The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week: December 19-25 | Phoenix New Times

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Fun week ahead.
Put a cabaret twist on your holiday fun.
Put a cabaret twist on your holiday fun. Cleodora Productions
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Are you looking to spice up your week? Look no further. This week, you can enjoy Ballet Arizona’s rendition of The Nutcracker, take a break from holiday shopping and surround yourself with art installations at Wonderspaces, or spend some time with nature during the Christmas Day Fitness Hike. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

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Phoenix knows how to do television.
Luster Kaboom

Phoenix Television

Phoenix has a rich history of great local television — and not just Wallace and Ladmo or the, um, hilarity, that is Kari Lake. Authors Lisa Honebrink and Dr. John E. Craft have written the definitive history of the Valley’s broadcast lineage in their book Phoenix Television and presenting their work to the public. Their talk is like a great history lesson spanning the last 50-plus years, from the first TV shows in Phoenix to some of the latter-day small-screen stars.

The event is free and begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 19, at the Rosson House, 113 North Sixth Street. Books will be for sale, and everything benefits the scholarship fund of the Arizona House of Broadcasting, Inc. Chris Coplan

Ballet Arizona performs The Nutcracker.
Rosalie O'Connor

The Nutcracker

Dancing bonbons, angels, and toy soldiers are taking to the stage at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street, as Ballet Arizona performs The Nutcracker. It’s the tale of a young girl named Clara whose dreams take her to magical places. See Ib Andersen’s take on the classic ballet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 19.

The cast that evening includes Rochelle Anvik, who originated the title role in Andersen’s The Firebird last season. The production also features The Phoenix Symphony performing Tchaikovsky’s famous score. Available tickets for this performance start at $39; performances continue through December 24. Lynn Trimble

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Calling all volunteers!

Green Team Volunteering

White tents will dot the urban landscape on Thursday, December 19, as Phoestivus returns to the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market, 721 North Central Avenue. But it’s all about going green, as event organizers work to promote recycling and composting during the festive holiday market with Green Team Volunteering, and they’re looking for people like you to help.

The first volunteer shift runs from 4 to 7:30 p.m. The second shift runs from 7 to 10: 30 p.m. If working on the zero-waste team isn’t your thing, you can sign up to help in other ways. We’re told some unique volunteer gifts are in the works this year, but the biggest reward is getting to know more people in your community. Lynn Trimble

Daniel 'Miracle Man' Jacobs and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Talking Stick Resort Arena has been the site of many big showdowns over its 27-year lifespan. This weekend, it will host its latest showdown when pro boxers Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. square off on Friday, December 20.

Jacobs (whose record is 35-3 with 29 knockouts) will do battle with the popular Chavez (51-3-1 with 33 knockouts) in a clash of super-middleweight competitors. Fighting at Talking Stick Resort Arena, located at 201 East Jefferson Street, will also carry a certain significance for Chavez, as his pops, the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez, held his retirement bout at the same venue in 2005.

Several other fights will be on the card, which starts at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $200. Benjamin Leatherman

Snow Blast

Maybe you’re ribbing your Midwestern friends right about now, reveling in the sunshine as they’re digging out from the latest snowfall. But you’re a little bit jealous, right? Try getting a snow fix during Snow Blast happening from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 14. The free community event takes place at Reach 11 Sports Complex, 2425 East Deer Valley Road.

Look for snow slides and a children’s snow play area, plus a craft zone and plenty of food vendors. Or spend some time decorating cookies, getting a fun holiday look with face painting, or having your picture taken with Santa Claus. It’s a great excuse for hauling out the boots and mittens. Lynn Trimble

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They know all of Santa's secrets.
Reg Madison Photography

Truth About Santa: An Apocalyptic Tale

Santa has a few secrets, and he’s grown weary of living a lie. That’s the premise for a play called The Truth About Santa: An Apocalyptic Tale. It’s being performed by Blk Box Phoenix, an artist collective founded in 2018. They’ll be exploring Santa’s naughty side, including his plans to bring his mistress and their two children back to the North Pole.

Louis Farber, the associate artistic director for Stray Cat Theatre, is directing the play. So you know a good time will be had by all. Except, perhaps, Mrs. Claus. It’s recommended for ages 14 and up due to “adult language and situations.” Don’t bring the kiddies who still believe in Santa. The performance on Friday, December 20, starts at 8 p.m. It’s being performed at Phoenix Theatre Company, 1825 North Central Avenue. Tickets start at $31. Lynn Trimble

Tease: Holiday Edition

While others are spicing up their drinks this holiday season, you can spice up your life at Alwun House, 1204 East Roosevelt Street. That’s where a performance called Tease: Holiday Edition is happening from 7: 30 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 21. Expect an evening of sultry entertainment featuring burlesque dancers, aerobic performance, and adult-themed comedy.

The cabaret-style show typically sells out, so get your tickets now if you’re interested. There’s nothing sexy about procrastination. Tickets are $25, which gets you a fabulous evening of onstage naughty and nice. Never fear, you can buy seasonal drinks at the cash bar if you need some extra holiday cheer. Lynn Trimble

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The Gorilla is still the best mascot in basketball.
Jim Louvau

Phoenix Suns

If you paid attention to any headlines, the Houston Rockets reportedly “buried” the Phoenix Suns during their December 7 game at the Toyota Center. But is 115 to 109 really that severe of a loss? Perhaps not. Especially given how close the first three quarters proved, with ample ties and lead changes. If anything, you could argue that the Suns might have snatched the victory had James Harden not had such a massive fourth quarter. Damn Harden and his truly exquisite beard.

