GremlinsWhile Gremlins isn’t heralded as a Christmas classic, what other film is a metaphor for the unlikely bonds of family and features an epic fight scene in an ’80s Montgomery Ward? At least the folks at BS Movies recognize its importance and are celebrating Gizmo and company with a special screening. After the credits roll, hosts Brian Haas and Shelly Grant present their live podcast with trivia and giveaways courtesy of Zia Records. Sadly, there will be no actual gremlins available for cuddling.
The screening is set for 8 p.m. on Friday, December 13, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Tickets are just $9.95. Chris Coplan
Phoenix Festival of the ArtsFor three days, Phoenix Center for the Arts will transform part of Hance Park, 1202 North Third Street, into a giant arts venue complete with a fun assortment of visual and performance art. Experience the Phoenix Festival of the Arts on opening day, Friday, December 13, when festival hours are noon to 5 p.m. You’ll find artists live painting murals, onstage entertainment, food trucks, and plenty of artists selling paintings, ceramics, jewelry, and more.
Head to the entertainment pavilion at 1 p.m. to see Diana Calderon demonstrate printmaking, or 2 p.m. to see a performance featuring guitars made at the Roberto-Venn Luthiery based in the Grand Avenue arts district. Sule Greg Wilson performs at noon, and the Arizona School for the Arts jazz ensemble will round it all out at 4 p.m. The festival is free, but you’ll need money for eats and shopping. Lynn Trimble
Drawn to ComicsThere’s a ton of great artistic talent across the Valley, and that holds true for the mediums of pop culture and comic books. Drawn to Comics is taking the time to highlight some of these folks through its annual artist spotlight event, Brightest Saturdays. On Friday, December 13, the store will host Ken Schwab, who creates nerdy accessories with his Ken’s Buttons line. Then, on Saturday, December 14, Hector Echevarria, who works primarily with digital art and acrylics, will swing by the shop.
Both events are free and run from 6 to 10 p.m. at Drawn to Comics, 5801 West Glendale Avenue in Glendale. Chris Coplan
A Drag Queen ChristmasDrag queens make just about everything better. Try posting a few up at the DMV, and people would happily wait the six hours required. If you’ve got an especially bleak outlook on the holidays, then you just need to catch A Drag Queen Christmas. Hosted by Nina West, this evening of hilarious, borderline naughty performances features several cast members from RuPaul’s Drag Race. If this doesn’t change your take on the holidays, maybe try 1,000 viewings of A Christmas Carol?
The show begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 13, at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Tickets are $38 to $53. Chris Coplan
The Music of Cowboy BebopThe Mammoth Ensemble are a very specific cover band. The collective will rework the catalog of The Seatbelts, the multifaceted Japanese group, for The Music of Cowboy Bebop show. Fans of the anime, or those who just love geeky musical crossovers, should find The Mammoth Ensemble’s renditions to be a sonic explosion true to Seatbelts’ mishmash approach. Plus, the group promise a few special “treats,” so don’t be a Punch and Judy and swing on by. Hope that reference landed, Bebop fans!
The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 13, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets run $10 to $15. Chris Coplan
Phoenix SantarchySanta Claus has a sizable posse, and we’re not just referring to his cabal of elves, herds of reindeer, or even Mrs. Claus. During the Arizona Cacophony Society’s annual Phoenix Santarchy bar crawl, Kris Kringle’s crew will include such cohorts as Darth Santa, Cowboy Claus, Christmas Ghostbusters, or various other festive characters.
Each year, hundreds of participants dress in a multitude of merry costumes inspired by the holidays as they drink their way across downtown Phoenix. It’s one of the most infamous events of the holiday season in the Valley.
This year’s bar crawl takes place on Saturday, December 14, and will hit up the bars of the Roosevelt Row area starting at 7 p.m. It’s free to participate. Benjamin Leatherman
DTPHX Record ShowEnough with running around in circles during the holiday season. Take some time for yourself and those fabulous circular objects called records. The third annual DTPHX Record Show is coming to Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 14. It’s $3 to get in, which also gets you three raffle tickets. The lineup includes local DJs, records galore, and vendors selling all kinds of music-related fare. Think collectibles, T-shirts, storage cases, and more. Bring money for food and drinks. It’s an all-ages affair. Lynn Trimble
CycloMesa Winter FestCan bicycle safety fun be fun? Yes, but only by having it snow in Mesa. The city’s bicycle and pedestrian program is hoping to educate folks on helmet safety and concussion awareness by bringing in 20 tons of snow for its CycloMesa Winter Fest. If all that frolicking weren’t enough, there will also be a bounce house, mechanical snowboard, food trucks, and reindeer games.
The free fest is set for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, at Alta Mesa Park, 1910 North Alta Drive in Mesa. Attendees can stick around for a neighborhood ride starting at 5:30 p.m. Chris Coplan
MysticVessel Project is returning to Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street in Mesa, with its atmospheric performance called Mystic. It’s happening during the Mesa Arts Festival, a free two-day event that opens on Saturday, December 14. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can check out more than 80 vendors, listen to live music, enjoy hands-on activities, add your wish to a community holiday cactus, and play lawn games.
It’s a chance to shop for original art, then get it wrapped at on-site gift wrapping stations. Also look for artist Kyllan Maney, who’ll be making holiday bows with a creative twist, and pop into the artist collective gift shop. Lynn Trimble
So Naughty, It’s NiceCan you be both naughty and nice simultaneously? Don’t bother contemplating that moral quandary — this answer is yes, but only if you attend the So Naughty, It’s Nice benefit show. The Level Up Variety Hour will host an evening blurring the line between comedy and burlesque, with showcases from Billie Rae Fox, Luna Lovebutton, Clint Julep, Team Tuerff, and other local performers. The event helps benefit one*n*ten, a local nonprofit that assists LGBTQ youth ages 14 to 24.
The show is set for 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, at Bonus Round, 24 West Camelback Road. The event is free, but a $15 donation is suggested. Chris Coplan
Hanukkah StorytimeEveryone is welcome as Temple Emanuel of Tempe presents a Hanukkah Storytime at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. The free event happens at 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 15. Expect a lively gathering that includes reading stories, singing songs, and spinning the dreidel.
For those who don’t celebrate Hanukkah, it’s a fun way to learn more about Jewish traditions and celebrate the diversity of local communities with other families. Of course, you can also shop for related books, with 15 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Tempe synagogue, which operates a school, children’s center, Judaica shop, and more. Lynn Trimble
Fried Chicken and Beer/Chimac FestivalChimac (or Chimaek) is the Korean term for pairing beer alongside fried chicken. If you’ve never partaken of such a culinary one-two punch, then prepare to indulge heavily at the Fried Chicken and Beer/Chimac Festival. More than a dozen local vendors will sell a variety of fried fowl, alongside a selection of various brews, cocktails, desserts, and boba drinks. Then, work off some of those added calories by playing board and lawn games or dancing along to a K-pop concert.
The festival is set for noon on Sunday, December 15, at The Pressroom, 441 West Madison Street. Tickets are $13 for early admission (10:30 a.m.) and $8 for general admission, and kids ages 6 and under get in free. Chris Coplan