No plans this weekend? Not anymore. This weekend's full of options, including the Irish Celebration of Tea, a screening of Miracle Mile at the FilmBar, and a club night dedicated to Selena. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.
When you’re a failure as a novelist and you’re also bad at murdering, you’re not going to be in an episode of Columbo. But you are likely to be a character in Poe-ssessed!, a brand-new play by Ron Peer. Sure, it sounds super-sweet to have Edgar Allan Poe return from the dead to collaborate with you, but for Eric, it’s nothing but problems.
Now & Then Creative Company takes its name from a two-pronged commitment to both development of new works and appreciation of classics (recently, Medea). The company presents a reading of Peer’s script at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 15, on the Metro Arts Institute campus at 1700 North Seventh Avenue, #100. Admission is $10. Visit the Now & Then Creative Company website, or call 908-616-7211 for more details. Julie Peterson
Christmas Lights Tour
In neighborhoods all over the Valley, houses have been bedazzled for the holidays. You probably want to see them, but let’s face it, that’s not so easy to take it all in when you’re behind the wheel. Join the Christmas Lights Tour, hosted by local history buff Marshall Shore, for a fun group outing to see these lit houses.
Shore gives us the rundown: “We’ll board a big yellow school bus to embark on an adventure that includes some of the best Christmas light displays in Arizona.” He notes that there’s also trivia and a goodie bag that has a kazoo or instrument so that you can participate in caroling. “Even if you don’t want to sing, you can use your instrument to hum along.”
This tour will run from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, December 15, starting and ending at the Clarendon Hotel and Spa, 401 West Clarendon Avenue. Admission is $30. Visit the Facebook event page. Amy Young
Kristin and Emmett’s Excellent T-Shirt Adventures
Mix some art with your cocktails as Tempe Center for the Arts presents Kristin and Emmett’s Excellent T-Shirt Adventures. The adults-only gathering happens from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 15, at The Gallery at TCA, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. It’s a bring-your-own-T-shirt affair.
The evening includes live music, happy hour, and a maker workshop with Kristin Bauer and Emmett Potter. They’re featured in an art show called “Tempe Xhibition: celebrating ten years,” which continues through January 6, 2018. It celebrates nearly 20 Tempe artists, including Mark Klett, Melissa Martinez, and Emily Ritter.
Bauer and Potter will help attendees create T-shirts using what Bauer calls a “quick simple processes of assemblage with found text and shapes.” Compelling texts, shapes, and color infuse each artist’s work, so be sure to explore it while you’re there. The exhibition and workshop are free. Cocktails will be available for purchase. Visit the city of Tempe website. Lynn Trimble
Irish Celebration of Tea
Caffeine entered Western culture when newly invented clocks and schedules torpedoed the practice of drinking beer all day because the water was bad. The stimulating beverages merit endless study. Start at Irish Celebration of Tea on the third Saturday of each month (except for a couple in the depth of summer). Tea and soda bread are served; much history, etiquette, and technique are imparted; and you’ll break that habit of calling a repast “high tea” when it isn’t.
Wet your whistle at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 North Central Avenue, on Saturday, December 16, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Admission is $25. Register by Thursday, December 14, at the Irish Cultural Center website or 602-258-0109. Julie Peterson
Club ’90s Selena Night
Celebrate all things Selena when the Club ’90s Selena Night dance party takes over The Van Buren, 403 West Van Buren Street.
The party will run from 9:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 16, and it’ll feature the Queen of Tejano’s hits from the ’90s. Because duh. Tickets to this 21-and-over event range from $12 to $15, and are available via the Van Buren website. Lindsay Roberts
Hansel and Gretel
Arizona Opera brings some family fun to Phoenix with a performance of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Based on the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale, this stage production follows the two siblings whose legendary love of sweets lures them to a witch who wants them to stay for (and become) dinner.
But concerned parents shouldn’t be worried about the opera’s dark plot, as it’s been adapted for a young audience. When the lights go up, attendees can partake in games and the building of gingerbread houses.
The kids will be all right at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 16, at Arizona Opera, 1636 North Central Avenue. Admission’s free. For more information, visit the Arizona Opera website. Jason Keil
The people behind The Unfathomable Film Freakout, which spotlights work by filmmakers who were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should, continue their Cinemania series of genre films with Miracle Mile, the 1988 Cold War classic in which Anthony Edwards’ world is forever changed when he answers a pay phone. That’s normally a terrible idea in a movie, but he’s motivated by what we’ll call waitress ex machina.
Despite pre-CGI effects and heavy-handed metaphors, Miracle Mile maintains a rating of 7 on IMDB — genuinely impressive. Tangerine Dream provided the soundtrack for the flick, which screens at 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 16, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Admission is $9. Visit the FilmBar website. Julie Peterson
If you only know Sam Sykes from his absurd Twitter feed or his manic Batsu games at Phoenix Comicon, you’re missing out on some fun fantasy novels. But you can get in the mix at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 16, when he will celebrate the release of his latest, God’s Last Breath, at The Poisoned Pen, 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale.
God’s Last Breath wraps up Sykes’ “Bring Down Heaven” trilogy, about a group of misfit adventurers of questionable morals and damaged pasts as they inadvertently attempt to save the world from a mad god.
Sykes also will sign his new graphic novel, Brave Chef Brianna, about a young cook who pursues her dream of opening a restaurant in Monster Town.
Admission is free, but attendees are asked to purchase something on-site. God’s Last Breath is $16.99, and Brave Chef Brianna is $14.99. Call 480-942-2974 or visit the Poisoned Pen website for more information. Michael Senft
Before Disney turned Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of good, evil, and a whole lot of icicles into the new Broadway musical Frozen, Frances Smith Cohen’s transformed it into Snow Queen. It’s a 90-minute modern dance work that pits a pair of young lovers against icy forces. Spoiler alert: Love wins.
See the holiday show performed by Center Dance Ensemble on Sunday, December 17, at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe Street. Tickets for the 2 and 5 p.m. performances are $28 for adults. The cast includes Amber Robins and Nicole Olson, plus dozens of charming children. Visit the Herberger Theater website. Lynn Trimble
Arizona State University v. Vanderbilt University
The ASU men’s basketball team rattled off seven consecutive wins to start the 2017-18 season. You read that right: Forks up. The last time the Sun Devils sizzled out of the gate that hot was in 1980, when head coach Bobby Hurley was 9 years old and John Travolta’s hair was real.
Now a fiery 46-year-old, Hurley’s competitiveness has clearly made an impact on his team. Led by senior guard Tra Holder, the Devils — not those ferocious Wildcats to the south — are the toast of the Pac-12. Enjoy it while it lasts, as ASU hosts Vanderbilt at Tempe’s Wells Fargo Arena, 600 East Veterans Way, at noon on Sunday, December 17. Tickets are $12 and up. Visit the Sun Devils website or call 480-727-0000 for details. Rob Kroehler
For more than five decades, Carol Burnett has made an impression on audiences. Her half-century-spanning career has included a turn as Miss Hannigan in the 1982 musical Annie and an appearance as Sue Sylvester’s mother on Fox’s Glee. Perhaps her influence is most deeply felt as a result of The Carol Burnett Show, which ran for 11 hilarious years. The variety show broke down barriers for women in entertainment and influenced stars like Tina Fey.
All the more reason to listen up when Burnett tells show business stories and answers questions from the audience at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Be glad for this time together with Burnett at 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 17. Tickets are $88 to $179. For more information, visit the Comerica Theatre website. Jason Keil