Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Churros from Modelo were the best dessert after trying all the tacos at last year's Tacolandia.
Churros from Modelo were the best dessert after trying all the tacos at last year's Tacolandia. Jacob Tyler Dunn
Hey Phoenix, get ready to have a good time. This week, you can geek out at Tempe FanCon 2020, stretch it out in a safe place at Queer Yoga, or jam out to brilliant covers during Cover the Crescent.  For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.


You could save up money all spring, and party down at April’s Coachella. Or avoid possible dehydration and financial ruin entirely by attending the much closer Poechella. A slew of local artists and writers will celebrate Edgar Allan Poe’s 211th birthday through performances plucked from his massive canon, with appearances by Aaron Hopkins-Johnson, Atlas St. Cloud, Lexi Lockett, The Klute, and Shawnte Orion. (Frequent Phoenix New Times contributor Ashley Naftule will also appear.) There will be live entertainment and vendors galore, including Cellar Door Vintage, tarot reader Becca Rose, and Little Maya Moonbeam Candles. To quoth the raven, it sounds like a real fun time.

The free event is set for 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 23, at The Lost Leaf, 914 North Fifth Street. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Very Beef (2018) by Kazuma Sambe. - MESA CONTEMPORARY ARTS MUSEUM
Very Beef (2018) by Kazuma Sambe.
Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum

Kazuma Sambe

Tucson artist Kazuma Sambe uses ceramics to explore the intriguing connections between food and advertising. The artist earned his MFA in ceramics from ASU in 2014, and he’s an alumni of the Eye Lounge’s artist collective in Roosevelt Row. Now, he’s got a solo exhibition at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, 1 East Main Street in Mesa, where he’ll be showing works that center around the culinary element of sauce.

Get a good look on Friday, January 24, when museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a chance to support an Arizona artist bringing a fresh voice to the contemporary arts scene while exploring the arts landscape beyond downtown Phoenix. Sambe’s “Ketchup = Red, Mustard = Yellow” exhibit continues through April 12. Museum admission is free. Lynn Trimble

Arizona Beer Pong Championships

Beer pong is no mere game for wasting precious study time during your college years. No, it’s truly fierce personal combat more than deserving of its very own cutthroat tournament for those seeking eternal glory. The first-ever Arizona Beer Pong Championships will feature five rounds of up to 128 players. Over the event’s duration, a total of $20,000 in cash prizes will be awarded, including $4,000 for the first-prize winner. Don’t think you have what it takes for the main event play? There’s also side events like Switcholo and singles play. Hope you’re thirsty (for beer and competition).

The entire tourney takes place from 4 p.m. on Friday, January 24, to midnight on Sunday, January 26, at Stingers Bar, 10040 North 43rd Avenue in Glendale. It’s $100 per entrant. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge A fresh take on Little Women. - MATTHEW WILLIAMSON PHOTOGRAPHY
A fresh take on Little Women.
Matthew Williamson Photography

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, & Louisa

After this year’s Oscar nominations were announced, the list of snubs included Greta Gerwig, who directed the latest film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel Little Women. Now that the book is at the top of your mind, you can ponder what might have occurred had the famed 19th-century author literally blurred the lines between her life and those of her characters while exploring her sexuality and family angst.

That’s the premise for a play called Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, & Louisa, which opens at TIME on Friday, January 24, at Taliesin West, 12621 North Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale. It’s being performed by Southwest Shakespeare Company, which has a flair for bringing literary characters to life. Tickets are $37. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Who ya gonna call? - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Who ya gonna call?
Benjamin Leatherman

Tempe FanCon 2020

Nerds of the Valley, your schedules are about to get very busy. Con season will be ramping up to warp speed as a multitude of geek-oriented extravaganzas will be happening around town over the next few months. Your first destination is Tempe FanCon 2020 on Saturday, January 25, at Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural Road in Tempe, which will offer an afternoon of authors, artists, vendors, cosplayers, and other such nerdiness.

Followers of every fandom imaginable are welcome at the all-ages event and can participate in activities like “Superhero Jeopardy!,” show off their costumes, or just geek out. Performances, Nerf battles, a scavenger hunt, and cosplay contests for humans and pets are also planned.

