Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

State pride.
State pride. Jim Louvau
Your plans have arrived. This week, you can jam out at the Music of Led Zeppelin, get cultured at Experience Polynesia, or stay classy at the Scottsdale Whiskey Festival. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

click to enlarge Relive your Prince memories at Mesa Arts Center. - FERDY DAMMAN
Relive your Prince memories at Mesa Arts Center.
Ferdy Damman

4U: The Music of Prince With Symphony

It’s been just over two years since the world lost Prince Rogers Nelson, the visionary artist behind beloved hits such as “Purple Rain,” “Raspberry Beret,” and “Little Red Corvette.” You can celebrate Prince’s creative life and legacy with an evening featuring some of his best-loved hits and lesser-known songs during a concert called 4U: The Music of Prince With Symphony, which happens on Thursday, May 9, at Mesa Arts Center’s Ikeda Theater, 1 East Main Street, Mesa.

The event pairs a live band and symphony orchestra with photos and videos provided by The Prince Estate. Tickets cost $38.50 to $68.50. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Sax man Keith Kelly is coming to Crescent Ballroom. - JOSEPH BERG
Sax man Keith Kelly is coming to Crescent Ballroom.
Joseph Berg

Crescent Jazz Society

Whether you’re a longtime jazz fan, or just jazz-curious, you’ll find several places around town where jazz takes center stage, and Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, is among them. The Crescent Jazz Society features different artists playing their jazz hearts out every Thursday night from 10 p.m. to midnight. Head over to Crescent Ballroom on Thursday, May 9, to hear Further West perform. The group features sax man Keith Kelly, along with Ryan Anthony on drums and vibes by Brett Reed. The performance is free. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Up your camera skills at Mesa's Dobson Ranch Library. - AMY DANGERFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY
Up your camera skills at Mesa's Dobson Ranch Library.
Amy Dangerfield Photography

Documentary Photography Fundamentals

Nearly everyone can be a photographer nowadays thanks to Instagram, but sometimes it’s nice to whip out an actual camera, even if you’re not an expert in composition or exposure. Photographer Amy Dangerfield gets it because she often teaches classes for those who want to move past relying on auto mode for taking pictures of things like birthday parties or family travels. She’s doing a free Documentary Photography Fundamentals workshop at Dobson Ranch Library, 2425 South Dobson Road, Mesa. Just bring your DSLR camera, and be ready to push your photography skills a bit further. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Explore Crystal Wagner's work at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum. - COURTESY OF MESA ARTS CENTER
Explore Crystal Wagner's work at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum

Los Angeles-based artist Crystal Wagner creates whimsical works with names like Elasticity that typically comprise site-specific installations melding manufactured and organic materials. She’s one of several artists featured in summer exhibitions happening at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, 1 East Main Street, Mesa. The museum kicks off its new exhibit lineup, which also includes works by Mesa-born artist Esao Andrews, with a free opening reception from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, May 10. It’s a chance to explore five new exhibits and meet several of the artists, who also include Aaron Coleman and Shay Bredimus. The evening includes light refreshments and a cash bar. Lynn Trimble

The Music of Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin rode the line between bombastic rock and symphonic music; guitarist Jimmy Page would play his guitar with a violin bow onstage. If you have ever wanted to see a mirror ball spinning at Symphony Hall, here's your chance. Vocalist Randy Jackson (not the American Idol judge, dawg, but the singer from the band Zebra) will take the stage in front of a full band and orchestra for the tribute show The Music of Led Zeppelin. All your favorite tracks like “Black Dog” and “Whole Lotta Love” will be given the classical treatment.

Dancing days are here again at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 10, at 75 North Second Street. Tickets are $35 to $225. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Hear mothers share their writing at Changing Hands Bookstore. - COURTESY OF MOTHERS WHO WRITE
Hear mothers share their writing at Changing Hands Bookstore.
Courtesy of Mothers Who Write

Mothers Who Write

Long before TV shows like This is Us captured the gut-wrenching realities of daily life and relationships, writers Amy Silverman and Deborah Sussman launched their Mothers Who Write workshops, which equip mothers to embrace the pen as a means of exploring their own doubts and dreams. Several mothers will be sharing their workshop-driven writings during a free public reading at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. It’s happening from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 11. Take note: Some materials aren’t suitable for young audiences. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Explore Polynesian culture at the Musical Instrument Museum. - COURTESY OF MIM
Explore Polynesian culture at the Musical Instrument Museum.
Courtesy of MIM

Experience Polynesia

There’s a ukulele calling your name, and the sound is coming from the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard. They’re presenting a weekend of Polynesia-inspired performance and activities, which begins on Saturday, May 11. Experience Polynesia includes music-themed crafts, Tahitian dance performances, Hawaiian musical performances, a ukulele play-along, drumming performances, and more. Take it all in between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, when you can also tour the museum’s Oceania Gallery and check out island-themed fare in the museum store and cafe. The event is free with museum admission, which runs $20 for a single day or $30 for a two-day pass. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Volunteer your time in Tempe. - COURTESY OF LOCAL FIRST ARIZONA
Volunteer your time in Tempe.
Courtesy of Local First Arizona

Tidy Up Tempe

Maybe you’re guilty of leaving your dirty towels on the bathroom floor, or letting dirty dishes pile up in the kitchen sink. It’s one thing to let your personal space go for a while. But it’s quite another to let your community go. Turns out, there’s an easy way to help clean up your community: at a Tidy Up Tempe event being presented by Local First Arizona. The free volunteer gathering starts at 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, at Cartel Coffee Lab, 225 West University Drive, and continues through 9 a.m. All you have to do is show up. Organizers will provide maps, trash-pickers, garbage bags, and gloves. And you’ll get a free coffee if you pick up at least 15 pounds of trash in the area around University Drive and Mill Avenue. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Embrace your inner author at Tempe Public Library. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Embrace your inner author at Tempe Public Library.
Lynn Trimble

How to Write a Book

Plenty of people dream of writing a book one day, but most never get around to making it happen. If you’re in that camp, you might find some much-needed inspiration in the Tempe Writes at the Library program, which includes free workshops with writers in residence. Mystery author Betty Webb, whose background also includes a journalism career, is teaching a free workshop called How to Write a Book, in the BRIC training room at Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural Road. It’s happening from 2:30 to 4:20 p.m. on Saturday, May 11. Future topics include character, plot, self-editing, getting published, and more. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Whiskey lover's heaven. - ABRAHAM BARELA
Whiskey lover's heaven.
Abraham Barela

Scottsdale Whiskey Festival

Whether you want it neat or “on the rocks,” consumers are starting to pay attention to the quality of the liquor they drink, especially when it comes to bourbon and scotch. The Scottsdale Whiskey Festival in Old Town Scottsdale will have 20 varieties to sample from different distilleries across the nation.

Get in the spirit from 3 to 6 p.m. (or 2 to 6 p.m. if you spring for a VIP ticket) on Saturday, May 11, at Wasted Grain, 7295 East Stetson Drive in Scottsdale. This event is for those of legal drinking age. Tickets are $25 to $40. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Worth the run. - TORTOISE AND HARE SPORTS
Worth the run.
Tortoise and Hare Sports

Tortoise & Hare Sports Ice Cream Run

The mercury is starting to rise in Arizona, so lace up your shoes and head over to the coolest race in town. The course of the sixth annual Tortoise & Hare Sports Ice Cream Run is four scenic miles through the west Valley. Little striders can participate in the half-mile Kids Sundae Sprint. Your reward for a job well done is a finisher's medal and a scrumptious ice cream social at the finish line.

The starting gun goes off at 7 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, at Rio Vista Community Park, 8866 West Thunderbird Road in Peoria. Registration is $54 on the day of the event. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Make friends with the ukulele at Bookmans in Mesa. - COURTESY OF BOOKMANS
Make friends with the ukulele at Bookmans in Mesa.
Courtesy of Bookmans

Life From Bookmans: Ukulele Party!

There’s a lot you can do with four strings, if you know how to play the ukulele. It’s all good and fine to sit and home and strum away, but it’s hard to go next level without professional assistance. Plus, it’s more fun to learn with other aspiring ukulele players. Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, 1056 South Country Club Drive, Mesa, can help you out here, with a gathering called Live From Bookmans: Ukulele Party! It’s a free group ukulele lesson, presented by musician Kehau Kuhi. He’ll be teaching simple cords, and you’ll even learn to play a few songs. Lynn Trimble

Arizona Science Center

Haven’t had a chance to head downtown to see the “Mummies of the World” exhibition? If you want to see the largest collection of ancient remains, the Arizona Science Center is keeping the doors open a little later than usual on Sunday. Make it a date and have a few cocktails. Then check out the multimedia presentations, read the personal stories of those on display, and learn more about the past cultures of civilizations around the globe.

Put a "wrap" on your weekend from 5 to 8:15 p.m. on Sunday, May 12, at 600 East Washington Street. Tickets are $14. Jason Keil

Arizona Diamondbacks

There has never been a better time to head to Chase Field for some peanuts and Cracker Jack. The Arizona Diamondbacks are shocking a lot of analysts in the opening months of the season. The batting lineup, led by David Peralta, is putting up runs while Zack Greinke could be the hottest pitcher in baseball right now. The Pittsburgh Pirates haven't fared as well, so you might be witness to a lot of moon shots in the direction of Jefferson Street.

The starting pitch goes out at 6:40 p.m. on Monday, May 13, at 401 East Jefferson Street. Tickets are $15 to $200. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Enjoy dance under the stars at Desert Botanical Garden. - COURTESY OF BALLET ARIZONA
Enjoy dance under the stars at Desert Botanical Garden.
Courtesy of Ballet Arizona


The night sky will twinkle over a stunning desert landscape as Ballet Arizona returns to Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, to perform Ib Andersen’s site-specific ballet titled Eroica, which is set to Beethoven’s Third Symphony. It’s a poignant exploration of personal, creative, and collective histories, comprising a beautiful intersection of classic and contemporary ballet. If all you know of ballet is tutus and pointe shoes, Eroica will open your eyes to ballet’s expansive offerings, and Andersen’s facility for creating movement that defies expectations. The production opens on Tuesday, May 14, with an 8 p.m. performance, and continues through Saturday, June 1. Arrive early to watch dancers warm up on stage, or to purchase a meal and cocktails. Tickets start at $48. Lynn Trimble

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Before John Cameron Mitchell became the boss you love to hate on Shrill, he wrote the groundbreaking Off-Broadway musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The director turned it into a cinematic rock opera three years later. The film follows the titular band, led by their charismatic transgender lead singer (Mitchell), as they shadow the tour of the chart-topping Tommy Gnosis, who stole the band’s songs. Michael Soto from Equality Arizona is hosting this movie on The Coronado's patio.

The wig comes out of the box at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, at 2201 North Seventh Street. This is a free event. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Still image from the Bauhaus Spirit film. - COURTESY OF NO FESTIVAL REQUIRED
Still image from the Bauhaus Spirit film.
Courtesy of No Festival Required

Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of the Bauhaus

The suffix “-haus” is a mainstay of hipster culture, although most people aren’t all that well-versed in the German Bauhaus movement of the early 20th century. The movement that marries art, design, and craft has influenced everything from architecture to performing arts through the years. Learn more about the origins and influence of Bauhaus sensibilities when No Festival Required screens a film called Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of the Bauhaus at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15. It’s happening at Park Central, 3121 North Third Avenue. Tickets are $10. Once you’ve seen it, head to Heard Museum or Tucson Museum of Art, where you can see works by Bauhaus artist Josef Albers. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Take your penmanship to the next level at Heritage Square. - COURTESY OF HERITAGE SQUARE
Take your penmanship to the next level at Heritage Square.
Courtesy of Heritage Square

Modern Calligraphy

Back in the day, having pretty penmanship was highly prized. Today it’s all about how fast your thumbs can bang out a text message, but there’s still a time and place for handwritten messages that convey an extra bit of love and attention. Perfecting calligraphy takes time, but you can pick up the art of faux calligraphy fairly quickly, especially when you work with a skilled teacher. Laurie Blackwell, an elementary school teacher with lovely handwriting, is teaching a two-hour class called Modern Calligraphy at The Bungalow at Heritage Square, 113 North Sixth Street. The class runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, and costs $20 to $22. You’ll learn tips and techniques for fancy writing, make a few projects, and get take-home materials including an instruction book and basic supplies. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge See work by Phoenix-based artist Carrie Marill at Lisa Sette Gallery. - LISA SETTE GALLERY
See work by Phoenix-based artist Carrie Marill at Lisa Sette Gallery.
Lisa Sette Gallery

'At the Doors of Perception'

Eager to explore “the full realm of the human psyche,” Lisa Sette gathered works by diverse artists for her summer “At the Doors of Perception” exhibition, which prompts viewers to consider the expansive world of the mind, beyond mundane experiences and digital dependency. Featured artists include Carrie Marill, whose newest mural graces the front of Practical Art, as well as ASU professor Binh Danh. The free exhibit also includes Brian James Culbertson portraits of people under the influence of psychotropic drugs, and Kahn/Selesnick photographs that convey eerie imaginings of alternative worlds. Get a good look at Lisa Sette Gallery, 210 East Catalina Drive, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15. The exhibit continues through August 31. Visit Lynn Trimble
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble