Best Monthly Storytelling Event 2022 | The Storyline | Megalopolitan Life | Phoenix

Flash back a few years before the pandemic, and you couldn't go a week in Phoenix without tripping over a live storytelling event. Storytelling series and open mics sprouted up faster than weeds. Time, the most patient and merciless of gardeners, has yanked most of them out by their roots. But some plants are hardier than others — The Storyline's roots run deep in downtown, and it continues to bear sweet storytelling fruit each month at Changing Hands' Phoenix location. Hosted by Dan Hoen Hull and Joy Young, The Storyline Slam combines the confessional storytelling you'd see at places such as The Moth with the competitive energy and scoring of a poetry slam. Each month, a group of storytellers tell stories around a theme like "magic" or "camp," wowing crowds with their hilarious and emotional personal stories while a panel of audience judges score each storyteller. Ever wanted to tell a story? Don't be afraid to throw your name into the hat — this event is open to newcomers and veteran performers alike.

Sometimes you just need to get lost in a sea of stories where you can have your pick of thousands of adventures spanning myriad times and places, while also delving into the wonders of your own little corner of the world. There's so much more to explore at Burton Barr Central Library than just a fabulous collection of books. There's the architecture of Will Bruder, city views through walls of windows, works by local artists exhibited in the gallery and other library spaces, dedicated spaces for youth, a rare book room, and even a gift shop where book nerds can support a good cause while finding book-themed gear or old magazines for all those collage projects. We feel more alive every time we step inside, as if we're actually skipping through the pages of one of our best-loved books.

A literary hub might have sounded like a luxury just a few years ago, but now it's an absolute necessity as politicians at the local, state, and national level are working so hard to limit access to books with material they find offensive. The small presses, bilingual bookstore, and zine shop that share this literary home are working tirelessly to assure that community members have a place to find a diverse array of titles written by local and international authors with authentic voices. You can relax and read zines inside the Wasted Ink Zine Distro, shop for great gifts at Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, or enjoy works by local artists in the on-site gallery. Great conversations happen here, in a welcoming, unhurried environment that always has something challenging and new to offer.

For more than 30 years, the Circle K at the corner of Southern Avenue and Hardy Drive in Tempe was more than just a convenience store: It was the shooting location (and subsequent local landmark) for some of the pivotal scenes in the classic '80s comedy Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. (You know: "Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.") Then the news came this spring that the store was closing, and a generation of local film buffs bemoaned the imminent loss of this cultural touchpoint. Local movie chain Harkins Theatres responded to the outcry by giving the Circle K the best possible sendoff: On May 18, it hosted two screenings of Bill & Ted in the parking lot of the convenience store. Tickets sold out pretty much immediately for both shows, and attendees showed up ready to party, several of them dressed up like the titular characters. The screenings included a prerecorded intro from Alex Winter (a.k.a. Bill S. Preston, Esq.) and a sense of nostalgia so strong it was palpable. Today, the convenience store at Southern and Hardy is called Corner Market, but to us, it'll always be the starting point of a most excellent adventure.

Film archivists have a term for the chemical reaction that causes old film stock to deteriorate. It's called "vinegar syndrome," and it often looks like pools of luminescent liquid eating away at the celluloid. When the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix screened a restoration of Mario Roncoroni's 1915 film Filibus with an original live score by avant-garde dieselpunks RPM Orchestra, the visual quality of this silent movie was excellent — full of striking colored tints and silvery B&W photography — except for a distorted scene in the middle of the film that suffered from a bad case of vinegar syndrome. It was the best part of the screening. A film shot in the same spirit as Louis Feuillade's classic serials like Les Vampires, Filibus is the story of a cross-dressing female thief who pulls off heists from her secret airship. RPM Orchestra's score added a playful and immersive energy to Filibus, but what made their music particularly entrancing is how they responded to the quality of the physical film. Whenever there were scratches or distortions the music would take on a similar dissonant quality. When the vinegar syndrome was at its worst, RPM Orchestra wailed a cacophony that would make Merzbow reach for some earplugs. It was sublime.

Let other cities have glitzy film festivals filled with celebrity sightings and movies by big-name directors. Here in Phoenix, we have a hometown festival that makes it easy for anyone to experience an eclectic array of films that reflect the diversity of human experience and give us pathways for forging fresh conversations and collaborations. The Indie Film Fest gives voice to local talent, while expanding our vision beyond the Valley of the Sun. We're never sure what creative community-based activities the Indie Film Fest organizers are going to come up with, but they always add another layer of fun. With shorts, documentaries, music videos, and more, the festival mixes it up to remind us that there's true movie magic beyond our favorite couches and streaming services.

When was the last time you spent just $3.50 on a movie ticket? Ticket prices keep rising, but you'll always find a movie bargain at Pollack Tempe Cinemas at McClintock Drive and Elliot Road. The theater plays second-run movies (those no longer showing in regular cinemas) in addition to classic features such as The Breakfast Club and Friday Night Lights. Pollack Tempe Cinemas an old-school, Hollywood-meets-Disney vibe replete with life-size displays of characters from Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, and Superman. Head to the snack bar for popcorn, Blue Bunny Ice Cream, or a Hebrew National Hot Dog to accompany your flick, then sit back and enjoy the show knowing that you snagged a great deal.

If your idea of being pampered is having someone else fetch your beer while you sit on the couch watching movies from your favorite '80s franchise, it's probably time you step it up a notch. There's luxury to be found at AMC Dine-In Esplanade 14, where you can order appetizers, burgers, flatbreads, salads, bowls, snacks, and more on your phone and get them delivered to your seat. You can also spend some time at the bar before or after the flick to enjoy beer, wine, or cocktails. The theater is surrounded by luxurious shops, so you can enjoy a little walking and window shopping on either side of your movie time. While you're there, you can typically choose from classics, new titles, and artisan films. Special Fathom Events screenings from anime films to opera performances take you beyond the ordinary movie lineup, and you can bring a touch of class to your next party by booking a private screening. Just be sure you don't show up in your tattered Big Lebowski bathrobe.

For local cinephiles who are tired of watching classic films on the small screen, the Majestic Neighborhood Cinema Grills are your huckleberry. The three east Valley locations regularly screen repertory films alongside new releases. Where else in the Valley can you see Robocop on 35mm one week and then catch a restoration of Lost Highway the next? The Majestic team has done a great job in catering to both arthouse and grindhouse audiences, screening horror cult classics such as Blood and Black Lace and Texas Chainsaw Massacre alongside film canon staples including Rear Window, Wings of Desire, and The Seventh Seal. They've also had special guest Q&As, film and meal pairings, and other fun events. If you've ever wanted to drink a beer and eat a cheeseburger while reclining in a comfortable chair with Richard Elfman's deranged Forbidden Zone playing in front of you on the big screen, they're the only game in town.

Walking into the McKinley Club near a strip of Grand Avenue renowned for its offbeat arts scene, you hardly feel like you've entered a working space. When you see oodles of plants, hanging chairs, and a geometric mural by local artist Danielle Hacche, you get the vibe of your favorite home decor show where it's all about combining comfort and urban chic. The club has private offices in various sizes, plus dedicated desks in shared spaces, and open space memberships, too. Check out the roster and you'll see a compelling mix of Phoenix thinkers, makers, movers, and shakers — each bringing creative flair to their own projects and their conversations with other great minds working in various ways to help the city, and those who live and work here, move forward.

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