamp, you haven’t considered the wonder that is a hip-hop spelling bee. This fresh competition is divided into three rounds: hip-hop and music industry terms, artist names, and slang (likely from jiggy to sus). If there’s a round four — and praise be to the rap gods, we hope there is — contests will have to spell out words while dropping some actual bars. Good time. G-o-o-d, t-i-m-e. Good time.

The free competition takes place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 26, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Chris Coplan

‘Collected Treasures’

Jump off the holiday hamster wheel for a while at Shemer Art Center, 5005 East Camelback Road. It’s a relaxing way to explore works by local artists, both within the charming house filled with galleries and on the surrounding grounds dotted with sculptures. Shemer Art Center hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, December 26. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

The center’s “Collected Treasures” exhibit features mixed-media work by more than three dozen artists using diverse materials, including bark, beads, crystals, chrome, dirt, fiber, ink, paint, wax, and more. The “Wonders of It All” exhibit showcases bronze sculpture by Prescott artist Bill Nebeker. It’s a great way to explore artists you might not encounter during First Friday art shows in downtown Phoenix. Lynn Trimble

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Good writers read a lot of books.

Creative Writing Workshop

There’s never a wrong time to exercise your writing muscles. Unless, perhaps, you’re spilling all those juicy family secrets that came out over the beef brisket or tamales this holiday season. Maybe now is the time to dive into writing, with all that fresh resolve that comes with the prospect of a new year.

You can give it a go at Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, 1056 South Country Club Drive in Mesa. They’re holding a free creative writing workshop for writers of all experience levels from 4 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 29. It’s also a fun way to give a few writing exercises a whirl.The words that spill forth might surprise you. Lynn Trimble
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Chris Coplan has been a professional writer since the 2010s, having started his professional career at Consequence of Sound. Since then, he's also been published with TIME, Complex, and other outlets. He lives in Central Phoenix with his fiancee, a dumb but lovable dog, and two bossy cats.
Contact: Chris Coplan
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble