Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Don't bother taking the streets.
Don't bother taking the streets. Courtesy of Bonnier Events
Hey Phoenix, your plans have arrived. This week, you can eat all the tacos at Rockin' Taco Rumble, celebrate the skater culture at Phoenix SkaterCon 4, or get in your daily exercise at the Great Inflatable Race. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

click to enlarge You'll spot this piece at Wilde Meyer Gallery. - COURTESY OF WILDE MEYER GALLERY
You'll spot this piece at Wilde Meyer Gallery.
Courtesy of Wilde Meyer Gallery
Native Spirit Art Walk
Your boots are made for walking. But maybe they need some new territory to explore. Head to Old Town Scottsdale between 6:30 and 9 p.m. on Thursday, February 28, to see what’s new along Marshall Way and Main Street near Indian School Road, during the free Native Spirit Art Walk. The evening includes a fashion show, historian Marshall Shore talking about fashion designer Lloyd Kiva, performances by YellowBird Productions, and work by Native artists. Participating creative spaces include Wilde Meyer Gallery, which is showing works by several artists in its “Interpretations of the West” exhibit. If your boots aren’t made for walking, hop on the free trolley. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Riot police in Ferguson, Missouri, in Whose Streets?, a Magnolia Pictures release. - COURTESY OF MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Riot police in Ferguson, Missouri, in Whose Streets?, a Magnolia Pictures release.
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
Whose Streets?
Protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, after police killed an unarmed African-American teen named Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. Filmmakers Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis explored those protests through the eyes of activists and leaders for a 100-minute documentary film called Whose Streets? It premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, and now you can see it at ASU West, 4701 West Thunderbird Road in Glendale. The free 7 p.m. screening inside Kiva Lecture Hall on Thursday, February 28, includes a post-show discussion with Breanne Fahs and Eric Swank, two ASU faculty members with expertise in political activism, racism, and social movements. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Instagram-worthy. - COURTESY OF HDE AGENCY
Courtesy of HDE Agency
Rockin' Taco Rumble
Food festivals love to get you through the gate only to charge you more to sample the food. This is not the case at the Rockin’ Taco Rumble. Your ticket gets you six adult beverages and all the tacos you want from vendors like Willie’s Taco Joint and Modern Tortilla, to name a few. But this is a competition, after all. Once you’ve consumed every taco in sight, you can vote for your favorite. The winner of the People’s Choice competition gets a trophy, a cash prize of $500, and a ticket to the World Food Championships.

The doors open for this tortilla throwdown at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 1, at Unexpected Art Gallery, 734 West Polk Street. Tickets for the 21-and-over event are $45 online and $55 the day of the event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge Rick Naimark enjoying a bit of piano time. - COURTESY OF RICK NAIMARK
Rick Naimark enjoying a bit of piano time.
Courtesy of Rick Naimark
Rick Naimark
Most days, Rick Naimark is lucky to find time to tickle the ivories on his home piano. He’s a key ASU player on the downtown Phoenix development scene, which means he spends more time on meetings than music. But come First Friday, March 1, he’ll be in full musician mode inside the lounge at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. All ages are welcome for his free piano and vocal performance inside the lounge from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. He’ll be playing popular tunes from the 1950s to today, by artists such as Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Billy Joel, and Coldplay. And he’s totally game for taking requests. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Friends get ready to take on the baseball field. - COURTESY OF CITY OF SURPRISE
Friends get ready to take on the baseball field.
Courtesy of City of Surprise
Surprise Spring Training 5K
Have you ever wanted to take the baseball field? Get your chance at the second annual Surprise Spring Training 5K. The race starts and finishes inside Surprise Stadium with a course that takes you through the beautiful suburb of Surprise. All participants get a free T-shirt, snacks before and after the race, and a buy one get one free lawn ticket to the Kansas City Royals versus Seattle Mariners the next day.

The starting gun goes off at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 1, at 15850 North Bullard Avenue in Surprise. Early registration for the race is $30 and $40 the day of the event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge Stiff competition. - COURTESY OF ARON IMAGES
Stiff competition.
Courtesy of ARON IMAGES
Phoenix Scottish Games
The 55th annual Phoenix Scottish Games proves that Highlanders do not mess around when it comes to sports. Competitors will throw around everything from hammers to large logs at Steele Indian School Park. This family-friendly event will have vendors on hand selling authentic jewelry and food, and will feature musical performances throughout the day.

The bagpipes play from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at 300 East Indian School Road. Tickets are $20 for single-day tickets and $30 for both days. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge Apache crown dancers perform. - COURTESY OF THE HEARD MUSEUM
Apache crown dancers perform.
Courtesy of the Heard Museum
Indian Fair and Market
Hundreds of emerging and established Native artists will be showing and selling their works during the Indian Fair and Market at the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue. The two-day event opens on Saturday, March 2, when hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The artists represent more than 100 American Indian tribes, Alaska Native tribes, and Canadian First Nations. They’ll be showing artwork in more than a dozen media, including quillwork, paintings, sculpture, and textiles. Artists receive 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of their works. The event also includes live performance and children’s activities. Admission is $20 (ages 16 and under get in free). Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Fans at the frontlines. - COURTESY OF BONNIER EVENTS
Fans at the frontlines.
Courtesy of Bonnier Events
Off-Road Expo
Forget the road less traveled. At Off-Road Expo, you don’t take the streets at all. Watch eye-popping demonstrations by the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series and meet the drivers. There will also be prizes, giveaways, autograph sessions, and vendors selling the best parts and equipment to upgrade your vehicle.

Rev your engines from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 West Pima Road in Scottsdale. Single-day tickets are $15 for adults and $6 for children between 6 and 12 years old. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge So many vendors. - JOHN AHO
So many vendors.
John Aho
Melrose Street Fair
The Melrose District came back from the brink of extinction over 20 years ago, largely due to the efforts of the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association. The organization helps the neighborhood maintain its vintage aesthetic. They are celebrating the eclectic segment of Seventh Avenue with the 17th annual Melrose Street Fair. It will feature live music from Haymarket Squares and The Senators, food trucks, a car show, and booths by local vendors and independent local businesses along the strip.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, on Seventh Avenue between Indian School Road and Camelback Road. This is a free, family-friendly event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Phoenix SkaterCon 4
The culture around skateboarding and music in the Valley runs deep. Phoenix SkaterCon 4 is a celebration of that community put together by local skaters. The main event is a performance from renowned punk band Agression. Legendary figures in skateboarding will be in attendance, and there will also be a skating clinic for kids, vintage boards on display, food trucks, and a bowl contest.

The party rolls from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, at Paradise Valley Pool, 17648 North 40th Street. Tickets are $18, and children 10 years old and under are free with a paid adult. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Great Inflatable Race
Look, we totally understand. You’d like to get more exercise, but finding the motivation to tear yourself away from binge-watching Netflix is something of a tall order. One way to get yourself off the couch and into the action is if the particular activity is major fun and maybe even a little crazy — and the Great Inflatable Race this weekend certainly qualifies as both.

The over-the-top event, which takes place on Saturday, March 2, at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, 20000 South Maricopa Road in Chandler, is a fun run featuring eight to 10 enormous inflatable obstacles that participants can climb, bounce upon, and slide down. It’s sort of like an episode of Wipeout! was being done bouncy castles.

The family-friendly race, which runs from 9 to 11 a.m., is open to all ages. It’s $29.95 per person to participate, which includes a T-shirt, wristband, temporary tattoo, and race medal. Visit for more info. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Enjoying Russian culture and traditions. - COURTESY OF ARIZONA RUSSIAN FESTIVAL
Enjoying Russian culture and traditions.
Courtesy of Arizona Russian Festival
2019 Russian Festival
Maybe all you know of Russia is nesting dolls and vodka (and collusion). If so, there’s a fun way to take a deeper dive into Russian culture. The 2019 Russian Festival is happening from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, at Enchanted Island Amusement Park, 1202 West Encanto Boulevard. Expect a fun mix of live music, visual art, dance, fashion, games, cultural exhibits, and Russian culinary fare. Highlights will include Russian sidecar motorcycles and an ethnic costume competition. You’ll leave knowing a bit more about Russian history and traditions, shared by locals who take pride in their Russian roots. Tickets are $15 (ages 12 and under get in free). Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Feeling the nature love. - COURTESY OF CITY OF AVONDALE
Feeling the nature love.
Courtesy of City of Avondale

Tres Rios Nature Festival
Ever wished you could become one with nature? Give it a try during the Tres Rios Nature Festival, which takes its name from the number three in Spanish, because it celebrates the confluence of the Gila, Salt, and Agua Fria rivers. The two-day event concludes on Sunday, March 3, when festival hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s happening at the Base & Meridian Wildlife Recreation Area, 7602 South Avondale Boulevard, in Avondale, where you can try birdwatching, fishing, canoeing, archery, hiking, mountain-biking, and more. The festival is free, but there’s a charge for some activities, such as ziplining. Visit Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns aren’t bringing the heat to their next matchup. That’s because the Milwaukee Bucks are on fire thanks to the stellar play of Giannis Antetokounmpo, better known to his fans as the “Greek Freak.” At the recent 68th NBA All-Star Game, the nearly seven-foot powerhouse scored 38 points, more than any other player that night, but his crew still fell to Team LeBron. The Suns will have their work cut out for them when Antetokounmpo arrives in town.

The game starts at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 4, at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Tickets are $24 to $2,500. For more information, visit Jason Keil

A new adaptation of Dune is scheduled to be released in 2020. If asked by the new filmmakers for advice, director David Lynch might tell them adapting Frank Herbert’s sprawling epic is an overwhelming task. His version is often cited as an unintelligible mess that bombed at the box-office. Others see the 1984 film as a visual masterpiece that solidified Lynch as a bizarrely brilliant filmmaker. If you fall into the latter category, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Tempe is offering a rare opportunity to see Dune in 35mm.

The sleeper awakens at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, at 1140 East Baseline Road in Tempe. Tickets are $11.75. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Arizona Diamondbacks
Late last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks went from being first place in the National League West to the laughing stock of Major League Baseball. Then, to add insult to injury, the front office traded infielder Paul Goldschmidt to the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite last year’s woes, there is optimism in the air as spring training revs up. Take in an evening game as manager Torey Lovullo and the boys of summer take on the Kansas City Royals.

The first pitch goes out at 6:05 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, at Surprise Stadium, 15850 North Bullard Avenue in Surprise. Tickets are $8 to $45. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Yoga at The Churchill
Want to breathe new life into your contact list? Yoga at The Churchill is a great way to let the conversation flow. Led by Katie Hembrough of FairyGoddust Yoga, this all-levels class takes place in the courtyard of Downtown Phoenix’s newest gathering place. After your workout, Namaste and enjoy 20 percent off your breakfast at Foxy Fruit Bowls and Smoothies. You’ll make a friend over an acaí bowl in no time.

Class begins at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5, at 901 North First Street. Monetary donations are strongly encouraged. You can also donate items supporting the charitable organization ONe TRUe LOVe. Please bring your own water bottle and yoga mat. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge City of God depicts the mean streets of Rio. - COURTESY OF MIRAMAX
City of God depicts the mean streets of Rio.
Courtesy of Miramax

City of God
As part of their new series, “So You Hate Subtitles,” FilmBar is choosing powerful foreign films that transcend language, accompanied by a lecture before the movie explaining the importance of their selection. Next in the series is the Oscar-nominated City of God from Brazil, a kinetic masterpiece filled with stark, violent imagery. The film follows two young men during the rise of the drug trade in a poverty-stricken suburb of 1970s Rio de Janeiro.

The projector fires up at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, at 815 North Second Street. Tickets are $12. For more information, visit Jason Keil
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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