Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do in Greater Phoenix This Week

You might say artist Joan McGue is a triple threat.
You might say artist Joan McGue is a triple threat. Shemer Art Center
Looking for something to do that's fun and free? You're in luck. This week, you can learn a thing or two about staying cool at Stay Cool When Hiking in the Heat, share your recent work at First Friday Poetry Series, or find a new plant to add to your family at the Hotter Than Hades Plant Sale. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Rock Band Mondays

Your typical karaoke night has drunken singers, a mediocre selection of songs, and atrocious bar lighting. Rock Band Mondays at The Grid: Games and Growlers will take things to the next level. You get to play the hit video game on a professionally lit stage and rack up the points. There are plenty of craft beers and cocktails available if you need some liquid courage to help you get through your set.

Step behind the mic starting at 8 p.m. on Monday, June 3, at 525 South Gilbert Road in Mesa. Jason Keil

See work by Judith Foosaner at Bentley Gallery. - LYNN TRIMBLE
See work by Judith Foosaner at Bentley Gallery.
Lynn Trimble

'In the Absence of Color'

When it comes to contemporary art, Bentley Gallery, 215 East Grant Street, has the white stuff. It's showing works featuring predominantly white for a new group exhibit called “In the Absence of Color.” Featured artists include Bryan David Griffith, an artist who often uses fire to make his photographs, sculptures, and other artworks. The exhibit also includes Denise Yaghmourian, a Phoenix-based artist whose works are inspired by childhood objects and memories of growing up here in the Valley. You can get a good look on Tuesday, June 4, when gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The free exhibit continues through July 13. Lynn Trimble

Stay Cool When Hiking in the Heat

Our unseasonably cool weather can inspire amateur hikers to be heroes at Camelback Mountain and the Grand Canyon. This misplaced courageousness can lead to heat illness or death. If you want to be smart about outdoor exercise before the mercury starts to rise, head over to the Just Roughin’ It Adventure Company for a seminar titled Stay Cool When Hiking in the Heat. Experts will share how to avoid dehydration while running, climbing, or just getting some sun.

Lace up your hiking boots and stride over at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, at 8658 East Shea Boulevard, #175, in Scottsdale. Jason Keil

“Triad Triptychs”

It’s often said that good things come in threes, from the leaves on a lucky clover to the Three Little Pigs. In art, it takes the form of three-piece artworks called triptychs, including Hieronymous Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. See how Arizona artists are tackling the triptych as Shemer Art Center, 5005 East Camelback Road, presents its “Triad Triptychs” exhibit, featuring works by nearly three dozen creatives working in diverse media from painting to photography. The free opening reception happens from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 6. Participating artists include Dan Aponte, Kimberly Harris, Augustin Vargas, Kim Walker, and many more. Lynn Trimble

First Friday Poetry Series

Changing Hands Tempe continues its First Friday Poetry series with readings by two magnificent poets. First up is Benjamin Aleshire, who uses his manual typewriter to compose stanzas for strangers. The troubadour will be reading from his book titled Currency. New Orleans native Skye Jackson will be reading from A Faster Grave, the latest collection of her work. If you’re ready to share your own work, there will be an open reading following the presentation.

Get taken by the rhythm at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 7, at 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Art meets technology with MIZARU. - PURRING TIGER/SMOCA
Art meets technology with MIZARU.
Purring Tiger/SMoCA

Summer Opening Party

Be one of the first people to see the new “Mutual Reality: Art on the Edge of Technology” exhibit at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street, when the museum holds its free Summer Opening Party at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 7. It’ll also be your first chance to see a site-specific installation called Back Round by Aakash Nihalani inside the SMoCA Lounge. The summer art lineup includes “southwestNET: Shizu Saldamando,” featuring portraits of people of color — including punks, queers, activists, and artists. There’s a new exhibition of contemporary glass art as well, which includes an exquisite, poignant work called The Weight of Lost Friendship, created by artist Charlotte Potter. Several of the artists, including Nihalani and Saldamando, will be on hand to discuss their work. And there will be a cash bar. Lynn Trimble

Exploring Taliesin West.
Andrew Pielage/Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

Discovery Day

Head over to Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home in Scottsdale, where you can help celebrate the famed architect’s birthday, and explore an intriguing mix of live music, film screenings, and creative activities. Discovery Day at Taliesin West, 12621 North Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, happens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 8. Register in advance if you want to join the fun, which includes interactive textile and design demonstrations, a display of projects made by Wright apprentices, a cyanotype photography workshop, a bridge-building activity, and an artisan market with jewelry, pottery, and other creative offerings. The 2017 film Frank Lloyd Wright: The Man Who Built America screens at 12:15 p.m. Last entry is 3 p.m. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge The First Friday After Party CleanUp starts at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. - LYNN TRIMBLE
The First Friday After Party CleanUp starts at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.
Lynn Trimble

First Friday After CleanUp Party

Sometimes, thousands of people descend on Roosevelt Row during First Friday art walks. Not everyone’s keeping it classy, which means there’s more than a little tidying up that needs to happen the morning after. That’s where volunteers come in, along with a Local First Arizona member called 850zip. The group has organized a First Friday After CleanUp Party along with Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, which is home to one of the area’s art galleries. If you’re 21 or older, you can help out between 8 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 8. Just show up at the cathedral, 100 West Roosevelt Street, and be ready to work between First Avenue and Seventh Street from Garfield to Portland streets. Volunteers can head to nearby Bliss ReBar after they’re done to celebrate making a difference in their own little corner of the world. Visit 850zip on Facebook.  Lynn Trimble

Big Gay Bingo

Ready your dauber, because someone is going to call your number. Pink Church PHX, a local LGBT-affirming Pentecostal organization, is putting on Big Gay Bingo. Stop by Stacy’s at Melrose for your chance to win some cash. If you don’t get to fill up your game card and call out “Bingo,” you can grab a slice of pizza and buy some raffle tickets for additional prizes.

Doors open at 1 p.m. and the balls start rolling at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, at 4343 North Seventh Avenue. Jason Keil

Hotter Than Hades Plant Sale

Hardcore gardeners aren’t discouraged by high temperatures this time of year. Instead, they rise to the challenge by choosing plants that actually like the heat — then giving them all the water and other TLC necessary to weather the desert environment. If you’re eager to up your summer gardening game, but not sure how to do it, pop into the Hotter Than Hades Plant Sale, happening from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 9. Local grower Gregory Ware will be there, helping you make great choices, at Southwest Gardener, 300 West Camelback Road. They’ve got plenty of gardening supplies for sale, if you need a fresh pair of gloves or cheerful apron to help you get into that summer planting spirit. 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