Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Having a good time at Necrotek Night.
Having a good time at Necrotek Night. Benjamin Leatherman
Your plans have arrived. This week, you can explore the universe (or at least Tempe) during Area 51 Bar Crawl, expand your culinary palate at Arizona Restaurant Week, or enjoy a brew while supporting a good cause at SustainaBREW. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

click to enlarge It's all about the birds, and the beer. - RIO SALADO AUDUBON CENTER
It's all about the birds, and the beer.
Rio Salado Audubon Center

Birds n’ Beer

We’re usually thinking about bird and butterfly migrations across the Southern border here in the Southwest. But migrations are happening all around the globe, including the Middle East. One of the largest bird migrations passes over Israel twice each year. Dan Alon and Jonathan Meyrav from the Israel Ornithological Center will be sharing the details during the next Birds n’ Beer event at Rio Salado Audubon Center, 3131 South Central Avenue. The free happy hour-style event is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 19. Their talk starts at 6:30 p.m. Light snacks are free, and craft beer and wine will be available for purchase. Lynn Trimble

Classic Simpsons Trivia

What is Bart Simpson’s middle name? What did Lyle Lanley sell to the town of Springfield? And how did Frank Grimes happen to die? If you can easily conjure up the answers to these questions (which are JoJo, a monorail, and self-electrocution), you might win Classic Simpsons Trivia on Thursday, September 19, at The Coronado, 2201 North Seventh Street.

The pub-style trivia event features teams of Simpsons fanatics answering questions drawn from the first 12 seasons (a.k.a. the golden years) of the legendary animated show. Those who prove to be as smart as Professor Frink will win prizes as will the groups with the best team name. Food and drink specials will also be available. The fun starts at 7 p.m. and it’s free to participate. Call 602-252-1322. Benjamin Leatherman


Don’t let a little thing like a Thursday get in the way of some culture. Specifically, Live Poetic and We Jazz June are kicking off the 2019-2020 season of JAZZmeetsPOETRY to coincide with September’s Hispanic Heritage Month. And what better way to commemorate the many contributions of great Hispanic and Latino Americans than an evening of live performances by Trio Los Cubichis and Caleb Michel. Also, school night be damned — enjoy a few rounds of wine or cocktails from the bar.

JAZZmeetsPOETRY runs 7:30 to 9:45 p.m. on Thursday, September 19, at The Nash, 110 East Roosevelt Street. Tickets for the event are $15 in advance and $20 at the door (or, with a student discount, $8 and $10, respectively). Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Take me to your leader. - NEW TIMES ARCHIVE
Take me to your leader.
New Times Archive

Area 51 Bar Crawl

 The “Storm Area 51” event is canceled, but there’s still time to jump on the bandwagon with Mill Avenue’s Area 51 Bar Crawl. The extraterrestrial festivities begin at Varsity Tavern, then they move to a variety of downtown Tempe hotspots before finally beaming down to The One One Bar for a special rooftop shindig. Just don’t forget to bring your alien antennae and “Take me to your leader” sign (and some Uber money).

The Area 51 Bar Crawl cruises from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday, September 20, beginning at the Varsity Tavern, 501 South Mill Avenue in Tempe. There’s a $20 admission charge, or just skip everything for the free afterparty at The One One Bar. Chris Coplan

Check out Catherine Slye's work in Scottsdale. - WALTER GALLERY
Check out Catherine Slye's work in Scottsdale.
Walter Gallery

‘Joyland Toyland’

Seeing the art cars Walter Productions takes to Burning Man and other creative gatherings is bound to put a smile on your face. But there’s more to Walter Productions than Big Red, Heathen, and Kalliope. The company also has a gallery located off the beaten path at 6425 East Thomas Road in Old Town Scottsdale. That’s where the “Joyland Toyland” exhibit featuring photographs by Catherine Slye opens this month. Slye used macro lenses, filters, and other techniques to highlight the playful features of her collection of more than three dozen vintage and antique toys. See the results during the free opening reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 20. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Lookin' great at Necrotek Night. - MICHELLE SASONOV
Lookin' great at Necrotek Night.
Michelle Sasonov

Necrotek Night

Rivetheads of the Valley have been flocking to industrial dance nights around town for decades. Back in the day (specifically the early- to mid-’90s), they were held at bygone nightspots like The Atomic Cafe and Anderson’s Fifth Estate. These days, fans of the genre can be found getting down at the gothy dance parlor Club Palazzo, 710 North Central Avenue, during the monthly Necrotek Night.

