The World Championship Hoop Dance Competition showcases hoop dancing from children, teens, and adults.
The World Championship Hoop Dance Competition showcases hoop dancing from children, teens, and adults. Courtesy of the Heard Museum
click to enlarge He’s an actor, producer, writer, and podcaster, but this time he's a comedian. - MJ KIM
He’s an actor, producer, writer, and podcaster, but this time he's a comedian.
MJ Kim
Nothing to do this week? Don't fret. Instead, answer the question “Who Runs the World?” with Bar Flies, catch a screening at the Desperado LGBT Film Festival, or watch the felt fly at Fifty Shades of Felt. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

Chris Hardwick
Chris Hardwick wears a lot of hats. He’s an actor, producer, writer, and podcaster. And of course, Comedy Central fans know him from @midnight with Chris Hardwick, which he hosted for four years until last summer. Hosting is still a part of his life, from his namesake show to The Talking Dead, which is affiliated with the zombie show it rhymes with. Once upon a time, he was even a radio DJ. He’s also the CEO of Nerdist Industries, which he founded.

But he’s coming to Stand Up Live on Thursday, February 8, as a comedian.

Hardwick’s stand-up delivery is fast, keen, and snarky AF. The multifaceted performer gives guests a taste of his well-rounded wit at 8 p.m. at 50 West Jefferson Street. Admission is $35 for guests 18 and older; attendance requires a two-drink minimum. He’s scheduled to perform on February 9 and 10. Call 480-719-6100 or visit the Stand Up Live website. Amy Young


click to enlarge This is not a photo from Curses, Foiled Again!, but you get the idea. - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
This is not a photo from Curses, Foiled Again!, but you get the idea.
Paramount Pictures
Curses, Foiled Again!
Melodrama’s a straightforward, palatable form of theater that returns audiences to the age-old concept of catharsis — the purgation of pity and fear — and not always a whole lot else. But for us Americans, it’s also a nostalgic, somewhat silly genre, featuring hero, heroine, and villain; mild suspense; and sanctioned opportunities to boo and hiss. Through Saturday, February 17, Zao Theatre presents Curses, Foiled Again!, the musical story of the romance and struggles of simple farm girl Polly Praiseworthy.

Showtime on opening night, Thursday, February 8, is 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $14 to $22, and children younger than 6 are not admitted. Performances continue at Centerstage Church, 550 South Ironwood Drive in Apache Junction. Call 480-924-5122 or visit the Zao Theatre website. Julie Peterson

Bar Flies
The February headliners for Phoenix New Times’ monthly storytelling event Bar Flies will grapple with the question, “Who Runs The World?” Curated by Amy Silverman, readers Nikki D’Leon, Angelica Lindsey, Robrt L. Pela, Stina Sieg, and Nia Williams will stand under the bright lights at Valley Bar and offer personal stories that might make you think. Amy Young will select the evening’s soundtrack. Order your favorite adult beverage and bring some tissues — just in case.

Story time begins on Thursday, February 8, at 130 North Central Avenue. Admission is $5. For more information, visit the Valley Bar website. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Fifty Shades of Felt takes the action to Boaty McBoathouse. - COURTESY OF ALL PUPPET PLAYERS
Fifty Shades of Felt takes the action to Boaty McBoathouse.
courtesy of All Puppet Players
Fifty Shades of Felt
Fifty Shades Freed opens on Friday, February 9. Perched on St. Valentine’s knee, all we’re asking is an IMDb rating below 4 and ticket sales lower than Justice League’s. “Make it stop,” we murmur, unlike sufficient characters in the film series.

Happily, All Puppet Players opens Fifty Shades of Felt that same evening. Some of you have already seen this remarkable, handheld reimagining of the novel that reimagined another novel, but it always seems to return when we need it, like Girl Scout cookies. You’ll take the movie, and everything else, a lot less seriously afterward.

Showtime is 8 p.m. on Friday, February 9, at Playhouse on the Park, 1850 North Central Avenue. Performances continue through Saturday, February 24. Call 602-254-2151 or visit the Phoenix Theatre website for tickets — $26 for general admission or $55 for the VIP experience, a.k.a. an extra-good seat and cheap drinks. No humans younger than 17 will be admitted. Julie Peterson

click to enlarge Immigration meets love story in the film En Algun Lugar. - DESPERADO FILM FESTIVAL
Immigration meets love story in the film En Algun Lugar.
Desperado Film Festival
Desperado LGBT Film Festival
For those tired of political rhetoric that bashes the LGBTQ community, there’s a way to flip the script. It’s the annual Desperado LGBT Film Festival, first launched in 2010. This year’s festival opens on Friday, February 9, at the Center for the Performing Arts on the Paradise Valley Community College campus, 18401 North 32nd Street. It continues through Sunday, February 11.

