The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Ready to watch some wrestling.EXPAND
Ready to watch some wrestling.
Benjamin Leatherman
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There’s so much to do this week. You can broaden your cinematic horizons during Mesa Film Festival, browse the Valley’s finest micro-publications at Phx Zine Fest, or sing along with on-screen lyrics during a showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Leah Marché is one of many metro Phoenix creatives participating in Black Poetry Day.EXPAND
Leah Marché is one of many metro Phoenix creatives participating in Black Poetry Day.
Tempe Center for the Arts

National Black Poetry Day Celebration

Black poets will take center stage in Tempe during the National Black Poetry Day Celebration happening at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 17. The free event takes place at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe, where poets and other creatives will join community members in honoring poets past and present, as well as exploring the power of poetry for individuals, families, and communities.

Expect remarks and performance by local and national literary creatives, including BlackPoet Ventures co-founder Leah Marche, Phoenix Poet Laureate Rosemarie Dombrowski, and Rashaad Thomas, who was recently named best poet by Phoenix New Times. The event will also honor those who make space for black poet performance and pay homage to black poets who’ve been lost through the years. Lynn Trimble

Mesa Film Festival

Mesa isn’t always known as a cultural mecca. Now, the city government and a local coalition of business owners are looking to change that with the new Mesa Film Festival. Over three days, creators from the world over, both students and seasoned pros alike, will present 100-plus films. In addition to the screenings, filmmakers and fans alike can hobnob with mentoring sessions and networking opportunities.

The cinematic marathon runs from Thursday, October 17, to Sunday, October 20, at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street in Mesa. Chris Coplan

Explore works by Frances Smith Cohen at Herberger Theater Center.
Explore works by Frances Smith Cohen at Herberger Theater Center.
Howard Paley

Frances Smith Cohen

Few choreographers rival the impact of Frances Smith Cohen on Arizona’s evolving dance scene. After Cohen died in May, several artists set about creating a retrospective of her decades-long career. It’s being performed at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street, where her Center Dance Ensemble has long presented modern dance works. Your first chance to see it is at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 17.

The performance will include Dance of the Spiderwomen, inspired by a late-night visit to a New York City bar, and Inside the Silence, based on the paintings of Holocaust victim Charlotte Salomon. Additional pieces will reflect the diversity of Cohen’s many interests and talents. Expect performances by guest artists including Sally Hogan and Nicole Olson. Tickets are $28. Lynn Trimble

Look for this portrait of Adora Bell at Eye Lounge on Third Friday.EXPAND
Look for this portrait of Adora Bell at Eye Lounge on Third Friday.
Samantha Lyn Aasen

‘For Her Time’

Stereotypes about sex workers prompted artist Samantha Lyn Aasen to create a series of photographs focused on their daily lives. Her exhibition titled “For Her Time” seeks to humanize sex workers through intimate portraits that reveal their “bravery and vulnerability” in the face of significant social stigma.

You can see the exhibit from 6 to 10 p.m. on Third Friday, October 18. It’s being shown at Eye Lounge, 419 East Roosevelt Street. Aasen will be on hand to talk about the exhibit, which is part of her larger body of work that also includes photographs of female anatomy embellished with sequins and other decorative materials. “I want to highlight their stories, not speak for them,” she says of the sex workers featured in her new photographic series. Lynn Trimble

Strange Negotiations

Strange Negotiations is the excellent sophomore album from David Bazan, hometown hero and head honcho of the iconic Pedro the Lion. It’s also the name of a recent documentary that focuses on Bazan’s life, overarching artistry, and ongoing spiritual uncertainty. Unless you bumped into Bazan back in the day, the film is a great way to delve into one of the most earnest and thoughtful songwriters of our times.

Now you can enjoy the film during the glory of a Valley autumn with a 7:30 p.m. showing on Friday, October 18, at 600 East Alameda Drive in Tempe. Director Brandon Vedder will also join the festivities via Skype for a post-screening Q&A. Chris Coplan

Cumbia Rock Reggae Fest

Phoenix is a town still figuring itself out culturally, and as such, our musical offerings are a little more diverse than some more “established” hamlets. For proof of that, you need only to check out the first-ever Cumbia Rock Reggae Fest. Hosted by Ser Latino magazine, the fest features Arizona acts Kill Babylon Coalition, Vox Urbana, and Santa Pachita alongside international favorites Bianca Ciocca and La Inedita, plus DJ sets from J-Cut and El Nuevo Sound. There’ll be rock and there’ll be cumbia, but mostly there’ll be a good ol’ time.

The fest goes down at 8 p.m. on Friday, October 18, at the Stratus Event Center, 4344 West Indian School Road.

For tickets and more info, look for the festival on Eventbrite, or register for extra-swanky VIP status by calling 480-204-7481. Chris Coplan

Craft beer pairs well with dinosaurs.EXPAND
Craft beer pairs well with dinosaurs.
Arizona Museum of Natural History

Beer N Bones

Maybe you never let go of your childhood fascination with dinosaurs. If so, there’s a fun way to blend dinosaur nostalgia with more grown-up pursuits like enjoying craft beer. Arizona Museum of Natural History, 53 North Macdonald in Mesa, is holding a Beer N Bones event from 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday, October 18.

It’s a chance to explore museum offerings and help a good cause. Event proceeds will help with updates to the Southwest Gallery and other museum programs. You need to be at least 21 years old to attend, and tickets start at $20. Expect a night filled with science-themed activities, plus local craft beer and food truck fare. Lynn Trimble

Tarot cards meet literary classic at Aside Theatre.EXPAND
Tarot cards meet literary classic at Aside Theatre.
Lynn Trimble

The Canterbury Tarot

Phoenix playwright (and New Times contributor) Ashley Naftule put a new spin on Chaucer’s medieval classic by mixing in a hefty dose of tarot cards for a full-length play called The Canterbury Tarot. It imagines 10 pilgrims, each representing a major arcana from the tarot deck, passing the time together at a tavern during a violent storm.

Eager to include several styles of storytelling, Naftule incorporated comedy, dance, music, puppetry, and theater into the piece, which is being presented by Aside Theatre Company, 3508 North Seventh Street. It’s being paired with Ben Gill’s short play titled Cask and Crypt during the 7:30 p.m. performance on Friday, October 18. Tickets start at $15. Lynn Trimble

Bookstore meets open mic at Palabras Bilingual Bookstore.EXPAND
Bookstore meets open mic at Palabras Bilingual Bookstore.
Lynn Trimble

POC It To Me Open Mic

There’s nothing scarier than a hot mic unless it’s a terrifying tale shared during an event with friends and fellow community members. Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, located at 1738 East McDowell Road, is bringing the scare factor to its latest POC It To Me Open Mic, a free community gathering happening from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 19.

If you’re a person of color with creativity to share, reach out to Palabras by Thursday to let them know what you’d like to perform. They’re looking for comedy, poetry, live art, stories, and more — all fitting this month’s theme: scary. You decide what’s scary, but skip the fake blood and hate speech. Lynn Trimble

Rey Basura, better known as the Trash King, at last year's Party Hard Wrestling event.EXPAND
Rey Basura, better known as the Trash King, at last year's Party Hard Wrestling event.
Benjamin Leatherman

Party Hard Wrestling

If you missed the WWE’s big show from late September, there’s still time to catch sweet grappling action. Calling itself the “most party wrestling promotion in all of Chairizona,” Party Hard Wrestling presents a take on wrestling that blends pure artistry with mindless violence (so, like a backdrop driver but done to Mozart?). Regardless, you can expect appearances not only from local talent, including the Bayside Besties and “Trash King” Ray Basura, but also indie icon Colt Cabana.

PHW’s free fourth season kickoff, “Too Art For TV!,” is set for 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 19, at The Nile, 105 West Main Street in Mesa. Chris Coplan

Janis herself.
Janis herself.
New Times Archive

A Night With Janis Joplin

In 2009, 30 Rock predicted there’d be some kind of movie tribute to the iconic Janis Joplin. In 2013, what we got was A Night With Janis Joplin, a Broadway musical exploration of Joplin’s life, her rise to the upper echelons of rock stardom, and her fade out and lasting legacy as a one-of-a-kind musical dynamo. Sure, 30 Rock had Jenna Maroney as Jackie Jormp-Jomp, but the real-life Mary Bridget Davies did wonders in re-creating Joplin’s manic presence and raw passion.

The show arrives in Phoenix at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 19, at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets range from $35 to $85, or $130 for the VIP package (which includes a swag bag, photo ops, and a meet-and-greet with Davies). Chris Coplan

Exploring a Pueblo Grande Museum display on Hohokam canals.EXPAND
Exploring a Pueblo Grande Museum display on Hohokam canals.
Lynn Trimble

Portal to the Past Celebration

Although the rich history of ancestral Sonoran Desert people surrounds the metro Phoenix community, people rarely make time to learn more about the history and impact of indigenous communities. That’s where the Portal to the Past Celebration comes in. It’s a free event happening from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 20, at Pueblo Grande Museum, 4619 East Washington Street.

The event will feature performances by local creatives, including artists, dancers, musicians, poets, and storytellers. It’s designed to “celebrate the rich history and legacy of the Hohokam.” While you’re there, you can explore the museum, which is located on a 1,500-year-old archaeological site. Lynn Trimble

Matty Matheson

If you’ve watched Viceland regularly, you’re probably familiar with Matty Matheson’s culinary antics and his amazeballs recipes. For those who aren’t acquainted with the rotund and ribald hipster chef, who’s both over the top and overly tattooed, he’s become an online sensation because of his cooking videos featuring craveable cuisine.

Matheson also has a self-titled cookbook out and just debuted a new YouTube show, Just a Dash, earlier this month. He’s currently hitting cities on the West Coast with his “Happy Vulnerable Tasty Sadness Happy Tour,” where he serves up stories about his life and misadventures, including dealing with drug addiction.

The tour comes to The Pressroom, 441 West Madison Street, on Sunday, October 20. The show starts at 2 p.m. General admission is $27, and a meet-and-greet package, which includes an autographed photo and VIP merch, is $99. Benjamin Leatherman

Throwback to Phx Zine Fest 2018.EXPAND
Throwback to Phx Zine Fest 2018.
Jose Romero

Phx Zine Fest

More than 60 creatives who make or publish an array of micro-publications will converge on Unexpected Art Gallery, 734 West Polk Street, for this year’s Phx Zine Fest on Sunday, October 20, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free for the all-ages event, where you’ll also find indie comics, photography books, political pamphlets, and other literary offerings that reflect a robust range of creative expression.

The event also includes panels, hands-on activities, and food trucks. Look for local and national creatives, from small presses to illustrators. The lineup includes Cardboard House Press, Equality Arizona, Girls Rock! Phoenix, Orange Beanie Press, Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, Tiny Joys, Wasted Ink Zine Distro, and more. Lynn Trimble

Get ready to party with Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Get ready to party with Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Most of the time, singing inside movie theaters is frowned upon. But you can go all in when Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 1140 East Baseline in Tempe, presents a movie party complete with a 35 mm screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It’s happening at 7:45 p.m. on Monday, October 21.

Before the show, try activities designed to test your will and skill. Everyone will get a sword and coconut halves, just to up the fun factor. Sing along with on-screen lyrics if you like, and feel free to wear your film-inspired garb. Even shouting out the film’s best-loved lines is encouraged. Tickets are $16.22. Lynn Trimble

A recent encounter with artwork by Mike Jacobs.EXPAND
A recent encounter with artwork by Mike Jacobs.
Lynn Trimble

‘Digital Processes’

Artists have been taking the digital dive for a while now, with radically divergent methods and results. See how two Arizona artists are using digital technologies in their work at Bentley Gallery, 215 East Grant Street, in an exhibition titled “Digital Processes.” Get a good look on Tuesday, October 22, when gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The exhibit features works by Mike Jacobs, who blends deconstructed photographic imagery with painted geometrics to explore visual culture, technical systems, and scientific paradigms that shape perception. It also includes works by Travis Rice, who uses paintings, drawings, and sculptures heavily influenced by architectural perspectives to explore motifs prevalent in Southwestern landscapes. The show continues through November 9. Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Suns

Last season wasn’t stellar for the Phoenix Suns. As a matter of fact, after finishing with an abysmal 19-63 record (the second-worst in the NBA), it was arguably one of the worst seasons of all time for the purple-and-orange squad.

Needless to say, the Suns have nowhere to go but up as they head into the 2019-20 season, because, quite frankly, they really couldn’t get much worse. They’ve got the talent to put something together. Popular players Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton are back in the lineup, and the team added point guard Ricky Rubio over the summer.

The Suns’ season officially starts on Wednesday, October 23, when they take on the Sacramento Kings in their home opener at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $16. Benjamin Leatherman

The Truth About Killer Robots

Are you worried that automation is truncating human dignity and worth? You’ll want to see a powerful documentary film called The Truth About Killer Robots, which is being screened from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23, at ASU Coor Hall, 976 South Forest Mall in Tempe.

The 2018 HBO film explores the social and ethical implications of artificial intelligence and robotics during an age when both are growing more prevalent in many aspects of everyday life. The screening will include remarks by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Maxim Pozdorovkin, whose larger body of work focuses on the issue with a global scope. Lynn Trimble

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