Phoenix, we planned your week. Here's how to spend it -- from Independence Day bashes and educational exhibits to pub crawls and live comedy.
"Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Meteors, Asteroids" @ Lowell Observatory While most Phoenicians are loading up on little packages of cardboard and gunpowder to express the American version of freedom, real fireworks in the form of 1,000-ton stones loom over us just waiting to hurtle down from the heavens and devastate human existence. At some point, a smug Chicken Little will say, "I told you so," as seas overrun and we too become just another desolate flying rock in the universe. You may ask "When will this be?" or "How could this happen?" Good questions.
The answers you seek are unveiled at Flagstaff's Lowell Observatory with its exhibit "Great Balls of Fire: Comets, Meteors, and Asteroids," which runs through Monday, September 2. You can escape the heat and learn of recent discoveries, cutting-edge planetary science, chance, and risk of these identified flying objects. Included are interactive computer programs and a hands-on "pod" exhibit to role play as explorers-in-training to encourage curiosity and knowledge in the field.
Goodness gracious, get to 1400 West Mars Hill Road in Flagstaff. Admission is $5 to $12. Kids younger than 5 and members get in free. The exhibit is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Get details by calling 928-233-3212 or visiting www.lowell.edu. -- Craig Smith
Phoenix Mercury vs. New York Liberty @ US Airways Center The Phoenix Mercury could not figure out the New York Liberty last year. While this was hardly a unique problem (let's face it, the Merc struggled with everyone last year) the Liberty really had the Mercury's number: New York outscored Phoenix by an average of 20 points while sweeping the season series.
The good news for the Mercury is that a year is an eternity in sports, and this year's iteration of the Mercury (while inconsistent so far) does not look quite so easy to push around. The Mercury figure to have revenge on their minds on Tuesday, July 2, when they host the Liberty at US Airways Center, 201 East Jefferson Street. But the Liberty, who have a strong claim as the best team in the East, should provide ample challenge.
The game will tip off at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $15 via www.ticketmaster.com or 602-252-9622. -- Ed Kummerer
Indie Week Pub Crawl @ Mill Avenue District When it comes to Tempe, there's only one spot that embodies the local spirit -- in all its drunken, collegiate co-ed glory -- and that's Mill Avenue. During the 11th anniversary of National Independents Week, a celebration of all things locally-owned, Local First Arizona invites booze hounds to bar hop to all the most popular spots on Tempe's infamous drinking street.
The ambulatory party kicks off at Monti's La Casa Vieja and ends at Bison Witches after hitting such hot spots as Robbie Fox's Public House and Handlebar. Each stop will offer a $4 drink special and will host local trivia with prizes including gift cards to local restaurants.
The pub crawl starts at 100 South Mill Avenue at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3. The event is free to attend, though drinks and food will have to be purchased by participants. RSVP to [email protected] For more information, see www.localfirstaz.com. -- Lauren Saria
Fabulous Phoenix 4th @ Steele Indian School Park Phoenix celebrates Independence Day with a bang and its largest fireworks display ever at this year's Fabulous Phoenix Fourth.
The fireworks blast off at 9:30 p.m. and last approximately 25 minutes. This year's show relies heavily on aerial shell fireworks, boasting 355 shells per minute for an incredibly large firework display that is synchronized to music, says David Urbinato of the Parks and Recreation Department.
Nearly 75,000 Phoenicians flocked to Steele Indian School Park last year to enjoy the fam-friendly event. This year other highlights include live, local entertainment on multiple stages, a classic car exhibit, a kids' zone with inflatable rides, and a "hurricane mister" area to cool things down.
More than 50 food and beverage vendors will be on hand to quench your thirst, but people are encouraged to bring their own water or grill goodies (no glass containers or alcohol are allowed).
The patriotic party goes from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, July 4, at Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School Road. Admission is free. Call 602-534-3378 or visit www.phoenix.gov/parks/fabphx4.html for more. -- Janessa Hilliard
Earthquake @ Stand Up Live Nathaniel Martin Stroman received the nickname Earthquake because of the violent, shaking laughter his audiences experience. Okay, this may not be true in terms of how he got the name, but the results are the same -- Stroman's quick wit and explosive comedy about everyday life and his time in the military (he once dropped a live nuclear missile) make people laugh and laugh hard. It was during that 11-year military stint that Stroman began attending open mic nights near his base. But unlike many would-be comics, he was able to make the professional jump, first to the southern comedy circuit before taking his act national, scoring HBO and BET specials. Fittingly, this Earthquake resides in Southern California, making Phoenix an easy destination.
Get shaking during Earthquake's two performances at 7 and 10:15 p.m. Friday, July 5, at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Tickets are $22. Call 480-719-6100 or visit www.standuplive.com. -- Glenn BurnSilver