Your plans have arrived. This week, you can enjoy a buzzed walk through the zoo at Roars & Pours, play some old-school arcade games at ZapCon, or test your knowledge at The Office Trivia. For more things to do, visit
Jake ShimabukuroAbout 50 years ago, Tiny Tim gained fame for his ukulele rendition of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” Today, you can find ukuleles in tiki bars and music museums and take lessons at your local bookstore, but sometimes playing the small, four-string instrument is best left to the professionals, such as Jake Shimabukuro, whose set lists feature covers for songs made famous by far different artists — including Jimmy Buffett, Van Morrison, and Queen. The Hawaii-based musician will be performing a mix of funk, jazz, and pop music at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, on Thursday, May 2. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $39. Visit mesaartscenter.com. Lynn Trimble
Roars & PoursWatching kids get wide-eyed over tigers and toucans is a wondrous thing. But sometimes adults need a little zoo time of their own, free from baby strollers and preschoolers asking nonstop questions. So the Phoenix Zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway, is holding a Roars & Pours happy hour for the over-21 set. It’s happening from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, when you can stroll select trails while you enjoy craft beer or wine, and listen to live music. Tickets are $10, which includes zoo admission and several activities, such as riding a mechanical bull, playing oversized yard games, racing trikes, and playing chicken poop bingo. Bring cash if you want to buy eats or drinks, take a camel ride, or check out the stingrays. Visit phoenixzoo.org. Lynn Trimble
Womxn, Trans, and Femme Maker NightAbout once a month, creatives converge on the maker space at ASU’s Hayden Library, 300 Orange Mall, Tempe, for a Womxn, Trans, and Femme Maker Night that’s also open to allies, partners, friends, and supportive creators who want to forge “creative and critical work in an open and welcoming space.” The next gathering happens from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 2. While you’re there, you can try your hand at making buttons, magnets, 3-D prints, or other projects. You’ll be in good company, with artists, designers, engineers, and scientists of varied skill levels from within and beyond the ASU community. Visit asuevents.asu.edu. Lynn Trimble
First FridayFamily time meets First Friday at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, 215 North Seventh Street, where kids and their adults get free admission from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 3. Put on your comfy play clothes, and get ready to explore the Noodle Forest, an area filled with more than 1,300 brightly-colored pool noodles suspended from the ceiling. It’s one of several museum highlights, which also include an eclectic assemblage of items that form the Schuff-Perini Climber. Readers can curl up in book loft nooks, while shoppers gather pretend groceries in the market area. Museum offerings range from tricycles to building blocks, and there’s an art studio filled with hands-on activities. Visit childrensmuseumofphoenix.org. Lynn Trimble
Demetri MartinThe brilliance of Demetri Martin’s style of humor centers around his ability to say so much about the world while actually saying very little. On a recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, his crack about writing an instrumental protest song killed, and yet it is biting commentary on the current state of our culture. The comedian’s Wandering Mind Tour will bring a little focus to our thoughts with his trademark drollness.
See him get in front of the mic at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 3, at Talking Stick Resort, 9800 East Talking Stick Way in Scottsdale. Tickets are $20 $85. For more information, visit talkingstickresort.com. Jason Keil
Free Comic Book DayMay is going to be a monumental month for local geeks. Not only is Phoenix Fan Fusion a few weeks away but the biggest superhero flick ever (a.k.a. Avengers: Endgame) is playing in theaters everywhere.
Then there’s Free Comic Book Day, the annual nationwide celebration of the sequential art form that’s practically a holiday for nerds. The 2019 edition happens on Saturday, May 4, and involves comic book stores across the Valley hosting events featuring artist signings, various deals, and (you guessed it) stacks of free comics.
Monster Comic Books, 1803 East Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe, for instance, will offer more than a dozen free titles, as well as appearances by artists like Micah Garcia, Chinh Potter, and Deadpool inker Shelby Robertson. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 602-809-8746.
Meanwhile, Samurai Comics, 1120 South Country Club Drive in Mesa, will host the Arizona Comic Mini Expo from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with appearances by more than a dozen local comics creators, tons of geeky giveaways, and more. Call 480-962-1123 or visit acmeexpo.tumblr.com.
