One of the explanations behind the popularity of 4/20 starts at a Grateful Dead concert. A flyer that was passed out at one of the band’s shows invited attendees to “meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing.” Thus a smokin’ holiday was born — or at least further popularized.
The best way to celebrate this special day? Hang at Last Exit Live to see one of the region’s best Grateful Dead tribute bands, Xtra Ticket, perform at a 4/20 Party. Joining the band on guitar will be Dave Hebert of the Jerry Garcia Band.
The night lights up at 9 p.m. on Friday, April 20, at 717 South Central Avenue. Tickets are $12 to $15. For more information, visit the Last Exit Live website. Jason Keil
Sprout Film Festival
Since its founding in 2003, the Sprout Film Festival has inspired and informed its audience about the diversity of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This year is no different.
The touring event will make its way back to Tempe once again and will feature 46 short films focused on people with I/DD. By breaking down stereotypes through empowering and carefully created films, the festival will feature the work of filmmakers from around the world highlighting inclusivity of all audiences.
Sprout kicks off on Friday April 20, at Pollack Tempe Cinemas, 1825 East Elliot Road. The first screening will be at 9:30 a.m., with two more screenings throughout the day. General admission is $5. For more info and showtimes, visit the Arc of Arizona website. Melina Zuñiga
Arizona Record Label Fest
The countdown to Record Store Day is on. Annually, that’s the day to score specially offered music releases and merchandise at participating record stores. To fuel the energy for the shopping extravaganza, a group of Valley-based record labels have teamed up to throw a pre-party.
The Arizona Record Label Fest includes five bands and one DJ representing labels President Gator, Slope, Dirty Water, No Affiliation, 80/20, and Cactus Man will take the stage to rep their labels and show their skills. Styles will range from local masters of video game music, Minibosses, to Moonlight Magic, who keep things mellow with their swanky lounge tunes. Mean Motor Scooter, First or Last, Bear Ghost, and DJ Gila Man complete the lineup.
See what some local labels have to offer at 7 p.m. on April 20 at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets are $5 to $7. Visit the Crescent Ballroom website. Amy Young
Ada Palmer is a true polymath. In addition to her day job as a history professor, the Harvard-educated Palmer performs with the filk group Sassafrass at cons and Ren fairs across the country. She’s also an award-winning science fiction novelist.
That’s the hat Palmer will be wearing when she visits The Poisoned Pen on Friday, April 20. Palmer will discuss her “Terra Ignota” series, set in a 25th-century Earth ruled according to Enlightenment philosophy. Alas, all is not for the best in that best of all possible worlds, as a criminal and a spiritualist attempt to hide the existence of God in a society where religion is outlawed.
Palmer’s signing starts at 7 p.m. at 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard in Scottsdale. Visit the Poisoned Pen website for more information. Michael Senft
FYI: Trivia Night with Anwar Newton
You might have heard of Anwar Newton, the stand-up fave who hosts recurring shows This Week Sucks, Tonight! or Literally The Worst Show Ever. There’s no denying that the Phoenix-based comedian is good at what he does — and then some. Doubling as a pop-culture wiz, Newton will host a night full of film, TV, and music references, putting your pop-culture IQ to the test with a chance to win prizes and claim yourself a master. Maybe.
Join the fun and challenge Newton during FYI: Trivia Night with Anwar Newton on Friday April 20, at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street. The event starts at 7 p.m. Individual tickets are $15, and $20 for a pair. Each ticket comes with one complimentary drink. Visit the SMoCA website for more info. Melina Zuñiga
Way back in the day, specifically the 1980s, arcades weren’t just a place to drain your quarter collection or waste an afternoon. They were major social hubs where you could show off your skills, see and be seen, or just geek out.
ZapCon in Mesa will pay tribute to these pixel paradises of yore when it serves up two days of classic arcade action.
The main hall of the Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street, will take on an arcade-like atmosphere and feature hundreds of old-school games and pinball units available for play. Numerous bleeps and bloops will fill the air on Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, as joystick jockeys and pinball wizards get their game on or participate in various tournaments and competitions. And best of all, you won’t need any quarters.
Doors open at 10 a.m. each day. Admission is $30 for Saturday, $20 for Sunday, or $40 for the weekend. (Kids' rates are also available.) Visit the ZapCon website for more info. Benjamin Leatherman
Arizona Diamondbacks v. San Diego Padres
In his first two starts in the Major Leagues in April 2015, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Archie Bradley outpitched arguably baseball’s two best, Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. Two games later, the clean-shaven rookie was hit in the face with a 115-mph line. He was never an effective starting pitcher again.
Fast forward to 2017. Bradley reinvented himself as the team’s best relief pitcher and reinforced his facial security with a bushy cushion that has made him a fan favorite.
On Saturday, April 21, the D-backs will celebrate Bradley and the beard by giving away Archie Bradley Audio Bobbleheads to the first 20,000 fans in attendance at the 5:10 p.m. game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street. Tickets begin at $19 via Ticketmaster. Stuart Warner