As the Phoenix "winter" winds down, more outdoors events are popping up , including the start of spring training and cultural festivals. But for those of you who still prefer an indoor excursion, the offerings are still there. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' event calendar.
The Plant Based Pioneer
Do you need to grow your knowledge of plant-based cooking and eating? There’s a local series of conversations called The Plant Based Pioneer, which are designed to help people learn more about incorporating vegan and vegetarian foods into their lifestyle. It’s hosted by Mamta Jain Valderrama, a Scottsdale resident whose vegetarian roots go back to the 1970s. Check it out from 6 to 6:45 p.m. at the Arabian Library, 10215 East McDowell Mountain Ranch Road in Scottsdale. While you’re there, you can explore plenty of books to help you take a deeper dive into the topic. The event is free, and the tone is nonjudgmental, so there's no need to worry about meat-shaming. Lynn Trimble
The Simon & Garfunkel Story
Plenty of bands are just as compelling behind the scenes as they are on stage. But few are as deserving of their own musical as Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. The Simon & Garfunkel Story traces the duo's rise in the early '60s, their nasty break up in 1970, and their triumphant reunion in 1981 for "The Concert in Central Park." Along the way, the show makes use of their rich catalog, including "Mrs. Robinson," "Bridge Over Troubled Water," and "Cecilia." Miss this show and you'll only get to enjoy "The Sound of Silence." The show begins at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February, 20, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street. Tickets run from $32 to $423. Chris Coplan
WWE Friday Night SmackDown
Professional wrestling is a world built on colorful, over-the-top characters. Both superlatives apply to many of the superstars found every week on WWE’s Friday Night SmackDown. Take Bray Wyatt, the current Universal Champion whose split personality alternates between a twisted kids’ show host and a Juggalo-like hellspawn known as “The Fiend.” Then there’s King Corbin, the former Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman who dons a crown and wants everyone to bow before him. Wyatt and Corbin will both be at Gila River Arena, 9400 West Maryland Avenue in Glendale, on Friday, February 21, when SmackDown comes to the Valley. The latest episode of the long-running WWE show will be broadcast live on Fox from the venue, so be sure to wear your best wrestling shirt. Roman Reigns, Bayley, Goldberg, and Valley residents Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler will also appear. The action starts at 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $30 to $250. Benjamin Leatherman
Conservation Science Night
Recent headlines have been filled with stories of animals facing very real threats, from massive fires to human exploitation of wilderness habitats. If you’ve ever felt powerless to act, you might enjoy spending some time with those working on animal conservation right here in Phoenix. The Phoenix Zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway, is holding a Conservation Science Night from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, February 21. It’s your chance to meet zoo conservationists and try your hand at several activities they regularly undertake, from collecting data to assessing threats to animal populations. This is a free event, but space is limited. Lynn Trimble
Like copper deposits and palm trees, the Valley is home to a veritable bounty of independent wrestling promotions. That includes Lucha Voz, one of several promotions dedicated to the art of lucha libre. For those unfamiliar, lucha libre not only has different rules — no piledrivers, de-masking your foe is a DQ, and touching the floor constitutes a tag — it's also representative of the rich and colorful culture of Mexico. Plus, there’s more capes and in-ring dancing, which is always a good thing. Lucha Voz holds its next show at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 21, at Sun Studios of Arizona, 1425 West 14th Street in Tempe. That evening promises appearances by Septimo Dragon, Jack Evans, Aguila Azteca, Tigre Del Ring, El Dragon, and Xtreme Tiger, among many others. Chris Coplan
In the age of #MeToo, discussions of consent remain vital to fostering lasting societal change. In that spirit, trained touch practitioner Lori Anna hosts semi-regular Cuddle Parties. These gatherings are geared at building a culture of "consent, communication, boundaries, and emotional health" to drive "connection, self-exploration, and cuddling in a fun, safe, and light-hearted way." Participants will learn 11 key rules encouraging, among other things, giving or retracting consent "with kindness and clarity" and practicing self-care in a "platonic and non-sexual space." The event is set for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, February 21, at a location to be determined. Space is limited. Chris Coplan
Cactus League Spring Training
Before they become the boys of summer, big-league baseballers will need to work off the winter rust and get back into the swing of things. They’ll do just that over the next several weeks at 10 ballparks around the Valley during spring training 2020.
Players from 15 different Major League Baseball teams, including the Arizona Diamondbacks and the ever-popular Chicago Cubs, will compete in the Cactus League in preparation for the upcoming season. It all starts on Friday, February 21, at Surprise Stadium, 15930 North Bullard Avenue in Surprise, when the Kansas City Royals host the Texas Rangers during the Cactus League’s opening day. The first pitch is at 1:05 p.m. Admission is $8-$35. Benjamin Leatherman
Arizona Super Show
Lowrider magazine may have curbed publication of its print edition recently, but the pursuit of pimping out and dropping rides is still alive and well. Look no further than the cars and crowds that will flock to University of Phoenix Stadium, 1 East Cardinals Drive in Glendale, on Saturday, February 22, for the Arizona Super Show 2020.
A fleet of classic and custom cars, trucks, motorcycles, and pedal bikes – each tricked out with elaborate paint jobs and modifications – will be on display inside and outside of the stadium. A car hop contest will also show off vehicles enhanced with hydraulics catching some air and an auto culture art exhibit, celebrity appearances, and concert will also take place. The event starts at noon. Tickets are $43. Benjamin Leatherman
Surfer: Teen Confronts Fear
Cinephiles may already be aware of The Room, which many critics and fans consider to be the worst film of all time. But did you know there’s another entry vying for the title that SlashFilm calls an "incompetent, bizarre, and worthy successor?" Surfer: Teen Confronts Fear the adventures of the young Sage. After developing a crippling fear of the ocean, he sates his love for the surf by fishing, only to "find more than he bargained for." With its terrible acting, over-reliance on found footage, and a weird subplot involving the military, Surfer might actually make The Room look like Raging Bull. Judge for yourself when Surfer debuts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 22, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Tickets are $10.95 (plus fees). Chris Coplan
This year marks the 36th anniversary of the Arizona Matsuri, a giant celebration of Japanese culture, art, and food. A move to Steele Indian School Park has opened up this year's festivities, which includes four stages for martial arts demonstrations, taiko drum performances, a children's choir, the Soran Bushi traditional dance, shakuhachi flute, and much more. There will also be plenty of food vendors, including Yako-Ya, Taiko, Hot Bamboo, Blue Fin Teriyaki, Asahi Bakery, and Republic Ramen, among others. Or spend your time shopping for home decor, fine arts, clothing, and fabrics. This is the closest you can get to a trip to Japan without embarking on a 14-hour plane ride. The free event runs from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 22, and Sunday, February 23, at Steele Indian Park, 300 East Indian School Road. Chris Coplan
Pinball Tournament at Electric Bat Arcade
Regardless of what any athletic committee might say, pinball deserves to be an Olympic sport. What other event requires as much pre-planning, physical dexterity, and general flexibility? Do gymnasts have to deal with low-quality music and endless beeping during their routine? And just think of the sheer terror in competing against either The Terminator or Jean-Luc Picard. Pinball wizards, we salute you. Until the Olympics change their mind, Electric Bat Arcade is holding its own tournament from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 23. The arcade is located at 25 West Southern Avenue in Tempe. The entry fee is $6. Chris Coplan
OVO by Cirque du Solei
There’s a miniature universe that most of us never consider, filled with movement, drive, collaboration, and color. It’s the world of insects, a place of incredible diversity brought to life in a Cirque du Soleil production called OVO. It premiered in Montreal, a Canadian city that’s home to a spectacular insectarium, in 2009. And now it’s touring in Phoenix. Cirque du Soleil performs OVO at 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 23, at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Expect plenty of music, aerial art, and visual storytelling brought to life by circus performers playing about a dozen types of insects, including butterflies, fireflies, and ladybugs. Ticket prices vary. Lynn Trimble
Chicago at Alamo Drafthouse
Renée Zellweger is best-known for snagging a 2020 Oscar for her portrayal of Judy Garland on the big screen. Nearly 20 years ago, she performed alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere in the movie Chicago. The 2003 film took home the Oscar for best picture. Step back in time during a Chicago Movie Party at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 24, at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 5478 South Power Road in Gilbert. The film is based on a musical set in 1920s Chicago, where life for some revolved around jazz music and shady backroom deals. Alamo will have fun props on hand to help set the mood, from inflatable saxophones to red scarves. You should be 18 to attend, and tickets are $14.02. Lynn Trimble
McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Bird Walk
Step away from your laptop and spread your wings for a few hours as the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy presents a Bird Walk from 9 to 11 a.m. on Tuesday, February 25. Two guides will be leading the way, starting at the Brown’s Ranch Trailhead, 30301 North Alma School Parkway in Scottsdale.
Birds you might spot include the northern mockingbird, ruby-crowned kinglet, black-tailed gnatcatcher, and more. Wear sturdy walking shoes and a hat, plus plenty of sunscreen. Also, bring a water bottle and binoculars. No dogs, but phone cameras filled with shots of your best pup are never off-limits. Lynn Trimble
Hatha Yoga Class
If you’ve been avoiding yoga because you think you don’t have the right body type or you don’t know much about how it works, there’s a gentle hatha yoga class for people of all backgrounds and skill levels coming to Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, 1738 East McDowell Road. It’s happening from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26. Just show up in some comfortable clothes, and bring along a yoga mat and water bottle. You’ll feel right at home, surrounded by supportive community members who believe that yoga is for everyone, not just a select few. The cost is $5 at the door. Lynn Trimble
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Anyone trying to jump into Dungeons & Dragons for the first time may feel as comfortable as wearing the Slaaneshi Harmful Harness. Leap in by playing D&D&C, which enhances the average D&D session by including cats. Will a feline companion make the game more fun? Sure, especially if you're a magic user and pretend the cat's your familiar. Is there also a chance the cats will muck up the entire table? You bet! That's the price for ample kitten time. D&D&C will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, February 26, at La Gattara Cat Lounge & Boutique, 1301 East University Drive in Tempe. Character creation begins at 6 p.m., and the game kicks off at 7 p.m. It's $20 to enroll. Chris Coplan