Top 5 Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

Welcome to the weekend. Here's how to spend it.

Comedy Slam 7 @ Celebrity Theatre There's something about comedy that gets lost in translation if you're not seeing it in person. "You had to be there" isn't just cliché for crappy jokes, it's also a genuine observation about the communal element of comedy. For whatever reason, comedy really is best enjoyed in groups. The jokes are funnier, the bombs are more awkward (almost painfully so) and the experience on the whole is more intense.

See also: Willo North Gallery's "Generations: Inspiration of Bird City" Shows Three Artists' Influences

Friday night's Comedy Slam 7 at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, figures to have the communal aspect of comedy down. The show is packed with comedians, like Shawty-Shawt, who specialize in interacting with their audience. The event will also feature performances from B-Phlat, Rob Stapleton, and Marcus Combs. Pierre hosts.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. August 16 and the show starts at 8:30. Tickets for the event start at $15 and can be purchased online at www.celebritytheatre.ticketforce.com. -- Ed Kummerer

Maybe The Next Great Playwright Festival @ Theatre Artists Studio When art exists for one day, it imitates life even more closely -- the moment evaporates, and there's no telling whether that will produce relief or regret. Such is the nature of new-play festivals like Maybe the Next Great Playwright Festival, a series of staged readings from Theatre Artists Studio continuing through Sunday, August 25.

It begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 16, with Alan Austin's Waves: A Collection of Short Plays, featuring characters "buffeted by external forces." The other irreproducible shows in the fest range from comedy to drama, from contemporary romance to Inconstancy, Bob Barr's "sequel" to Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife. With a bunch of popular Valley thespians on board, "something for everyone" starts to sound like truth, not just marketing. We're especially eager to learn whether Debra Rich Gettleman's Askew: Four Slightly Off-Kilter Shorts constitutes two pairs of shorts and how off-kilter they are (because we're perverts).

Admission is what you care to donate at the door, 4848 East Cactus Road. Check www.thestudiophx.org for specific dates and times, or call 602-765-0120. -- Julie Peterson

Phoenix Suns Dancers Auditions @ Phoenix Convention Center There are cheerleaders, and then there are Suns Dancers. And as much as you might think these ladies don't do much beside shake their well-toned bodies around on national television, there's quite a lot that goes into the gig. For example, they travel, make community appearances, study countless numbers of routines, and tan.

The lucky ladies who will make up the 2013-14 squad will begin their journeys on Saturday, August 17, when the Suns Dancer Auditions kick off at the Phoenix Convention Center. It's a grueling multi-day process that involves photo shoots, interviews, and dancing to vet out the very best of the bunch.

Auditions will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 142 East Washington Street. Parking is free at the US Airways Center Garage. For information about required attire and what to bring, visit www.nba.com/suns/2013-suns-dancers-auditions or email Taryn Carmichael, the Suns Dancers' manager, at tcarmichael@suns.com. -- Lauren Saria

Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys @ University of Phoenix Stadium This time last year Arizona Cardinals fans were still wondering who their team's starting quarterback would be. Actually, there was a lot more dread than wonder going on, and rightly so. When Kevin Kolb and John Skelton are vying for the single most important position on the team, you kinda know your season is screwed from the get go.

That is exactly why 2013 will be a better year for the boys in red. Granted, newcomer Carson Palmer is no Kurt Warner, but given last year's QB snafu, he might as well be. Palmer and head coach Bruce Arians headline a new-look team that may be poised to make some noise in the NFC West, a division that has become one of the league's toughest in recent years. And even though it's only a preseason game, one can hope that the Cards exorcise some of last year's demons when they host the Dallas Cowboys at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 17, at Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium, 1 West Cardinals Drive. Tickets are $30 and up. Get yours by calling 602-379-0102 or via www.ticketmaster.com. Visit www.azcardinals.com for details. -- Rob Kroehler

In The Kingdom of Clouds @ Desert Stages Theatre The idea of a post-apocalyptic future run by children in a Mad Max-fashion is pretty terrifying, if we recall correctly the Futurama episode where Fry travels to the year 3000 and discovers the "society" of bratty Los Angeles kids. The musical In the Kingdom of Clouds has a similar premise: There's a war-ravaged world with no adults where children begin to lose hope. These kids can no longer see familiar images when they look at the clouds, so Cirrus, son of the Queen of the Clouds, is sent to earth to inspire youth in this musical romp. "It has upbeat dance songs that are Michael Jackson-esque and ballads with three-part harmonies that can bring tears to anyone's eyes," says Justin Heffner, Desert Stages Theatre's business manager.

Get inspired on Sunday, August 18, at 2 p.m. at Desert Stages Theatre, 4720 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. All-ages tickets are $18. Call 480-483-1664 or visit www.desertstages.org. --Melissa Fossum

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