Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Get ready for round two.
Get ready for round two. Benjamin Leatherman
It's time to make some plans. This week, you can dance to your favorite songs at Cover the Crescent, geek out at Game On Expo 2019, or enjoy the best meal of the day over and over during Downtown Tempe Brunch Crawl. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Let it grow.
Ofelia Montelongo


The GrowPHX collaborative is taking a creative approach to inspiring the public to grow food while enhancing the environment and connecting with their neighbors. They’re holding a happy hour at Duck & Decanter, 1651 East Camelback Road, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 8. It’s a free event designed to answer questions about urban farming and environment-friendly landscaping. Arrive by 5:30 p.m. to see a demonstration called Hot Months Now & Planning Ahead. It’s mix-and-mingle time before and after, with a raffle taking place at 6 p.m. Feel free to raise the big questions while you’re there, such as how community members can work together to tackle food insecurity. Lynn Trimble

Cover the Crescent

You’ve heard the song “Hallelujah” covered on American Idol a million times. Now, it’s time for the best musicians in the Valley to take a crack at it. The next edition of Crescent Ballroom’s Cover the Crescent series features the music of Leonard Cohen. The Sunpunchers, Nanami Ozone, Megyn Neff, and Tyler Matock will take on the dusky-voiced poet’s catalog. Proceeds from the event will benefit SOUNDS Academy, a nonprofit that provides musical training for under-served youth.

Dance until the end of love at 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 8, at 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $10 to $15. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Space exploration nostalgia. - COURTESY OF NASA
Space exploration nostalgia.
Courtesy of NASA

Spacefest X

Nostalgia for NASA and space exploration is at an all-time high, especially after last month’s anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic moon landing. So it seems like the perfect time for an event like Spacefest X.

The four-day intergalactic extravaganza running from Thursday, August 8, to Sunday, August 11, at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, 3800 West Starr Pass Boulevard in Tucson, features all manner of space-related subject matter, ranging from astronomy to exploration.

Two dozen astronauts will appear, including Apollo 11’s Michael Collins and Apollo 13’s Fred Haise. Various scientists, authors, historians, and NASA personnel will also be there, and there will be autograph sessions, Q&As, and panels.

“All kind of people lecture at the event: astronauts, mission controllers, science fiction writers, and JPL scientists,” says Haise. “If you’re a space fan, there’s no other event like it.”

Tickets are $10 to $30 per day, $60 for the full event, and free for kids under 12. Certain events, panels, and activities cost extra. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Look for Jesse Perry's mural just off Main Street. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Look for Jesse Perry's mural just off Main Street.
Lynn Trimble

2nd Friday

Sometimes, you just need a chance to wind down after a hectic work week. Head to Mesa if you want to check out the free 2nd Friday event, which has a summer block party theme this month. It’s happening on Main Street between Center and Robson, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, August 9. The lineup includes dozens of creatives showing and selling their artisan goods, an assortment of food trucks, and live music. Bring a lawn chair or blanket if you want to watch a 7:30 p.m. screening of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part at the Sliver Lot at 219 West Main Street. Trivia buffs can hit the 8 p.m. trivia contest at 101 West Main Street. You’ll find several murals and public art works in the area, too. Lynn Trimble

Mary Lynn Rajskub

Mary Lynn Rajskub is best known as Chloe on the television series 24. Despite the drama’s cancellation, the Detroit-born comedian still has to remind audiences that she isn’t a computer genius in real life. She has been a staple of the alternative comedy scene for over two decades, which includes appearances on The Larry Sanders Show and the legendary sketch comedy program Mr. Show. The actress steps behind the mic this weekend in Phoenix.

The laughs begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, August 9, and 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 10, at CB Live, 21001 North Tatum Boulevard. Tickets are $22. Jason Keil

click to enlarge The family that games together stays together. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
The family that games together stays together.
Benjamin Leatherman

Game On Expo 2019

For some, video games aren’t just a hobby, they’re an obsession or even a lucrative profession. Just ask the Fortnite fanatics, Overwatch addicts, and e-sports pros who will be legion inside the Phoenix Convention Center’s South Building, 33 South Third Street, during Game On Expo 2019.

They won’t be the only ones in attendance at the annual video game con, which runs from Friday, August 9, to Sunday, August 11. Gamers of every age and skill level, from casuals to hardcore joystick jockeys, will visit the expo for access to a free-play arcade, retro and modern consoles, PC gaming areas, and indie and homebrew titles. There will also be special guests, e-sports competitions, tabletop and card-based games, vendors, and cosplay contests.