Check out freecomicbookday.com for even more participating shops around the Valley. Benjamin Leatherman
ZapConAs any teenager lit to the gills on energy drinks might tell you, today’s video games offer lifelike graphics, sophisticated A.I., a staggering amount of characters, and infinitely enormous worlds to explore. But bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, as evidenced by the lo-fi thrills offered by old-school games like Missile Command, NBA Jam, and Spy Hunter.
See for yourself at ZapCon, the two-day classic arcade and pinball convention that takes attendees through the warp zone of gaming’s yesteryear. This year’s con happens on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street, and will feature approximately 155 arcade titles (from Afterburner to Zoo Keeper) and more than 110 pinball machines available for play.
There will also be tournaments and competitions throughout the weekend, a classic console lounge, and a performance by local Nintendo cover band Minibosses. Doors open at 9 a.m. each day. Adult admission is $30 for Saturday, $20 for Sunday, or $40 for the weekend. Kids ages 3 to 12 can get in for $15 on Saturday, $10 on Sunday, or $20 for the entire event. See zapcon.com for more details. Benjamin Leatherman
David SedarisMix biting social commentary, witty repartee on personal foibles, and astute observations of cultural phenomenon, and you’ve got the makings of a great night of comedy. David Sedaris is bringing all three to the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street, for an 8 p.m. performance on Saturday, May 4. It’s being presented by the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, which praises the humorist’s ability to break through “cultural euphemisms and political correctness.” Skip the talking heads on TV for a night and give Sedaris a chance to change your perspective on everything from current events to personal struggles. He’ll be reading some of his latest work, answering audience questions, and doing a book signing. Tickets range from $29 to $69. Visit scottsdaleperformingarts.org. Lynn Trimble
Literally the Worst Show EverThere’s been some upheaval in the downtown Phoenix comedy scene over the last few months. Anwar Newton recently moved This Week Sucks Tonight to Stand Up Live. Now, the local comedian is pulling the plug on Literally the Worst Show Ever, the live sketch comedy extravaganza featuring Newton, Dan Thomson, Michael Turner, and Jessie Johnson. This month features Eric Sobczak, Iesha Renee, Charles Engle, and Shapel Lacey. Will it end with a whimper or a bang? All we know is that it will close with a laugh.
Say your final goodbyes at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $20-$22. For more information, visit crescentphx.com. Jason Keil
Cinco de Mayo PhoenixThere are two paths you can take when it comes to celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the Valley. There’s the party-hearty route, which involves sucking down as much tacos and tequila as possible at some rowdy bar, possibly while making some regrettable life choices in the process. Or you could attend the far more subdued, but nonetheless lively, festivities offered at the Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival.
The yearly block party in downtown Phoenix — which takes place at 200 West Washington Street on Sunday, May 5 — features a wealth of traditional entertainment and activities, including folklorico dancing, arts and crafts, and even lucha libre wrestling. Renowned funk-rock act WAR and Latin R&B ensemble Tierra will headline a lineup of bands that are scheduled to perform and various food and drink vendors will be available.
The celebration runs from noon to 10 p.m. Tickets are $5 before 5 p.m., $10 thereafter, and free for kids 10 and under with a paid adult. Call 602-279-4669 or see cincophx.com. Benjamin Leatherman
Cinco on Central Block PartyTo celebrate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla, head to downtown Phoenix and get low with everyone’s favorite gold-toothed rapper Lil Jon. The crunk pioneer will be headlining the second annual Cinco on Central Block Party. There will be more than just shaking your booty to some of his funky flows. Sample great Mexican food, test your taste buds at the hot pepper-eating contest, or play some giant beer pong.
Put your hands up starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, at CityScape, 1 East Jefferson Street. Tickets are $25 to $100. For more information, visit blockpartyoncentral.com. Jason Keil
Sweet 6: Maya's Six-Year Anniversary Pool PartyLet’s face it, your favorite bar or club probably won’t be around forever. That’s especially true in Scottsdale, where some nightspots struggle to stay open for even a year, let alone three to five (the average lifespan of many establishments). So the fact that Maya Day & Nightclub, 7333 East Indian Plaza, has managed to survive the cutthroat Scottsdale scene for six years is an accomplishment worth celebrating.
Its staff will be doing just that on Sunday, May 5, during Sweet 6: Maya’s Six-Year Anniversary Pool Party, an afternoon-long fete filled with DJs, drinks, and dancing. Electro-funk duo Chromeo will perform a DJ set at the event, which also celebrates Cinco de Mayo. Doors open at noon. General admission is $10. Call 480-625-0528 or see mayaclubaz.com for more details. Benjamin Leatherman
Police Story Double FeatureIt’s pointless to explain the plot of Police Story and Police Story 2 because the story doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that Jackie Chan headlines both films. The 1985 Asian import and its 1988 sequel feature death-defying stunts performed and directed by the martial-arts star. This double feature, presented by a local film academic with a 4K restoration, has influenced practically everyone from Quentin Tarantino to Tom Cruise. Be sure to stay through the credits and check out the bloopers.
Get ready for your jaw to drop at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, at FilmBar, 1 East Jefferson Street. Tickets are $25-$100. For more information, visit thefilmbarphx.com. Jason Keil
E.L. JamesThe erotic “Fifty Shades” trilogy was a resounding success outside of its target audience of horny housewives thanks to its bawdy depiction of the relationship between a virginal reporter and a successful businessman. E.L. James’ new novel, The Mister, breaks free of that BDSM universe. If you would like to meet the mind behind these jaw-dropping bodice-rippers, Changing Hands in Tempe is hosting a meet and greet with the author.
Get tied up at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 6, at 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. Tickets are $18.32, which includes a copy of the book and your spot in the signing line. For more information, visit changinghands.com. Jason Keil
Arizona Photography AllianceNearly everyone is a photographer these days, thanks to cellphones that double as cameras it’s easy to use with just a moment’s notice. Still, it’s worth remembering that there are very deliberate, skilled photographers among us, who use more sophisticated tools to help train our eyes on things worth seeing. They’re easy to miss unless you slow down to look for them, which is one reason exploring thoughtful photography exhibits can be so empowering. Start by heading to Found:RE Phoenix, 1100 North Central Avenue, where you can see dozens of photographs taken by members of the Arizona Photography Alliance exhibited throughout the hotel lobby. The best time to go on Monday, May 5, is between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Visit foundrehotels.com. Lynn Trimble
The Office TriviaDid you miss out on a Scott’s Tots scholarship? Winning it all at The Office Trivia might be the next best thing. Test your knowledge of the cringe-inducing hit sitcom for a chance to win prizes. You can go it alone like Toby or form a team with up to six of your friends or co-workers. This event is BYOB (bring your own beets).
That’s what she said starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7, at Growler USA, 5415 East High Street, #101. This is a free event but make your reservations ahead of time. For more information, visit officegrp050719.eventbrite.com. Jason Keil
Bike NightMaybe you’ve never indulged your fantasy of owning a motorcycle and riding it off into the sunset. That’s all the more reason to surround yourself with motorcycles, and the people who love them, when you get the chance. Turns out, Tempe Marketplace, 2000 East Rio Salado Parkway, holds a free Bike Night twice each month, inviting bikers to line The District Street with their prized two-wheel companions. You can check it out from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8. It’s a chance to explore the ways bikes reflect their owners’ varied personalities and styles, and meet other people who share your passion for motorcycle culture. Visit tempemarketplace.com. Lynn Trimble
Fifty Shades Male RevueIt might be a school night, but head over to The Lola in Glendale and make some fantasies come true. The Fifty Shades Male Revue promises to bring the best-selling trilogy of novels to life. This two-hour show will have more six-packs than your average college soirée. What really sets this party apart is that the dancers on stage go out of their way to make the audience feel comfortable as they bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “hitting the books.”
The time to rock out is 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, at 5670 North Sunrise Boulevard, #109, in Glendale. Tickets are $25. For more information, visit fiftyshadesmalerevue.com. Jason Keil