Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Get ready to move at The Churchill in Roosevelt Row.
Get ready to move at The Churchill in Roosevelt Row. The Churchill
This isn't any ordinary week. By the end of it, we'll have said goodbye to 2021 and kicked off a brand-new year full of adventures. So finish the year strong and start 2022 off right with fun activities like theater performances, yoga sessions, and even a lightsaber class.

And if you're still looking for something to do on New Year's Eve, check out our guide to holiday parties. Cheers!

Backpacking 101 Class

A new year is upon us and you’re ready to develop some new habits, like spending more time with nature and getting in shape. Get pro tips on backpacking at Arizona Hiking Shack, 3244 East Thomas Road, when the store offers its next Backpacking 101 class from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 30. The class covers essentials like trip planning, budgeting, gear, meal planning, sleeping, safety, and more. Expect a mix of instruction, hands-on activities, demonstrations, and Q & A time. The class costs $20, and it’s limited to just 10 participants. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge This is where the burlesque is happening on New Year's Eve. - JENNIFER GOLDBERG
This is where the burlesque is happening on New Year's Eve.
Jennifer Goldberg

Burlesque Extravaganza

Ring in the New Year with the Corkscrew Cabaret, as they return to Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt Street, for a burlesque extravaganza they’re calling For Auld Lang Syne. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m. on Friday, December 31. Expect sultry performance and bubbly champagne, along with fire pots and other festive fare, plus the added bonus of neighborhood fireworks lighting up the night sky. Tickets are $15 in advance or $22 at the door, and there may still be a few $125 tickets for four-person tabletops. Take note: You need to be at least 21 to attend. Lynn Trimble

Painted Desert Fur Con

Furry fandom is much more than just bad jokes, half-truths, and half-baked portrayals seen in pop culture. (For instance, it has absolutely nothing to do with sex, fetishism, or deviancy, despite what TV shows like CSI and Entourage would lead you to believe.) Just ask anyone attending the latest Painted Desert Fur Con, which runs from Friday, December 31, to Sunday, January 2, at Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 340 North Third Street. The annual event is for dedicated followers of the geek subculture (which typically involves becoming costumed anthropomorphic animal characters) or those who might want to get into the pursuit. According to PDFC’s website, activities at the con will include panels, costuming events, workshops, Q&As, gaming and karaoke sessions, a dealer’s den and artist’s alley, dance competitions, and appearances by special guests. Event hours vary and admission starts at $70. More info is available here. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge See Leslie Odom Jr. perform with The Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall. - CITY OF PHOENIX
See Leslie Odom Jr. perform with The Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall.
City of Phoenix

Leslie Odom Jr. Performance

Some fortunate theater-goers got to see Leslie Odom Jr. originate the role of Aaron Burr in the hit musical Hamilton on Broadway. Maybe you missed his Tony Award-winning portrayal of Alexander Hamilton’s narcissistic nemesis, but you’d still love to see the talented actor and vocalist in all his on-stage splendor. You’ll have the chance this week, as he performs with The Phoenix Symphony for its New Year’s Eve Celebration, which happens at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 31. The concert takes place at Phoenix Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street. Tickets are $44 to $112. Lynn Trimble

Movement in the Courtyard

If you’ve been missing social and community time, but still want to play it safe by focusing on outdoor rather than indoor experiences, you can get some great social and fitness times in at The Churchill, 901 North First Street. A hub for small businesses and fun eats in Roosevelt Row, the venue also presents assorted activities with a community vibe, including movement in the courtyard sessions where you can unwind and counter all that time spent in couch potato mode. The next session, from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 1, features all-levels yoga flow with Ahimsa House. Admission is $10. Lynn Trimble

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl 2022

You really can’t blame fans of either Notre Dame or Oklahoma State University for being a little bitter right now. The teams from both schools had incredible seasons on the gridiron in 2021 (the Fighting Irish won 11 straight games while the Cowboys came within inches of winning the Big 12 championship) but narrowly missed out on berths to the College Football Playoff. A shot at redemption awaits each school at State Farm Stadium, 1 Cardinals Drive in Glendale, during the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, January 1. While might not be as esteemed as the national championship, it’s nothing to sniff at as far as consolation prizes go, considering the contest is one of college football’s prestigious “New Year's Six” bowl games. Expect a hard-fought affair as both Notre Dame (11-1) and Oklahoma (11-2) will both be motivated to win. Kickoff is at 11 a.m. Tickets start at $98. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Throwback to another event at Sutra Studios. - SUTRA STUDIOS
Throwback to another event at Sutra Studios.
Sutra Studios

New Moon Meditations

Looking for new tools to help you achieve your goals and dreams? Sutra Studios, 1029 North First Street, is presenting a New Moon Sacred Rituals session focused on inviting abundance and manifesting miracles, where you can develop rituals such as mindful meditation, body movement, and intentional awareness. Take a journal along if you decide to join the session taking place at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 2. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge An elegant weapon for a more civilized age. - MOTOHIDE MIWA/CC BY 2.0/FLICKR
An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.

Learn to Use Lightsabers

Star Wars fans have been playing with lightsabers since the famed laser swords first appeared on the silver screen in 1977, be it the plastic toy versions, screen-accurate replicas, or perfectly acceptable stand-ins like wrapping paper tubes or broomsticks. Some wield the intergalactic weapons better than others, though, such as the members of local Star Wars-themed theatrical combat group Phoenix Saber Academy. Just like Yoda, they’ve been instructing would-be Padawans in the art of lightsaber dueling for years at various workshops and geek events. On Sunday, January 2, they’ll hold an introductory training session from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Phoenix Society of Historical Swordsmanship, 7828 North 19th Avenue, #12. There’s a $10 fee to attend, but knowledge of the Force isn’t required. Benjamin Leatherman

Classic Film Time

The classic Orson Welles film Citizen Kane is coming to the big screen at Majestic Tempe 7, 1140 East Baseline Road, Tempe, just in time for all those New Year’s musings about the meaning of life, and a myriad of choices in the present and past. Everyone who recounts the life of Kane after his death has a unique perspective, making this a great choice if the winter holiday season has you thinking about your own values, priorities, and impact on the world around you. Check the theater website for the screening times and ticket pricing on Monday, January 3. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Look for work by Eric Sall (detail shown here) at Mountain Shadows' art gallery. - MOUNTAIN SHADOWS
Look for work by Eric Sall (detail shown here) at Mountain Shadows' art gallery.
Mountain Shadows

'Color Stories'

Sometimes you want to explore the local arts landscape in unconventional places, or during times when traditional gallery spaces may not be open. That’s when art exhibited in area hotels and resorts becomes particularly appealing. Typically, these spaces allow public viewing during day and evening hours. Here in metro Phoenix, your options include Mountain Shadows, 5445 East Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, where the art gallery comprising a wide interior walkway near the resort entrance is curated by artist CeCe Cole. Currently, the gallery is showing paintings by Eric Sall and textile-based sculpture by Rachel Hayes. The fellow artists and married couple bring different perspectives on line, form, and color to this exhibition titled “Color Stories,” which you can see any time on Tuesday, January 4. Admission is free. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Rosemarie Chandler as Grace Banker and Gabrielle Smith as Suzanne Prevot in The Hello Girls at Phoenix Theatre Company. - REG MADISON PHOTOGRAPHY
Rosemarie Chandler as Grace Banker and Gabrielle Smith as Suzanne Prevot in The Hello Girls at Phoenix Theatre Company.
Reg Madison Photography

The Hello Girls

Maybe you’ve seen some outrageous things on the Phoenix Theater Company stage during years past, from the bloodthirsty plant in Little Shop of Horrors to the puppet sex of Avenue Q. Now you can experience an entirely different vibe, with a production that honors women who played a central role in communications during World War I. The company is performing the regional premiere of The Hello Girls, based on a book by Elizabeth Cobbs, at its Hormel Theatre, 1825 North Central Avenue, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 5. Tickets are $44 to $121. Lynn Trimble
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