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Top 5 Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

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Jackalope Ranch's guide to getting out and about in Phoenix this week is here.

"Chihuly in the Garden"

He's back. World-famous glass artist Dale Chihuly returns to the Valley with a new exhibition, "Chihuly in the Garden" at Desert Botanical Garden.

Whether you've seen these intricate, vibrant pieces on display in London, Paris or Seattle -- or caught his last stop in town, "Chihuly: The Nature of Glass" in 2008 -- this six-month long installaton offers plenty of chances to study every detail and spiral of his signature blown glass.

See also: Meet Phoenix's 2014 Big Brain Award Finalists

Expect plenty of red, yellow, and green hues that play with the desert's fall light and mimic what lives in the garden. The garden itself is 140 acres and the art will be found throughout: dotting trails, hiding in plain sight.

Catch Chihuly daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sunday, May 18. Tickets are $22; discounted admission is available for members. Reservations are highly encouraged. Call 480-941-1225 or visit www.dbg.org. -- Janessa Hilliard

An Evening with Alberto Ríos

As part of its celebration of National Poetry Month, the Phoenix Public Library is inviting Valley residents to spend an evening with Arizona's first poet laureate, Alberto Ríos. Ríos, who has won such accolades as the Walt Whitman Award, Beyond Margins Award, and the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, has published a wide range of books including The Smallest Muscle on the Human Body, Whispering to Fool the Wind, and The Iguana Killer: Twelve Stories of the Heart. Ríos will read a selection of old and new pieces from his extensive body of work. Books will be available to purchase and light refreshments will be served.

An Evening with Alberto Ríos takes place Tuesday, April 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. inside the first floor Pulliam Auditorium at Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central Avenue. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.phoenixpubliclibrary.org or call 602-262-4636. -- Katie Johnson

"When and How the Oscars Became Big Business"

All in all, award shows are fairly predictable. Winners cry, losers, clap, and hosts drag the audience on through it. The fun part is the pre-show, when the stars walk the red carpet dressed to impress and rattle off the designers responsible.

Of course, while we talk trash about too much cleavage and ill-fitting frocks from the comfort of our couches, the women showing off designer duds are making or breaking both their reputations and those of the people who outfitted them. Hollywood Reporter fashion journalist Merle Ginsberg will discuss the dollars-and-cents side of red carpet fashion during her talk "When and How the Oscars Became Big Business." Presented in conjunction with Phoenix Art Museum's fashion exhibition, "Hollywood Red Carpet," attendees will hear the inside scoop on how red carpet looks, particularly at the Academy Awards, influence everything from what's trendy this season to what you'll find in the bargain bin.

The free talk starts at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 23, at 1625 North Central Avenue. Visit www.phxart.org or call 602-257-1880. -- Becky Bartkowski

Arizona's Funniest Comedian Finals

Arizona may not be the comedic breeding ground that is Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles, but plenty of stand-up acts have started in the Valley and ended up in the spotlight, including Steve Allen, Sandra Bernhard, Pablo Francisco, Greg Proops, Robert Schimmel, Gary Shandling, and David Spade. Now the search for local talent lives on as the search for Arizona's Funniest Comedian reaches its 2014 finals. This showcase of rising Arizona comedians, judged by industry experts and you, will have one ultimate winner walking off stage with a week of work at Tempe Improv, Stand Up Live, Palm Beach Improv, and Los Angeles.

The Finals of Arizona's Funniest Comedian Contest are Thursday, April 24, at Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive, Tempe. The 18-and-over show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 with a two-drink minimum. For details, visit www.tempeimprov.com or call 480-921-9877. -- Katie Johnson


New Times is throwing a party, and you're invited.

Artopia is an evening of art, entertainment, food, and drink. The party also features the 2014 Big Brain Award finalists, a group of 15 up-and-coming creative types who are excelling in visual art, performing art, culinary art, design, and, this year's shiny new special category, urban vision.

There will be plenty of eye-catching art, chances to mingle with said finalists, and vendors hawking things like handmade buttons, skateboard decks, and letterpress cards. The bash also includes the announcement of this year's five Big Brain Award winners (one from each of the aforementioned categories), who will each go home with $500 to support their creative endeavors. Also receiving honors are the first-ever Urban Legends, five established creatives who have made a lasting impact on Phoenix.

The fun runs from 8 p.m. to midnight at Bentley Projects, 215 East Grant Street. Tickets are $25 in advance via www.ticketfly.com and $35 at the door. Admission includes access to all art and entertainment, food samples, and a wondrous thing called a drink passport that is good for a bevy of cocktail, beer, wine, and sprits samples. For complete details, visit www.phoenixnewtimes.com/artopia. And for more info on this year's Big Brains, visit www.phxculture.com. -- Becky Bartkowski

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