Event hours vary. Daily admission is $20 to $30, three-day passes are $45, and kids ages 3 to 12 are $10. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Looks like a cozy spot for a drawing class. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Looks like a cozy spot for a drawing class.
Lynn Trimble

Sebastien Millon

While others debate the balance of luck and talent in building a thriving arts career, Sebastien Millon is busy sharing his drawing skills with fellow community members. He’s one of several artists who teach classes at Practical Art, 5070 North Central Avenue, which offers this delightfully simple description of his work: He draws a lot of animals doing silly things. His simple drawings exude humor and whimsy, but many also capture the impulses humans sometimes try to hide. Odds are you’ll get a wicked smile when you see his work. And that’s a good thing. Meet the artist and get some drawing tips during his next class at Practical Art, happening from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 10. The class costs $25 and all supplies are provided. Lynn Trimble

World Hip Hop Dance Championship

Last year, two teams from the Valley made it into the top 10 of the World Hip Hop Dance Championship. Will history repeat? The only way to know is to see for yourself. You can witness over 50 of the best dance crews from India to New Zealand take the stage. They have sacrificed their time, talent, and money to pop, lock, and whack their way to Glendale in pursuit of a win.

Break it down at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 10, at Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue in Glendale. Tickets are $25 to $125. Jason Keil

Europa Expo

If you’re looking for a like-minded individual to talk CrossFit with, make plans to stop by the Europa Expo. You can see who has the strength to lift their way to winning the Desert Cup. There will also be power-lifting, strongman, and Air Force Special Ops competitions throughout the day. If you’re looking for a supplement to help build your strength, there will be plenty of vendors to help you find the right one for you.

Bulk up from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 10, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 11, at Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street. Tickets are $25 to $40 for adults. Jason Keil

Downtown Tempe Brunch Crawl

The Downtown Tempe Brunch Crawl is the best way to celebrate the most important meal of the weekend. Grab a mimosa or three and stride through 14 restaurants offering exclusive menus for participants, including Fruity Pebble French toast bites at Americana Burgers and Beer or a small plate of eggs Benedict Florentine at Rula Bula.

Dine and dash from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 10. The check-in tent will be at Fifth Avenue and Mill Avenue in Tempe. Tickets are $5, which includes free parking and sunglasses. Food and drink options are $7 at each participating business. Jason Keil

‘An Orchestral Interpretation of Dr. Dre 2001

Dr. Dre cemented his relevance in the hip-hop genre when his album 2001 dropped in 1999. With hits like “The Next Episode” and “Forgot About Dre,” the catchy and profane record, filled with brilliant guest appearances from Eminem and Snoop Dogg, proved that the producer would be a force to be reckoned with in the new millennium. No Strings Attached has adapted the record to a classical setting with “An Orchestral Interpretation of Dr. Dre 2001.” You’ll never hear rap the same way again, but event organizers want to make it clear that the artist will not be in attendance.

Blaze it up starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 11, at The Pressroom, 441 West Madison Street. Tickets are $20. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge It's all about the dirt. - AMY CARLILE
It's all about the dirt.
Amy Carlile

Soil Prep: What You Need to Know Before Planting a Garden

Soil. Water. Sun. They’re all important factors when preparing and caring for your garden. But not everyone’s a master gardener, so we all need a little help sometimes in getting it right. Local gardening expert Gregory Ware is teaching a class called Soil Prep: Everything You Need to Know Before You Plant a Garden at Southwest Gardener, where you’ll learn important strategies for preparing your fall and winter garden, including how to incorporate organic materials such as compost or manure. The class happens at 300 West Camelback Road from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 11. It costs $40, and you’ll go home with enough organic fertilizer and soil sulfur to cover a 100-square-foot garden. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge A rare moment of calm in the dance world. - KIMSTIM
A rare moment of calm in the dance world.


Spend about five minutes in a flamenco dance class and you’ll begin to understand the complexities of making this art form come to life. Rocío Molina has mastered it. She’s blended flamenco with other performative elements, from modern dance to paint. See how Molina combines traditional techniques with theatrical twists when No Flamenco Por La Vida and No Festival Required present Impulso, a film that explores the artist’s creative journey. Tickets to the 8 p.m. screening on Sunday, August 11, are $12 ($10 in advance). It’s happening at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. You need to be at least 21 to attend. Stay after for a free discussion about the modern/contemporary flamenco movement, facilitated by Erica Acevedo-Ontiveros. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Library meets film screening. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Library meets film screening.
Lynn Trimble

