He’s an actor, producer, writer, and podcaster, but this time he's a comedian.
He’s an actor, producer, writer, and podcaster, but this time he's a comedian. MJ Kim

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click to enlarge Idiots away! - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Idiots away!
Benjamin Leatherman
Phoenix Idiotarod
Fair warning, Phoenicians: You might encounter gangs of costumed folks frantically pushing crazy-looking shopping carts around the downtown area this weekend. And some of them might be covered in silly string, adorned in wild outfits, or armed with water balloons.

Will it grab your attention? Most definitely. Should you be alarmed? Not at all, considering it’s just the running of the annual Phoenix Idiotarod. The urban shopping cart race and bar crawl will invade downtown once again on Saturday, February 10, and feature costumed teams of five or more people competing against each other.

Competing teams, each with its own wild theme, will start the race underneath the bridge at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1134 North Central Avenue, before hitting the streets and sidewalks during an afternoon of madcap action and colorful fun. Check-in begins at 11 a.m., and the race starts at noon. It’s $50 per team to participate or free to spectate. Visit the AZ Cacophony Society website for more info. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Girl group Hey Nunnie Nunnie vows to enhance the Arizona Renaissance Festival. - ARIZONA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
Girl group Hey Nunnie Nunnie vows to enhance the Arizona Renaissance Festival.
Arizona Renaissance Festival
Arizona Renaissance Festival
A lot of folks focus on the food part of a festival. No shame in that. A sandwich that’s available only once a year is just as precious a memory as watching jousting, birds of prey, or frisky belly-dancers at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. You’ve heard of and/or sampled the cider, mead, and turkey legs (which are about optics more than history), but these days couscous, chocolates, portabellas, Italian sodas, and a bunch of other treats you can eat while walking around are on the menu as well.

Live music, lavish costuming, wacky entertainment, games and rides, and artful adornments and crafts continue through Sunday, April 1, at 12601 East U.S. Highway 60 (east of Apache Junction). Hours on opening day, Saturday, February 10, are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $14 to $24 and free for children younger than 5. Call 520-463-2700 for more information or visit the Renaissance Festival website. Julie Peterson

See Ann Morton and Bill Timmerman's first joint exhibition at Modified Arts. - ANN MORTON
See Ann Morton and Bill Timmerman's first joint exhibition at Modified Arts.
Ann Morton
“It’s Only Natural”
When married Phoenix artists Ann Morton and Bill Timmerman undertook summer travels last year, Timmerman snapped photographs throughout. Now, several of those photos are part of an exhibition called “It’s Only Natural” at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt Street. The free exhibition also features new works by Morton, a mixed-media fiber artist. Together, they tackle this question: What comprises the natural world?

They’ve worked side by side for decades, but this is the artists’ first joint exhibition. “Bill looks for ties between the built and unbuilt world, while Ann employs the serendipity of found objects and random experience,” according to exhibition materials. Take a look between noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 10. It’s your last chance to see the show. Visit the Modified Arts website. Lynn Trimble

Pod save Arizona.
Courtesy of Crooked Media
Pod Tours America
Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer, and Tommy Vietor are some Crooked dudes. The foursome is part of the Crooked Media team and host Pod Save America. Visiting as Pod Tours America, this crew doesn’t mince words when it comes to dissecting the daily news.

From speech writing to advising on communication strategies, each of these guys served as part of Barack Obama’s staff. Obama has been a guest on the show before, as have other political figures like Kamala Harris and Hillary Clinton. They’ll wax political at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 10, at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Remaining tickets start at $45. Call 602-379- 2800 or visit the Comerica website. Amy Young

click to enlarge Check out this historic home. - DIANA HERMAN
Check out this historic home.
Diana Herman
Willo Historic Home Tour and Street Fair
If you’ve been stalking the cool houses of the Willo neighborhood, Phoenix’s largest historic district, from afar, the Willo Historic Home Tour and Street Fair is a chance to get up-close and inside looks at these unique residences. Tudors, bungalows, Spanish revivals, and ranch houses are some of the architectural styles found in the neighborhood, which was built from the 1920s to the 1940s.

More than just an opportunity to ogle architecture and design, this family-friendly affair features a number of vendors who line the streets for your shopping pleasure, as well as kids’ activities, a beer and wine garden, and a classic car show.

The event turns 30 this year; celebrate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 11, at the Willo Historic District, between Thomas and McDowell roads and First and Seventh avenues. Tickets are $18; $5 drink tickets available. Visit the Willo website. Amy Young

American Ninja Warrior Experience
Leave it to North Americans to make a TV show called American Ninja Warrior featuring very fit people in tight clothing showing off their athletic prowess in front of hundreds of cheering onlookers. C’mon, everyone knows real ninjas dig the draped look — and they most certainly carry out clandestine operations under cover of darkness. Nevertheless, the feats of agility performed by contestants on American Ninja do resemble those of the folkloric ninjas, albeit without the espionage and assassinations.

Fans of the program can get in on the action when American Ninja Warrior Experience brings the pain to Glendale’s University of Phoenix Stadium, 1 Cardinals Drive, on Sunday, February 11. The event begins at 8 a.m. and features plenty of family-friendly festivities for the spectator and aspiring ninja warriors alike. Tickets are $30 and up. Visit the American Ninja Warrior Experience website or call 623-433-7101 for details. Rob Kroehler

click to enlarge Get philosophical with plant life at Appaloosa Library. - TRAVIS IVEY
Get philosophical with plant life at Appaloosa Library.
Travis Ivey
“Landscape Interrupted”
Phoenix artist Travis Ivey puts a new twist on landscapes, using tape, glitter, stamps, and security envelopes. But his alter ego, Hank, takes a more traditional approach. Hank is “a representational artist with a background in graffiti and painting en plein air,” according to Ivey’s artist statement. His cactus and palms serve as springboards for thinking about larger issues.

Hank explores “the encroachment of urban space into the desert ecosystem,” according to exhibition materials for “Landscape Interrupted,” an exhibition of the alter-ego’s oil paintings on view through Wednesday, February 28, at The Gallery at Appaloosa Library, 7377 East Silverstone Drive in Scottsdale.

See Hank’s art between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Monday, February 12. Then you decide: cactus or palms? Visit the Scottsdale Public Art website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Go Yotes! - TICKETMASTER
Go Yotes!
Arizona Coyotes v. Chicago Blackhawks
Not that it’s earth-shattering news to hockey fans, but the Arizona Coyotes are pretty bad this season. In fact, the ’Yotes currently hold the league’s worst point differential. Ouch. Even the most optimistic fans can’t claim that the glass is half full, but it isn’t exactly empty either.

Arizona is currently on track to receive the top pick in the 2018 draft, which will inevitably materialize as Swedish phenom Rasmus Dahlin. Drafting the highly touted defenseman could turn the tide for the struggling franchise, but they’ll have to continue this season’s free fall for that to happen.

Here’s to another loss when the Blackhawks visit Glendale’s Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue, on Monday, February 12, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40 and up. Visit the Coyotes website or call 623-772-3800 for details. Rob Kroehler

Patrisse Khan-Cullors
Despite what some cable news networks may tell you, Patrisse Khan-Cullors is no terrorist. She is a mother, artist, activist, and a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, one of the most important social movements of the 21st century. She shares her journey in When They Call You A Terrorist, which she co-wrote with journalist ashe bandele.

On Tuesday, February 13, Arizona PBS’ Horizonte host José Cárdenas will talk with Khan-Cullors about her book and the importance of protecting our nation’s most vulnerable in Trump’s America.

The discussion begins at 7 p.m. at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street. Ticket packages, which include a copy of the book, range from $32 to $38. For more information, visit the Changing Hands website. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Replace looking for love with looking for art on Valentine's Day. - JAMES B. HUNT
Replace looking for love with looking for art on Valentine's Day.
James B. Hunt
The thrill of the hunt can rival the satisfaction of a good find. Of course, it’s fine to search for art in traditional venues such as galleries and museums. But seeking out art in the streets is just as rewarding — especially when you know a local creative has hidden paintings for people to find. That’s what James B. Hunt, a.k.a. Nxoeed, will be doing this Valentine’s Day, Wednesday, February 14.

Look for five of his “valentines” along Roosevelt Street between Third Avenue and Fifth Street. It’s finders keepers. Search with wild abandon starting at 6 p.m., or snag some clues that night on Hunt’s website, the Nxoeed. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge I want to believe. - ALEJANDRO ROJAS
I want to believe.
Alejandro Rojas
UFO Congress
The truth is out there — and also at the We-Ko-Pa Resort, 10438 North Fort McDowell Road in Fort McDowell. That’s where the International UFO Congress will be held from Wednesday, February 14, through Sunday, February 18. This annual event holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest UFO convention, and offers panel discussions, lectures, and film screenings about all kinds of Fortean phenomena.

Expect a vendor hall with out-of-this-world schwag and talks from authors, ex-government officials, and alien abductees. The Congress also offers “experiencer sessions” where people who’ve had paranormal encounters can share stories with each other.

Don’t expect a crowd composed entirely of true believers, though. You’ll also hear talks from scientists who take the topic seriously but aren’t fully on board the mothership yet. Tickets range from $39 partial day passes to $349 full-access tickets. See details at the UFO Congress website. Ashley Nafulte
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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