Serving up “dystopian beats for a necrotic society,” the dance party features local DJs //SHE//, The Rev. DJ Razorslave, and special guests spinning a mix of industrial, EBM (a.k.a. electronic body music), and “necro techno” for anyone in the mood to stomp. This month’s edition takes place on Friday, September 20, and will feature a guest set by DJ Zander. Drink specials include $3 wells until 10 p.m. The 21-and-over event goes from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Admission is $5 before 10 p.m., $8 thereafter. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Beat the heat on the shady patio at Chelsea's Kitchen. - NEW TIMES ARCHIVE
Beat the heat on the shady patio at Chelsea's Kitchen.
New Times Archive

Arizona Restaurant Week

You could spend your whole life eating at the same four restaurants — no judgments. Or you could live a little and dive headlong into the Valley’s gargantuan scene by celebrating Arizona Restaurant Week. Over nine full days, 150-plus eateries, cafes, and other culinary establishments will present prix-fixe dinners to help raise awareness while also filling bellies. So whether it’s Nuevo Latin from Deseo, Italian at Alexi’s Grill, American at Chelsea’s Kitchen, steak and seafood at Buck & Rider, or Cuban from the Canal Club, there are plenty of options for overeating.

Restaurant Week runs September 20 through September 29 at restaurants Valley-wide; for a full list of venues, head to Dinners run either $33 or $44 per person, though not including beverages, taxes, and (a big fat) gratuity. Chris Coplan

Check out all the great murals while you're in South Phoenix. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Check out all the great murals while you're in South Phoenix.
Lynn Trimble

Urban Arts Market

You could spend your Saturday morning buying fresh quinoa at a farmer’s market. Or, just head downtown for the Urban Arts Market to celebrate a real slice of city life. A slew of local vendors and artists will be taking over a chunk of South Phoenix all day, including Dreamerslove clothing, Creativo Duro jewelry, and That Good Good skin/health care. Plus, food trucks galore and a playground to dump the kiddies.

Urban Arts Market runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 21, near the crossroads of 16th Street and Southern Avenue. The event is free. Call 602-919-0139 for info, updates, and other handy tidbits. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Food trucks ahead. - MELISSA FOSSUM
Food trucks ahead.
Melissa Fossum

‘Margarita, Mojito, Craft Beer, and Food Truck’ Festival

You don’t need much promotion with an event like the “Margarita, Mojito, Craft Beer, and Food Truck” Festival. It’s a “build it and they will come and enjoy the 40 tasting stations in addition to arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, and live music” kind of situation. But in case you needed more, this a dog-friendly event will have a “Great Arizona Small Dog Race” with proceeds benefiting the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control Department. The only way to make this better? Call it “Margs and Pups.”

The good times commence from 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, September 21, at Riverview Park, 2100 West Rio Salado Parkway in Mesa. Tickets are $25 for general admission and please for the love of everything, bring your adorable puppies. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Share the Polaroid love with Nissa Kubly. - PRACTICAL ART
Share the Polaroid love with Nissa Kubly.
Practical Art

Polaroid Transfer Workshop

Ever wished you could take that old prom picture and slap it onto a coffee mug? Probably not, right? But you might like learning how to transfer Polaroid images onto paper to create unique works of art that don’t conjure memories of life’s most embarrassing moments. Think serene desert landscapes, cherished family gatherings, or playful family pets.

