Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Checking out some sweet rides at the Annual Vintage Motorcycle Show.
Checking out some sweet rides at the Annual Vintage Motorcycle Show. Tempe Marketplace
Your plans have arrived, free of charge. This week, you can honor and celebrate our country’s veterans during the Veterans Day Tribute, get some insider knowledge during the symposium at the Mesa Music Festival, or browse endless rows of mechanical wonders at the Seventh Annual Vintage Motorcycle Show. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

click to enlarge
You can honor Native veterans at the Heard Museum.
Lynn Trimble

Veterans Day Tribute

The Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue, is offering free general admission on Monday, November 11, for U.S. military veterans and active-duty service members, who also can bring one guest to the museum. It’s open regular hours that day, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. But there is also a Veterans Day Tribute happening from 5 to 6 p.m.

The event, which honors veterans and their family members, is free and open to the public. It includes presentations by veterans groups and color guards, in addition to traditional performances and speakers. While you’re there, explore several large-scale sculptures created by Native artists to honor American Indian veterans of many different conflicts. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Hanging out at Changing Hands Bookstore.
Lynn Trimble

Karine Jean-Pierre

Karine Jean-Pierre has a few thoughts on the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in American politics. She’s the chief public affairs officer for MoveOn, an organization that champions progressive policies, and a political analyst for MSNBC.

Jean-Pierre has written a book titled Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America, which recounts her own foray into politics while encouraging others to get more involved. She’ll be discussing and signing copies of her book starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 12. The free author event is happening at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. Lynn Trimble

Hear Alberto Rios talk poetry at Chandler Public Library.
Evie Carpenter

Alberto Rios

Alberto Rios’ poetry graces public art around the city, from South Mountain Community Library to Tempe Town Lake. His border-inspired poetry was featured during U2’s 2017 Joshua Tree tour. And he collaborated with Arizona Opera for a production called Arizona Lady.

Hear the state’s first poet laureate speak about his writing process during an author talk at Chandler Public Library, 22 South Delaware Street in Chandler. It’s happening from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 13. The free gathering includes Rios’ discussion and an open write-in session for National Novel Writing Month for anyone who feels inspired. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Hear Neal Lester discuss the race and gender politics of hair.
Deanna Dent/ASU

'Nappy Edges and Golden Locks: The Race and Gender Politics of Hair'

The subject of hairstyles gets raised a lot in popular culture. Consider the ways hair is depicted in film, magazines, and toy design. Certain hairstyles are deemed pretty or feminine, whereas others are not. It’s a topic Neal Lester, head of Project Humanities at ASU, often raises. Learn why on Thursday, November 14, when Lester gives a free presentation called "Nappy Edges and Golden Locks: The Race and Gender Politics of Hair."

It’s happening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Arizona Heritage Center, 1300 North College Avenue in Tempe. Lester uses dolls, folklore, music, and other elements of popular culture to explore the ways African-Americans are impacted by notions of “good” versus “bad” hair — and what stereotypes involving hair reveal about American culture. Lynn Trimble

Check out Erika Jaynes' mural during the Mesa Music Festival.
Lynn Trimble

Mesa Music Festival

There’s more to making music than playing a few notes. So, it makes sense that the first day of the Mesa Music Festival kicks off with a music symposium to give people a chance to hear various professionals talk shop. Presenters include a music editor, agent, photographer, talent buyer, manager, and more. This means you can glean multiple perspectives on the local music scene in a single afternoon.

The free symposium takes place from 1 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 14, at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street in Mesa. The festival, which also includes a robust lineup of live music, continues at various venues through Sunday, November 16. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
It's a milestone moment for Modified Arts.
Miguel Angél Monzón

‘A City Modified’

Modified Arts is celebrating 20 years on the downtown arts scene with an exhibition called “A City Modified,” which opens on Third Friday, November 15. The show will feature works by 13 artists who have influenced both the gallery and the downtown arts scene – including Annie Lopez, Brent Bond, Casebeer, John Randall Nelson, Laura Spalding Best, and Monica Martinez.

You can expect plenty of history, too. The show will highlight the ways Modified Arts, located at 407 East Roosevelt Street, has been integral to the local arts and music scene through photographs and memorabilia. The free opening reception takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. Several artists will be there, so you can chat with them about their work and the area’s evolving arts landscape. Lynn Trimble

Seventh Annual Vintage Motorcycle Show

Motorcycles are an iconic representation of freedom and individuality. And if you’ve got a particularly badass hog, why not show it off at the Seventh Annual Vintage Motorcycle Show? Riders from across the state can bring their Triumphs or Harleys for public gawking — and maybe take home a sweet trophy or two. Or, just come to check out these mechanical wonders while enjoying some Flyin' K BBQ and the assorted vendors, including Law Tigers, Italian Iron, Parts Unlimited, and Western Powersports. Plus, if you don't win a prize, you may still get lucky with a giveaway.

The free show runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 16, at GO AZ Motorcycles, 15500 North Hayden Road in Scottsdale. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge
Up close with a Randal Wilson work for "Textual Healing."
Lynn Trimble

‘Textual Healing’

Artworks routinely dot the red brick walls inside a common space at The Newton, 300 West Camelback Road. This month, the space is home to a free exhibit called “Textual Healing,” which includes artworks that communicate to viewers through both visual language and the written word. Featured artists include James Angel, Champ Styles, Such Styles, and Randal Wilson.

Check it out on Sunday, November 17, when The Newton will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. There’s a calligraphy class happening from 1 to 3 p.m., so it’s best to pop in before or after. In a society saturated by noise, it’s refreshing to see how artists are using language to communicate without making a sound. Visit the “Textual Healing” event page on Facebook. Lynn Trimble
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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