Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Padriac Murphy ran with the "Bugs and Blooms" theme.
Padriac Murphy ran with the "Bugs and Blooms" theme. West Valley Arts HQ
New week, new plans. This week, you can beat the heat during Summer Spectacular Art Walk, spread the holiday cheer at Christmas in July, or sketch your heart out during Cider & Scribbles. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Mondo a Go-Go

Let’s start with a disclaimer: Mondo a Go-Go is not the amusement park opened by the beloved Cartoon Network characters Ed, Edd, and Eddy. It is a night of rhythm and blues hosted by DJ Shane Kennedy. The eroticism of French pop or the groovy sounds of world disco will be playing into the wee hours of the morning. Kennedy even digs deep into the mysterious genres of “skronky tonk” or “jazz noir.” Grab your favorite cocktail and settle in.

Get the funk out at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9, at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. This is a free event. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Throwback to Ty McEwan painting spotted at Tempe Public Library. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Throwback to Ty McEwan painting spotted at Tempe Public Library.
Lynn Trimble

Monsoon Gardening

Never fear when rainy days come calling and your desert garden gets soaked. Every problem is an opportunity, especially when it comes to growing plants. Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural Road, invited master gardener Emily Heller to give a free presentation called Monsoon Gardening from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10. Heller grows edible flowers, and she’s an expert in growing vegetables, fruits, and herbs in the low desert using organic methods. She’ll share information about which plants can actually thrive amid monsoon rains and increased humidity, and give you tips for maximizing your garden by matching what you plant with the season at hand. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Checking out One-Eyed Jack in Old Town Scottsdale. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Checking out One-Eyed Jack in Old Town Scottsdale.
Lynn Trimble

Summer Spectacular Art Walk

Strolling the streets of Scottsdale’s Old Town arts district is a relaxing way to beat the summer heat, especially during the free Summer Spectacular Art Walk, which happens from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 11. Start on Main Street between Scottsdale Road and Goldwater Boulevard, where Royse Contemporary’s “Moments of Color” exhibit includes works by Cherie Buck-Hutchison, Nigel Clouse, Charmagne Coe, Gennaro Garcia, Daniel Shephard, and Onna Voellmer.

Then head over to Marshall Way north of Indian School Road, where you’ll see John Randall Nelson’s giant rabbit sculpture for Scottsdale Public Art. It’s also home to Wilde Meyer Gallery, which is having its “Annual $100 Show,” and the Art One gallery that has an eclectic selection of affordable offerings. Expect live music and refreshments, too. Lynn Trimble

“Hugo Medina: 10 Year Retrospective”

Hugo Medina’s first show took place at Barrio Cafe in 2009. In the decade since, the Bolivian-born artist’s murals have transformed downtown Phoenix into a colorful feast for the eyes. Medina’s paintings, many of which reflect the struggles of migrants and the working class, along with images of his murals will be on display until the end of August at the Arizona Capitol Museum in an exhibition titled “Hugo Medina: 10 Year Retrospective.” You can meet the artist at the opening reception.

The reception begins at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, at 1700 West Washington Street. This is a free event. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Gathering for Movies on Main in Mesa. - IVAN MARTINEZ
Gathering for Movies on Main in Mesa.
Ivan Martinez


Nearly five years after Robin Williams’ death, people still gather to watch the many films he made, including the 1995 film Jumanji, which imagines a giant, jungle-themed board game coming to life. Grab your lawn chair or blanket for a free screening happening at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 12, at The Sliver Lot, 219 West Main Street in Mesa.

National Comedy Theatre will be doing preshow activities, and the street will be lined with vendors and food trucks for the city’s 2nd Friday Night Out event. This month’s theme is Gamers’ Dilemma, so other offerings will include a vintage video game competition, plus an 8 p.m. trivia contest at the gallery at 101 West Main Street. Lynn Trimble

“Bugs and Blooms”

Seeing an exhibit filled with flowers might not sound that exciting until you recall the vastly different ways artists have rendered them through the years. Consider Claude Monet’s serene “Water Lilies” paintings compared with Jeff Koons’ flashy Bouquet of Flowers sculpture, or flowers created by Kahlo, Klimt, and Van Gogh. You’ll see intriguing variations in flowers created by local artists in the new “Bugs and Blooms” exhibit at West Valley Arts’ Arts HQ gallery, 16126 North Civic Center Plaza, Surprise.

Meet several of the artists during the free opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 12. The exhibit, which continues through August 23, features works by more than three dozen creatives, including several inspired by desert blooms. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Enjoying Christmas in July in Glendale. - LORRAINE ZOMOK
Enjoying Christmas in July in Glendale.
Lorraine Zomok

Christmas in July

With so many holidays happening near the end of the year, it’s nice to spread the holiday spirit around a bit. Give it a try in historic downtown Glendale, where Christmas in July is happening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 13. You don’t have to stay up wrapping gifts or baking pies the night before. Just pick up your event map at 5836 West Palmaire Avenue, then start exploring. Expect plenty of shopping and hands-on activities. There’s even a cookie crawl, but only while supplies last. Bring bottled water if you’d like to donate to relief efforts for vulnerable populations. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Kerri Gallagher bringing the comedy to JOJO Coffeehouse. - JULIET STRAKER
Kerri Gallagher bringing the comedy to JOJO Coffeehouse.
Juliet Straker

It's a Talk Show

If you like a little coffee with your comedy, head over to Scottsdale for a live taping of It’s a Talk Show, featuring comic Kerri Gallagher. She’s turning her weekly podcast into a comedy talk show, complete with panels of comics talking pop culture plus interviews with industry experts. Her next free family show happens from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, at JOJO Coffeehouse, 3712 North Scottsdale Road. The casually elegant coffeehouse serves food, espresso drinks, wine, beer, and nonalcoholic beverages. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Art meets cider in Mesa. - JENNIFER GASTELUM
Art meets cider in Mesa.
Jennifer Gastelum

Cider & Scribbles

Cider on tap and colored pencils make a nice pairing when you’re ready for a relaxing Sunday. Grab your sketch pad and pens, or anything else you like to draw with, and head to Cider Corps, 31 South Robson in Mesa. That’s where Cider & Scribbles is happening from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 14. No worries if you don’t have drawing supplies, by the way. They’ve got you covered. The event is free, but bring money for food truck fare or drinks from cider mimosas to cider slushies if you want to indulge a bit while you’re sketching your little heart out. In case you’re curious, the event is part of Mesa Arts Center’s Creative Catalyst initiative, which promotes community engagement through creativity. Lynn Trimble
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble