Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do in Phoenix This Week

So many dogs.
So many dogs. Doggie Street Festival
Do yourself a favor and forget your wallet at home — you won't need it. This week, you can enjoy music and sunshine at Spring Out to Lunch Concert Series, dedicate your day to dogs at the Doggie Street Festival, or geek out at Tempe FanCon. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

click to enlarge Walking the talk. - MIRIAM WASSER
Walking the talk.
Miriam Wasser
MLK March and Festival
Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the MLK March and Festival on Monday, January 21. The march starts at 9 a.m. at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 1401 East Jefferson Street, and proceeds to Hance Park, 1202 North Third Street. The festival, which elevates the importance of cultural diversity and civil rights, happens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hance Park. The festival lineup includes speakers and entertainment. Both events are free, but bring money for food and drinks. It’s a chance to meet other people who champion civil rights, and explore ways you can walk the talk moving forward. Lynn Trimble

March on West
ASU launched March on West back in 1991, as a way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. This year’s march takes place Wednesday, January 23, on the ASU West campus, 4701 West Thunderbird in Glendale. Marchers, who will include hundreds of middle school students re-creating MLK’s historic 1963 march in Washington, D.C., will set out from the Paley Gate at 11 a.m. and march to the Sands/Kiva Courtyard on campus. The march concludes with a re-enactment of MLK’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech by prolific, award-winning interdisciplinary artist and ASU faculty member Charles St. Clair. It’s free and open to the public. Visit Lynn Trimble

In a recent poll, Michelle Obama was named America’s most admired woman, which may explain why her memoir Becoming is such a huge bestseller. Through empowering stories, the former First Lady looks back on her working-class childhood in Chicago to her rise as a crusader for families to live more active lives. Grab a beer at the First Draft Book Bar as moderator Barbara VanDenburgh leads a discussion of this powerful book.

The conversation begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 23, at Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road. The book is $32.50 at the event location, but this is a free event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge See rock music with fresh eyes. - PBS INDEPENDENT LENS
See rock music with fresh eyes.
PBS Independent Lens
Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World
It’s often overlooked, but American music is filled with indigenous inspirations, influences, and artistry. They’re the subject of a film called Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, which is being screened from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 23, at Tempe History Museum, 809 East Southern Avenue. The film features musical artists such as Jackson Browne, Quincy Jones, Steven Tyler, and Stevie Van Zandt. All knew and played with artists profiled in the film, who include Robbie Robertson, Buffy Saint-Marie, Link Wray, Jesse Ed Davis, and more. This free screening of the PBS Independent Lens documentary is being presented by ASU Project Humanities, which works to facilitate conversations across diverse communities. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Head here to up your robotics IQ. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Head here to up your robotics IQ.
Lynn Trimble
Southwest Robotics Symposium
Pop culture is filled with colorful robot characters, from Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey to Star Wars’ R2-D2. But robots have come a long way, baby. Learn more during the free 2019 Southwest Robotics Symposium happening in the Memorial Union at ASU, 310 East Orange Street, Tempe. During the first day, on Thursday, January 24, symposium topics will include robot learning and artificial intelligence, multi-robot systems, and bio-inspired robotics. Of course, the day also includes information on ASU robotics projects and the ASU drone studio, which means you’ll get a new appreciation for robotics beyond those nifty numbers that vacuum the cat hair off your carpets. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Sunshine meets music in Mesa. - COURTESY OF MESA ARTS CENTER
Sunshine meets music in Mesa.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center
Spring Out to Lunch Concert Series
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, especially if you spend most of your work life sitting at a desk indoors. There’s an outdoor concert series at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, where you can break from your daily routine to enjoy a lovely bit of music and sunshine. The Spring Out to Lunch Concert Series is showing a little love for ’60s music from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 24. You can bring a blanket or lawn chair along, and cash if you want to buy lunch from the center’s caterer. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Check out M. Jenea Sanchez's work at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. - COURTESY OF SMOCA
Check out M. Jenea Sanchez's work at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Courtesy of SMoCA
M. Jenea Sanchez
Most of the politicians concerned about the U.S./Mexico border probably haven’t spent much time there. Yet several Arizona artists have deep roots within the borderlands, including M. Jenea Sanchez, who founded a nonprofit called Border Arts Corridor to promote binational community through immersive arts experiences. Three of her video works addressing border issues, experiences, and misconceptions are currently on view at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street. Head over between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Friday, January 25, to see how Sanchez applies her nomadic and feminist sensibilities to border-related issues ranging from reciprocity to marginalization. Museum admission is $10 for adults. Visit Lynn Trimble

Doggie Street Festival
Are you a dog person? There is a festival for you and man’s best friend. The fourth annual Doggie Street Festival will feature vendors on site with gifts for you to spoil your loyal canine. Are you thinking about becoming a puppy parent or adding another member to your brood? There will be adoption agencies to help you find the perfect four-legged companion to bring home. There will also be music, food, prizes, and veterinarians offering pet owners the tools to best care for their furry friend.

Bark up the right tree from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 26, at Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road. Admission is free. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge Cosplay, family-style. - COURTESY OF TEMPE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Cosplay, family-style.
Courtesy of Tempe Public Library
Tempe FanCon
Even libraries have joined the fervor over comic-con inspired events, giving fellow geeks a chance to indulge their fascination with all things pop culture. Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural Road, is holding its free Tempe FanCon from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 26. Geeks of all ages are invited to don their favorite pop culture costume and join the fun — which will include costume contests, artist and author appearances, opportunities to shop for geek gear, and myriad activities for children. Hit the stacks if you want to explore books about your favorite pop culture obsessions while you’re there. Visit 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