Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Weekend

The Desert Botanical Garden is the perfect backdrop for an evening concert.
The Desert Botanical Garden is the perfect backdrop for an evening concert. Adam Rodriguez
It's going to be a gorgeous weekend in the Valley of the Sun. Make the most of it with outdoor concerts, film screenings, and more.

Music in the Garden

Typically, the music you hear while strolling through the Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, comes from birds that chip amid the desert plant life. But this time of year, you can experience a different type of live music, as local bands perform as part of the Music in the Garden outdoor concert series. On Friday, November 12, Americana singer and songwriter Namoli Brennet will be taking to the outdoor stage for two performances. Tickets are $29.95, which includes garden admission so you have some time to explore the lovely fall landscape before the show gets underway. Doors open at 5 p.m. for the 6 to 7 p.m. concert, and at 8 p.m. for the 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. concert. You can dine at Gertrude’s before the show, or eat at the Patio Café during the performance if you want to add another layer to your garden experience. There will also be a full cash bar complete with a selection of boutique wines. Just be sure those chirping songbirds birds don’t mistake your wine glass for a birdbath. Lynn Trimble

High Rollers: The Golden Age of Arizona Skateboarding

As any local old-school grinder can tell you, Arizona has a rich history of skateboarding culture stretching back to the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Back in those days, abandoned pools and enormous concrete pipes became places to shred, bands like JFA rose to prominence, and an entire scene was birthed. Longtime skaters and punkers Donnie “Don Ho” Crist and Steve Shelton created their documentary High Rollers: The Golden Age of Arizona Skateboarding as a love letter to the era and how it influenced a generation of locals. The 58-minute-long flick features original footage from the ‘70s and ‘80s, as well as a soundtrack filled with local acts like Beats the Hell Out of Me, Junior Achievement, and The Van Buren Wheel. The film will be screened at 7:15 and 9 p.m. on Friday, November 12, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Tickets are $11 per person. Benjamin Leatherman

Arizona Railway Day

The general public can climb aboard the vintage trains of the Arizona Railway Museum, 330 East Ryan Road in Chandler, during this event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 13. All of its rolling stock – from a pair of antique locomotives from the Southern Pacific Railroad to the high-style luxury cars built by the Pullman Company – can be explored. You can also blow train horns, check out the various indoor exhibits, or purchase historic ephemera and models. Admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge See a free Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra performance in Tempe. - PHOENIX AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA
See a free Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra performance in Tempe.
Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra

Experience live music on an intimate scale as Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, presents a free concert by the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra as part of its 48 LIVE lineup. The 16-piece orchestra finds inspiration in the music of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen, longtime musical partners credited with creating the genre that’s infused with a driving beat. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. concert on Saturday, November 13. Launched by David Marquez in 2010, the band played its first shows in 2013. That’s the year vocal powerhouse Camille Sledge, the band’s leader, joined the group. Today, they have one of the region’s most distinctive, compelling sounds. You’ll need to register online if you want to attend. While you’re at it, check out other local artists coming to the venue’s new 48 LIVE series, where you can get a feel for the energy and diversity of the city’s musical scene. Lynn Trimble

Chuck Wagon Cook-Off

You might have a long list of things you don’t love about the Old West, yet find yourself intrigued by chuck wagon-style foods. The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City describes the chuck wagon, where beans and biscuits were regular fare, as America’s first food truck. According to the museum, it was founded by Charles Goodnight during early cattle drives out of Texas, and friendly competitions continue to keep the tradition alive. One of the largest events happens in the city of Chandler, where this year’s Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-Off happens from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 13. Head to Tumbleweed Ranch at Tumbleweed Park, 2250 South McQueen Road, Chandler, if you want to watch the competition. You'll encounter period dress, equipment, and cooking methods that’ll renew your appreciation for yoga pants and microwave ovens. Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Zine Fest

The folks behind Wasted Ink Zine Distro, 906 West Roosevelt Street, Suite 3, are staging this year’s Phoenix Zine Fest on Saturday, November 13, and Sunday, November 14, as a “virtual event,” owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That said, it will offer many of the hallmarks of an in-person version, like a lineup of workshops and panels (both of which will be conducted via ZOOM) featuring more than 80 zine creators and a sticker design contest. Participation in the event is free and more details can be had here. Benjamin Leatherman


click to enlarge Astounding feats await at the Hellzapoppin Sideshow Revue. - RAY AND PETER LEK
Astounding feats await at the Hellzapoppin Sideshow Revue.
Ray and Peter Lek

Hellzapoppin Sideshow Revue

If the thought of people swallowing razor blades, walking barefoot over broken glass, or drilling a corkscrew into their faces gives you the shivers, the members of the Hellzapoppin Sideshow Revue want to help you face your fears. As a matter of fact, that’s the theme of the latest tour by this self-described “cavalcade of human curiosities,” which features aerialists, daredevils, and other sideshow oddities performing astounding feats. Those willing to attend their latest stop in the Valley on Sunday, November 14, at Tempe’s Marquee Theatre, 730 South Mill Avenue, will also witness such stunts as eye socket weightlifting, fire-eating, and sword swallowing. At only $23.50 per person for general admission tickets, it’s cheaper than a therapy session. The odd action begins at 8 p.m. and balcony access is $35.25 to $47. Benjamin Leatherman

Intro to Chakras

Maybe you’ve seen a series of chakra paintings by renowned artist Alex Grey on view at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, or you’ve been to a yoga class organized around the principles of chakras centering energies in different parts of the body. If you’re intrigued by the concept but don’t know much about it, you can learn some chakra basics with a Practical Intro to Chakras class that’s being presented by Fantasia Crystals. The class actually takes place off-site at 10850 North 32nd Street, and you should be sure to RSVP online before attending. It’s happening from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 14. Instructor Neil Rasmussen has participants pay $15 cash when they arrive, so be sure you take exact change. Once you learn a bit more about chakras, you might begin to recognize more related images and ideas in your everyday surroundings or decide you’d really love to dig a bit deeper. Lynn Trimble
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