The Best Free Things to Do in Phoenix, Mesa, and Tempe: January 20-26 | Phoenix New Times

The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

No money? No problem.
Get your cosplay ready. Tempe FanCon is back.
Get your cosplay ready. Tempe FanCon is back. Benjamin Leatherman
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Short on cash this week? No problem. This week, you can celebrate Edgar Allan Poe’s 211th birthday during Poechella, start con season out strong by attending Tempe FanCon 2020, or treat yourself to some new creative treasures found at the Phoenix Fridas' epic yard sale.  For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.


You could save up money all spring, and party down at April’s Coachella. Or avoid possible dehydration and financial ruin entirely by attending the much closer Poechella. A slew of local artists and writers will celebrate Edgar Allan Poe’s 211th birthday through performances plucked from his massive canon, with appearances by Aaron Hopkins-Johnson, Atlas St. Cloud, Lexi Lockett, The Klute, and Shawnte Orion. (Frequent Phoenix New Times contributor Ashley Naftule will also appear.) There will be live entertainment and vendors galore, including Cellar Door Vintage, tarot reader Becca Rose, and Little Maya Moonbeam Candles. To quoth the raven, it sounds like a real fun time.

The free event is set for 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 23, at The Lost Leaf, 914 North Fifth Street. Chris Coplan

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Very Beef (2018) by Kusama Sambe.
Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum

Katsuma Sambe

Tucson artist Katsuma Sambe uses ceramics to explore the intriguing connections between food and advertising. The artist earned his MFA in ceramics from ASU in 2014, and he’s an alumni of the Eye Lounge’s artist collective in Roosevelt Row. Now, he’s got a solo exhibition at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, 1 East Main Street in Mesa, where he’ll be showing works that center around the culinary element of sauce.

Get a good look on Friday, January 24, when museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a chance to support an Arizona artist bringing a fresh voice to the contemporary arts scene while exploring the arts landscape beyond downtown Phoenix. Sambe’s “Ketchup = Red, Mustard = Yellow” exhibit continues through April 12. Museum admission is free. Lynn Trimble

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Tempe FanCon attendees looking fierce.
Benjamin Leatherman

Tempe FanCon 2020

Nerds of the Valley, your schedules are about to get very busy. Con season will be ramping up to warp speed as a multitude of geek-oriented extravaganzas will be happening around town over the next few months. Your first destination is Tempe FanCon 2020 on Saturday, January 25, at Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural Road in Tempe, which will offer an afternoon of authors, artists, vendors, cosplayers, and other such nerdiness.

Followers of every fandom imaginable are welcome at the all-ages event and can participate in activities like “Superhero Jeopardy,” show off their costumes, or just geek out. Performances, Nerf battles, a scavenger hunt, and cosplay contests for humans and pets are also planned.

FanCon runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

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Just a gnarly He-Man toy from Arizona Toy Con 2017.
Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix Toy & Pop Culture Show

Yes, we just recently celebrated Christmas. But if you’re a toy collector in the Valley, prepare for “Christmas II: The Christmas-ing” with this year’s Phoenix Toy & Pop Culture Show. Here, collectors and vendors from across the state will come to sell their collectible goods, from Transformers and Barbie to vintage lunch boxes and video games. So whatever item you’re seeking to complete that collection, there’s a good chance it’ll be at this show. Just be sure to bring plenty of cash and a comfortable pair of shoes.

The free event is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 25, at Collectors Marketplace, 1945 East Indian School Road. Chris Coplan

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Getting a peek inside Mucho Mas Art Studio.
Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Fridas

You’ve endured all those hours racing from store to store in search of the perfect holiday gifts. Now, take some time to shop for yourself. And give it a creative twist. The Phoenix Fridas artist collective, which includes several local Latina artists inspired by Frida Kahlo, is holding a yard sale complete with clothing, accessories, art supplies, and other creative treasures.

It’s happening from 9 a.m. to noon at Mucho Mas Arts Studio, the creative home for collective members Kathy Cano-Murillo and Emily Costello. Cano-Murillo is well known for her Crafty Chica DIY creations, and Costello has created several artworks for Arizona Lottery scratchers. Mucho Mas is located at 1736 East McDowell Road. The event is free, but bring money for fun finds if you want to add more color to your life. Lynn Trimble
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