Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Have yourself a crafty little Christmas.
Have yourself a crafty little Christmas. Jim Louvau

Need plans this week? We've got you covered. You can have a literary discussion at Get Lit, sample local wines at Grapes on the Grotto, or test your luck at White Elephant Bingo. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Get Lit
Can poetry give power to the powerless and start a revolution? This is just one question whose answer will be explored at this month’s edition of Get Lit, a conversation on writing held the first Thursday of every month inside the Rose Room at Valley Bar. December’s topic is “Inquiry, Agency, and the Poetics of Resistance.” Rosemarie Dombrowski, Phoenix’s Poet Laureate, will lead the discussion on the power of verse against racial profiling, xenophobia, and violence and how the form can bring people together.

Join the resistance beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 6, at 130 North Central Avenue. This is a free event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Rage for Charity
Inappropriate Holiday Card Making
Show your friends and loved ones how you really feel with homemade greetings created at the Inappropriate Holiday Card Making event. You can show your boss that you care enough to send the very best — or tell him where he can stick that fruitcake he got you.

Tap into your snide side from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 6, at Linger Longer Lounge, 6522 North 16th Street. A $5 donation gets you a drink and four cards. A $25 donation gets all the cards you can make in 90 minutes and an adult beverage. Proceeds go to Rage for Charity, an organization that helps millennials make positive changes in their community. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Arizona Coyotes
Moscow native and pretty-boy superstar Alex Ovechkin will lead the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals into Arizona as they visit the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, December 6. The Caps entered December leading their division despite injuries and suspension and Ovechkin was among the NHL scoring leaders. Meanwhile, the ’Yotes, as usual, have been sinking toward the bottom of the standings after a hot start but are hoping newly acquired center Nick Schmaltz will goose their struggling offense. The puck drops at 7 p.m. at Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue in Glendale. Tickets start at $23. For more info, visit Stuart Warner

click to enlarge Who says shopping isn't fun? - JIM LOUVAU
Who says shopping isn't fun?
Jim Louvau
One of the Valley’s best-loved holiday traditions returns to the Medlock Plaza parking lot, 10 West Camelback Road, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, December 7. It’s the Crafeteria shopping extravaganza presented by Frances, a boutique that specializes in vintage fare. Hit the shindig with your holiday shopping list in hand, because you’ll have works by dozens of local artisans to choose from, and it’s a great way to start checking all those names off your list while splurging on a few fun finds for your own home or closet. The free event also includes live music, and food trucks will be on hand for those who want to buy a bite to eat. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Marlon Wayans - ICM PARTNER
Marlon Wayans
ICM Partner
Marlon Wayans
Marlon Wayans recently confirmed that plans are underway for a sequel to the 2004 movie White Chicks. Despite your feelings on that film, the comedian can safely consider himself a comedy pioneer, having starred with his brothers in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and seemingly every parody flick ever made since the year 2000. Wayans’ 2018 Netflix stand up special Woke-Ish is getting better reviews than his recent film work, so it might be time to take a second look at his career.

The laughs begin at 7:30 and 10 p.m. on Friday, December 7, at StandUp Live, 50 West Jefferson Street, with additional shows on Saturday, December 8. Admission is $35 with a two-drink minimum, and VIP tickets start at $45. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge Phoenix Festival of the Arts flashback. - PHOENIX CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Phoenix Festival of the Arts flashback.
Phoenix Center for the Arts
Phoenix Festival of the Arts
Show your heart for art at this year’s Phoenix Festival of the Arts, a free three-day affair presented by Phoenix Center for the Arts, which kicks off Friday, December 7, from noon to 5 p.m. at Hance Park, 1242 Central Avenue. It’s a chance to enjoy live entertainment on three stages while you shop for holidays gifts created by well over 100 local artisans who make everything from candles to fashion accessories. Friday’s on-stage lineup includes several musical performances, plus wildlife and guitar-building presentations. Leave extra time for exploring the family zone, watching artists live-painting, feasting at a favorite food truck, and supporting teen artists who’ll be showing and selling their work. Visit Lynn Trimble

Mads from MST3K
“In the not-too-distant future / Next Sunday A.D.” — any nerd worth his glasses knows how the rest goes. The early seasons of Mystery Science Theater 3000 were some of its best, featuring so-bad-it’s-good schlock like Pod People and Manos: The Hands of Fate, hosted by the plucky mechanic Joel on the Satellite of Love, his robot buds Crow and Tom Servo, and, down on earth, the mad scientists who sent him into space, Dr. Forrester (Trace Bealieu) and TV’s Frank (Frank Conniff).

This week, the Mads from MST3K will bring their evil experiment to the Alamo Drafthouse Tempe, 1140 East Baseline Road, Tempe. They’ll show two terrible movies — 1961’s The Choppers on Friday, December 7, and 1953’s The Neanderthal Man on Saturday, December 8, both at 7:30 p.m. — and monitor the brainwaves of Phoenix’s most susceptible film buffs. And for just $20 per ticket, you could be one of them. For more info, visit Douglas Markowitz

click to enlarge WILCOX WINE COUNTRY
Wilcox Wine Country
Grapes on the Grotto
The Grand Canyon State produces some of the finest wines in the nation. Sample the best vino Arizona has to offer at the inaugural Grapes on the Grotto festival. Sixteen local wine producers from the southeastern corner of the state will be sharing samples in time for you to grab a bottle for your upcoming holiday gathering.

Take a sip from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 8, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 9, at Arizona Center, 455 North Third Street. Ticket packages range from $15 to $20. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Mesa Book Festival
The East Valley is brimming with literary talent. Learn about local authors and the literature being put to page in Phoenix at the Mesa Book Festival. Writers, publishers, and vendors in every genre, including graphic novels and audiobooks, will be on-hand participating in open-mic poetry and author panels. There will also be children’s book readings in front of the city’s 30-foot tall Christmas tree.

Turn the page from 2 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 8, in downtown Mesa on South Macdonald Street between Main Street and First Avenue. This is a free event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge Look for Vessel performers at Mesa Arts Festival. - MESA ARTS CENTER
Look for Vessel performers at Mesa Arts Festival.
Mesa Arts Center
Mesa Arts Festival
With more than 200,000 square feet, there’s plenty of space for celebrating creativity at Mesa Arts Center, located at 1 East Main Street in downtown Mesa. Head over Saturday, December 8, from noon to 5 p.m., to experience the first day of that weekend’s Mesa Arts Festival, a free mash-up of visual and performance art, along with holiday shopping for works by dozens of local artisans working in diverse media such as metal and glass. Rachel Bowditch returns with Vessel for an interactive Chrome performance, complete with photo opportunities, but the festival also features live music, artist demonstrations, and plenty of family-friendly activities. Bring money for food trucks, and your holiday shopping list. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge The new Chandler Museum opens its doors this month. - CITY OF CHANDLER
The new Chandler Museum opens its doors this month.
City of Chandler
Chandler Museum
Head east on Saturday, December 8, if you want to be one of the first people to explore the new Chandler Museum, which holds its grand opening that day from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The museum is located at 300 South Chandler Village Drive, near Chandler Fashion Center. Mayor Jay Tibshraeny will open the day’s festivities, which include exhibition tours, live entertainment, special guests, presentations on Chandler history, and light refreshments. While you’re there, check out Jeff Zischke’s public artwork titled Infinite Shade, and learn about Chandler connections to everything from the band Green Day to the 2014 Winter Olympics. Visit Lynn Trimble

DTPHX Record Show
Whether you’re looking to spice up your vinyl collection or for that perfect holiday gift, this could be just the chance you’re looking for. Grand Avenue Records is hosting the DTPHX Record Show this Saturday, December 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. $3 gets you in the door to shop for records, CDs, cassettes, and whatever else the dozens of local vendors have on tap. Food and drinks will be available, beats will be supplied by the likes of Gila Man, Hi-Dreams, and Edward Navarro, and a raffle will offer the chance to win prizes such as a brand new record player. For more info, visit Douglas Markowitz

click to enlarge Jim Gaffigan - ROBYN VON SWANK
Jim Gaffigan
Robyn Von Swank
Jim Gaffigan
Jim Gaffigan is a clean comic, but he wants audiences to be free to embrace their dark sides and inhale that large container of fast-food french fries instead of munching on kale chips. His ability to seemingly relate to everyone enables the comedian to headline large venues and have his books fly off the shelves. Gaffigan embraces what makes it great to be alive, even if eating that burger might kill us.

