Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do in Phoenix This Week

Pants not required.
Pants not required. Benjamin Leatherman

New week, new plans. This week, you can connect with local artists and support their work at Scottsdale ArtWalk, climb a “trash mountain” at “Futureland, Arizona,” or ride the rails without any pants at No Pants Light Rail Ride Phoenix. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Classic Cuba
Change is coming to Cuba. Everyone who goes to the Caribbean island, seemingly stuck in amber since Fidel’s revolución, agrees that, thanks to the dictator’s death and the ensuing liberalization of the economy, times are bound to move forward, for better or worse. If you want to experience the Cuba of the past, head over to Valley Bar, 308 North Second Avenue, for a night of sounds titled Classic Cuba. Caleb Michel and Trio Los Cubichis will take listeners on a journey through the streets of Havana, playing bolero and danzon from the likes of Tito Rodriguez and Ernesto Lecuona. The free show starts at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 7. Visit Douglas Markowitz

click to enlarge Check out Gennaro Garcia's work during the Scottsdale ArtWalk. - COURTESY OF ROYSE CONTEMPORARY
Check out Gennaro Garcia's work during the Scottsdale ArtWalk.
Courtesy of Royse Contemporary
Scottsdale ArtWalk
It’s easy to say you love local arts and culture, but harder to walk the talk when it comes to making time for art. Several cities, including Scottsdale, have art walks that make it easy to connect with local artists and support their work. Head to Old Town Scottsdale between 7 and 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 10, and you can explore eclectic art offerings in galleries concentrated around Main Street and Marshall Way, near Indian School Road. For contemporary art, try starting at Art One, Royse Contemporary, Tilt Gallery, or Wilde Meyer. The art walk is free. Visit Lynn Trimble

Explore memory with works by Diane Silver. - COURTESY OF GEBERT CONTEMPORARY
Explore memory with works by Diane Silver.
Courtesy of Gebert Contemporary
“Remember That You Will Forget”
Ever heard the theory that tying a string around your finger can help you remember something? Turns out, art can have a similar effect. See how Diane Silver makes the case, through mixed-media artworks filled with images meant to trigger memories while punctuating the poignancy of the present moment. The free opening reception for her “Remember That You Will Forget” exhibition happens from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 10. Silver describes it as “an invitation to a personal exploration of one’s own memories and how they shape who we are.” The exhibit continues through Saturday, February 2, at Gebert Contemporary Art Gallery, 7160 Main Street, in Scottsdale. Put a string on it. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Cactus are going mutant in Chandler. - COURTESY OF VISION GALLERY
Cactus are going mutant in Chandler.
Courtesy of Vision Gallery
“Futureland, Arizona”
ASU has A Mountain, a.k.a. Tempe Butte, but Vision Gallery in Chandler has them beat, with a “trash mountain” created by Sarah Hurwitz and Daniel Funkhouser. You can actually climb it, and take a fabulous selfie, if you hit the free opening reception for their “Futureland, Arizona” exhibit, happening from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, January 11. Located at 10 East Chicago Street, the gallery will be showing both individual works by both artists, as well as their collaborative installation that playfully imagines what a future Arizona might look like if humans don’t get a whole lot smarter about how they use natural resources and inventions like plastic. The show continues through Friday, February 15. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Show some love for radio land. - COURTESY OF RADIO PHOENIX
Show some love for radio land.
Courtesy of Radio Phoenix
Basement Tapes Radio Live
Housed in the bottom of Phoenix Center for the Arts, the headquarters for Radio Phoenix has an underground feel. So, it makes sense that they’ve carried the theme through to the title for their weekly live broadcasts from Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. The next Basement Tapes Radio Live, a free event for the 21-and-up set, happens at 10 p.m. on Saturday, January 12. They’ll be playing a mix of old and new hip-hop, R&B, neo-soul, funk, and electronic music on the balcony that night. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Pantsless fun. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Pantsless fun.
Benjamin Leatherman
No Pants Light Rail Ride Phoenix
Under normal circumstances, it’s probably a good idea to keep your pants on while out and about. There’s an exception to every rule, however, which in this case is the annual No Pants Light Rail Ride Phoenix. Each year in early January, hundreds of locals rid themselves of their slacks, shorts, jeans, or skirts and climb aboard the trains of the Valley Metro Light Rail system to ride the rails in pantsless fashion. It’s part of a worldwide prank that often earns participants plenty of stares from both passers-by and fellow passengers. It’s also a total blast.

This year’s edition takes place on Sunday, January 13, and will involve people boarding trains on opposite ends of the Valley. They’ll then ride into downtown Phoenix before disembarking for a post-ride drink at a nearby bar. The pantsless partying goes from 1 to 4 p.m. and it’s free to participate. Check out for details and starting locations. Benjamin Leatherman
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.
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Douglas Markowitz was born and raised in Broward County, Florida, he studied at Sophia University in Tokyo before graduating with honors from the University of North Florida with a bachelor's degree in communications. He began writing for Miami New Times while in college and served as their music and arts editorial intern in 2017.
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble