You can get yourself clean and enjoy a good meal, but art at the YMCA? Sure enough, on Friday, October 1, the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA, 350 North First Avenue, hosts its own First Friday event. Its Teen Center Art Gallery showcases paintings and murals by inner-city teenagers who take part in the Y's summertime "City Arts" program.
"It's pretty simple," says YMCA resident artist Janet Blumenthal. "We have the kids paint to keep them out of trouble, to keep them off the street."
Four acrylic cityscape murals, 7 by 10 feet each, painted by eight "City Arts" kids under the direction of resident artists Luis Gutierrez and Natalie Borchers, will be on display, both inside the Y and out on the street. They'll be for sale and exhibited for the entire month, with the money going to the artists and toward more art supplies for the program. "And they'll be affordable," Blumenthal promises.
Also featured will be acrylic paintings by students in Summit High School's advanced art class, which Blumenthal teaches year-round. Although many of the kids who participate in the class -- 12 in all -- are graffiti artists, or "taggers," Blumenthal doesn't allow them to use spray paint in their works.
"They love graffiti art, and that's where most of them developed their talent," she says. "But I want them to apply what they've learned tagging to acrylic painting."
The First Friday show lasts from 7 until 9 p.m., with DJ ALX performing. Admission is free. First Friday trolleys take Artlinkers from the Roosevelt district straight to the Y. Call 602-528-5549 for details. --Joe Watson
Music and weiners for all
Polka maniacs converge upon Tempe Beach Park, at Mill and Rio Salado, Friday, October 1, through Sunday, October 3, for the Way Out West Oktoberfest. Main stage acts Walt Richardson, Mogollon, and CC Ryder Express are joined on the polka stages by the likes of Das Aubachtal Sextett, the Karousels, and the Varitones.
Expect plenty of brats -- that's German wieners, not your kids -- cooked to perfection. And, let's see, we're forgetting something . . . frosty suds for all -- those over the age of 21, that is. The Beers of the World unite for your enjoyment -- hops and barley from Italy, Japan, Ireland, Brazil and, of course, Germany.
Event hours are 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Call 480-491-FEST. --Joe Watson
Pagan pride in the park
Talk about your witch hunts. Since Roman times, practitioners of paganism have been persecuted as heretics and evildoers, when in reality they're simply down with nature or worshiping their goddess. So heathens of the Valley should come out of the broom closet for this year's Pagan Pride Day, Saturday, October 2, at Steele Indian School Park, 300 East Indian School. There'll be a handfasting chapel (offering couples of any sexual orientation a betrothal of a year and a day), myriad rituals, and entertainment from acts such as Bedlam Bells. The paganomics run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free. Call 623-810-9519. -- Benjamin Leatherman
The monarchs of Desert Botanical Garden
Like tourists from Toronto, they come in flashy shirts and black socks, stopping by on their way to more Southern climes. They're the monarch butterflies, the sky kings, swooping in for a pit stop on their annual migration from Canada to Mexico. Meet up with them, eh, in a trans-species cultural exchange at the Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway. For the price of admish ($9 for adults) plus two bucks, visit the Mariposa Monarca exhibit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 2, through November 7. Learn the life cycle and mating habits of the little rascals (butterflies, not Canadians, eh?) and how to conserve and preserve Õem. Call 480-941-1225 or visit www.dbg.org. -- Kim Toms