Friday’s lineup launches with a screening of En Algun Lugar (A Place to Be), a film that explores young love and U.S. immigration policies. An Arizona-based nonprofit called Diversity Leadership Alliance will present a panel discussion with local immigration officials after the 8 a.m. screening. It’s free, but preregistration is required.
At 7:30 p.m., the festival screens Heart, Baby! It’s the story of George Lee Martin’s journey through prison, boxing, and life. A cast member Q & A follows. Single film tickets are $10. Visit the Desperado LGBT Film Festival website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Get vampy. - ROSE TORRES/SCORPIUS DANCE THEATRE
Get vampy.
Rose Torres/Scorpius Dance Theatre
Vampire Ball
Screw Valentine’s Day staples like corny teddy bears, heart-shaped chocolates, and stupid love notes. Bring on the blood, fangs, and drag queens. Have a very gothic Valentine’s Day at the Vampire Ball on Friday, February 9, at Club Palazzo’s Grand Ballroom, 710 North Central Avenue.

From 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., attendees can party with drag divas Stella Prince and Faris DuVal and dance the night away with music by DJs Betty BlackHeart and Self.Destrukt. Goth gear is encouraged; fangs are optional. Tickets to the 21-and-up event range from $24 to $29. For tickets and more information, visit the Vampire Ball website or call 602-734-5734. Lindsay Roberts

Valley Fever Country Music Show
In the early 1900s, the Spoke and Wheel restaurant was the location of the original Phoenix Country Club. On Friday, February 9, the Valley Fever Country Music Show will turn the Sunnyslope spot into a honky tonk, with performances from Brea Burns and The Boleros, The Tony Martinez Band, and August Manley’s Waylon Jennings Tribute Band.

A DJ set from Dana Armstrong, vintage finds from Rare Scarf and Retro Ranch, and an exhibit on the surrounding historic neighborhood are also on deck.

Giddy up at 8 p.m. at 8525 North Central Avenue. Admission is $5. For more information, visit the Spoke and Wheel website. Jason Keil

Wasted Ink Zine Distro's wares. - MELISSA FOSSUM
Wasted Ink Zine Distro's wares.
Melissa Fossum
Femme Fotale
With its newest photo book, Femme Fotale continues to encourage underrepresented women, including gender nonconforming and femme artists, to share personal experiences and insights about the current social and political climate.

The group will celebrate the release of Volume 5: Resistance, Resilience & Hope during a community potluck on Friday, February 9, at Wasted Ink Zine Distro, 2222 North 16th Street. The celebration will include a community art table, where artists can share two-dimensional work, along with a photo booth and potluck with vegetarian and meat dishes. The event runs from 7 to 10 p.m. and is free to attend. For more information, see the Femme Fotale website. Laura Latzko

click to enlarge The World Championship Hoop Dance Competition showcases hoop dancing from children, teens, and adults. - COURTESY OF THE HEARD MUSEUM
The World Championship Hoop Dance Competition showcases hoop dancing from children, teens, and adults.
Courtesy of the Heard Museum
World Championship Hoop Dance Competition
In Native American hoop dancing, the hoops represent different stages and forms of existence and how they’re interconnected. Using between four and 50 hoops, dancers form designs such as animals, insects, or flowers.

Dancers ranging from younger than 5 to older than 40 will compete during the 28th annual World Championship Hoop Dance Competition at the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue, on Saturday and Sunday, February 10 and 11. During the contest, judges will look at the dancers’ technique, showmanship, and originality when determining the top winners in five divisions organized by age.

The event also will feature a procession of contestants from 20 different nations and music from DJ Shub of the Six Nations of the Grand River. The competition runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day and costs $18 for adults, $12 for museum members, $7.50 for children 4 to 12, and it’s free for children 3 and younger. Two-day passes are available for $30. For more information, call 602-252-8840 or go to the Heard website. Laura Latzko

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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Rob is a Phoenix native, husband, dad, and an active member in the local music scene. He's written original songs for feature films.
Contact: Rob Kroehler
Laura Latzko
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Ashley Naftule
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young