Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

Fun in the sun at Maya Day & Nightclub.
Fun in the sun at Maya Day & Nightclub. Benjamin Leatherman
You're in luck, Phoenix — the weekend has arrived. You can save a buck at Free Comic Book Day, enjoy traditional entertainment at Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival, or celebrate your favorite club's birthday at Sweet 6: Maya's Six-Year Anniversary Pool Party. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

click to enlarge Check out the Schuff-Perini Climber on your way to the Noodle Forest. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Check out the Schuff-Perini Climber on your way to the Noodle Forest.
Lynn Trimble

First Friday

Family time meets First Friday at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, 215 North Seventh Street, where kids and their adults get free admission from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 3. Put on your comfy play clothes, and get ready to explore the Noodle Forest, an area filled with more than 1,300 brightly-colored pool noodles suspended from the ceiling. It’s one of several museum highlights, which also include an eclectic assemblage of items that form the Schuff-Perini Climber. Readers can curl up in book loft nooks, while shoppers gather pretend groceries in the market area. Museum offerings range from tricycles to building blocks, and there’s an art studio filled with hands-on activities. Visit Lynn Trimble

Demetri Martin

The brilliance of Demetri Martin’s style of humor centers around his ability to say so much about the world while actually saying very little. On a recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, his crack about writing an instrumental protest song killed, and yet it is biting commentary on the current state of our culture. The comedian’s Wandering Mind Tour will bring a little focus to our thoughts with his trademark drollness.

See him get in front of the mic at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 3, at Talking Stick Resort, 9800 East Talking Stick Way in Scottsdale. Tickets are $20 $85. Jason Keil

Free Comic Book Day

May is going to be a monumental month for local geeks. Not only is Phoenix Fan Fusion a few weeks away but the biggest superhero flick ever (a.k.a. Avengers: Endgame) is playing in theaters everywhere.

Then there’s Free Comic Book Day, the annual nationwide celebration of the sequential art form that’s practically a holiday for nerds. The 2019 edition happens on Saturday, May 4, and involves comic book stores across the Valley hosting events featuring artist signings, various deals, and (you guessed it) stacks of free comics.

Monster Comic Books, 1803 East Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe, for instance, will offer more than a dozen free titles, as well as appearances by artists like Micah Garcia, Chinh Potter, and Deadpool inker Shelby Robertson. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 602-809-8746.

Meanwhile, Samurai Comics, 1120 South Country Club Drive in Mesa, will host the Arizona Comic Mini Expo from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with appearances by more than a dozen local comics creators, tons of geeky giveaways, and more. Call 480-962-1123 for more information. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Focused. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Benjamin Leatherman


As any teenager lit to the gills on energy drinks might tell you, today’s video games offer lifelike graphics, sophisticated A.I., a staggering amount of characters, and infinitely enormous worlds to explore. But bigger doesn’t neccessarily mean better, as evidenced by the lo-fi thrills offered by old-school games like Missile Command, NBA Jam, and Spy Hunter.

See for yourself at ZapCon, the two-day classic arcade and pinball convention that takes attendees through the warp zone of gaming’s yesteryear. This year’s con happens on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street, and will feature approximately 155 arcade titles (from Afterburner to Zoo Keeper) and more than 110 pinball machines available for play.

There will also be tournaments and competitions throughout the weekend, a classic console lounge, and a performance by local Nintendo cover band Minibosses. Doors open at 9 a.m. each day. Adult admission is $30 for Saturday, $20 for Sunday, or $40 for the weekend. Kids ages 3 to 12 can get in for $15 on Saturday, $10 on Sunday, or $20 for the entire event. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Humorist David Sedaris is headed to Phoenix. - ADAM DETOUR
Humorist David Sedaris is headed to Phoenix.
Adam DeTour

David Sedaris

Mix biting social commentary, witty repartee on personal foibles, and astute observations of cultural phenomenon, and you’ve got the makings of a great night of comedy. David Sedaris is bringing all three to the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street, for an 8 p.m. performance on Saturday, May 4. It’s being presented by the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, which praises the humorist’s ability to break through “cultural euphemisms and political correctness.” Skip the talking heads on TV for a night and give Sedaris a chance to change your perspective on everything from current events to personal struggles. He’ll be reading some of his latest work, answering audience questions, and doing a book signing. Tickets range from $29 to $69. Lynn Trimble

Literally the Worst Show Ever

There’s been some upheaval in the downtown Phoenix comedy scene over the last few months. Anwar Newton recently moved This Week Sucks Tonight to Stand Up Live. Now, the local comedian is pulling the plug on Literally the Worst Show Ever, the live sketch comedy extravaganza featuring Newton, Dan Thomson, Michael Turner, and Jessie Johnson. This month features Eric Sobczak, Iesha Renee, Charles Engle, and Shapel Lacey. Will it end with a whimper or a bang? All we know is that it will close with a laugh.

Say your final goodbyes at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $20-$22. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Time to celebrate. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Time to celebrate.
Benjamin Leatherman

Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival

There are two paths you can take when it comes to celebrating Cinco de Mayo in the Valley. There’s the party-hearty route, which involves sucking down as much tacos and tequila as possible at some rowdy bar, possibly while making some regrettable life choices in the process. Or you could attend the far more subdued, but nonetheless lively, festivities offered at the Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival.

The yearly block party in downtown Phoenix — which takes place at 200 West Washington Street on Sunday, May 5 — features a wealth of traditional entertainment and activities, including folklorico dancing, arts and crafts, and even lucha libre wrestling. Renowned funk-rock act WAR and Latin R&B ensemble Tierra will headline a lineup of bands that are scheduled to perform and various food and drink vendors will be available.

The celebration runs from noon to 10 p.m. Tickets are $5 before 5 p.m., $10 thereafter, and free for kids 10 and under with a paid adult. Call 602-279-4669 for additional information. Benjamin Leatherman

Cinco on Central Block Party

To celebrate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla, head to downtown Phoenix and get low with everyone’s favorite gold-toothed rapper Lil Jon. The crunk pioneer will be headlining the second annual Cinco on Central Block Party. There will be more than just shaking your booty to some of his funky flows. Sample great Mexican food, test your taste buds at the hot pepper-eating contest, or play some giant beer pong.

Put your hands up starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, at CityScape, 1 East Jefferson Street. Tickets are $25 to $100. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Get ready for DJs, drinks, and dancing. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Get ready for DJs, drinks, and dancing.
Benjamin Leatherman

Sweet 6: Maya's Six-Year Anniversary Pool Party

Let’s face it, your favorite bar or club probably won’t be around forever. That’s especially true in Scottsdale, where some nightspots struggle to stay open for even a year, let alone three to five (the average lifespan of many establishments). So the fact that Maya Day & Nightclub, 7333 East Indian Plaza, has managed to survive the cutthroat Scottsdale scene for six years is an accomplishment worth celebrating.

Its staff will be doing just that on Sunday, May 5, during Sweet 6: Maya’s Six-Year Anniversary Pool Party, an afternoon-long fete filled with DJs, drinks, and dancing. Electro-funk duo Chromeo will perform a DJ set at the event, which also celebrates Cinco de Mayo. Doors open at noon. General admission is $10. Call 480-625-0528 for more details. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Jackie Chan and friends. - COURTESY OF JANUS FILMS
Jackie Chan and friends.
Courtesy of Janus Films

Police Story Double Feature

It’s pointless to explain the plot of Police Story and Police Story 2 because the story doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that Jackie Chan headlines both films. The 1985 Asian import and its 1988 sequel feature death-defying stunts performed and directed by the martial-arts star. This double feature, presented by a local film academic with a 4K restoration, has influenced practically everyone from Quentin Tarantino to Tom Cruise. Be sure to stay through the credits and check out the bloopers.

Get ready for your jaw to drop at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, at FilmBar, 1 East Jefferson Street. Tickets are $25-$100. Jason Keil
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
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