Top 5 Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Phoenix, here's how to spend this week, from literary haps and a dead sci-fi icon's birthday party to art and design events.

Chelsea Cain @ Poisoned Pen Author Chelsea Cain's debut, Dharma Girl, was inspired by her early childhood on an Iowa commune. But her fascination with death and sleuthing also started early, as a young Cain followed the Green River Killer case in real time from her suburban Washington home, where she maintained a neighborhood pet cemetery with more than 50 plots. She's penned a Nancy Drew "autobiography," Confessions of a Teen Sleuth, but it was Cain's first thriller, 2007's Heartsick, that introduced serial murderer Gretchen Lowell and detective Archie Sheridan and propelled Cain onto best-seller lists.

See also: Five Back to School Parties in Metro Phoenix

Cain visits The Poisoned Pen bookstore, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale, to sign Let Me Go, the sixth in the Gretchen Lowell series, starting at 7 p.m. Monday, August 19. Her website teases the new release thusly: "Archie Sheridan gets his first lap dance, and everyone almost dies." Order a copy for $25.99 at www.poisonedpen.com or call 480-947-2974. -- Julie Peterson

H.P. Lovecraft: His Life & Death & Art. A Convocation @ Trunk Space You know what they say: The older you are, the better your birthdays get. Oay, maybe they don't say that. Nevertheless, HP Lovecraft's birthday celebrations are still going strong, thanks to the Trunk Space and a band of Lovecraft fans who refuse to let 'em die.

T-Space hosts a party featuring artists and performers for the long-deceased author, who penned such weird fiction works as At the Mountains of Madness, The Call of Cthulhu, and Shadow Over Innsmouth. With poetry performances by The Klute, Manuel Paul Arenas, Richard Bledsoe, Neil Gearns; a theater performance from Arcana Collective; and stand-up from Sharkleberry Finn. This event will also offer up free cupcakes (it is a b-day party, people), and special commemorative HP Lovecraft zines by The Cult of the Yellow Sign for the first 30 guests.

The birthday festivities kick off at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 20, at The Trunk Space, 1506 Grand Avenue. Admission is $10 per person. Visit www.thetrunkspace.com. -- Katie Johnson

Faculty Art Exhibit @ Shemer Art Center For nearly 30 years, a little house in Arcadia -- the first house in Arcadia -- has doubled as a home for the arts. With year-round classes and hands-on instruction from local artists, The Shemer Art Center and Museum, funded by an association of the same name, is a haven for burgeoning young artists.

This year, instead of its annual joint exhibition, the Shemer Center is hosting a faculty-only show throughout August. Displays include an array of multi-media art, with everything from photography to pottery. Expect pieces from mixed media artist Jack Adams, long-time ceramicist and sculptor Alan Jones, and painter Julie Gilbert Pollard, who works in vibrant oils and watercolors.

The display is on view Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with additional showings Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. through September 5, at 5005 East Camelback Road. Admission is free. Call 602-262-4727 or visit www.shemerartcenter.org. -- Janessa Hilliard

MK12 @ ITSB IV That the design and filmmaking collective MK12 hails from the Show-Me State seems entirely appropriate. The Kansas City-based crew collaborates often with musicians and major studio film directors to turn their ideas into exciting visuals. AIGA Arizona, the local branch of the national association of design professionals, brings MK12 and its work to the Valley on Thursday, August 22.

MK12 has racked up accolades from around the world, but its versatility and expertise in visual storytelling might be best encapsulated in their 2011 award-winning short Follow the Sun. What starts as a jauntily-scored, nostalgic stroll to the movie house snack bar takes a dark turn toward damnation. MK12's mastery comes not in merely subverting '50s-style advertising but doing it with a playful sense of the bizarre that is eminently engaging and delightful to watch.

AIGA Arizona presents MK12 at the ASU Marston Exploration Theater, 850 South McAllister Avenue in Tempe, at 7 p.m. The theater is located in Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV. General public admission is $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Visit www.arizona.aiga.org to purchase tickets or for more info. -- Jose Gonzalez

Hell City Tattoo Festival @ Arizona Biltmore There was a time when the words "convention" and "tattoo" were never uttered in the same sentence. But it's 2013, an era when tattoos are not only conventional -- but often come with their own congregation. Weekend-long body modification events have become commonplace throughout the Valley, and The Hell City Tattoo Festival is no exception.

This weekend's convention features staples such as competitions (with categories including "Best Asian Tattoo" and "Worst Tattoo"), educational classes (like how to bring in business using social media), style seminars, live music, and screenings of a Hell City documentary, filmed over seven festivals.

Tattooing talents from Spike TV's Ink Master, Tattoo Nightmares, and Oxygen Network's Best Ink will be on-site, needles ready. Despite the demonic moniker, the festival also hosts family-friendly activities like temporary tattoos and a Heck City Kids Zone.

The three-day "Hellebration" begins each day at noon, running until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday, August 23 through 25, at the Arizona Biltmore, 2400 East Missouri Avenue. Tickets are $25 per day, with weekend and discounted pre-sale passes available. Visit www.hellcity.com. -- Janessa Hilliard

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