SMoCA Spring Opening at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Phoenix's arty set let out a collective squeal when news broke in mid-January that Sara Cochran, former modern and contemporary art curator at Phoenix Art Museum, would take a new curatorial position in the Valley as Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's associate director.
Cochran will make her first public appearance in her new role during SmoCA's spring opening festivities on Friday, February 7. Attendees will have a chance to mix and mingle with Cochran, museum curators, and featured artists at 7374 East Second Street, in addition to taking in the museum's freshest exhibitions.
Those include "The Five Senses," which features the five works, each of which stimulates a different sense, from five artists (Janet Cardiff, Olafur Eliasson, Spencer Finch, Roelof Louw, and Ernesto Neto Cardiff), and Bay Area artist Leslie Shows' collaged paintings in "Surfacing."
Admission to the event, which runs from 7 to 9 p.m., is free. Visit www.smoca.org or call 480-874-4655. -- Becky Bartkowski
Chinese Week's Culture and Chinese Festival The Southwest is moving east as Chinese Week returns once again to downtown Phoenix. As always, the highlight of this community-based celebration is the Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival, a three-day immersion into the sights, sounds, history, and flavor of Chinese culture.
Here, guests can enjoy volleyball tournaments, a mahjong booth, taiji tournaments, a go weiqi open, table tennis tournaments, food pavilions, Taipei dragon boat displays, chengdu performances, a koi fish exhibit, art exhibitions, and history booths. Closing out the week's festivities will be a decadent Chinese New Year banquet.
The Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival will take place Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Margaret T. Hance Park, 1202 North Third Street. Admission to the festival is free, but prices vary per activity. Visit www.phoenixchineseweek.org for more information. -- Katie Johnson
Be a Good Little Widow at Brelby Studio Brelby Theatre Company specializes in cool yet nonreproducible experiences -- plays you're unlikely to have seen before or see again soon. Be a Good Little Widow, through Saturday, February 22, comes from prolific seriocomic writer Bekah Brunstetter (Switched at Birth), whose works touch on implied time travel, extreme natural phenomena, the military, the Bible, The Oregon Trail, and today's senseless tragedies bumping against vintage horror (or, as she wrote to TV producer Aaron Sorkin, "that tendency to Google victims harder and harder until you find out who they really were").
Widow's heroine, Melody, has never even been to a funeral and is still a newlywed when her husband dies. Her mother-in-law, however, is a veteran widow with plenty of know-how to share. Performances Saturday, February 8, are at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at 6835 North 58th Avenue in Glendale. Tickets are $10 to $20 at the door or www.brelby.com. -- Julie Peterson
52 Films/52 Weeks at Mariscos Vuelve a la Vida Weekend-long film challenges have become popular as a way for local filmmakers to maximize their creativity under pressure. Director Travis Mills leveled up and, with his Running Wild Films team, spent each week of 2013 creating a short film, all of which are featured in the 52 Films/52 Weeks Festival on Saturday, February 8.
The impressive endeavor of making 52 films over 52 weeks started with screen-worthy adaptations of short stories in the public domain from authors such as Kate Chopin, Jack London, and H.G. Wells. In addition to a staggering collection of shorts, the fest also peppers in Q&A sessions on various aspects of filmmaking.
The 52 Films/52 Weeks Festival runs from Friday, February 7, through Sunday, February 9, at Mariscos Vuelve A La Vida, 1602 East Roosevelt Street. Opening night on Friday runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday's program is from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., when an evening-ending party starts. Sunday's offerings are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Single-day passes range from $15 to $30, while a full festival pass is fittingly $52. Find more info at www.runningwildfilms.com/52films. -- Jose Gonzalez
Before You Ruin It at Lyceum Theatre Imagine being among the first group of people to have ever seen The Taming of the Shrew. Your friends scoff at you having gone to see some weird play nobody's ever heard of, but you know you've seen something special. "I don't know man," you say. "I have a feeling this Shakespeare guy's going to be big." Oh, the glorious rightness! You could've handed out the I-told-you-sos like business cards.
We're not saying that you should go see Before You Ruin It, a comedy set in the early days of eight-bit video games, because it's destined to become world-renowned. But the play, with its exploration of the nature of creative enterprise through the art and science of game development, is funny, relevant, and making its world premiere in early February. Do you really want to waste your chance to see it first?
Watch one of the premiere performances of Before You Ruin It at 2 p.m. Sunday, February 9, at the Lyceum Theatre, located near 901 South Forest Mall at ASU's Tempe campus. Tickets are $8 to $16. Visit herberger.asu.edu for more. -- Zachary Fowle