The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week: July 25-31 | Phoenix New Times

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Need something to do?
Taylor Swift was here for real a year ago.  This week you can dress up like her if you wish.
Taylor Swift was here for real a year ago. This week you can dress up like her if you wish. Jim Louvau
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Taylor Swift was here for real a year ago. This week you can dress up like her if you wish.
Jim Louvau

Need something to do? This week, you can stock your shelves during Mesa Public Library's Big Book Sale, compete in the Triwizard Tournament at the Harry Potter Party, or dance it out at Taylor Swift Night. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

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Eating for a cause.
Jack Barz

Christmas in July

It’s the last week of Organ Stop Pizza’s Christmas in July food drive. The Mesa restaurant is offering 10 percent off the entire kitchen bill of anyone who brings in two nonperishable food items or donates $2 in cash to United Food Bank.

"We'll deck the Mighty Wurlitzer and walls with a Christmas feel,” says co-owner Jack Barz. You have until Wednesday, July 31, to drop off your donations. The restaurant is open from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 4 to 9 p.m. on Sunday at 1149 East Southern Avenue in Mesa. This is a free event. Jason Keil

Macramé Keychain with Sunshine Craft Co

Do you remember making those colorful friendship bracelets in junior high? If you’re ready to take your handmade jewelry game to the next level, then come to the Macramé Keychain Workshop with Sunshine Craft Co. The friendly folks from the local studio will teach you the basic knots you need to create your own piece of art that you can admire every time you unlock your door or start your car.

Tie one on from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 25, at Bookmans Entertainment Exchange Phoenix, 8034 North 19th Avenue. This is a free event. Jason Keil

Brave the Shave

Is your hair getting a little long? Don’t just take a little off the top. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation wants you to go bald to help raise money for childhood cancer. At Brave the Shave, you can lose your locks, volunteer your time, or stop by and donate some much-needed funds to help research treatments for those stricken with this terrible disease. It’s too hot for hair, so lose it for charity.

Shave it off from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, July 25, at Aveda Institute Phoenix, 8034 North 19th Avenue. This is a free event. Jason Keil

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Stock up on some good reads.
Courtesy of Mesa Public Library/Sara Lipich

Big Book Sale

Are you looking for an affordable way to add some books and movies to your collection? Grab your largest bag and head to Mesa Public Library’s Big Book Sale. There will be more than some battered copies of Harlequin bodice-rippers in stock. You can choose from science fiction, self-help, cookbooks, and even vinyl records. Prices start at $.50, with additional discounts for teachers and military. Any remaining inventory on Saturday, July 27, will be half off.

Stock up your shelves from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, July 26, and Saturday, July 27, at 64 East First Street in Mesa. This is a free event. Jason Keil

Arizona Biltmore

The beautifully designed walls inside the Arizona Biltmore have brought in everyone from celebrities to world leaders, including President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe (though to be clear, they didn't stay at the hotel together – that we know of). For its 90th anniversary, the luxury resort will give you a tour inside its remarkable facilities to have a drink and learn why it continues to attract the rich and famous.

The 45-minute tour begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 26, at 2400 East Missouri Avenue. Admission, which includes beverages and discounts, is $25 for adults 21 and over and $12 for people between the ages of 5 and 20. Call 602-955-6600 for reservations. Jason Keil

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Muggles and magic.
Benjamin Leatherman

Harry Potter Party

Forget Miller time. It’s muggle time over at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road, where the First Draft Book Bar tap will magically flow with butterbeer during the bookstore’s Harry Potter Party for grown-ups. Get your $15 tickets online, then head over to the bookstore between 8 and 11 p.m. on Friday, July 26. You’ll get one free butterbeer in a commemorative cup that changes colors, adding just a touch of magic to an evening filled with Harry Potter activities and lore. Costumes are encouraged, of course. While you’re there, try competing in the Triwizard Tournament or showing your dance prowess during a Yule Ball. There’s even a book-lover’s maze, which might make a great excuse if you don’t manage to get home on time. Lynn Trimble

Taylor Swift Night

You may have heard that T Swizzle’s new album, Lover, isn’t coming out until August. If the anticipation is killing you, dance it all away at Taylor Swift Night. DJ A Claire Slattery will be spinning everything from “You Belong With Me” to the anthemic “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” To paraphrase the song “22,” this sounds like the perfect night to dress up like hipsters, make fun of your exes, and hit the dance floor.

Shake it off starting at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 26, at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street. Admission for this 18-and-over event is $8 to $12. Jason Keil

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Looks like a cool place for a blood drive.
Lynn Trimble

Blood Drive

Maybe you like the idea of donating blood to help people who need it, but never get around to looking up times and places for local blood drives. If so, you’re in luck this week, because there’s a blood drive from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 27, at Phoenix Public Market, 721 North Central Avenue. Organizers say high school students are some of the biggest blood donors, which means the supply falls when school’s out for summer break. Here’s your big chance to go back in time and feel like a high school student again, without all the acne and homework. Register online so you’ll have a time slot, then make a morning of it by stocking up at the farmers market so you’ll have plenty of good stuff to reward yourself for making time for others. Lynn Trimble

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Pac-Man placemats spotted at Arizona Toy Con 2017.
Benjamin Leatherman

Arizona Toy Con

Despite what your parents may have said, you’re never too old to play with toys. It’s why you’ll see kids of all ages (even those who have grown up) populating the aisles and perusing the tables at the annual Arizona Toy Con on Saturday, July 27, at the Glendale Civic Center, 5750 West Glenn Drive.

More than 125 sellers will have tables filled with retro and modern playthings available for purchase, including an attic’s worth of collectible toys and vintage finds. All of your childhood favorites will be there, ranging from G.I. Joe and Transformers to Hot Wheels and Star Wars.

Rediscover your inner child at the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10, and kids 12 and under are free. Benjamin Leatherman

Fifth Annual Jigsaw Puzzle Challenge

The Fifth Annual Jigsaw Puzzle Challenge will bring together 20 teams of puzzlers from around the Valley to compete for cash and prizes. The rules are simple: Each squad will have one to four people assembling 200- and 500-piece picture puzzles, and the fastest one wins. Try not to get stumped. Even if you don’t win anything, you can take your puzzle home.

Piece it back together at noon on Saturday, July 27, at Boulders On Broadway, 530 West Broadway Road in Tempe. The $60 registration fee for this family-friendly event covers all four members of your team. Jason Keil

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Beers on beers.
Arizona Craft Brewers Guild

Sixth Annual Real, Wild, and Woody Festival

Don’t worry Phoenicians, the Sixth Annual Real, Wild, and Woody Festival is indoors, so feel free to drink up without fear of heatstroke. There will be over 350 cask-conditioned ales and barrel-aged brews from 75 breweries around the Southwest for you to sample. You can also enjoy food, games, music, and an indoor rock-wall to slow down the alcohol and help you beat the heat.

Throw some back from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, at Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street. Tickets for this 21-and-older event are $60 to $80 for general admission and $80 to $120 for VIP options, which include 20 beer samples. Jason Keil

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Don't lose your cool, but there'll be no pool.
Pete Schulte/Lucky Dog Images

Bikini Bash Bar Crawl

There will be no pool for you to luxuriate in at the first-ever Bikini Bash Bar Crawl. You don’t even need to come wearing your swimming gear. But if you’ve never visited any of the great bars and restaurants along central Phoenix’s Seventh Street corridor, here is an opportunity to meet some new people and get acquainted with some great establishments. The festivities begin at Phoenix Ale Brewery Central Kitchen and venture to Pubblico Italian Eatery, Rito’s Mexican Food and The Womack Cocktail Lounge.

Check in and get your wristband starting at 1 p.m. before things kick off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, at 5813 North Seventh Street, #140. Tickets for this 21-and-older event are $18 to $30, with four drinks included. Jason Keil

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Time to celebrate art, culture, and queerness.
Audra McGraw/Lynn Trimble

Trans Queer Pueblo

It’s time to werk. That’s the word from Trans Queer Pueblo, 1726 East Roosevelt Street, where all things arts, culture, and queerness are taking center stage from 8 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, July 27. It’s all about celebrating the people who make it happen every day – from drag queens and kings to poets and musicians.

Expect plenty of cumbia, pop art, Top 40 tunes, hip-hop, and more. Basically, it’s a fabulous time to reflect the joys and struggles of queer and trans people of color – whose work in the community ranges from business owner to community organizer. Never fear if you’re not sure you have the dance moves. They’ll happily teach you how to werk it. Admission is $5 suggested donation. Lynn Trimble

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Opera pairs well with gelato.
Arizona Opera

The Little Prince

It’s time to chill out, opera style. They’re mixing opera with gelato over at Arizona Opera, 1636 North Central Avenue, where Frost Gelato will be in the house for a film screening at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 28. Get there by 1:30 p.m. if you want to buy a scoop before the screening starts. Or try on costumes, then head to the photobooth to take your picture in diva mode. Next time someone calls you a diva, you’ll have the picture to prove it. There’s even a pre-screening contest, where you can build a paper airplane and see how well it fares against others’ designs.

The opera film The Little Prince starts at 2 p.m., which is a fun way to get a small taste of opera while beating back the summer doldrums. Admission is free with advance registration. Lynn Trimble

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Exploring the age of clickbait.
Christopher Jagmin

Christopher Jagmin

Curious gallery goers zoomed right in on Christopher Jagmin’s artwork exhibited at Phoenix Art Museum last year as part of a show recognizing artist award and grant winners. One piece in particular, made with long strips of black embossed labels and a man’s belt, gave people pause. It’s part of his larger body of work comprising a modern-day folk language steeped in contemporary concerns, including fear and anxiety wrought by the dominance of the digital landscape. Now, Jagmin is showing several of his newest works at Practical Art, 5070 North Central Avenue, where you can see his work between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday, July 29. Lynn Trimble

Paz Cantina

The first Democratic presidential debate had a few breakout moments (Senator Kamala Harris’ takedown of Joe Biden was a highlight) and some questionable ones (almost anytime Marianne Williamson opened her mouth). The next two-night event, hosted by CNN and staged in Detroit, features a randomized lineup of the top 20 candidates. If you want to see what the Democrats do for an encore, come to Paz Cantina for the tastiest viewing party in town. There will be food and drink specials all night long.

You can enjoy talk and tacos at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 30, and Wednesday, July 31, at 330 East Roosevelt Street. Admission is free. Jason Keil

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Hank Green
Ashe Walker

Hank Green

It is ironic that Hank Green, who made a name for himself vlogging with his author brother John (The Fault in Our Stars), would write a book about someone who makes a viral video and deals with the ensuing consequences. But An Absolutely Remarkable Thing isn’t a cautionary tale about the perils of social media. Instead, it’s a thoughtful and humorous piece of science fiction. Green will discuss his debut novel with Rooster Teeth co-founder and chief creative officer Burnie Burns in a live-streamed event from Austin, Texas.

The conversation starts at 6:40 p.m. on Tuesday, July 30, at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Chandler, 4955 South Arizona Avenue in Chandler. Tickets are $7. Jason Keil

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Come with all your questions.

Real Sex Phoenix

HBO viewers of a certain age will recall Real Sex, the documentary series that explored and helped break down the stigmas of sexuality. The cable network canceled the popular show a decade ago, but it is one of the inspirations behind the live discussion titled Real Sex Phoenix. Produced by You Betta Sang Productions and hosted by Kelvin “Special K” Harper, this event will feature six panelists ready to discuss everything from polyamory to pegging, uncovering what really happens between the sheets. This will be a safe space, so come with all of your questions.

Get intimate at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31, at 130 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $8 to $10. Jason Keil

Better Read Than Dead

Horror fans, Bookmans Entertainment Exchange in Phoenix has a book club for you. Each month, Better Read Than Dead will discuss a novel that will scare the pants off you. July’s selection is Dean Koontz’s breakthrough page-turner Whispers. When a screenwriter kills her stalker, she thinks she can finally move on with her life, until he mysteriously returns. The scares begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31, at 8034 North 19th Avenue. This is a free event, but email [email protected] with the subject line “Horror” to reserve your seat. Jason Keil
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