Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

All smiles.
All smiles. Phoenix Greek Festival
Ready for the weekend? You can explore Greek culture at Phoenix Greek Festival, dance it out at National Samba Queen & King Contest, or get spooked at Dismember the Alamo. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

Phoenix Greek Festival
Turns out, there’s a single event where you can indulge your passions for food, dance, music, architecture, and history. It’s the Phoenix Greek Festival, which kicks off at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 12, at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral and Community Center, 1973 East Maryland Avenue. For just $3, you can explore Greek culture, food, and history. Try your hand at Greek folk dancing, tour the cathedral that blends elements of Byzantine and Southwestern aesthetics, and get a rare glimpse at vintage photographs of Greek families in Phoenix. Bring extra cash for souvenirs, drinks and culinary delights. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Tempe does Oktoberfest on a grand scale.
Four Peaks Brewery
Four Peaks Oktoberfest
Beer has been getting some bad press lately, thanks to a certain federal judge. But you’ll get an entirely different take on beer during the Four Peaks Oktoberfest at Tempe Town Lake, where you can rock your inner German with brats, dachshund races, and plenty of beer options. The festival kicks off at Tempe Beach Park, 80 West Rio Salado Parkway, at 5 p.m. on Friday, October 12. Expect karaoke, carnival rides, dancing, contests, sports, and more, all with a Bavarian twist. Admission is free, but you’ll want to bring cash for activities that benefit Tempe Sister Cities and its international student exchange program. Lederhosen are optional. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
When plants are the canvas, and light is the medium.
Desert Botanical Garden
Desert Electric
Odds are, light isn’t a word you typically associate with cactus or succulents. But that’s about to change, because an experimental video shop called Kipp Collective is bringing its blend of light and original music to Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway. They’ve created seven site-specific installations for the garden, using sound and projections that add new layers to the desert experience. Your first chance to see it will be Friday, October 12, at 6 p.m., and the garden is open until 11 p.m. that night. For Desert Electric only, adult tickets start at $24.95, and youth tickets (ages 3 to 17) start at $12.95. But you can also get tickets starting at $34.95 (adults) or $19.95 (youth) for admission that day, plus the nighttime Electric Desert viewing. So many choices, so many lights. Check out the new mural by Phoenix-based artist Frank Gonzalez while you’re there. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Enjoying Best Of Phoenix A’Fare 2017.
Phoenix New Times
Best Of Phoenix A’Fare
Our publication’s 40th Annual Best of Phoenix issue has finally arrived, so it’s time to celebrate “Illustrated Phoenix” with a colorful gala. Featuring libations and delectables from over 40 Valley restaurants and bars, Phoenix New Times’ Best Of Phoenix A’Fare is your chance to experience the finest food and drink our city has to offer. Entertainment will be provided by local DJ HartBreaks. The doors are open from 8 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street. Tickets are $45 to $65 with proceeds benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge
Travis Shinn
Marc Maron
If you are a regular listener of Marc Maron’s podcast WTF, then you already know he’s coming to Phoenix to work on new material. But with the Netflix show GLOW renewed for a third season and rumors circulating that he’s been cast in the upcoming Joaquin Phoenix Joker movie, the comedian might not be able to fit stand-up into his schedule anytime soon. Be sure to carve out some time to listen to Maron riff on how success has softened the man once known for his aggressiveness. The show begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, at StandUp Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Tickets are $30 with a two-drink minimum For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge
Checking out a dog-theme quilt at the Gilbert Historical Museum.
Lynn Trimble
“This day has gone to the dogs!” That’s what you’ll be saying on Saturday, October 13, after you hit the free BARKtoberfest celebration happening from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Gilbert Town Hall, 50 East Civic Center Drive. The lineup includes costume and best trick contests, arts and crafts, shopping, live entertainment, a dog wash, agility course, and Dogvinci. Bring cash for food truck fare, souvenirs, and some activities. The event, presented by Friends for Life Animal Rescue, also includes pet adoptions. Monies raised go towards helping homeless dogs and cats. And you won’t find a better place for maxing out the cute factor on your Instagram page. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Dismember the Alamo
Dismember the Alamo works like this: you arrive at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Tempe to watch four horror movies. The twist is you have no idea what you are about to see until the lights go down and the projector starts. Intrigued? You should be. Victor Moreno of Cult Classics AZ will be the curator and the master of scare-a-monies for this spooky event, which includes trivia, giveaways, and all sorts of murderous mirth to startle the life out of you.

The delightful frights begin at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, at 1140 East Baseline Road. Tickets are $32.44 for all four films. There will not be tickets sold for individual movies. For more information, visit Jason Keil

National Samba Queen & King Contest
Rio de Janeiro meets Phoenix in the fifth annual National Samba Queen & King Contest. Billed as the only event of its kind in the United States, the best ballroom dancers from around the world will compete in the Valley. They will be evaluated on musicality, energy, presentation, technique, and authenticity to see if they are worthy to take home the top prize. There will also be semi-pro and group competitions. Additionally, there will be a number of workshops available at various locations throughout the weekend so you can see if the samba moves you.

The judging begins at 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, at The Pressroom, 441 West Madison Street. Tickets are $25. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge
Annika Cline
Podcasting 101: How To Turn A Great Idea Into A Great Podcast
Podcasting has begun to take off in Phoenix. There are local culture shows, exquisitely made radio plays, and hard-hitting journalism programs coming out of the Valley and into your smartphone. If you have a concept for a podcast, bring it to Podcasting 101: How To Turn A Great Idea Into A Great Podcast. You will learn how to transform your thoughts into compelling radio from local radio veterans Sarah Ventre, Annika Cline, and Dario Miranda. No studio required. Press play from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 14, at Changing Hands Phoenix, 300 West Camelback Road. This workshop is $15. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge
Watch a medieval knight play chess with death at FilmBar.
Lynn Trimble
The Seventh Seal
Swedish fish, Swedish meatballs, and IKEA. If that’s all you know of Sweden, then you need to head over to FilmBar, 815 North Second Street, at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 14, for a showing of the classic 1957 film The Seventh Seal. Written and directed by famed filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, it centers around a chess game played between a medieval knight traveling through Denmark during the time of the Black Plague, and the personification of death. We’re told it’s all about man’s search for meaning, bookmarked by a passage from the Book of Revelation. Sounds a lot more fun that building bookshelves named Kallax or Flysta. Tickets are $9.95. Visit Lynn Trimble

Naughty or Nice Drag Bingo
Don’t let the scaffolding fool you: Kobalt remains open for business as Park Central Mall continues its seemingly endless renovations, so there’s no need to drive to a casino on the edge of town. Naughty or Nice Drag Bingo is still happening every Monday night. Snatch your dauber and have local queens Olivia Gardens and Barbara Seville call out your numbers. Laughs are guaranteed and prizes will be provided by Off Chute Too. Spin the wheel and grab some balls on Monday, October 15, at 3110 North Central Avenue. This is a free event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Checking out political art by Ann Morton.
Lynn Trimble
“The 15th, 19th and 26th: Get Out the Vote”
It’s art meets American history at Practical Art, where a new group show curated by creatives Lisa Olson and Patricia Sannit is named for a trio of amendments to the U.S. Constitution. They’re all related to voting, so you can expect to see plenty of political art from participating artists, who include Malena Barnhart, Hilary Harp, Annie Lopez, Kristen Miologos, Ann Morton, M. Jenea Sanchez, Jen Urso, and Sannit. Check out “The 15th, 19th and 26th: Get Out the Vote” between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday, October 15. It’s free, and it’s got art made with shreds of red MAGA T-shirts. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Learn beekeeping basics at Desert Botanical Garden.
Adam Rodriguez
Beekeeping for Beginners
Perhaps you’ve tired of hobbies like making macramé plant hangers or folding little bits of paper into stars. Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, can help you with that. They’re offering a Beekeeping for Beginners class with professional beekeeper Dan Punch, who got his start as a bee hobbyist. Dan makes a living rescuing bee hives from places they’re not wanted, then finding good homes for them. From 10 a.m. to noon, on Saturday, October 13, he’ll share his expertise in building hives and harvesting honey, plus tips for where to buy honey bees. The class costs $38. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Get a global perspective inside the Ikeda Theater.
Mesa Arts Center
“Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions”
Through years spent traveling to more than 90 countries, award-winning photographer Ami Vitale discovered that her interests are evolving, yet connected by a single principle: To understand humanity, you must also understand nature. Early on, she trained her lens on people impacted by conflict and war in places like Kosovo and Kashmir. More recently, she’s focused on the push to reintroduce animals including white rhinos and pandas into the wild, which often involve the efforts of indigenous people. Hear her talk about her photographic journey, during a National Geographic Live! presentation called “Rhinos, Rickshaws, and Revolutions.” It’s happening at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17, at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street. Tickets start at $27. Visit Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge
Delvinhair Productions
“The Search For Life In The Universe”
Neil deGrasse Tyson has made astrophysics accessible and — dare we say it? — cool. Because of his efforts to bury the stigma associated with his field, the head of the Hayden Planetarium is often asked for his opinion on topics far removed from the formation of galaxies, including when basketball star LeBron James should retire from the NBA. The scientist arrives in Phoenix with a bang; his presentation “The Search For Life In The Universe” will focus on our quest to find planets that can support human life. The journey to the final frontier begins at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17, at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Tickets are $35 to $80. For more information, visit Jason Keil

click to enlarge
See how three artists tackle shifting identities.
ASU Gallery 100
How people form, then perform, their identities is complex. That’s the premise of an intermedia exhibition called “Multidentity,” which features works by artists Yongjin Liu, Nathaniel Doyle, and Kourtney Finger. Together, they explore the relationships between individual and group identities, and the ways art can illuminate one’s perceptions of both self and others. See how they’ve used video, photography, and digital illustration to address false narratives about countercultures, plus imagery that challenges pop-culture norms. The free art show at Gallery 100, 951 South Mill Avenue in Tempe, runs from noon to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17. Visit Lynn Trimble

Sajjad Shah and Iman Mahoui: Muslims of the World
Three years ago, businessman Sajjad Shah started the Instagram account Muslims of the World (@muslimsoftheworld1). It features powerful stories and images meant to raise awareness of the struggles of those in the Islamic faith. Shah and college student Iman Mahoul complied the posts into an inspirational bestselling book of the same name. Shah will be presenting it at Changing Hands Phoenix. The event will also include spoken-word poetry by Fatima Shendy.

See things from a different point of view beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17, at 300 West Camelback Road. This is a free event and there will be copies of the book available for purchase. This is being billed as a black-tie event. For more information, visit Jason Keil

Vamos (Let's Go), Belkis Ayón, 1993, Collograph.
Maybe you associate Cuba with cigars and old cars. In that case, a new art show featuring works by the late Belkis Ayón, a 20th century Cuban printmaker, is going to significantly expand your cultural horizons. The retrospective exhibition, titled “NKAME,” includes nearly 50 prints and other materials that reflect the artist’s interest in a fraternal Afro-Cuban group called the Abakuá Secret Society. Ayón used a distinctive printing process called collography, in which collages created with various materials are attached to cardboard plates used in making prints. Working with black, white, and gray, Ayón channeled her own complex take on Abakuá myth, which you can see between noon and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17, at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street. Museum admission is $10. Visit Lynn Trimble
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble

Latest Stories