Nerd Culture

7 Free Things to Do This Week in Metro Phoenix

Exploring artwork exhibited at Surprise City Hall.
Courtesy of City of Surprise
Exploring artwork exhibited at Surprise City Hall.

Attention cheapos. This week you can go to the Conciertos Originales, make a creepy doll at the Demented Doll Make and Take, and get a taste of Phoenix brews at The Van Beer’n festival. Best part? It's all free. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times' calendar.

“Works of Art on Paper”
John Burridge has been creating quite the paper trail. He’s part of a Surprise-based arts organization called WHAM, which promotes artists working in the Northwest Valley. And he’s been collecting works of art by local, national, and international artists with diverse styles for more than four decades. Now a selection of those works is featured in a free group show called “Works of Art on Paper,” which you can explore between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, August 13, at Surprise City Hall, 16000 North Civic Center Plaza. The exhibit continues through Thursday, August 23. Visit the West Valley Arts website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Explore new work by Laura Spalding Best at Practical Art. - LAURA SPALDING BEST
Explore new work by Laura Spalding Best at Practical Art.
Laura Spalding Best
Laura Spalding Best
For years, Phoenix-based artist Laura Spalding Best has been exploring the fine line between reality and perception, primarily through oil paintings on found objects. But her work holds even richer meaning now, during the age of so-called “fake news.” She’s created a whole new body of work, comprising paintings on domestic objects such as tea cups and irons. And she’s showing them at Practical Art, 5070 North Central Avenue, where you can see her “Vanity” exhibit between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14. The free art show includes more than 200 objects that reflect her fascination with utility poles, passion for art history, facility with visual metaphors, and familiarity with local landscapes. The exhibition continues through Friday, August 31. Visit the Practical Art website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge See work by Kari Wehrs at Tilt Gallery. - PHOTO: KARI WEHRS.
See work by Kari Wehrs at Tilt Gallery.
Photo: Kari Wehrs.
With her darkroom tent and tintype gear, Tempe-based artist Kari Wehrs took to the Arizona desert in search of places used for target practice. Then she invited recreational shooters to pose for tintype portraits before giving them the chance to shoot at their own photographic image. She chose tintype photography in part because it was the main photographic medium available during the Civil War. Now you can see a selection of these works during her free “Shot” exhibition at Tilt Gallery, 7707 East Main Street, #14. The artist reception happens from 7 to 9 p.m. during Scottsdale’s Thursday ArtWalk on August 15. The show runs through September 29. Visit the Tilt Gallery website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Lite up the night. - COURTESY OF THE VAN BUREN
Lite up the night.
Courtesy of The Van Buren
Conciertos Originales
It’s finally Miller Time in Phoenix on Thursday, August 16, as Miller Lite brings its free concert series, Conciertos Originales, here for the first time in the five-year history of the event, part of a nine-city summer tour. The concert at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, will feature La Adictiva Banda de San Jose de Mesillas from Sinaloa, a group that’s been touring and recording together from almost three decades, producing more than a dozen albums with several top hits in Mexico.

There is no cover charge but entry is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Attendees must be 21 or over and a valid ID is required. The show starts at 7 p.m. See the Eventbrite website. Stuart Warner

Trees Matter Workshop
To experience our urban heat island problem, just step outside after the sun has set, when heat is still radiating off the blacktop and the temperature refuses to dip below 100 degrees. Planting trees can help alleviate the urban heat island effect, and public utility Salt River Project (SRP) is offering two free trees to any customer who completes a two-hour training on desert tree planting and maintenance. The latest workshops, hosted by local organization Trees Matter, will be held on Saturday, August 18, at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. at Marcos de Niza High School, 6000 South Lakeshore Drive, Tempe. Budding arborists can pick up their free trees from SRP in September, once the temperature finally cools. For more information, visit the SRP website. Joe Flaherty

click to enlarge Anticipate the most wonderful time of year at HeatSync Labs. - PHOTO: HEATSYNC LABS.
Anticipate the most wonderful time of year at HeatSync Labs.
Photo: HeatSync Labs.
Demented Doll Make and Take
Never mind all those fancy effects in your favorite horror movies. There’s something therapeutic about going low-tech and making your own disturbing, horror-infused objects. Now that Halloween is nearly upon us, you can give it a try at HeatSync Labs, 108 West Main Street in Mesa. A free Demented Doll Make and Take kicks off at 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 18, and runs through 1 a.m. the next morning. They’ll have some dolls and supplies, which could run out quickly. So rummage through your junk closet or favorite thrift shop before you head over to wield all those fun tools like glue guns and fat needles. Visit HeatSync Labs on Facebook. Lynn Trimble

The Van Beer’n
What’s the best way to combat the Phoenix heat? Drinking lots of beer, duh. On Sunday, August 19, at 1 p.m., 20 Phoenix brewers, including Four Peaks, Elysian, and Modern Times, will be offering tastings at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, for The Van Beer’n indoor beer festival. Non-drinkers, don’t fret: Designated drivers will still be able to enjoy live music by Elvis By Noon and all the barbecue fare that you can eat.

Admission is free, but you will need some money for beer tastings. For more information, visit The Van Buren website. Lindsay Roberts