'Tis the season for saving some scrilla, whether that means camping out in the cold to nab some doorbusters, or bring stingy when it comes to spending your entertainment dollar. Discount distractions and cheap thrills abound from tonight until Sunday, as evidenced by the 10 low-cost/no-cost events that are pimped below.
Kinch at Modified Arts (Friday)
There are only two shows left until Modified begins its much-ballyhooed transmogrification, which means you've only got two more chances to catch a killer show at the Roosevelt Row institution before the big changeover. Andrew Junker and Brian Coughlin and the rest of the powerpoppers of Kinch are sending the place out in style with what's sure to be a memorable performance. They'll be joined by the likes of the Wizards of Time, Chad Sundin from the Via Maris, and folk-punkers Andrew Jackson Jihad. The Minibosses will then bid farewell to Kimber Lannings joint on Saturday night when they perform their 25th consecutive show at the venue, backed up by the Necronauts and Get Down! To Brass Tacks. Will there be any more Jimmy Eat World-style "surprise appearances" this weekend? Stop by and find out.
X-Rated Santa Party at Drift Lounge (Friday)
Is it better to be good or bad? Sure, the former might get you some extra schwag underneath the Christmas tree, the latter is indubitably more fun. So if you're in the mood to be a bit more naughty, Drift Lounge in Old Town is hosting this sexy seasonal celebration where cocktails made with the über-fruity X- Fusion Liqueur are only $5 and patrons are encouraged to dress in their most seductive Santa wear. 8 p.m., free. (4341 North 75th Street, Scottsdale, 480-949-8454).
Konkrete Jungle at Club Red (Friday)
One beef you can't have with this place is that there aren't eclectic things going on. If you think the opposite, then, well, you need to get out more (and we don't mean flying to NYC for "culture"). Take Club Red, for example. The Tempe spot -- normally known for slamming Blunt Club hip-hop -- will go off with the Men of Playgirl showcase in one room, and the Konkrete Jungle Arizona Drum and Bass DJ Party featuring DJs Wedne$day, Bass, Jah Mek, and more on the Red Owl Stage. Now, don't even say this is wack because if you witnessed a similar happening in Chicago or San Francisco, you wouldbe all over Facebook posting how awesome it is. You know it's true. 8 p.m., $8. (2155 East University Drive, Tempe, 480-966-4733) -- Steve Jansen
Move Something at Yucca Tap Room (Friday)
As you might've read in this week's Needle Exchange (written by yours truly), Universatile Music jock Pickster One is unveiling his "moveable feast of sound" in Tempe tonight, boasting spin gigs by himself, Nate Metro, DJ Epidemic, and the somewhat clandestine cat Death to the Throne. The night will also feature a session by Pickster's Crushed Sound System, which is a dynamic mix of turntable jams, painting by the Blunt Club's Dumperfoo, and live percussion courtesy of Foundation (of Drunken Immortals fame). 9 p.m., free. (29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe, 480-967-4777).
Black Dynamite at MADCAP Theaters (Friday)
As 2010 swiftly approaches, now's the time to put your foot down on what can't be dragged into the new year. If you're like us, you want the use of the word "swagger" dead and smoldering like a Viking funeral. Because the last time there was true swag in action -- and not just sporting stunner shades and running a tab -- was when the protagonists of '70s flicks like Shaft, Superfly, and Dolemite roamed the celluloid world. Black Dynamite will take viewers on a trip back in time. Director Scott Sanders cast Michael Jai White (Spawn) as the lady-loving, kung-fu-fighting, justice-seeking title character who could have walked out of the pages of beloved underground blaxploitation rag BadAzz MoFo. Bold and brassy funk accentuate the action, while Sanders' hand steadily balances parody and loving reverence of the genre. 8 p.m., $8. (730 South Mill Avenue, Tempe) -- Jose Gonzalez
Acoustic Benefit at First Christian Church (Saturday)
Lord knows that getting your wicked ass into a house of worship during the holiday season would probably be a wise idea. Even if you're of an atheistic bent, it wouldn't hurt to hedge one's bets, so why not attend this unplugged fundraiser benefiting Desert Mission Food Bank and Valley women's shelter The Color Group. Singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews headlines and Saddles, Owl & Penny, Western Medicine, and Poem's Bradley Cluff are also scheduled to perform. Admission is $5, but a buck is taken off for each canned good item donated. 6:30 p.m. (6750 North Seventh Avenue, 602-246-9206)
Tempe Town Lake Birthday Party at Tempe Beach Park (Saturday)
As far as visions are concerned, the holidays seem to be chock-full of them: Scrooge's ghosts, sugarplums, Guitar Hero 5. Not for Barry Brooks, co-owner and co-founder of Tempe's Cookies from Home. He dreams in dough. Cookie dough. His vision? A six-by-three-foot cookie clone of Tempe Town Lake for the lake's upcoming 10th birthday celebration. Barry's colossal cookie won't be the only come-to-life vision at the Tempe Town Lake Birthday Party. The event also boasts free kayaking, music by Chuck E. Baby and the All Stars, a visit from Santa Claus, the Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade and -- c'mon, what would Town Lake be without 'em? -- fireworks. 3 p.m., free. (54 West Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, 480-350-8625) -- Laura Hahnefeld
Greenhaven at Palo Verde Lounge (Saturday)
The flyer for this under-the-radar performance being put on by the Tempe punk outfit features a boss picture of Christopher Lambert from Highlander and the flick's well-known catchphrase "There can be only one." Does that mean heads will roll during either of the group's two sets? Nah, it's just a play on the fact that Greenhaven is the only band on the bill. Clever. The gig's ostensibly free, but donations are accepted. 10 p.m. (1015 East Broadway Road, Tempe, 480-968-9221)
Grandevelt Mini-Swap at Trunk Space (Saturday)
Because no one can really afford to buy his or her partner an iPhone this Christmas, the Grandevelt Mini-Swap is here to help. The makeshift swap meet takes place outside of Grand Avenue standby Trunk Space, where loads of local artists will be showing off their handmade and found wares just in time for holiday-season purchase. Folks can expect crafts, dresses, antiques, and more during this shindig, which is the first time that the experimental art venue is collaborating with the vinyl and candy store Sweets & Beats. "The idea is to do some holiday shopping, but also to have people that can turn stuff into art as well as supplies to make things for the holidays," says Trunk Space co-owner, Steph Carrico. "We're in a bad economy and this is a chance to find some cool stuff that's reasonable." In other words, it sure beats giving a sterile box of technology. 10 a.m., free. (1506 Grand Avenue, 602-256-6006) -- Nicki Escudero
Bumsquad DJs Dancehall Takeover at Caribbean Fusion (Sunday)
The turntable tyrants of the SoCal-based DJ collective (which boasts a few cats from here in the Valley) are packed plenty of holiday hype into their Merry Mix Weekend. In addition to taking over PHX Nightclub's Friday Night Live party tonight and hosting a Christmas clothing and toy drive at Arizona Mills hip-hop shop All-Starz on Saturday, the Bumsquad Crew will invade DJ Dark Vader's Sunday gig in Scottsdale. DJ Mezmriz will be in the mix, providing some Latin beats to go along with all the Jamaican jams. 9 p.m. (2515 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-990-1599)
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