Need a break from the workweek? This weekend, you can find the perfect holiday gift for a loved one at World Bazaar Phoenix, free your geeky side at LibCon West, or listen to local bands play while enjoying tasty treats during Winter Fest. For more things to do, visit
The RPM Orchestra are marking their 10-year anniversary with an immersive performance at Langmade Project Space, 1345 West McKinley Street. It’s happening at 10:15 p.m. on December 6, after most of the First Friday art shows have closed up for the night. The quintet perform proto-Industrial Americana music and create original soundtracks for silent films.
They’re ramping it up for First Friday, by screening two experimental films and adding a stilt-walking percussion performance to the mix. Even ritual troupe Arcane Collective will be part of the action, and you’ll also get to experience a sonic performance featuring sounds recorded in Civic Space Park. The performance is “pay what you wish.” Visit RPM Orchestra on Facebook. Lynn Trimble
Editor's note: Per a post on the event's Facebook page, RPM Orchestra's 10th-anniversary show has been postponed to 2020.
Sticker Drop and Workshop
You can never have too many stickers. So mark your calendar for Friday, December 6. That’s when Wasted Ink Zine Distro will be celebrating five years on the local lit scene with a sticker drop and workshop. Look for designs by diverse zine creators and other artists, which make fabulous additions to everything from books to bikes.
The free event runs from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Hive, 2222 North 16th Street. You’ll find six zine creators tabling in the courtyard, where you can also enjoy food and conversation with fellow sticker geeks. Explore art inside the nearby gallery, or shop local businesses at The Hive while you’re there. Lynn Trimble
This holiday season, you could watch movies with a mischievous man-elf, a cranky old man visited by ghosts, or the one with Jimmy Stewart. For a change of pace, consider catching a screening of the 1974 slasher flick Black Christmas. Here, a gaggle of young sorority girls are threatened by the deranged phone calls of a certifiable psycho killer. But then they all come together to teach him the true meaning of Christmas — just kidding, it’s a bloody horror movie, sillies. God bless us, everyone!
The screening is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 6, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Tickets are $10. Chris Coplan
Tempe Festival of the Arts
Tempe Festival of the Arts returns to Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe on Friday, December 6. That’s your first chance to explore more than 300 artist booths, featuring works in more than a dozen mediums — including painting, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, and more. Look for local artists while you’re there, and bring your holiday shopping list. Friday festival hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Festival offerings include a kids zone complete with a youth art exhibition and hands-on art activities, plus live music, street performers, and a chalk art competition. Fourteen artists will be making chalk on Fourth Avenue west of Mill Avenue, inspired by the theme “A Stitch in Time.” Admission is free. Lynn Trimble
World Bazaar Phoenix
If you’re eager to support businesses owned by local immigrants and refugees, block out some time between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 7. That’s when Local First Arizona and several community partners are presenting a free event called World Bazaar Phoenix. The event brings together artisans who make jewelry, clothing, baskets, and accessories, so you can shop local with global flair.
You’ll experience live music and dance from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while you shop. More than 50 vendors are participating, so it’s an easy way to tick off all those names on your holiday gift list. Bring extra money for food and drink. Lynn Trimble
APS Electric Light Parade
The Valley doesn’t have regular snowfall to mark the holiday season. We do, however, have the APS Electric Light Parade. For its 33rd edition, parade promoters have chosen the theme of “Walking in a Desert Wonderland,” which seems perfect given temperatures average a brisk 70 degrees. The parade begins at Central and Montebello avenues, heads south to Camelback Road, and turns left at Seventh Street before winding down on Indian School Road. Or, skip the festivities and just check out the pre-parade gathering, where you’ll peruse the floats up close and personal.
The parade begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 7. The pre-parade party, meanwhile, is set for 5:30 p.m. at North Phoenix Baptist Church, 5757 North Central Avenue. Chris Coplan
Tamales check every box for the perfect meal. They’re steeped in rich tradition, tasty whether filled with pork or portobello, and super-convenient to eat. Food City’s own Tamale Festival is the perfect way to celebrate this dynamic food. The event will not only feature dozens of local tamale vendors, but Food City is previewing several new “flavors” set to debut in time for this holiday season. And when you’re not eating tamales by the handful, enjoy performances by local ballet folklorico dancers and mariachi bands.
The totally free festival is set for Saturday, December 7, and Sunday, December 8, at Cesar Chavez Plaza, 201 West Washington Street. Festivities run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Chris Coplan
Libraries long have been a place to get your geek on, thanks to their wealth of lendable media and ephemera covering a multitude of subject matters. So it seems fitting that the Velma Teague Library, 7010 North 58th Avenue in Glendale, would host an event like LibCon West, an afternoon-long geek extravaganza happening on Saturday, December 7.
Various geeky activities will be offered, including programming focusing on gaming, fandom, and cosplay. The pirates of The DREAD Fleet will also present a live show, and local bands Dratini on the Rocks and the Driftwood Quintet will perform geek-oriented music selections. Vendors, special guests, and a scavenger hunt is also planned. The con will cap off with a Lightsaber Walk led by the Jedi of Syndicate Saber through the streets of downtown Glendale.
The nerdy fun starts at noon and goes until 5 p.m. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman
For most cities, early December isn’t ideal for family-style gatherings (unless wintry hellscapes are your bag). But this is Phoenix, and so it’s only natural the team at The Trunk Space would host the annual Winter Fest. That day, over a dozen bands will hit the stage, including 2000 Foot Turtle, DOMS, No Lungs, Just Another Day, Tullis, and Commiserate, with several sets featuring a joyous selection of holiday tunes. Then, enjoy the local artists, tasty treats, and other family-friendly activities. Have fun with your massive snowstorms, the rest of America.
The fest is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, at 1124 North Third Street. Tickets are $6, and kids 12 and under get in free. Chris Coplan
American poet Langston Hughes transformed the traditional Nativity story for the stage. Hughes’ Black Nativity, first performed Off-Broadway in 1961, features an all-black cast performing traditional Christmas carols with a gospel twist.
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Black Theatre Troupe will perform its original production of Black Nativity at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 8. The performance is a lively celebration of hope, joy, and liberation. It’s part of a 12-show run that continues through Sunday, December 22. Black Theatre Troupe performs at the Helen K. Mason Performing Arts Center, 1333 East Washington Street. Tickets to the show are $41. Lynn Trimble
A little girl named Rosie was forced to leave her violin behind during World War II as her family fled the ravages of war. Decades later, the German immigrant founded Rosie’s House, a nonprofit that provides free music education for youth living in the inner city in Phoenix. Children develop character and music skills through various music classes, including choir, piano, mariachi, strings, and more.
Every holiday season, they perform a free concert for the community. It’s a way for young musicians to share what they’ve learned and experienced the thrill of hearing a live audience reaction. This year’s Annual Holiday Concert takes place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 8. It’s happening inside Memorial Hall at Steele Indian School Park. Lynn Trimble