Things to Do

The Best Free Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center
Explore Crystal Wagner's work at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
Looking for something fun and free to do? This week, you can learn the basics at Documentary Photography Fundamentals, embrace the pen at Mothers Who Write, or do some good at Tidy Up Tempe. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

click to enlarge See Reid Woodward's Milky Way Rising at Found:RE Phoenix. - COURTESY OF ARIZONA PHOTOGRAPHY ALLIANCE
See Reid Woodward's Milky Way Rising at Found:RE Phoenix.
Courtesy of Arizona Photography Alliance

Arizona Photography Alliance

Nearly everyone is a photographer these days, thanks to cellphones that double as cameras it’s easy to use with just a moment’s notice. Still, it’s worth remembering that there are very deliberate, skilled photographers among us, who use more sophisticated tools to help train our eyes on things worth seeing. They’re easy to miss unless you slow down to look for them, which is one reason exploring thoughtful photography exhibits can be so empowering. Start by heading to Found:RE Phoenix, 1100 North Central Avenue, where you can see dozens of photographs taken by members of the Arizona Photography Alliance exhibited throughout the hotel lobby. The best time to go on Monday, May 5, is between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Lynn Trimble

The Office Trivia

Did you miss out on a Scott’s Tots scholarship? Winning it all at The Office Trivia might be the next best thing. Test your knowledge of the cringe-inducing hit sitcom for a chance to win prizes. You can go it alone like Toby or form a team with up to six of your friends or co-workers. This event is BYOB (bring your own beets).

That’s what she said starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 7, at Growler USA, 5415 East High Street, #101. This is a free event but make your reservations ahead of time. Jason Keil

click to enlarge Rolling in for Bike Night. - COURTESY OF TEMPE MARKETPLACE
Rolling in for Bike Night.
Courtesy of Tempe Marketplace

Bike Night

Maybe you’ve never indulged your fantasy of owning a motorcycle and riding it off into the sunset. That’s all the more reason to surround yourself with motorcycles, and the people who love them, when you get the chance. Turns out, Tempe Marketplace, 2000 East Rio Salado Parkway, holds a free Bike Night twice each month, inviting bikers to line The District Street with their prized two-wheel companions. You can check it out from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8. It’s a chance to explore the ways bikes reflect their owners’ varied personalities and styles, and meet other people who share your passion for motorcycle culture. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Sax man Keith Kelly is coming to Crescent Ballroom. - JOSEPH BERG
Sax man Keith Kelly is coming to Crescent Ballroom.
Joseph Berg

Crescent Jazz Society

Whether you’re a longtime jazz fan, or just jazz curious, you’ll find several places around town where jazz takes center stage, and Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, is among them. The Crescent Jazz Society features different artists playing their jazz hearts out every Thursday night from 10 p.m. to midnight. Head over to Crescent Ballroom on Thursday, May 9, to hear Further West perform. The group features sax man Keith Kelly, along with Ryan Anthony on drums and vibes by Brett Reed. The performance is free. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Up your camera skills at Mesa Public Library. - AMY DANGERFIELD PHOTOGRAPHY
Up your camera skills at Mesa Public Library.
Amy Dangerfield Photography

Documentary Photography Fundamentals

Nearly everyone can be a photographer nowadays thanks to Instagram, but sometimes it’s nice to whip out an actual camera, even if you’re not an expert in composition or exposure. Photographer Amy Dangerfield gets it, because she often teaches classes for those who want to push past relying on auto mode for taking pictures of things like birthday parties or family travels. She’s doing a free Documentary Photography Fundamentals workshop at the Dobson Ranch Library, 2425 South Dobson Road, Mesa. Just bring your DSLR camera, and be ready to push your photography skills a bit farther. Lynn Trimble

Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum

Los Angeles-based artist Crystal Wagner creates whimsical works with names like Elasticity, which typically comprise site-specific installations melding manufactured and organic materials. She’s one of several artists featured in summer exhibitions happening at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, 1 East Main Street, Mesa. The museum kicks off its new exhibit lineup, which also includes works by Mesa-born artist Esao Andrews, with a free opening reception from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, May 10. It’s a chance to explore five new exhibits and meet several of the artists, who also include Aaron Coleman and Shay Bredimus. The evening includes light refreshments and a cash bar. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Hear mothers share their writing at Changing Hands Bookstore. - MOTHERS WHO WRITE
Hear mothers share their writing at Changing Hands Bookstore.
Mothers Who Write

Mothers Who Write

Long before the TV series This is Us captured the gut-wrenching realities of daily life and relationships, writers Amy Silverman and Deborah Sussman launched their Mothers Who Write workshops, which equip mothers to embrace the pen as a means of exploring their own doubts and dreams. Several mothers will be sharing their workshop-driven writings during a free public reading at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. It’s happening from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 11. Take note: Some materials aren’t suitable for young audiences. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Volunteer your time in Tempe. - COURTESY OF LOCAL FIRST ARIZONA
Volunteer your time in Tempe.
Courtesy of Local First Arizona

Tidy Up Tempe

Maybe you’re guilty of leaving your dirty towels on the bathroom floor, or letting dirty dishes pile up in the kitchen sink. It’s one thing to let your personal space go for a while. But it’s quite another to let your community go. Turns out, there’s an easy way to help clean up your community, during a Tidy Up Tempe event being presented by Local First Arizona. The free volunteer gathering starts at 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, at Cartel Coffee Lab, 225 West University Drive, and continues through 9 a.m. All you have to do is show up. Organizers will provide maps, trash pickers, garbage bags, and gloves. And you’ll get a free coffee if you pick up at least 15 pounds of trash in the area around University and Mill.  Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Embrace your inner author at Tempe Public Library. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Embrace your inner author at Tempe Public Library.
Lynn Trimble

How to Write a Book

Plenty of people dream of writing a book one day, but most never get around to making it happen. If you’re in that camp, you might find some much-needed inspiration in the Tempe Writes at the Library program, which includes free workshops with writers in residence. Mystery author Betty Webb, whose background also includes a journalism career, is teaching a free workshop called How to Write a Book, in the BRIC training room at Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural Road. It’s happening from 2:30 to 4:20 p.m. on Saturday, May 11. Future topics include character, plot, self-editing, getting published, and more. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Make friends with the ukulele at Bookmans in Mesa. - COURTESY OF BOOKMANS
Make friends with the ukulele at Bookmans in Mesa.
Courtesy of Bookmans

Live From Bookmans: Ukulele Party!

There’s a lot you can do with four strings, if you know how to play the ukulele. It’s all good and fine to sit and home and strum away, but it’s hard to go next level without professional assistance. Plus, it’s more fun to learn with other aspiring ukulele players. Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, 1056 South Country Club Drive, Mesa, can help you out here, with a gathering called Live From Bookmans: Ukulele Party! It’s a free group ukulele lesson, presented by musician Kehau Kuhi. He’ll be teaching simple cords, and you’ll even learn to play a few songs. Lynn Trimble