The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week: August 22-28 | Phoenix New Times

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Time to make plans.
Big smiles at the Blunt Club.
Big smiles at the Blunt Club. Benjamin Leatherman
Share this:
Your plans have arrived. This week, you can dance the night away at the QueerGirl Summer Party, find inspiration for your next tattoo during Hell City Tattoo Fest, or taste test some CBD-spiked snacks at Tasted Strains Summer of Love II. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

click to enlarge
Look for Dean Allen's Waterbug sculpture at SMoCA.
Lynn Trimble

‘Divergent Materiality’

Gazing at the glass scrim wall that surrounds a portion of Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, it’s hard to imagine the building once housed a movie theater. It’s evidence of the transformative power of glass, something you can experience with the museum’s “Divergent Materiality” exhibit as well. Head to SMoCA, 7374 East Second Street in Scottsdale, between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 22, to see a diverse array of glass works created by dozens of artists from Dale Chihuly to Charlotte Potter. The artists draw inspiration from nature, graffiti culture, social media, and more. Museum admission is free on Thursdays. The exhibit continues through October 13. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Jackie Kashian
Carmen Morales

Jackie Kashian

Dorks are awesome. Comedian Jackie Kashian has celebrated dork culture for 13 years with her podcast The Dork Forest, which features hours of “dork-on-dork dialog.” Highlights include Steve Agee on John Hughes movies, Rebecca Sugar on musicals, and Al Madrigal on Jack Reacher novels. Kashian has a knack for getting comedians and celebrities to open up about their passions, obsessions, and general “dorkdoms.” Geek out with Jaackie Kashian starting at 7 p.m. at Stir Crazy Comedy Club, 6751 North Sunset Boulevard, Suite E-206, in Glendale on Thursday, August 22. There will be additional performances through Saturday, August 24. Tickets for this 18-and-over event are $19. Melissa Fossum

click to enlarge
Flamenco with flair.
Rick Triana/Ript Media

Soy y Luna

If dance styles were beverages, flamenco would be the energy drink. It’s a stunning marriage of music and movement, as evidenced by musician Chris Jácome and choreographer Lena Jácome. Based here in the Valley, Jácome Flamenco have performed on national and international stages. But you can see them right here, at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue, Chandler. The creative couple’s Sol y Luna, featuring flamenco dancers performing to live music and song, is part of the center’s free summer concert series. Check it out at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 23. Doors open one hour before showtime, so arrive early to snag the best seat. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
So much ska.
Pick It Up!

Pick It Up! Ska in the ’90s

Ska was the unsung hero of the ’90s. Bands like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones made their way into the Top 40 and even had a cameo in Clueless. The genre is as underappreciated as Tai being her authentic self. Pick It Up! Ska in the ’90s celebrates the third wave of ska with bands like Reel Big Fish, Streetlight Manifesto, and Catch 22. The documentary focuses on the do-it-yourself nature of the genre and features interviews with all the aforementioned bands as well as Blink-182 and No Doubt. Get ready for some skanking, because the movie will be shown at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street on Friday, August 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Melissa Fossum

click to enlarge
Get ready for a good time.


Phoenix is a great spot for LGBTQ nightlife, but it’s a bit of a boy’s club. Those who are female-identifying are welcome in the hot spots that fall under the large, all-encompassing umbrella of “gay bar” in Phoenix, but it would be nice to have more spaces that are specifically tailored to them.

Fortunately, QueerGirl is changing that up by touring the nation and hosting high-energy events that are specifically tailored toward queer women. Javin, of Power 98.3 and Pitbull’s Globalization Radio on Sirius XM fame, is the DJ selected for the event. Dance the night away during the QueerGirl Summer Party. The fun goes from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m on Friday, August 23, at The Rock, 4129 North Seventh Avenue. This 21-and-over event is $15. Melissa Fossum

click to enlarge
Getting a great tattoo vibe from this art spotted at Lulubell Toy Bodega.
Lynn Trimble

Hell City Tattoo Fest

Odds are, you associate the Arizona Biltmore, 2400 East Missouri Avenue, with traditional afternoon tea or playing a game of giant chess on a lush green lawn. Turns out, it’s also home to tattoo culture, for those who attend the Hell City Tattoo Fest. The three-day event kicks off on Friday, August 23. A one-day pass for Friday costs $25. The festival lineup includes tattoo competitions, live music, burlesque, comedy, and more. Organizers expect hundreds of tattoo artists from around the world to descend on the event, which means you can finally drink that cup of tea without having to worry about extending your pinky while you sip. Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Rising FC Versus Sacramento Republic FC

A word to the wise: Don’t sleep on Phoenix Rising Football Club, the Valley’s United Soccer League team. The squad is currently in the home stretch of its biggest season ever and is sitting atop the USL’s western conference standings after riding a lengthy winning streak this year (13 games, to be exact, as of this writing).

The Rising has also attracted a substantial number of fans and followers who pack the stands at Casino Arizona Field, 751 North McClintock Drive in Scottsdale, during every home game. And they’re likely to be out in droves on Friday, August 23, when Phoenix Rising FC battle Sacramento Republic FC in what should be an action-packed game. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. and admission is $20 to $43. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge
Story time.
Gary Pratt

Storyline SLAM

Most kids will lament that they can’t wait to grow up at one point or another. Being a grownup has its perks, but ultimately, things get a lot more complicated once you reach adulthood. Whether you’re a responsible adult or one in age only, we all have to deal with growing pains. The Storyline SLAM will tackle the theme of adulting with 10 pre-selected storytellers telling short stories before a panel of judges.

The highest scoring storyteller wins a $30 prize. Listen up, The Storyline SLAM returns to The Newton, 300 West Camelback Road, on Friday, August 23, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $6 online and $8 at the door. Melissa Fossum

click to enlarge
Enter here for the Phoenix Center for the Arts open house.
Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Center for the Arts

You’ve probably passed by Phoenix Center for the Arts countless times on your way to festivals at Hance Park or First Fridays in Roosevelt Row. If you’ve never popped in to see what the center has to offer, stop by during the free open house happening from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 24. The center is located at 1202 North Third Street, and it’s easy to spot — thanks to a colorful mural that raises awareness about poverty. The center is offering free art and dance workshops for family members of all ages. Talk about rolling out the welcome mat. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Bet Vyndi Cosplay could kick some butt at Diablo III trivia.
Benjamin Leatherman

Video Game Game Show

Ever feel like your friends or family don’t fully appreciate your massive brain power when it comes to video games? It’s game on at Bookmans Entertainment Exchange Mesa, 1056 South Country Club Drive in Mesa, where geeks will rule during the Video Game Game Show happening from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 24. Teams of four will be competing, answering trivia questions with a hefty dose of audio and visual clues. The family-friendly event includes three rounds, and each round likely will last 20 to 40 minutes. You don’t know what you don’t know, so this is a fun way to up your video game IQ while meeting fellow game connoisseurs. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Cheers to The Blunt Club.
Benjamin Leatherman

The Blunt Club’s 17-Year Anniversary

Hip-Hop has exploded in popularity over the last few years, and its influence is everywhere, from Kendrick Lamar winning the Pulitzer Prize to Beyoncé and Donald Glover starring in The Lion King reboot (well, their voices, but you get our point). The rest of the world may (finally) be catching on to hip-hop’s awesomeness, but it’s nothing new for the Valley’s longest running hip-hop night, The Blunt Club.

Get into the groove during The Blunt Club’s 17-Year Anniversary at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, on Saturday, August 24, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. This free 21-and-over event includes a live performance by The Stakes and resident DJs Pickster One, M2, Tricky T, Fact135, and Melo. Melissa Fossum

click to enlarge
Beer me.
The Van Buren

The Van Beer’n Indoor Beer Festival

The heat and craft beer are woven into Arizona’s cultural history like a delicious hoppy refreshment. Thankfully, The Van Beer’n Indoor Beer Festival removes the heat from the equation with a two-day celebration that features more than 30 breweries, including Modern Times Beer, Odell Brewing Company, Deschutes Brewery, and Elysian Brewing Company. Saturday features live music from Oh Allen The DJ and Kim E. Fresh, with Dr. Delicious and Hi-Dreams Collective rounding out the Sunday lineup.

Summertime favorites will be grilled up during the patio barbecue. Drink up at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, on Saturday, August 24, from 7 p.m. to midnight, and Sunday, August 25, from noon to 5 p.m. Admission to this 21-and-over event is free, and tasting tickets start at $12. Melissa Fossum

click to enlarge
Are you a Ballet Arizona fan?
Rosalie O'Connor

Ballet Arizona Fan Fest

If you think ballet is all about tutus and floating across the stage, you’re not spending enough time at Ballet Arizona performances blending artistry with athleticism. Get to know your local ballet company by attending the free Ballet Arizona Fan Fest, taking place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 25. It’s happening at 2836 East Washington Street, where you can meet the dancers, take mini dance classes, try a freeze-dance competition, tour the facility, and check out the selfie station. If all that dance makes you hungry, hit a selection of local food trucks. Register in advance if you want to get a better place in line. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Before pancakes, snap a selfie with Geremy Cites' mural.
Lynn Trimble

Joseph and Stacy’s Third Annual Pancake Breakfast

Admit it. Eating stacks of pancakes is one of your superpowers, right? You’ll fit right in at Stacy’s at Melrose, 4343 North Seventh Avenue. That’s where Joseph and Stacy’s Third Annual Pancake Breakfast takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, August 25. For $25, you get all-you-can-eat pancakes and sausage, plus BoSa donuts and other treats.

Bring money for the Bloody Mary bar and the auction. Proceeds benefit the Phoenix Pride Fund, which makes grants to various nonprofits focused on LGBTQ community members. You have to be at least 21 to attend, and buy your tickets online in advance. Lynn Trimble

The Blues Brothers Lagunitas Beer Dinner

They have a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, and they’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it, because the legendary duo of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd are on a mission from God to save their boarding school in The Blues Brothers. In this iconic flick, the duo are fresh out of prison and get their band back together to pay the school’s $5,000 back property taxes. The Blues Brothers Lagunitas Beer Dinner features unique menu items such as “The Soup is Fucking Ten Dollars,” “Fried Chicken & Rubber Biscuit,” and “Orange Whip? Orange Whip? Orange Whip?” Take a ride in the Bluesmobile at Alamo Drafthouse at 1140 East Baseline Road in Tempe on Sunday, August 25, at 3 p.m. Melissa Fossum

Film buffs can find fun offerings at local libraries.
Lynn Trimble

Spare Parts

What can robotics teach kids about life? Find out, when Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 North Drinkwater Boulevard in Scottsdale, screens the film Spare Parts, which follows the adventures of four Hispanic high school students in Arizona. George Lopez plays the school’s newest teacher, who heads the newly formed robotics team that takes on the formidable robotics championship team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Other cast members include Marisa Tomei and Jamie Lee Curtis.

The PG-13 film, which explores lessons learned in technology and friendship, is based on a true story. Turns out, the kids accomplished quite a lot with just $800 and a bunch of used car parts. The free screening happens from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, August 26. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Iván Argote, Suck my time, amor mio. Acrylic on canvas. 110 x 82.5 x 6 inches.
Iván Argote

Iván Argote

Paris-based Iván Argote, an artist who hails from Colombia, often incorporates texts that reflect what he terms “radical tenderness.” Now, he has a new exhibition at ASU Art Museum, 51 East 10th Street in Tempe, where he’ll also be showing a sculptural installation that “considers the current cultural climate in Arizona.” His first solo museum exhibit in the U.S., the show will also include films, videos, additional sculptures, and site-based installations meant to engage viewers on both the personal and political level. See the exhibit between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 27. Museum admission is free. Lynn Trimble

Tasted Strains Summer of Love II

The Summer of Love was a great time for music, protest, and experiments with some mind-altering substances. Today, hemp-based CBD is found just about everywhere, from dispensaries to grocery stores. When you think of CBD and food, pot brownies and space cakes inevitably come to mind.

Local chef Payton Curry happens to be known for his award-winning marijuana edibles in addition to his culinary prowess. Curry takes the best of both worlds by creating an innovative menu in the burgeoning culinary cannabis world. Experience a botanical food extravaganza for the Tasted Strains Summer of Love II tasting at Wasted Grain, 7295 East Stetson Drive in Scottsdale, on Tuesday, August 27, from 5 to 11 p.m. GA tickets are $40 and VIP tickets are $70. Melissa Fossum


Think the world’s love affair with Keanu Reeves is a new thing? Guess again, hot shot. Back in the early ’90s, folks were going cuckoo for Keanu at the box office as the actor battled surfer-bro bank robbers, fascists from the future, and even Count Dracula.

The peak of Keanu’s early career, however, came in 1994 when he played L.A.P.D. cop Jack Traven in the summer blockbuster Speed. The action flick, which grossed $350 million, involves the actor matching wits with a scenery-chewing Dennis Hopper to prevent a city bus from going kablooey if it drops below 50 mph.

Relive the high-octane thrills at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 28, at the Alamo Drafthouse, 1140 East Baseline Road in Tempe, during a special 35mm screening of Speed in honor of its 25th birthday. (A second showing happens at 7 p.m. on August 29.) Tickets are $11.25. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge
Checking out the kinky boots.
Reg Madison Photography

Kinky Boots

Despite their significant differences, the two lead characters in the musical Kinky Boots have one key thing in common: They’ve both got daddy issues. And they’re feeling the weight of trying to go one’s own way amid the push and pull of other people’s expectations. One’s a shoe salesman, and the other a drag performer. See how they find friendship and self-empowerment on the assembly line that cranks out shiny red thigh-high, lace-up boots, when Phoenix Theatre Company, 1825 North Central Avenue, performs the musical at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 28. The show continues through October 13, and ticket prices start at $32. Lynn Trimble
Can you help us continue to share our stories? Since the beginning, Phoenix New Times has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix — and we'd like to keep it that way. Our members allow us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls.