Shhhhh. Benjamin Leatherman
You could spend your weekend binge-watching Netflix. Or you could dance like nobody's listening at the Silent Party, go behind the sounds of This American Life with Ira Glass, and support the local dance scene at Tempe Center for the Arts. Your call. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

Silent Party
Silent parties are a thing. Sure, those two words don’t seem to make sense together, but for those who whine about parties being too loud to have a decent conversation, these events are on the money. This Silent Party, hosted by Urban Fêtes, might be your new jam.

Here’s how it works: When you get to the club, you receive a pair of wireless headphones that allow you to switch between three different DJs playing reggae, R&B, hip-hop, and Top 40 faves. You’re also in control of the volume, making it easy to jump between dancing and chatting.

The party that’s all in your head starts at 9 p.m. on Friday, January 19, at the Monarch Theatre, 122 East Washington Street. Tickets are $20. Visit the Facebook event page or call 602-456-1991. Amy Young

click to enlarge Maggie Smith will visit ASU. - STUDIO127 PHOTOGRAPHY
Maggie Smith will visit ASU.
Studio127 Photography
Maggie Smith
In August 2016, Maggie Smith captured the shock and zeitgeist surrounding the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando and the assassination of British politican Jo Cox with the title poem of her collection Good Bones. It became a viral sensation worldwide, and has since been translated into numerous languages, from French to Tamil. It earned Public Radio International’s “Official Poem of 2016” and was even read by Meryl Streep at the 2017 Academy of American Poets Gala at Lincoln Center.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, January 19, Arizona State University’s Virginia G. Piper Center of Creative Writing welcomes Smith for an intimate poetry reading and signing at the Piper Writers House, 450 East Tyler Mall in Tempe.
Admission is free, but space is limited and RSVPs are recommended. Smith’s poetry collections will be available for purchase. For more information or to RSVP, visit the Virginia G. Piper Center website or call 480-965-6018. Michael Senft

See Julio U. Medina perform during Breaking Ground 2018 in Tempe. - COURTESY OF CARLEY CONDER
See Julio U. Medina perform during Breaking Ground 2018 in Tempe.
Courtesy of Carley Conder
Breaking Ground Dance and Film Festival
Several years ago, Carley Conder launched the Breaking Ground Dance and Film Festival that’s become an annual staple of the Phoenix dance scene. Conder is artistic director for Conder/DANCE, a Tempe-based company that specializes in contemporary dance. Her festival returns to Tempe Center for the Arts, 7000 West Rio Salado Parkway, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 19. But, there’s a new twist.

After the mainstage performance ends Friday night, ticket holders can stick around for a free after-party featuring more dance performances, catered bites, and a cash bar. The after-party dance lineup features short pieces called Tiny Dances, performed on 4-by-4-foot stages.

During the first evening of a two-night festival, attendees will see eight dances and one dance film. Expect hip-hop, yarn, Bach, and psychology, among other things. If you love Friday’s show, go back Saturday, January 20, to see more dancers in motion, performing a different bill of works. Advance tickets each night are $25 for adults. Visit the Conder/DANCE website. Lynn Trimble

Ran is the final saga by legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. The filmmaker put his heart and soul into this ambitious and visually powerful award-winning 1985 film, which is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Generations clash for power when a 16th-century warlord gives up his throne to his three sons.

Enjoy this influential cinematic masterpiece on Friday, January 19, at the Virginia G. Piper Theatre at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Street. After the screening, Arizona State University assistant professor and film historian Jason Davids Scott will lead a discussion about Ran’s continued impact on modern filmmaking.

Admission to the 7 p.m. screening is $7. For more information, visit the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts website. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Alan Austin and Vanessa Benjamin are Trying. - MARK GLUCKMAN
Alan Austin and Vanessa Benjamin are Trying.
Mark Gluckman
Francis Biddle was one of FDR’s attorneys general and later presided over the Nuremberg trials. He embraced positions during wartime that he repudiated later (better late than never). During his long, productive retirement, he had trouble retaining personal secretaries, due to a trait known as “cussedness.” The final assistant, a young Saskatchewanian named Joanna McClelland Glass, eventually wrote a play, Trying, about her years working with Biddle in the 1960s.

The two-person show, at Theatre Artists Studio through Sunday, February 4, isn’t just about yelling and filing. Explorations of aging and communication will suck you in, even if super-lawyers aren’t your thing.

On Friday, January 19, showtime is 7:30 p.m. at 4848 East Cactus Road. Admission is $15 to $25. Visit the Studio website or call 602-765-0120. Julie Peterson

The science behind the sound. - COURTESY OF MIM
The science behind the sound.
Courtesy of MIM
Discover Science: How Science Brings Music to Life
When you’re rocking out to your favorite tunes, you probably aren’t thinking about how science is involved. No worries, the folks at the Musical Instrument Museum thought about it for you.

The two-day event Discover Science: How Science Brings Music to Life will feature workshops, hands-on activities, lectures, and performances to examine how science and technology influence how music is created and heard. Make your own electronic music at a workshop hosted by AZ Beat Lab or watch the B1 Duo explore the sounds made by different metal objects. There’s also a photo booth with music- and science-themed props, to memorialize the day.

Learn about the science of sound from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, January 20 and 21, at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard. The event is included in museum admission of $10 to $20, and it’s free for kids 3 and younger. Call 480-478-6000 or visit the MIM website. Amy Young

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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil
Rob is a Phoenix native, husband, dad, and an active member in the local music scene. He's written original songs for feature films.
Contact: Rob Kroehler
Laura Latzko
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson
Michael runs the Sci-Fridays Book Club at the Poisoned Pen, and volunteers at local pop-culture conventions. He can be found at the occasional prog-rock concert.
Contact: Michael Senft
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young