For years it seemed downtown Phoenix was a less-than-painted desert. Today, that couldn’t be further from the truth. And while some murals and public art have been painted over or torn down — much to the consternation of the community — events like the third annual Paint PHX are keeping otherwise beige walls bright.
The weekend begins with an array of gallery shows: ThirdSpace hosts the “Official Paint PHX Kickoff Party” with live painting from Chicago artist CZR PRZ, Tucson-based Dwayno Insano, and Randy Boogie out of Winslow, while Sound & Color displays “Mixed Palette,” with work from Lalo Cota and Douglas Miles. “The Real Nitty Gritty,” at Monorchid, is a group graffiti show including El Mac and Thomas Breeze Marcus. From there, the three-day mural expo takes over Grand Avenue, Fifth Street, and Calle 16 in a series of organized, outdoor collaborations.
Paint PHX events start at 6 p.m. on First Friday, March 4. For more events and an ever-updating list of participating artists, visit www.facebook.com/paintphx. Janessa Hilliard
“Mutant Piñata Show”
Unlike your seventh birthday party, these crafty creations are home to no candy or prizes — and giving them a solid “whack!” with a bat is definitely discouraged.
Grand Avenue godmother Beatrice Moore’s “Mutant Piñata Show” returns for its ninth year, and fans of the annual installation have come to expect the weird and wacky. Past entries have included a Yellow Submarine, a trio of hanging triplets, and floating eyeballs. The event is one of the wittier gallery shows in town, offering a light-hearted look at cultural identity and self-expression — and certainly more creative than those lining party aisles.
See the papier-mâché creatures on First Friday, March 4, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Chartreuse, 1301 Grand Avenue. Free to see. Head to www.facebook.com/events/195121014173225 for details. Janessa Hilliard
Christopher Durang is still writing successful, hilarious plays like Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, but you currently have the opportunity to check out one of his earliest, least frequently produced works, 1974’s Titanic. The ship might be in danger of sinking, but the focus is on smaller disasters within the class-conscious Tammurai family.
Characters become each other (and completely new, different people) with alarming frequency, yet the chaotic action is, in our opinion, fairly easy to follow. And the captain’s daughter, Lidia (played in New York by Durang’s classmate Sigourney Weaver, pre-fame), has hamsters in her hoo-ha.
Your teeth might be floating like a lifeboat by the time the one-hour one-act concludes — so, as we often advise, pee first. Space 55 presents this wondrous nonsense through Saturday, March 5, at 636 East Pierce Street. For tickets, $10, visit www.space55.org. Showtime on Friday, March 3, is 8 p.m. Julie Peterson
Play on Palabras
As Margaret Atwood once put it, “a word after a word after a word is power.” This becomes literally true when playing word games (ask anyone who does the Times Sunday crossword puzzle every week). This weekend, you can experience the power of words for yourself at Palabras Librería/Bookstore, 1023 Grand Avenue Studio B, during Play on Palabras, a game night featuring multi-lingual Scrabble and other word games. The evening’s festivities will also include a special tamale tasting, featuring tamales from four local restaurants. (Get a free tamale with the donation of a book.)
It’s game on at 6 p.m. First Friday, March 4. The event is free and family friendly. For more information, visit palabrasbookstore.com. Katrina Montgomery