Amazing Arizona Comic Con at Phoenix Convention Center The Walking Dead is essentially the hottest television show on the planet. As the fourth season of AMC's ongoing horror serial prepares to commence in a couple of weeks, the Amazing Arizona Comic Convention becomes ground zero for all things zombie, comics, and pop culture starting Friday, January 24.
If you've somehow been shielded from the zombie apocalypse, The Walking Dead, first in comic form and then on the tube in 2010, follows small-town sheriff Rick Grimes as he deals with the aftermath of a world overrun with flesh-eating undead. TWD creator and writer (and the show's executive producer) Robert Kirkman is slated to appear to give some behind-the-scenes insight into the phenomenon. Cosplaying, a zombie beauty pageant, and general geeking out among comic book heroes will be part of AACC's super powered kickoff of the convention year for kids of all ages.
The Amazing Arizona Comic Con booms into the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street, through Sunday, January 26. Single-day tickets are $25, and three-day packages range from $60 to $200. For more info, visit www.amazingarizonacomiccon.com. -- Jose Gonzalez
La Bohème at Symphony Hall It's obvious Mimi isn't feeling well in Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème, because she wears a shawl in the promotional photo. The opera that inspired Rent, itself based on a French magazine serial that later became a play, features sublime music (Puccini's famous even among philistines for Madama Butterfly's soaring, weepy "Un Bel Di") and, in Arizona Opera's production, live English surtitles, so it's actually more comprehensible than its gritty, 1980s-set successor.
Creative types don't borrow and adapt just for the box office revenue: Good art remains relatable over the centuries. Enjoy Bohème's timeless universality at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street, 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 24, continuing through Sunday, January 26, before it tours to Tucson. One of the divas singing Mimi is heralded for "creamy timbre" and the other for a voice with "deep burgundy coloring." You can't lose! Tickets range from $25 to $140 at www.azopera.org or 602-266-7464. -- Julie Peterson
Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam at Chase Field Monster truck rallies are wholly predictable; which is exactly what we love about them. You don't know what you'll get out of a baseball game or a movie, but you know a Monster truck rally is going to deliver basically the same product: a bunch of massive trucks launching themselves around the track and occasionally crushing the hell out of some beaten down old cars.
If you're in the mood for something predictable, Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam is coming back to Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street, on Saturday, January 25. The competition will feature more than a dozen trucks -- including Monster truck legend Grave Digger driven by Carl Van Horn -- competing in both a conventional race and a freestyle event. Gates will open at 5 p.m., and the event will kick off at 7. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased online via www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000. -- Ed Kummerer
I Am Not Myself (On Film) at R. Pela Contemporary Art Local artist Paul Wilson is known for a tongue-in-cheek approach to the monotonous and bizarre. Reality meets the far-fetched with "I Am Not Myself," an exhibition about JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. The artwork places Oswald in a greater historical context, depicting his imagined presence at the Titanic and Hindenburg disasters. It also features an obsession with toasters, themselves regular characters in Wilson's pieces.
The month-long show, which ends Friday, January 31, features I Am Not Myself (On Film), a collected one-night-only screening of Wilson's old and contemporary videos. Presented by No Festival Required, the compilation includes shorts about shopping in thrift stores and spoofs on "educational" atomic preparedness films from the 1950s -- a humorous retrospective reminding the viewer sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.
Catch the film at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 25, at the R. Pela Contemporary Art Gallery, owned by longtime New Times contributor Robrt Pela and located at 335 West McDowell. Tickets are
$10 now sold out and include popcorn. Call 602-320-8445 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/551996. -- Janessa Hilliard
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Sunday A'Fair at Scottsdale Civic Center Park In Arizona we get to enjoy a little fun in the sun while much of the country freezes. Having lunch outside on the lawn at a free concert is a bonus, and entirely do-able at the weekly Sunday A'Fair shows at the Scottsdale Civic Center Park. Entering their 27th season, these A'Fairs showcase local musical talent, along with arts-and-crafts fairs and children's events. Food will even be available for those forgoing the picnic basket. Featured performers January 26 are The Cal Tjader Tribute Band, performing the vibe master's passionate music of the Caribbean, Cuba, and Latin America from noon to 1:30 p.m., and the Alice Tatum Quartet mixing it up with jazz standards, ballads and dance numbers from 2 to 4 p.m.
Bask in an afternoon of music under the sun at the Scottsdale Civic Center Park, 7380 East Second Street. Admission is free. Visit www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org or call 480-874-4694. -- Glenn BurnSilver
Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version to reflect that I Am Not Myself (On Film) has sold out.