The show begins at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 8, at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Tickets are $39.50 to $89.50. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge You wonder if Cardinals' legend Larry Fitzgerald will return for another season of this. - JIM LOUVAU
You wonder if Cardinals' legend Larry Fitzgerald will return for another season of this.
Jim Louvau
Arizona Cardinals
Name one good reason to spend a splendid Sunday afternoon indoors watching the woeful Arizona Cardinals. Okay, how about a Bosa? No, they won’t be giving away delicious Bosa doughnuts when the Cards host the almost equally inept Detroit Lions on Sunday, December 9. But you can cheer for the home team to lose again, which would put the Birds one step closer to earning the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft. And that player is projected to be Nick Bosa, the former Ohio State defensive lineman whose brother Joey already wrecked the Cardinals earlier this year as an All-Pro for the Los Angeles Chargers. Kickoff is at 2:25 p.m. at State Farm Stadium, 1 Cardinals Way, Glendale. Tickets start at $44 but seriously, don’t pay that much. If you must go, you’ll probably find season ticketholders who want to give theirs away. Visit Stuart Warner

click to enlarge Checking out Randy Kemp's booth for a previous Indian Market. - PUEBLO GRANDE MUSEUM
Checking out Randy Kemp's booth for a previous Indian Market.
Pueblo Grande Museum
Pueblo Grande Museum's Indian Market
You can grab a grande espresso any day of the week. But the Pueblo Grande Museum’s Indian Market only rolls around once a year. Head to the museum, 4619 East Washington Street, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 9, to check out the fundraiser that features American Indian art, music, dance, storytelling, and food. Tickets are $10. While you’re there, you can shop for the holidays, enjoy artist demonstrations, try hoop dancing, explore the museum’s archaeological offerings, check out various food trucks, and participate in hands-on activities including community painting, beading, and spear-throwing. Visit Lynn Trimble

There's always time for tamales. - SHUTTERSTOCK
There's always time for tamales.
Food City Original Tamale Festival
Do you like tamales in green or red salsa? Maybe you prefer a sweet or savory filling? You can have it all at the 2018 Food City Original Tamale Festival. Church groups will be selling varieties of the homemade holiday dish. It’s not just about the cornhusk-wrapped treats. There will also be vendors and mariachi bands to entertain attendees.

Unwrap some fun from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 9, at Cesar Chavez Plaza, 201 West Washington Street. This is a free event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Christmas Vacation Movie Party
Everyone has that relative who takes Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Ramadan, or the Buddha’s birthday) a little too seriously. That’s why National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation remains so relatable. Chevy Chase may be kind of a dick in real life, but it’s still fun to watch him make an ass out of himself as Clark Griswold, the overzealous boomer dad obsessed with creating the perfect Christmas light show.

Ring in the holiday at a Christmas Vacation Movie Party hosted by Alamo Drafthouse Chandler, 4955 South Arizona Avenue, Chandler. The fun begins at 7:20 p.m. on Monday, December 10. Tickets are $12.94. Visit

Marshall Shore is calling the bingo balls at The Clarendon Hotel. - SARAH HURWITZ
Marshall Shore is calling the bingo balls at The Clarendon Hotel.
Sarah Hurwitz

White Elephant Bingo
Maybe you’ve got big plans for sprucing up your nest this holiday season. Start by finding your least treasured possession of the cheapo variety, then taking it along to The Clarendon Hotel, where it might help you win fun prizes or meet fellow bingo nerds. White Elephant Bingo, named for the practice of exchanging odd or unwanted objects like the musical bow tie you got stuck with at last year’s office party, returns to the Clarendon’s Rooftop Bar, 401 West Clarendon Avenue, from 7 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, December 11. The free shindig is hosted by “hip historian” Marshall Shore. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge MOSCOW BALLET
Moscow Ballet
The Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker
There have been any number of poor cinematic adaptations of Tchaikovsky’s beloved holiday ballet, including a little-seen Macaulay Culkin movie and this year’s big-budget Disney extravaganza starring Morgan Freeman. The Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker presents the oft-told story of a little girl, a kingdom ruled by a mouse, and the soldier with a solid jawline on stage, where the skill and athleticism of the world-class performers will transport you in a way that the on-screen version never could.

The sugar plum fairies dance starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12, at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Tickets are $39.50 to $89.50. For more information, visit Jason Keil
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Douglas Markowitz was born and raised in Broward County, Florida, he studied at Sophia University in Tokyo before graduating with honors from the University of North Florida with a bachelor's degree in communications. He began writing for Miami New Times while in college and served as their music and arts editorial intern in 2017.
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Stuart Warner is editor of New Times. He has been a journalist since the stoned ages of 1969, playing a major role on teams that won three Pulitzer Prizes. He is also the author of the biography JOCK: A Coach's Story.
Contact: Stuart Warner