It's an undeniable fact that here in the Valley, July can totally suck. That may not be the most eloquent way to put it, but we ask you, where is the lie? The sun violently grabs you as if you owed it a large sum of money. Sweat pours down your back like it's the byproduct of a barber college Jheri curl. And then there's that infamous heat-induced attitude shared by every man, woman, and child who want nothing more than to park in a shady spot and turn the air conditioning down to the low 60s. It's a nightmarish, unforgiving stretch of time that has us all questioning why the hell we're here in the first place.
But before you start going on Zillow to see how the Alaskan real estate market is looking these days, you might want to check out this list of nerdy, quirky, crazy, scary, and cool events here in the Valley. They just might help make this Godforsaken month slightly more bearable.
Stranger Things '80s Night
The Van Buren
401 West Van Buren Street
Season three will finally find its way out of the Upside-Down and into our living rooms on Netflix on Thursday, July 4, and it'll be bringing the sweet sounds of 1980s pop hits and horror synth with it. So once the 13-hour binge-watching session has wrapped up and you've given your eyes a chance to readjust, come down to The Van Buren and feast your ears on the musical stylings of DJs Jeffery and Bractune. They'll be playing the Reagan-era anthems you love and the creepy electronic tones you fear in one wild night that'll leave you thinking, "It's so great to know that Winona Ryder is still getting steady work."
Stranger Things '80s Night comes to The Van Buren on Saturday, July 20, at 10 p.m, with doors opening at 9:30 p.m. Tickets range from $8 to $15 and can purchased through Ticketweb.
The Addams Family
Herberger Theater Center
222 East Monroe Street
The family that gave a new meaning to the term "American Gothic" has a lot to sing about this month at the Herberger.
Wednesday Addams, princess of the family Addams and hero to all stone-faced young women with The Nightmare Before Christmas tattoos, has decided to finally settle down with a nice boy from a nice family. She might be ready, but are Gomez and Morticia? Find out for yourself and pick up your tickets to this merry-yet-macabre musical.
The Addams Family will be playing at the Herberger from July 12 to 28. Tickets range from $44 to $73. For showtimes and tickets, visit the Herberger Theater Center site.
Shirts 'n' Things 30th Anniversary Show
1306 West University Drive, Mesa
Shirts 'n' Things first opened its doors way back in the age in which David Hasselhoff donned a Lite-Brite jacket and danced on the crumbling Berlin Wall. Thirty years later, the Mesa mainstay is proving to be more resilient than that old concrete gash that split Germany like a plaid-print mini dress held together by safety pins.
This indeed calls for a celebration, and as luck would have it, Club Red will be hosting the big night on July 6. The Valley's best ska, punk, thrash, and metal bands will be there to help blow out the candles and celebrate the life and times of the store that's like Hot Topic but with way fewer posers.
The Shirts 'n' Things 30th Anniversary Show will be held at Club Red on Saturday, July 6, at 6 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $13 and can be purchased through Ticketfly.
Writing Workshop with Rosemarie Dombroswki
Changing Hands Bookstore
300 West Camelback Road
Rosemarie Dombrowski knows a thing or two about writing. After all, she's the official Poet Laureate of Phoenix, as well as the curator and host of the Phoenix Poetry Series and First Friday Poetry on Roosevelt Row. This is a lady who knows her prose, and she wants to impart that knowledge onto you.
Dombrowski will be teaching a series of three Monday night classes that focus on micro-prose and prose poetry, so anyone who wants to better understand the wondrous ways of the written word should grab a pen and paper and head on over to Changing Hands to see what the undisputed Queen of Phoenix poetry has to say.
Changing Hands will be hosting all three sessions of Dombrowski's workshop on Mondays July 15, 22, and 29 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased through Eventbrite.
School of Rock AllStars
The Rebel Lounge
2303 East Indian School Road
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll, as AC/DC once told us. That's what makes School of Rock such a valuable asset for aspiring rockers who dream of someday blowing the roofs off arenas on a worldwide scale. With locations spreading across North America, School of Rock has helped young people discover their inner rock star, and the school's AllStars tour will put its best and brightest on stage this summer with a stop right here in Phoenix.
School of Rock AllStars will come to the Rebel Lounge on Thursday, July 25, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through Ticketfly.
440 North 32nd Street
He's not for everyone. But if you're one of those people who digs his big ol' American "all y'all can kiss my ass" brand of pride, or if you're just a person who can genuinely appreciate the musical intricacies of "Stranglehold," this show might be right up your alley.
For the vegans and animal rights activists who would just as soon go to a cockfighting tournament refereed by a group of slaughterhouse supervisors, we say this: Every moment you spend with Ted is just another moment he's not out there creeping through the Michigan wilderness with a crossbow in his hand and blood-lust in his heart.
Ted Nugent will paint the town red when he comes to the Celebrity Theatre on Sunday, July 28, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased through TicketForce.
Phoenix Independent Comics Show
8034 North 19th Avenue
With all the hubbub surrounding May's Fan Fusion, we may have overlooked the unsung heroes of Phoenix's indie comic book scene. Fortunately, we all have a chance to show them our appreciation this month when Bookmans hosts PICS, or the Phoenix Independent Comedy Show. Some of the best DIY comic book writers and artists from all over the Valley will be on hand selling their wares. So if you're one of those people who laments Marvel's march into mainstream, or even if you can just appreciate underground art in any capacity, this event is not to be missed.
The Phoenix Independent Comics Show will take place at Bookmans on Saturday, July 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event is free to the public.
Mesa Convention Center
263 North Center Street, Mesa
Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?
Because it's Repticon, silly. These days, everybody likes to speak ill of underground lizard people, conspiracy theory message board posters, specifically. It's time we as a nation recognize the above-ground lizard people and all they've done for the eccentric fringe-pet community by attending this celebration of snakes, lizards, and all the other familiar faces that make up the weird side of the pet store.
Repticon slithers its way to the Mesa Convention Center , from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 28. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children aged 5 to 12. Children ages 4 and under get in free. Purchases can be made at the official Repticon site.
Mac Sabbath and Okilly Dokilly: The American Cheese Tour
730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe
And finally, we're rounding out the list with the McDonald/Flanders alliance that is "The American Cheese Tour."
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Everyone's favorite novelty musical acts (outside of Weird Al, of course) are kicking off their tour at Marquee Theatre this month. If you're not familiar, Mac Sabbath is a Black Sabbath cover band that transform the lyrics into McDonald's-centric bars. Okilly Dokilly, as you must have assumed from the above image, is a Ned Flanders themed metalcore band.
Don't act like you don't want to see this.
Mac Sabbath and Okilly Dokilly will take Tempe on Friday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $15 to $35 and can be purchased through Ticketweb.