Dear White People

As Trump continues his racist tirades, it’s the perfect time to revisit the 2014 film called Dear White People, which was written and directed by Justin Simien. The film imagines four African-American students navigating issues of identity and race within the context of an elite college where success is often defined by conformity and material wealth. It’s being screened at Civic Center Library, 3839 North Drinkwater Boulevard, Scottsdale. Head to the auditorium to catch the free screening from 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, August 12. Take note if you’re bringing young family members: The film includes strong language, sexual content, and drug use. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge See Danica Marlin's sculpture at Harry Wood Gallery. - LYNN TRIMBLE
See Danica Marlin's sculpture at Harry Wood Gallery.
Lynn Trimble

MFA Summer Juried Exhibition

During the academic year, you can explore works by emerging artists at ASU galleries. When summer rolls around, ASU School of Art presents its annual exhibition of art by graduate art students, which is a great opportunity to see works by artists you might not have encountered along the beaten path. Artworks featured in this year’s MFA Summer Juried Exhibition were selected by Tiffany Fairall, chief curator for Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. Participating artists include Ryan Eckert, Carlos Garcia, Thomas Knight, Laura E. Korch, Danica Marlin, Roy Wasson Valle, and others. See their art ranging from paintings to sculpture between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, August 12, at Harry Wood Gallery, inside the ASU School of Art building at 900 South Forest Mall in Tempe. The exhibit is free, and continues through August 30. Lynn Trimble

Checking out a collaborative mural at ALAC. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Checking out a collaborative mural at ALAC.
Lynn Trimble

Latino Cultural Center

If you want to have a say in city efforts to create a new Latino Cultural Center, now is the time to get involved. A city subcommittee that’s exploring possible locations will hold its next public meeting at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 13. It’s happening at the Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center, 147 East Adams Street, which is home to one of the Valley’s many organizations focused on Latino arts and culture. The meeting may include renderings for possible designs at various sites, although city officials say that’s subject to change. Keep track of meeting details by watching the webpage for the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture. Lynn Trimble

Jump Start Your Fall Garden

Just because it’s August doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing your garden for the fall. Savvy and knowledgeable gardeners have perfected the art of growing vegetables and other plants in our arid desert landscape. Jump Start Your Fall Garden will help you learn how to get your green thumb off on the right foot. Greg Peterson, a frequent speaker and founder of the Urban Farm, will share with you simple steps to make your garden a sustainable supply of wholesome food.

Plant the seed from at 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 13, at Changing Hands Tempe, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. This is a free event. Jason Keil

Arizona Storytellers: Adulting

Congratulations on completing those everyday monotonous tasks like cooking your own dinner or getting the oil changed. To celebrate, head over to Arizona Storytellers: Adulting to hear funny and touching tales of people like you who take pride in accomplishing the mundane. Their stories will be anything but routine. Megan Finnerty will host an evening of true stories about being a responsible human told by Weldon Johnson, Diana Dinshaw, Sandy Oglesby, Mackenzie Saunders, and Kathy Nakagawa.

The stories begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 13, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $8 to $12. Jason Keil

Blade Runner

When the world received the news of Rutger Hauer’s passing, critics cited his role as Roy Batty, the android antagonist who Harrison Ford hunts through Ridley Scott’s visually-stunning masterpiece Blade Runner, as a career highlight. The Dutch actor famously rewrote his character’s final monologue. Fans of the cult film can see the moment the way it was meant to be seen: on the big screen. Scott’s “final cut” will be shown.

The show begins at 2 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 14, at Super Saver Cinemas 8, 2710 West Bell Road. Tickets are $6. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Every photo tells a story. - KIDS IN FOCUS
Every photo tells a story.
Kids in Focus

Kids in Focus

If you want to watch a child erupt with joy, give her a camera, a musical instrument, or a bit of unfettered time with nature. Kids in Focus, a nonprofit that uses photography to help at-risk kids develop a strong sense of self, knows the power of taking pictures and mentoring to help youth experiencing homelessness, poverty, trauma, or neglect. See how they make it happen, when Kids in Focus presents an exhibit at Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central Avenue. It includes photographs by 30 youth ages 10 to 14, who worked with 15 mentors to create a compelling collection of images. See the free exhibit on the second floor between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday, August 14. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Don't get grossed out — nature is beautiful. - PHOENIX NEW TIMES
Don't get grossed out — nature is beautiful.
Phoenix New Times

Entomology Class

Please don’t get grossed out. There is beauty to be found in insects of all varieties. If you’re interested in putting some exquisite specimens on display, then head over to the local emporium Curious Nature for their Entomology Class. Participants will learn how to prepare, hydrate, spread, and mount butterflies and beetles to show and study.

Spread your wings from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 14, at 5032 North Central Avenue. The class is open to those 16 years old and up. The cost is $100 per person, which includes materials, tools, and extra specimens for practice. Jason Keil
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble