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The Best Live and Virtual Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Learn puppeteering basics from Stacey Gordon of Puppet Pie.EXPAND
Learn puppeteering basics from Stacey Gordon of Puppet Pie.
Ashley Hoekstra
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We're all getting more creative about how we spend our time, knowing that the pandemic is still a major factor. Fortunately, several local venues are stepping up, offering live and virtual happenings that can help to curb both boredom and anxiety.

Here's a look at just a few of your choices this week, from tai chi in a tranquil outdoor setting to a spirited online trivia game to benefit a trio of good causes.

Most events are subject to change these days, due to public health conditions. Check for updates before you head out. And mask up, because they're required at all the in-person events we've included here.

Betye Saar, Mystic Sky with Self-Portrait, 1992, Offset Lithograph, 21 1/2 x 25 1/4 in. Gift of the Brandywine Workshop and Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Betye Saar, Mystic Sky with Self-Portrait, 1992, Offset Lithograph, 21 1/2 x 25 1/4 in. Gift of the Brandywine Workshop and Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
ASU Art Museum

Highlighting Women Artists

Next month, Kamala Harris will become the first woman to serves as U.S. Vice President, making it a great time to think more about women in the arts, who represent just over 12 percent of works in major American museum collections. You’ve got several options this week, including “Art in Focus: Highlighting Women Artists from the Collection” at ASU Art Museum and “Unapologetic: All Women, All Year” at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Admission is free at ASU Art Museum; SMoCA has free admission on Thursdays and the second Saturday of the month (including December 12). Reserve timed-entry tickets online before you go.

Throwback to Toby Yatso channeling Rod in Avenue Q.
Throwback to Toby Yatso channeling Rod in Avenue Q.
Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Meets Trivia

Get ready to show your musical theater chops as Phoenix Theatre Company presents a virtual game show hosted by Toby Yatso, one of the city’s most-lauded theater talents, who teaches in the ASU music department. Expect Jeopardy-style questions, presented to a trio of Arizona talents including Ron May, founding artistic director for the alternative theater company Stray Cat Theatre. It’s happening at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8. Tickets are free but you can donate when you register, because the contestants are playing to benefit three local charities: Hands & Voices, one-n-ten, and Rosie’s House.

Spend some time doing tai chi at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Spend some time doing tai chi at the Japanese Friendship Garden.
Airi Katsuka

Tai Chi in the Garden

Spend some time with nature as the Japanese Friendship Garden presents a tai chi session where you can relax amid the calming influence of trees, water, rocks, and koi. You’ll enjoy flowing movement rooted in ancient Chinese practices, which has been lauded for its positive impacts on body, mind, and spirit. The class takes place from 9 to 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, December 10. Admission is $3; register online.

Fire (United States of the Americas) 2 (detail) from the "Teresita Fernández: Elemental" exhibit.EXPAND
Fire (United States of the Americas) 2 (detail) from the "Teresita Fernández: Elemental" exhibit.
Phoenix Art Museum

Conversation With Teresita Fernández

There’s a gallery wall at Phoenix Art Museum filled with pieces of charcoal, the material Teresita Fernández used to represent a map of the U.S. that she calls Fire (United States of the Americas) 2. It’s a compelling glimpse into her works contrasting traditional landscapes with political ones, using a mix of materials from mirrors to silk. The New York-based artist, born in 1968 to Cuban parents in Miami, will be talking about her art during the museum’s virtual Lenhardt Lecture happening from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 10. It’s free for museum members; others can register to participate with a suggested donation.

Head to FilmBar for some outdoor cinema time.
Head to FilmBar for some outdoor cinema time.
Melissa Fossum

Parking Lot Cinema

It’s easy to find Christmas-themed shows on television, where the choices often tend towards sappy and sentimental. For those who prefer a bit more mischief in their holiday season, there’s a fun alternative taking place in the FilmBar parking lot. The indie film venue is showing Gremlins at 6 p.m. on Friday, December 11, and Saturday, December 12, as part of its Parking Lot Cinema series. Tickets are $10.95. it’s a bring-your-own-chair affair, and you’ll be able to buy concessions at the screening.

One of Stacey Gordon's playful masked puppets.EXPAND
One of Stacey Gordon's playful masked puppets.
Stacey Gordon

Puppeteering Workshop

If you’re looking for new ways to spend at-home time during the pandemic, think about adding puppeteering to your bag of tricks. Phoenix puppeteer Stacey Gordon, whose Puppet Pie studio is part of the creative hub along Grand Avenue, is leading an online workshop called Puppeteering Basics from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 13. Gordon says it’s a fun way to up your social media game, but we’re hoping more puppets find their way to Zoom meetings. The virtual event is $35; it’s designed for ages 15 and up. Register soon so you have time to get recommended materials.

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