Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Exploring art in the Sunnyslope neighborhood.
Exploring art in the Sunnyslope neighborhood. Lynn Trimble
Have some fun with no money required. This week, you can meet with fellow pop culture geeks at Cosplay Happy Hour, feel the beach vibe at Beach Party, or hang out with the whole neighborhood at U-Nite at the Museum. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Before John Cameron Mitchell became the boss you love to hate on Shrill, he wrote the groundbreaking Off-Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The director turned it into a cinematic rock opera three years later. The film follows the titular band, led by their charismatic transgender lead singer (Mitchell), as they shadow the tour of the chart-topping Tommy Gnosis, who stole the band’s songs. Michael Soto from Equality Arizona is hosting this movie on The Coronado's patio.

The wig comes out of the box at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, at 2201 North Seventh Street. This is a free event. Jason Keil


click to enlarge Part of the cover art for Phoenix Television. - COURTESY OF THE AUTHORS
Part of the cover art for Phoenix Television.
Courtesy of the authors

Phoenix Television

Once upon a time, TV channeled most of the nation’s news and entertainment. People sat in front of big boxes, adjusting “rabbit ears” antennas trying to get the best black-and-white image possible. For a fascinating look at the early TV landscape in Phoenix, head to Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road, at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 17. You’ll find authors John Craft and Lisa Honebrink discussing their book titled Phoenix Television, which includes stories and archival photos from early TV days in the Valley. Craft teaches at ASU’s journalism school, and Honebrink is a former TV producer. Buy a copy while you’re there if you want them to sign it for you. The event is free. Lynn Trimble


click to enlarge Cosplay is coming to Changing Hands Bookstore. - DEEGAN MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY
Cosplay is coming to Changing Hands Bookstore.
Deegan Marie Photography

Cosplay Happy Hour

Four May dates have big red circles around them, assuming you’re giddy with anticipation over this year’s Phoenix Fan Fusion. But maybe you’d like to test-run your cosplay gear, or meet fellow pop culture geeks before it opens on May 23. Or you couldn’t swing the tickets for some reason this year. Either way, you’ll be welcome at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road, where they’re having a Cosplay Happy Hour starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. They’ve lined up a geek-inspired playlist and free Thursday passes for people who come in cosplay mode. And they’ll be awarding prizes for crowd cosplay favorites. The event is free, and First Draft Book Bar will have happy hour specials. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Checking out Mesa Artspace Lofts. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Checking out Mesa Artspace Lofts.
Lynn Trimble

Beach Party

Artists have great imaginations. So you might as well go with it when they tell you they’re throwing a fabulous beach party in the desert. Mesa Artspace Lofts, 155 South Hibbert, is having a Beach Party from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. It’s open to community members, plus the artists who live and work there. Expect artisans showcasing their work, live music with a beach vibe, and open mic performances starting at 6:50 and 8:30 p.m. The event is free, but bring cash if you want to buy food or do a little shopping to support local artists. Lynn Trimble

Sunnyslope Plein Air Fest

If you’ve ever been curious about art enclaves beyond the beaten path in downtown Phoenix, spend some time in Sunnyslope, a neighborhood several of the city’s best-known artists call home. They held a great studio tour late last year, and now Sunnyslope artist Larry Ortega’s Obliq Art is presenting a plein air festival, where visitors can watch artists live-painting outdoors. The three-day Sunnyslope Plein Air Fest culminates on Sunday, May 19, when you can explore an art show from noon to 3 p.m. at the North Mountain Visitor Center, 12500 North Seventh Street. It’s a great excuse to check out local small businesses in the area, too. Lynn Trimble

Throwback to Four Chambers' third literary journal. - FOUR CHAMBERS PRESS
Throwback to Four Chambers' third literary journal.
Four Chambers Press

Our Hearts Go Out to You: Four Chambers Final Farewell

For five years, literary locals poured their hearts into a literary journal and small press called Four Chambers. They’ve been on hiatus for a while now, and finally decided to hold an official farewell event, where fellow literature lovers can snag various books and artworks published by Four Chambers, plus hear a reading celebrating the group’s life and times. Our Hearts Go Out to You: Four Chambers Final Farewell runs from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. It’s a free event, and the reading happens at 5:30 p.m. Happy hour at First Draft Book Bar, located inside Changing Hands, runs from 3 to 6 p.m. So you can buy a drink and raise your glass, or coffee mug, to make saying goodbye a bit more bearable. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge United together. - UNITY THROUGH COMMUNITY
United together.
Unity Through Community

U-Nite at the Museum

U-Nite at the Museum is one of the ways the Tempe organization Unity Through Community is fulfilling its mission of bringing neighborhoods together through the arts and education. There will be games, face-painting, make-and-take art projects, art raffles, pizza, a bake sale, and gardening demos. If local music is more your thing, you can check out an acoustic set by Sara Robinson, the funk of Dr. Delicious, and the soul stylings of The Sugar Thieves.

This family-friendly event goes from 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, at 809 East Southern Avenue in Tempe. Jason Keil
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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