Artist Nissa Kubly, who uses Polaroid photographs to create jewelry and other art objects, can show you how it’s done, during her Polaroid Transfer Workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 21, at Practical Art, 5070 North Central Avenue. The class costs $40, and includes all materials. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Would you try peanut butter whiskey? - COURTESY OF SKREWBALL PEANUT BUTTER WHISKEY
Would you try peanut butter whiskey?
Courtesy of Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey

Peanut Butter and Jelly Throw Down

There’s a reason peanut butter and jelly are the de-facto choices for “two great things that go together swimmingly.” But what happens if you take that magical combo and cram that into other foods? Guess you’ll have to find out at the first-ever Peanut Butter and Jelly Throw Down, wherein a slew of food trucks — including The Family Grind, When Pigs Fly, Munch Box, and The Patty Wagon — spice up their usual fare with these sweet, sweet condiments. Then, enjoy your tasty culinary hybrids alongside a few cocktails and live music, plus balloon art and a bounce house for the kids (or the young at heart?)

History happens from 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, September 21, at the Arrowhead Country Club, 19888 North 73rd Avenue in Glendale. Admission is free. Chris Coplan

Mr. Phoenix Prime Beef

Want to stick it to our youth-obsessed culture, help a great cause, and have a good time? Then spend your Saturday evening at the Mr. Phoenix Prime Beef contest. Already in its fourth year, the event is heralded as a celebration for Valley men aged 50 and older, with a silent auction, live entertainment, and plenty of surprises (feel free to guess wildly). Proceeds from the event benefit Bikers Against Child Abuse, which means any debauchery or judgmental behavior doesn’t actually count against your mortal soul.

Get your prime beef on starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 21, at Pat O’s Bunkhouse Saloon, 4428 North Seventh Avenue. There’s no admission, but attending and not donating is a classless move. Chris Coplan


Throw on your browncoat, grab ol’ Vera, and get ready for a shiny time with a charity screening of Serenity. Not only will you enjoy the excellent 2005 film adaptation of the criminally underrated FOX series Firefly, but there’ll be merchandise galore, a raffle, and a costume contest. Plus, enjoy a hearty meal or an adult beverage — sorry, no Mudder’s Milk or hodge berries.

This trip to Rim planets runs from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, September 22, at Studio Movie Grill, 15515 North Hayden Road in Scottsdale. Tickets are $15 for general admission, or just pay a few gorram bucks extra for admission and a raffle ticket. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Anything can happen at The Comedy Spot. - EVIE CARPENTER
Anything can happen at The Comedy Spot.
Evie Carpenter

The Most Peculiar One-Night Traveling Show

If politics has been making you laugh until you cry lately, it might be time for a bit of comic relief. The Comedy Spot, 7117 East Third Avenue in Scottsdale, can help you with that. That’s where a vaudeville-inspired bit of musical comedy will take to the stage at 7 p.m. on Sunday, September 22. The Most Peculiar One-Night Traveling Show is billed as “a story about show biz, love, and paying rent.” And it’s got an eclectic mix of talent, from Pandora DeStrange to Eve Ossian. You can thank Parrish Spisz for writing and directing it, just in time to give you a refreshing break from all the surreal, reality-show leanings of current events. Tickets are $12, which is a small price to pay for changing the channel in your brain. There’s a two-drink minimum and seating is first-come, first-served. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Sometimes only pink donuts will do. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
Sometimes only pink donuts will do.
Jacob Tyler Dunn

Arizona Donut and Ice Cream Festival

Some of the best foods around are, well, round. Think bagels, pizza, pancakes, and tortillas. But when you’ve got a sweet tooth, it’s all about the donuts and ice cream. Celebrate both during the Arizona Donut and Ice Cream Festival happening from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 22, at the Pressroom, 441 West Madison Street. Tickets are $8, unless you want to pay $13 for a ticket that gets you early access at 11 a.m. You’ll need money to buy food and drinks, which will include offerings from more a dozen purveyors of donuts and ice cream. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Checking out Saskia Jorda's work in a previous exhibit. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Checking out Saskia Jorda's work in a previous exhibit.
Lynn Trimble


Typically, people think of “hanging by a thread” as a bad thing. But the phrase gets a new twist in the “Threaded” exhibit that opened this month inside the art gallery at Mesa Community College, 1833 West Southern Avenue in Mesa. The free exhibit includes works by 34 contemporary artists working in the eclectic, evolving field of fibers, including several based here in metro Phoenix.

