Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do This Week

Feeling the nature love.
Feeling the nature love. Courtesy of City of Avondale
Keep things simple — and free. This week, you can enjoy a beer and join the discussion at First Draft Book Club, celebrate the eclectic neighborhood at Melrose Street Fair, or become one with nature at Tres Rios Nature Festival. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Sarah Spain
Sarah Spain is an award-winning writer, radio host, and ESPN reporter. On several occasions, she has written about how hard it is for women to break into the sports industry, while it’s easy to “get caught up in what they think the bigwigs...and fans want.” As part of the “Must See Mondays” lecture series at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Spain talks with moderator Paola Boivin about the growth of women in this male-dominated field.

The discussion begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 25, at the First Amendment Forum, 555 North Central Avenue. This is a free event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

I Am Not Your Negro
It’s been four decades since James Baldwin decided to write about three friends who’d been assassinated — Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin died before he finished it, but filmmaker Raoul Peck imagined what that final book might have become. Then he made I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary film exploring the civil rights movement through Black Lives Matter. It’s part of Chandler Public Library’s Black History Month film series. See a free screening at the library’s downtown branch, 22 South Delaware Street, at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27. Stay afterward for a discussion of the film, with a faculty member from Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Visit Lynn Trimble

First Draft Book Club
If you’re a fan of suspense novels, then the title of the book My Sister, the Serial Killer might be a little misleading. This quick Saturday afternoon read about sibling rivalry is a darkly humorous story, cleverly told by Nigerian author Oyinkan Braithwaite, that raises issues about moral and familial obligations. Grab a beer and enjoy the discussion around the latest selection of the First Draft Book Club with moderator Barbara VanDenburgh.

Slice into this page-turner at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, at Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road. This is a free event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Bingo Night
Are you tired of taking grandma to the smoke-filled halls at the local casino or your neighborhood house of worship to get her bingo fix? Take her to downtown Phoenix’s hippest nightspot instead for Bingo Night. Local celebrity Marshall Shore will spin the ball cage at Gracie’s Tax Bar. Bond over a batch of fried pickles and cheap brews from the bar. Then if the two of you can arrange your cards just right, you can win some cool prizes.
Grab your dauber at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, at 711 North Seventh Avenue. This is a free event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge You'll spot this piece at Wilde Meyer Gallery. - COURTESY OF WILDE MEYER GALLERY
You'll spot this piece at Wilde Meyer Gallery.
Courtesy of Wilde Meyer Gallery

Native Spirit Art Walk
Your boots are made for walking. But maybe they need some new territory to explore. Head to Old Town Scottsdale between 6:30 and 9 p.m. on Thursday, February 28, to see what’s new along Marshall Way and Main Street near Indian School Road, during the free Native Spirit Art Walk. The evening includes a fashion show, historian Marshall Shore talking about fashion designer Lloyd Kiva, performances by YellowBird Productions, and work by Native artists. Participating creative spaces include Wilde Meyer Gallery, which is showing works by several artists in its “Interpretations of the West” exhibit. If your boots aren’t made for walking, hop on the free trolley. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Riot police in Ferguson, Missouri, in Whose Streets?, a Magnolia Pictures release. - COURTESY OF MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Riot police in Ferguson, Missouri, in Whose Streets?, a Magnolia Pictures release.
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Whose Streets?
Protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, after police killed an unarmed African-American teen named Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. Filmmakers Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis explored those protests through the eyes of activists and leaders for a 100-minute documentary film called Whose Streets? It premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, and now you can see it at ASU West, 4701 West Thunderbird Road in Glendale. The free 7 p.m. screening inside Kiva Lecture Hall on Thursday, February 28, includes a post-show discussion with Breanne Fahs and Eric Swank, two ASU faculty members with expertise in political activism, racism, and social movements. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Rick Naimark enjoying a bit of piano time. - COURTESY OF RICK NAIMARK
Rick Naimark enjoying a bit of piano time.
Courtesy of Rick Naimark
Rick Naimark
Most days, Rick Naimark is lucky to find time to tickle the ivories on his home piano. He’s a key ASU player on the downtown Phoenix development scene, which means he spends more time on meetings than music. But come First Friday, March 1, he’ll be in full musician mode inside the lounge at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. All ages are welcome for his free piano and vocal performance inside the lounge from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. He’ll be playing popular tunes from the 1950s to today, by artists such as Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Billy Joel, and Coldplay. And he’s totally game for taking requests. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge So many vendors. - JOHN AHO
So many vendors.
John Aho
Melrose Street Fair
The Melrose District came back from the brink of extinction over 20 years ago, largely due to the efforts of the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association. The organization helps the neighborhood maintain its vintage aesthetic. They are celebrating the eclectic segment of Seventh Avenue with the 17th annual Melrose Street Fair. It will feature live music from Haymarket Squares and The Senators, food trucks, a car show, and booths by local vendors and independent local businesses along the strip.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, on Seventh Avenue between Indian School Road and Camelback Road. This is a free, family-friendly event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Tres Rios Nature Festival
Ever wished you could become one with nature? Give it a try during the Tres Rios Nature Festival, which takes its name from the number three in Spanish, because it celebrates the confluence of the Gila, Salt, and Agua Fria rivers. The two-day event concludes on Sunday, March 3, when festival hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s happening at the Base & Meridian Wildlife Recreation Area, 7602 South Avondale Boulevard, in Avondale, where you can try birdwatching, fishing, canoeing, archery, hiking, mountain-biking, and more. The festival is free, but there’s a charge for some activities, such as ziplining. 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