Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Artwork spotted in The Millet House courtyard.
Artwork spotted in The Millet House courtyard. Lynn Trimble
It’s time to make plans. This week, you can learn something new during Hummus! the Movie, feel free under the night sky during Ballet Under the Stars, or take a closer look through Herberger Theater Center during its free four-story tour. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

click to enlarge Head here to see Hummus! the Movie. - JOEL ZOLONDEK
Head here to see Hummus! the Movie.
Joel Zolondek

Hummus! the Movie

Nowadays, you can order a side of hummus, a spread made with chickpeas, with your popcorn at some movie theaters. It’s a testament to the popularity of a food that has some intriguing historical roots. There’s even a film called Hummus! the Movie, which is being screened at the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, 122 East Culver Street, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 10. “It’s a light, fun film that also provides a lot of context about Israel and the Middle East,” according to Lawrence Bell, the center’s director. The screening is free, but seats are limited. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Feeling free under the stars. - TZU CHIA HUANG
Feeling free under the stars.
Tzu Chia Huang

Ballet Under the Stars

Ballet is a stunning art form. Dancers devote their lives to interpreting beautiful stories through poise, grace, and discipline. But productions are not cheap, so Ballet Arizona wants to make ballet available to everyone through Ballet Under the Stars.

The program, now in its 22nd year, will showcase classical and contemporary styles.

“We are creating an interest for those people that may not have been exposed to ballet ever before, and hopefully it will inspire them in some way,” says Ballet Arizona Artistic Director Ib Andersen.

Get mesmerized with a free performance at Tempe Center for the Arts Amphitheater, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe, on Thursday, September 12, at 7 p.m. All ages are welcome. Melissa Fossum

‘Badass Latina Women’

History is filled with badass women whose stories often go untold. Now, one local artist is shining a light on Latina women, with an exhibition of artworks called “Badass Latina Women.” It’s filled with artworks that reveal her perspective on iconic Latina women and remind viewers of the struggles they have overcome through the years.

Featured artist Vanessa Ortiz hopes her work will inspire fellow Latinas of all ages to embrace their uniqueness while recognizing their beauty and talents. The free opening reception, where you can see works by nine additional artists, happens from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 13, at The Millet House, 440 West First Street in Mesa. The exhibit continues through Thursday, October 31. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Javier Zamora will do a free reading at Palabras Bilingual Bookstore. - BLUE FLOWER ARTS
Javier Zamora will do a free reading at Palabras Bilingual Bookstore.
Blue Flower Arts


When he was just 9 years old, Javier Zamora traveled alone from El Salvador to the United States to be reunited with his parents. The 4,000-mile journey he undertook in 1999 informed his first poetry collection, Unaccompanied, and his work with the Our Parents’ Bones Campaign, which seeks justice for those whose family members disappeared during El Salvador’s civil war.

Zamora will be reading from his book at Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, 1738 East McDowell Road, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 14. It’s being presented by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, where Zamora will teach a class earlier that day. The reading is free, but you should register online before attending. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes here? - COURTNEY SARGENT
Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes here?
Courtney Sargent

Free Four-Story Tour

Most people head straight for the bar or the bathroom when they get to their favorite theater (unless they’re eager to get right to their seats). That means they’re overlooking some of the more interesting parts of the venue. Guided tours can help make sure you’re not missing the little details in your haste to get settled in for a show.

The Herberger Theater Center, located at 222 East Monroe Street, is offering a free four-story tour of theater performance spaces at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 14. It’s a great way to learn more about the building’s history, and discover areas you might not have explored before, such as the art gallery that often shows works by local artists. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Part of an exhibit at the Arizona Heritage Center in Tempe. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Part of an exhibit at the Arizona Heritage Center in Tempe.
Lynn Trimble

‘Art of the Internment Camps: Culture Behind Barbed Wire’

Nearly 125,000 Japanese-American citizens living on the West Coast in 1942 were forcibly removed and sent to internment camps after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed an executive order. Photographers including Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams documented these internments, and several artists created work reflecting life inside the camp.

The 10 camps, located in seven states, included the Gila River and Poston camps in Arizona. Learn more about these internment camps when ASU art history professor Betsy Fahlman presents “Art of the Internment Camps: Culture Behind Barbed Wire” at part of Arizona Humanities’ AZ Speaks series. The free talk on Saturday, September 14, runs from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central Avenue. Lynn Trimble
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Melissa Fossum
Contact: Melissa Fossum
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble