Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

All smiles after crossing the Humana Rock ’n’ Roll finish line.
All smiles after crossing the Humana Rock ’n’ Roll finish line. Alexandra Gaspar.
Y’all ready for a good time? This week, you can share a laugh with a friend during a screening of Napoleon Dynamite, make good on your New Year’s resolution during the Humana Rock ’n’ Roll race, or enjoy samples of your favorite treat at the Pastry Throw Down. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

click to enlarge Check out Timothy Chapman's work in Scottsdale. - TIMOTHY CHAPMAN
Check out Timothy Chapman's work in Scottsdale.
Timothy Chapman

Demonstrate! ... And Doughnuts

Scottsdale galleries are putting a fun twist on the weekly Thursday night art walk in Old Town with their Demonstrate! ... And Doughnuts event. It’s happening from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 16, in the arts district anchored by Main Street and Marshall Way near Indian School Road in Scottsdale. More than a dozen galleries are participating, including Art One, Royse Contemporary, and Wilde Meyer.

You’ll find Timothy Chapman doing a demonstration from 7 to 9 p.m. at Fine Art of Southwest Style, located at 7100 Main Street in Scottsdale. But look for other artists as well, working in mediums such as jewelry, painting, and sculpture. Local doughnut shops will have fresh offerings at several galleries, and the live entertainment lineup that night includes a traditional bagpipe performance. Lynn Trimble

Neil Hamburger

If you like stand-up comedy that veers distinctly to the surreal, then you need to catch a show by Neil Hamburger. Described as “anti-comedy,” Hamburger’s shtick is like a modern-day Tony Clifton, if only that character talked near-exclusively about his ex-wife and his shortcomings. If you’re truly lucky, Hamburger might just call you a “zipper lips” during his set. It’s comedy gold.

The 21-and-over show is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 16, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 the day of the show. Chris Coplan

Napoleon Dynamite

Despite their years of work in the film industry, actors Jon Heder and Efren Ramirez will forever be known for their roles in 2004’s comedy classic Napoleon Dynamite. Heder portrayed the film’s liger- and nunchuck-loving titular character, while Ramirez played his best friend, Pedro. The duo helped make awkward dorks seem cool and gave pop culture one of its most quotable movies.

You can relive all of Napoleon Dynamite’s best moments during a screening on Friday, January 17, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street. Heder and Ramirez will be on hand for a discussion and Q&A session afterward. Actor Jon Gries, who played wanna-be football hero Uncle Rico, will join them.

The screening starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $75. Benjamin Leatherman

Cowboy Boots to the Revolution

If your 2020 resolutions include more cultural outings, you might consider attending more spoken word events. And what better way to kick things off than with the all-star Cowboy Boots to the Revolution hosted by Central Phoenix-Inez Casiano NOW. The event features a dynamic gathering of Valley residents ready to dazzle with displays of linguistic virtuosity, including Joy Young, Molly McCloy, Kim Porter, Rachel Egboro, and Representative Jen Longdon, among others. (Full disclosure: The event is being produced by Phoenix New Times contributor Robrt L. Pela.

The event is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 17, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. Tickets are $15. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Head to W Scottsdale for your luxury car fix. - W SCOTTSDALE
Head to W Scottsdale for your luxury car fix.
W Scottsdale

DuPont Registry After-Party

People who love luxury cars have long descended on Scottsdale for the annual Barrett-Jackson collector car auction. But that’s just part of the excitement because the event also inspired a robust lineup of after-parties. They’ll be celebrating classic cars over at the W Scottsdale, 7277 East Camelback Road, on Friday, January 17. Doors open at 9 p.m. for the DuPont Registry after-party, which is free and open to the public.

The DuPont Registry has several publications devoted to luxury cars and other high-end goods. Just throw on your after-party finery, and get ready for a night of DJ and live music, plus a showing of several automobiles. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Got ink? - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Got ink?
Benjamin Leatherman

Grand Canyon Tattoo Convention

Sure, you could try and make better life choices. But why not ring in the rest of 2020 with some brand new ink instead? The Grand Canyon Tattoo Convention offers two days’ worth of opportunities to get tatted up by the Valley’s finest artists. Not quite ready for that giant robot Liberace tat? The convention also promises food and drinks, live music, competitions, and more “rad stuff.” If nothing else, you can go and watch other people make either the best or worst choice of their lives.

The show runs from Friday, January 17, through Sunday, January 19, at the Mesa Convention Center, 201 North Center Street in Mesa. The hours are 2 to 10 p.m. on Friday and noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It’s $25 for a one-day pass and $50 for all three days. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Feeling that red carpet vibe in Chandler. - AG PHOTOWERKS
Feeling that red carpet vibe in Chandler.
AG Photowerks

Chandler Film Festival

They’ll be rolling out the red carpet in Chandler on Friday, January 17. That’s opening night of the Chandler Film Festival, which runs through Monday, January 20. The festival features over 100 films, plus workshops, panels, and Q & A sessions with filmmakers. Opening night kicks off with a red carpet welcome at 7 p.m. and wraps with an after-party that launches at 10 p.m.

The opening night film is Buffaloed, which premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York. The film imagines life for a debt-ridden debt collector who’s desperate to escape her hometown. Tickets for opening night are $18 plus fees. It’s happening at Harkins Chandler Fashion Center 20, 3159 West Chandler Boulevard in Chandler. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge What makes somebody a hero? - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
What makes somebody a hero?
Benjamin Leatherman

Superhero Saturday

You’ve heard of cosplay. Now there’s cause-play. The Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association Charities is hosting Superhero Saturday to allow Valley residents to dress up as their favorite paladins of virtue and assist local charity ChildHelp. In addition to costumed heroes galore, the event also features helicopter flyovers, an ice cream truck, raffles, ample vendors, and famed vehicles from comic books and movies. Don’t be a lame Lex Luthor and miss out on all the fun.

This free event is set for noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 18, at 2200 North Central Avenue. Chris Coplan


There’s an argument to be made that Robocop is perhaps the most important film of 2020 (that was released in 1987). A faceless, multinational corporation looks to privatize an essential part of life — in this case, law enforcement — via advanced cybernetics. Despite those twisted schemes, what wins out, in the end, is actual human decency and a sense of goodness (also, dope catchphrases).

A one-night-only screening of Robocop takes place at 9 p.m. on Saturday, January 18, at Super Saver Cinemas 9, 2710 West Bell Road. Tickets are $11 in advance and $12 at the door. There are also VIP packages ranging from $20 to $40 that include art prints and T-shirts. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Art meets hip-hop. - MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM
Art meets hip-hop.
Musical Instrument Museum

Celebrate Hip Hop

Indulge your love for hip hop as the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard, presents a two-day event called Celebrate Hip Hop, which kicks off on Saturday, January 18. Expect a robust lineup of performances, workshops, and demonstrations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The event is included with general admission, which is $20.

Saturday offerings include a screening of the film American Beatboxer, dance and beat-making workshops, music and dance performance, and a live art demonstration by Such and Champ Styles. They’ll be talking about their work at 2 p.m. Look for a street art coloring activity and a photo booth with musical props, as well. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge The thrill of reaching that finish line. - ALEXANDRA GASPAR
The thrill of reaching that finish line.
Alexandra Gaspar

Humana Rock ’n’ Roll

Most people start the new year wanting to be more fit, but sometimes it’s hard to find the inspiration for making it happen. Humana Rock ’n’ Roll Arizona can help with that, whether you want to participate as a runner or just show up and take it all in. This year’s two-day event starts on Saturday, January 18.

The 5K race kicks off at 8 a.m., and the Kids Rock race starts at 10 a.m. Both courses begin at Mill Avenue at Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe. There’s also a health and fitness expo that runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Expect plenty of live music, cheer teams, and other festive offerings. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Exploring work by Laura Spalding Best. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Exploring work by Laura Spalding Best.
Lynn Trimble

‘Weather or Not: Art With Atmosphere’

Three metal ironing boards painted with flooded Phoenix landscapes hang inside the i.d.e.a. Museum as part of an exhibit called “Weather or Not: Art With Atmosphere.” Turns out, the museum, located at 150 West Pepper Street in Mesa, is a great place to see diverse artworks created in and beyond Arizona. Phoenix artist Laura Spalding Best, whose work has also been shown at Phoenix Art Museum, painted the ironing boards. And she has several additional pieces in the exhibit.

Check it out on Sunday, January 19, when museum hours are noon to 4 p.m. The “Weather or Not” exhibit includes more than 50 works created by 20 artists, plus several hands-on activities. Museum admission is $9. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Flaky goodness. - PHOENIX NEW TIMES ARCHIVE
Flaky goodness.
Phoenix New Times Archive

Pastry Throw Down

If your dietary resolutions remain strong this far into 2020, prepare to be heavily tempted. The Pastry Throw Down promises a smorgasbord of baked goods from a slew of cafes, bakeries, and other fine Tempe establishments. Plus, you can vote for your favorites after some heavily sampling. Then, burn off some of those calories by shopping at the many nearby stores. If you make it through this throwdown with your resolutions intact, then truly nothing can stop you.

This free event is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 19, at the 6th Street Market, 24 East Sixth Street in Tempe. Chris Coplan

Phoenix Suns

The rivalry between the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs belongs up there with the Lakers-Celtics and Packers-Bears. Since the mid-’70s, the teams have traded wins and losses, with things heating up in the early ’90s during the heyday of epic Western Conference showdowns. But even off the court, there’s been plenty of action, such as the battle over LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs won) and the back-and-forth between Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo over leading Team USA (Suns mostly won?).

The Suns-Spurs rivalry continues with a game at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 20, at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Chris Coplan


As communities across Arizona are celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will be screening the film Selma in partnership with the East Valley NAACP. The film explores the many forces that worked together to combat racism during the civil rights era.

The screening starts at 6 p.m. on Monday, January 20. It’s happening at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Tempe, located at 1140 East Baseline Road. Tickets are $7, and $1 from each ticket will go to the East Valley NAACP. The screening is for people ages 18 and up. Viewers are invited to stay for a discussion following the film. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Olivia Newton John looks glowing in Xanadu. - ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE CINEMA
Olivia Newton John looks glowing in Xanadu.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema


Who hasn’t dreamed of launching a state-of-the-art roller disco? For most of us, it never happens. But we can live the dream through Olivia Newton-John, who’ll appear on the big screen when Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Gilbert shows the film Xanadu at 7:20 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21.

It’s happening at the Valley’s newest Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, located at 5478 South Power Road. Your $14.02 ticket will also get you a glow stick and other fun accessories inspired by the disco craze that spawned the singer’s hit song “Magic. “The screening is recommended for ages 18 and up. Lynn Trimble

Potterless Podcast

To a degree, the Harry Potter book series is responsible for influencing the pop-cultural preferences of an entire generation. But for a different spin on everyone’s favorite magical schoolboy series, there’s the Potterless Podcast. Host Mike Schubert uses his own delayed entry into the Potter fandom to both celebrate and lambaste this most wonderful wizarding world. If nothing else, it’s a whole new way to wring fresh magic from this deeply beloved juggernaut of film and literature. 

This live podcast takes place at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22, at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Chris Coplan
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.
Chris Coplan has been a professional writer since the 2010s, having started his professional career at Consequence of Sound. Since then, he's also been published with TIME, Complex, and other outlets. He lives in Central Phoenix with his fiancee, a dumb but lovable dog, and two bossy cats.
Contact: Chris Coplan
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