Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

Getting into the holiday spirit.
Getting into the holiday spirit. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Getting into the holiday spirit. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Getting into the holiday spirit.
Benjamin Leatherman
We made it to the weekend. Y’all ready for a good time? This weekend, you can embrace your inner Santa at Phoenix Santarchy, browse an endless amount of records during DTPHX Record Show, or chow down on chicken during Fried Chicken and Beer/Chimac Festival. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.


While 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

click to enlarge Strolling through Phoenix Festival of the Arts. - PATRICK RAPPS
Strolling through Phoenix Festival of the Arts.
Patrick Rapps

Phoenix Festival of the Arts

For 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

click to enlarge A rendition of Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. - HECTOR ECHEVARRIA
A rendition of Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Hector Echevarria

Drawn to Comics

There’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 Christmas

Drag 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

click to enlarge 8-Bit Mammoth - TYLER CRUZ
8-Bit Mammoth
Tyler Cruz

The Music of Cowboy Bebop

The 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

click to enlarge Star Wars meets Santa. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Star Wars meets Santa.
Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix Santarchy

Santa 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

click to enlarge Feeling the vinyl love. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Feeling the vinyl love.
Lynn Trimble

DTPHX Record Show

Enough 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 Fest

Can 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

click to enlarge Look for Vessel at Mesa Arts Center. - SLAVEN GUJIC
Look for Vessel at Mesa Arts Center.
Slaven Gujic


Vessel 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

click to enlarge Can you really be both naughty and nice at the same time? It’s worth a try. - LEVEL UP/SCOTT KELLER
Can you really be both naughty and nice at the same time? It’s worth a try.
Level Up/Scott Keller

So Naughty, It’s Nice

Can 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

click to enlarge Celebrate Hanukkah with family story time. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Celebrate Hanukkah with family story time.
Lynn Trimble

Hanukkah Storytime

Everyone 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

click to enlarge Is your mouth watering yet? - JIM LOUVAU
Is your mouth watering yet?
Jim Louvau

Fried Chicken and Beer/Chimac Festival

Chimac (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
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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