The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Explore a new memoir at Changing Hands.EXPAND
Explore a new memoir at Changing Hands.
Lynn Trimble
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Are you running low on funds this week? We got you. This week, you can see author Sharon Flanagan-Hyde talk about her new memoir or add some dance steps to your repertoire. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Sharon Flanagan-Hyde

Writers often organize their memoirs around key life experiences that continue to affect the trajectory of their lives. For Arizona author Sharon Flanagan-Hyde, her sister is a central focus. Mary Jean was diagnosed with a severe mental disability and sent away to an institution as a toddler. It was the author’s first window into the neglect and abuse experienced by some vulnerable people. Today, she champions public policy that supports people living with developmental differences. She’ll discuss her work, and her book titled Forget They Were Ever Born: A Memoir, during a free reading at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. It’s happening at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 11. Lynn Trimble

Line dancing meets library in Chandler.EXPAND
Line dancing meets library in Chandler.
Lynn Trimble

Country Line Dance Class

Good luck learning to dance if all you’ve got to go on is a book you checked out of the library. Your best bet is taking a class, then getting out on the dance floor and working your new moves. You can learn country line dance at the Chandler Public Library, where you don’t need a partner to make it happen. Laina Lee is teaching a country line dance class from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, February 12. It’s happening at the downtown branch, 22 South Delaware Street in Chandler. You’ll learn basic steps, including the jazz box, rocking chair, and grapevine. And you’ll learn several popular line dances, which gives you plenty of time to practice before Country Thunder in April. Lynn Trimble

Hitting that art sweet spot.EXPAND
Hitting that art sweet spot.

'Sugar Coated'

Chloe Torri describes herself as an “anxious millennial,” but she’s also a talented artist who moved from Chicago to Phoenix to study art at ASU. Now, she’s presenting “Sugar Coated,” her MFA thesis exhibit with works that reflect the angst of modern life. Check it out at Harry Wood Gallery, 900 South Forest Mall, located just inside the entrance to the ASU art building in Tempe.

Torri describes her work as “an investigation of interpersonal relationships, communication, and self-expression,” realized in the context of contemporary internet culture. Expect a thoughtful yet playful exploration of the way people “sugar-coat” their online personas, with broader implications for navigating the complex nature of identity. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 13. Lynn Trimble

Dudes being dudes.EXPAND
Dudes being dudes.
Benjamin Leatherman

Dolla Dolla Dance Party

The folks behind the Blunt Club hip-hop party series are debuting their Dolla Dolla Dance Party, paying everyone a crisp George Washington (that’s $1) for the mere gift of attendance. Once inside, you can then use that fresh dollar on drink specials, or expand your stack by catching bills from the money gun. There’ll also be DJ sets from M2, Tricky T, Fact135, and Pickster, as well as live art installations. Getting paid to party down is something worth loving.

The 21-and-over party goes down at 10 p.m. on Friday, February 14, at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street. Space is limited. Chris Coplan

Exploring the Rio Salado habitat.EXPAND
Exploring the Rio Salado habitat.
Lynn Trimble

Rio Salado Water Walk

The Museum of Walking, headed by Tempe artist Angela Ellsworth, is working with partners at ASU to present a contemplative Rio Salado Water Walk meant to honor the sacred water of the desert and heighten awareness for the city’s relationship to the river. Sharon Day (Ojibwe) will lead the multiday walk, which begins at the headwaters of the Rio Salado. Single-day walkers are welcome on Friday, February 14, plus other days.
Participants should read the online guidelines, which explain how and where people can join the walk in progress. People are free to join for any length of time. The event is free. High-visibility clothing, walking shoes, and refillable water bottles are recommended. Lynn Trimble

Pretty in Pink Valentine’s Day Party

If ever there was a film perfect for Valentine’s Day, it’s Pretty in Pink. The 1986 Brat Pack film, written by the late John Hughes, embodies many of the ups and downs relating to matters of the heart, from unrequited love and high-school crushes to winning the affections of your dreamboat.

Fittingly, the flick will be the inspiration behind Thunderbird Lounge’s Pretty in Pink Valentine’s Day Party on Friday, February 14. The Hi-Dreams DJ Collective will spin ‘80s tunes (including songs from the soundtrack) inside the retro bar while the film and other John Hughes movies are screened. Costumes inspired by the film (and the ’80s in general) are suggested. The party starts at 8 p.m. and admission is free. Thunderbird Lounge is at 710 West Montecito Avenue. Benjamin Leatherman

Eyes on the prize.EXPAND
Eyes on the prize.
Jim Louvau

Arizona Diamondbacks Fan Fest

Even with spring training still a week away, there’s a great opportunity to scratch that baseball itch. The Arizona Diamondbacks are opening their home field for Fan Fest, which is about the closest people will get to the action without throwing a 75 mph curveball. The event features a photograph and autograph session with players, clubhouse tours, a stage show featuring team broadcasters and alumni, and the Diamondbacks Foundation Yard Sale. It sounds like a home run of a day. The fest is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 15, at Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street. Entry is free, but be sure to reserve your spot online. Chris Coplan

Build your little heart out.EXPAND
Build your little heart out.
Tempe Public Library

Family LEGO Lab

Maybe you’ve dreamed of having a room filled with LEGO building blocks, where you could spend endless hours creating whatever bold designs come to mind. Odds are, you ended up going with something more practical at home.

Never fear, because Tempe Public Library has you covered. They’ve got big containers full of LEGOs, and they’re encouraging families to play together during the Family LEGO Lab for all ages, which happens from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 16, at 3500 South Rural Road in Tempe. It’s a chance to promote cognitive, emotional, and motor development through play. Try to avoid the whole “my design is more badass than your design” thing, because the kids will be watching. Lynn Trimble

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