FanCon runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge There will be so many tacos for you to try. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
There will be so many tacos for you to try.
Jacob Tyler Dunn


Phoenix New Times seeks to serve its community by providing essential, independent journalism. If that’s not enough, the paper also co-sponsors Tacolandia, an outdoor food festival for casual fans and hardcore foodies alike. The event features some of the finest taquerias in the Valley, including Caribbean Marketplace Grill, Red Fire Cookery, Taqueria el Sol, Los Sombreros, Tortas Paquime, and Bao Chow, among many others. There will also be live entertainment from Ballet Folklorico and The Hourglass Cats, ample beer and cocktails, and vendors galore. All hail tacos.

The 21-and-over festival is set for 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 25, at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 North Third Street. GA tickets are $25 and include four hours of unlimited taco samples. You can opt for the VIP treatment for $45 and gain early access at noon. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Patton Oswalt - SAM JONES
Patton Oswalt
Sam Jones

Patton Oswalt

Patton Oswalt’s comedy is as biting and insightful as it is imaginative. Take his likening of the Donald Trump presidency to an “an 18-wheeler full of monkeys and PCP [that’s] crashed into a train full of diarrhea,” for instance. There’s his oft-quoted description of KFC’s Famous Bowl as “a failure pile in a sadness bowl” or a desire to become “a robot that helps wolves have sex” while overdosing on Lexapro.

When Oswalt steps onstage at the Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, on Saturday, January 25, his material will be a mix of the ingenious and the inane with plenty of geeky references, heartfelt humor, self-deprecating snark, and sociopolitical barbs.

Oswalt is scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 to $95. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Just a gnarly He-Man toy from Arizona Toy Con 2017. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Just a gnarly He-Man toy from Arizona Toy Con 2017.
Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix Toy & Pop Culture Show

Yes, we just recently celebrated Christmas. But if you’re a toy collector in the Valley, prepare for “Christmas II: The Christmas-ing” with this year’s Phoenix Toy & Pop Culture Show. Here, collectors and vendors from across the state will come to sell their collectible goods, from Transformers and Barbie to vintage lunch boxes and video games. So whatever item you’re seeking to complete that collection, there’s a good chance it’ll be at this show. Just be sure to bring plenty of cash and a comfortable pair of shoes.

The free event is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 25, at Collectors Marketplace, 1945 East Indian School Road. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Getting a peek inside Mucho Mas Art Studio. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Getting a peek inside Mucho Mas Art Studio.
Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Fridas

You’ve endured all those hours racing from store to store in search of the perfect holiday gifts. Now, take some time to shop for yourself. And give it a creative twist. The Phoenix Fridas artist collective, which includes several local Latina artists inspired by Frida Kahlo, is holding a yard sale complete with clothing, accessories, art supplies, and other creative treasures.

It’s happening from 9 a.m. to noon at Mucho Mas Arts Studio, the creative home for collective members Kathy Cano-Murillo and Emily Costello. Cano-Murillo is well known for her Crafty Chica DIY creations, and Costello has created several artworks for Arizona Lottery scratchers. Mucho Mas is located at 1736 East McDowell Road. The event is free, but bring money for fun finds if you want to add more color to your life. Lynn Trimble

Bike + Beer Festival

The pairing of bicycles and beer has been so well-established it’s up there with PB&J or Bert and Ernie. But that doesn’t mean there’s still not ample cause to celebrate these beer/bike events. As far as such outings are concerned, The Theodore’s first-ever Bike + Beer Festival seems extra-promising, with bike-centric vendors, a slew of specialty beers, and a free bike valet, among other amenities. You can never go wrong with tasty suds and responsible vehicular transportation.

The event is set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 25, at The Theodore, 110 East Roosevelt Street. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Teen angst takes center stage in Spring Awakening. - LAURA DURANT
Teen angst takes center stage in Spring Awakening.
Laura Durant

Spring Awakening

Before Lea Michele become a household name for playing Rachel Berry in the TV series Glee, she starred in a 2006 Broadway musical called Spring Awakening, which tackles the sexual awakening of teens living amid emotional repression in late-19th-century Germany. So did Jonathon Groff, best known to some as the voice of Kristoff in the Frozen films and King George in the original cast of the musical Hamilton.

See the musical that helped launch to their careers at Stagebrush Theatre, 7020 East Second Street in Scottsdale. Greasepaint Youtheatre performs Spring Awakening, which earned eight Tony Awards, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 26. Parental discretion is advised because the play also addresses grief, trauma, and loss. The show runs through Saturday, February 2. Tickets are $20. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Fargo Tbakhi blends poetry and social justice. - CHUCK DRIES
Fargo Tbakhi blends poetry and social justice.
Chuck Dries

Fargo Tbakhi

Queer Palestinian-American performance artist Fargo Tbakhi knows that words have power. He’s leading a pop-up writing workshop at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, January 27. It’s an opportunity to learn more about poets who’ve used words to elevate social justice issues while honing the power of your craft.

The workshop includes a 30-minute class, plus a writing prompt. You’ll have time to write and the chance to read your work aloud if you like. Tbakhi says the workshop will “explore ways that poetry can work against states and their violence.” Participants will create poetry they can continue to finesse on their own by using concrete writing techniques. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Making space for veterans to share their stories. - ASU PIPER CENTER
Making space for veterans to share their stories.
ASU Piper Center

Veterans Writing

If you’re a veteran searching for a safe space to share your stories while honing your creative writing skills, check out the Veterans Writing Circle happening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 28. It’s presented by the ASU Piper Center, in partnership with the Pat Tillman Veterans Center and the Office for Veteran Military Academic Engagement.

It’s part of a monthly series of writing circle events designed specifically for student and other local veterans, which gives them a supportive place to write creative pieces and share them with fellow veterans. The free event takes place at the ASU Piper Center, 450 East Tyler Mall, on the university’s Tempe campus. Lynn Trimble

Just add yoga mats. - [NUEBOX]
Just add yoga mats.

Queer Yoga

From classes to rehearsals, movement fills the [nueBOX] studio in the Grand Avenue arts district, where the residency program is helping to incubate emerging installation and performance artists. On Tuesday nights, you’ll find performance artist and movement instructor Boss in the space, located at 1614 West Roosevelt Street, teaching a Queer Yoga class designed for a wide range of bodies and experience levels.

It’s meant to provide a safe, inclusive space for queer folk and other community members to practice asana and pranayama together. Participants should bring their mats and accessories. They’re also encouraged to bring a token of intention such as a stone, candle, or another object that holds special meaning. Give it a try from 5 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, January 28. The class is pay what you wish. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Joel Hodgson and MST3K robots. - SHOUT! FACTORY
Joel Hodgson and MST3K robots.
Shout! Factory

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live: The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour

Have you been worried about the fate of Mystery Science Theater 3000? Don’t. You should just relax. Netflix may have canceled the latest incarnation of the famed movie-riffing television show, but co-creator Joel Hodgson has assured the MST3K faithful he’s searching for a new home for the program.
Hodgson is bringing Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live: The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour to cities across the country, giving MST3K fans the chance to witness an in-person riffing of cinematic dreck.

The production, which comes to Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street in Mesa, on Wednesday, January 29, features Hodgson and the show’s cast of robots (including Gypsy, Tom Servo, and Crow) performing a series of circus-themed sketches and goofing on the 1986 Jean-Claude van Damme flick No Retreat, No Surrender. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. General admission is $37.50 to $78. Three VIP packages are available for $128 to $328 and offer a variety of MST3K merch, meet-and-greets with the cast, and more. Benjamin Leatherman

Tim and Eric

Tim and Eric the TV show ended more than two years ago, and yet the jokes keep rolling in like so much blue cheese. That’s because the titular duo (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim) continue to keep the show alive with random appearances and performances. The 2020 Mandatory Attendance world tour is perhaps their biggest “reunion” outing to date, a globe-trotting affair that promises “guest surprises” alongside all-new “spoofs, goofs, and insanity.” Yeah, but can we also get more “cool pumples?”

Tim and Eric visit Phoenix at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 28, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street. It’s $45 for regular seating, $72 for platinum, and $95 for VIP, which includes a preshow Q&A and signed poster. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Treasure MammaL performing. - MELISSA FOSSUM
Treasure MammaL performing.
Melissa Fossum

Cover the Crescent

With songs by everyone from Santana and Nina Simone to Bob Dylan and The Eagles, The Big Lebowski is as much about great music as it is White Russians. Now, as part of its regular Cover the Crescent series, the Crescent Ballroom is celebrating the film’s sonic legacy with an all-star covers concert. A slew of Valley bands and artists will spend an evening unpacking the film’s rich soundtrack, with covers by Dr. Delicious, Council Bluffs, Young Mothers, Treasure MammaL, and Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, among many others. And if that weren’t enough, proceeds from the show benefit The Trunk Space and local music education. You best abide, dudes and dudettes.

The 21-and-over show is set for 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 29, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 the day of the show. Chris Coplan
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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