The Suns will get their shot at redemption when they host the Rockets at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 21, at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Chris Coplan

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Pausing from live painting.
Mesa Arts Center

Sticker Shogun

Fans of sticker art will converge on Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street in Mesa, for a Sticker Shogun happening from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 21. The free event features stickers designed by local creatives, plus live painting by several of the Valley’s best-loved street artists, including Lalo Cota and Such Styles. Look for six sticker stations, live screen-printing, and more activities with an arts and culture twist. The evening also includes live music, a photo area with a street art theme, and a community sticker and mural space. Everyone is welcome, but some stickers may have adult imagery or content. Lynn Trimble

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Checking out a POC Jam Session.
Carrie Behrens

POC Jam Session

Every third Saturday of the month The Torch Theatre, 4721 North Central Avenue, puts together a POC Jam Session that gives local creatives and community members of color a chance to take to the stage and share their myriad of talents with local audiences. The next jam session happens from 7 to 7: 55 p.m. on Saturday, December 21. Show up by 6:45 p.m. if you’re a person of color, and you want to throw your name into the hat. Organizers will draw names and put improv teams together before the show gets underway. Everyone is welcome to attend and watch the improv action unfold. The event is free. Lynn Trimble

Luminaria Bicycle Tour

Whereas parts of the country must suffer near-arctic temperatures during communal holiday celebrations, Phoenicians have a more leisurely experience. Case in point: the annual Luminaria Bicycle Tour, in which the collective Valley spits in the face of winter with a bike ride around the beautiful Willo Historic District to enjoy the luminarias. Because winter should be enjoyed at 10 mph — and possibly in flip-flops.

Guests will meet at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 22, at Encanto Park Amp Island, 2605 North 15th Avenue. Following hot cocoa and snacks, the ride commences at 6:30 p.m. Chris Coplan

Slay Ride Drag Show

They say when it rains it pours, and that holds especially true for drag-centric holidays shows around the Valley. The Womack is no exception. Their Slay Ride Drag Show is stacking up to be especially promising. Kim Etiquette will host an evening of fantastic and festive performances, including Nikki Knowles, Gizele Milan, and Expressa Grande. You can enhance your good time by imbibing Naughty or Nice Shots and various Christmas cocktails. Santa wishes he could beat this good time.

The show begins at 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 22, at The Womack, 5749 North Seventh Street. There’s a $5 cover fee, so put aside some of your holiday spending cash. Chris Coplan

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Checking out Killing Time by Mesplé.
Lynn Trimble


Thirteen is your lucky number if you’re tired of trekking around the mall in search of holiday gifts. You can take a break from shopping inside Wonderspaces, an arts venue situated just off the food court at Scottsdale Fashion Square, 7014 East Camelback Road. They’ve got a show called “Elsewhere,” which includes 13 art installations.

Where else can you listen to a sewing machine orchestra, read other people’s confessions, or surround yourself in shifting colors of light? Wonderspaces is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, December 24. Choose your ticket time online before you go. Tickets are $24. But your selfies will be priceless. Lynn Trimble

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Crossing the Gateway Bridge.
Lynne Russell

Christmas Day Fitness Hike

Whether you’re into fitness or just love spending time with nature, you’ll have a great time on the Gateway Trailhead for McDowell Mountain Conservancy, 18333 North Thompson Peak Parkway. The Christmas Day Fitness Hike happens Wednesday, December 25, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. It’s a moderate 4.5-mile hike with a 700-foot elevation gain.

Arrive by 8:45 a.m. with snacks and drinks, but leave your pets at home. Sturdy shoes are a must, but a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen will also come in handy. The hike is a fun alternative to walking solo or hitting the gym, and it just might set you on the path to building healthier habits for the new year. Lynn Trimble

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We hear tamales calling your name.
Megan Leetz

Christmas Tamales!

Everybody has their own family traditions around the winter holidays. For some, it’s creating and eating tamales. The process of making tamales takes time and plenty of TLC. Whether you’ve tried to make them or still working on your technique, you can enjoy sharing tamales with fellow community members at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 25.

That’s when Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, is holding its free Christmas Tamales! event in the Lounge. They’ll have both veggie and non-veggie options, served with lots of community spirit. Of course, you can buy drinks while you’re there if you want to up the festive factor. Lynn Trimble

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Scene from Old Jews Telling Jokes.
Jeremy Quinn

Old Jews Telling Jokes

Inspired by Jewish comedians from Buddy Hackett to Alan King, Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent created a humorous revue called Old Jews Telling Jokes. The show features five actors paying tribute to classic and contemporary jokes, sometimes adding a new spin to an old favorite.

Organizers note that the show gets bawdy at times, so it’s not intended for audience members under age 21. Check it out on Wednesday, December 25. It’ll be curtains up at 7 p.m. at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Arrive a bit early if you want to enjoy a downtown stroll before you head into the theater. Lynn Trimble
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