Highlights include works by Saskia Jorda and Ann Morton, both artists who’ve been featured at Lisa Sette Gallery in Phoenix. Jorda’s work has been exhibited at Phoenix Art Museum and the biennial ArtPrize competition in Michigan. Morton has created several significant public art works around the Valley, but we’re particularly fond of her biting Proof-Reading series inspired by awful Trumpisms. Check it out on Monday, September 23, when gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lynn Trimble

Checking out the collaborative "Water is Life" exhibit in Phoenix. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Checking out the collaborative "Water is Life" exhibit in Phoenix.
Lynn Trimble


Water issues have made a lot of headlines in recent years, from Flint, Michigan, to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Now, there’s a local platform for people who want to address water issues that hit close to home. Sonoran Desert Water Awareness is working to highlight indigenous experiences and perspectives on water, as well as issues impacts environmental justice – including water quality and access, and the criminalization of humanitarian efforts to help migrants obtain water in the borderlands.

Learn more when they partner with Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, 1738 East McDowell Road, to present a free community water event called ¡Aguas! It’s happening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24. The evening will include art, food, music, poetry, and speakers — plus time for crafting a community vision around water. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Scene from the musical Miss Saigon. - MATTHEW MURPHY
Scene from the musical Miss Saigon.
Matthew Murphy

Miss Saigon

It’s been three decades since the musical Miss Saigon, with its lavish sets and epic tale of heartbreak, premiered in London. Set in the 1970s during the Vietnam War, it was inspired by the renowned opera Madame Butterfly and centers around the relationship between a Vietnamese woman orphaned by war and an American G.I.

Perspectives on the musical have changed over time, and the musical’s Broadway revival has drawn sharp criticism. Even so, it’s worth seeing, if only to be reminded of the many ways cultural works reflect dominant societal narratives with profound effect. You can see the touring production at ASU Gammage, 1220 South Forest Avenue in Tempe, at 7:30 p.m. on September 25. Tickets prices vary. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Beer pairs perfectly with sustainability. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
Beer pairs perfectly with sustainability.
Lauren Cusimano


You’re in luck if your twin passions are beer and sustainability. They’re both top of mind for Local First Arizona, which is getting ready for it its first event focused on the sustainability of local beer. They’ve convened a panel for a lively discussion, which will include folks from the Nature Conservancy, Sinagua Malt, Rhiba Farms, and AZ Wilderness Brewery.

They’ll be sharing ways they’ve collaborated to save millions of gallons of water, support a circular economy, and minimize greenhouse-gas emissions. It’s fascinating stuff, especially when you can listen while enjoying sustainable beer. The free SustainaBREW event happens from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25, at AZ Wilderness, 201 East Roosevelt Street. Register online before attending, and bring money if you want to enjoy a brew or two. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Comfy seating arrangement for the screening of Christine. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Comfy seating arrangement for the screening of Christine.
Lynn Trimble


True Stephen King fans have likely seen IT Chapter Two at least four times by now. So then why not delve back into one of the finest cinematic adaptations of King’s big ol’ bibliography with a viewing of 1983’s Christine? Is a film about a murderous car a little hokey? Sure. But we now live in the era of driverless cars, so it’s only a matter of time before they actually turn against us. Thanks for the warning, Mr. King!

Christine pulls into the silver screen at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25, at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 1140 East Baseline Road in Tempe. Tickets are $7, but sadly this ain’t no drive-in. 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