Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Attendees of last year's Saboten Con.
Benjamin Leatherman
Attendees of last year's Saboten Con.
Your plans have arrived. This week, you can enjoy a delicious dinner at Dogs + Grogs, celebrate Japanese pop culture at Saboten Con 2019, or get your weekly dose of Drake during Drake Night: Summer ’19. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

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They're celebrating over at Royse Contemporary in Scottsdale.
Royse Contemporary

‘People, Places & Things’

It’s been two years since Nicole Royse opened her Royse Contemporary gallery in Old Town Scottsdale, after years of curating shows around downtown Phoenix. Help her celebrate at the gallery, 7077 East Main Street in Scottsdale, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, August 29. It’s a chance to connect with local creatives, check out the Scottsdale ArtWalk, and see the “People, Places & Things” exhibit that closes at the end of the month. The eclectic art show includes works in several mediums, including painting, photography, and collage. Featured artists are James Angel, Cam DeCaussin, Cherie Buck-Hutchison, Peter Brian Klein, and Daniel Shepherd. Admission is free. Lynn Trimble

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Chowin' down on some good eats.
Short Leash

Dogs + Grogs

The dinner scene in The Lady and the Tramp is an adorable celebration of a budding romance. Short Leash Hotdogs will celebrate love and dogs of the culinary variety during Dogs + Grogs, the restaurant’s third special date night of the year. The $50 special pairing menu will feature sausage-inspired shared plates and beers from Grand Canyon Brewing. Vegetarian options are available. Space is limited. To register, visit Short Leash in person or email [email protected]

Chow down and get your romance on at 4221 North Seventh Avenue on Thursday, August 29. The three seatings will occur at 6, 7, and 8 p.m. Call 602-795-2193 for more details. Melissa Fossum

Arizona Diamondbacks

Sorry to say, Arizona Diamondbacks fans, but it’s a foregone conclusion that the Los Angeles Dodgers will win the National League West this season — and by a substantial margin, too. As of this writing, the Blue Bombers have at least a 15-game lead over the rest of the division and are essentially doing a victory lap until the postseason starts.

So when the Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Dodgers during a four-game homestand at Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street, starting on Thursday, August 29, what will our guys do? Let these blue bullies run roughshod over them (which they’ve done all season) or play the spoilers and rain all over L.A.’s parade? Swing by the stadium to find out. First pitch on August 29 is at 6:40 p.m. (The series continues daily through Sunday, September 1.) Tickets are $19 to $175. Benjamin Leatherman

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See Raven Chacon and indigenous youth perform at Heard Museum.
Heard Museum

Native American Composers Apprenticeship Project

Composer, performer, and installation artist Raven Chacon has an impressive resume, including a showing at the 2017 Whitney Biennial while he was part of the Postcommodity collective. His eyes light up when he talks about assorted sound art installations, created in desert and urban environments. But he’s especially passionate about working with indigenous youth. The Diné creative, who was born in Fort Defiance on the Navajo Nation, is helping youth develop musical literacy and music composition skills as part of the Native American Composers Apprenticeship Project. Hear them perform a free concert led by Chacon at the Heard Museum, 2301 North Central Avenue, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 30. Doors open at 5 p.m. Lynn Trimble

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Ready to party.
Dusti Cunningham


In the zoo of gay wildlife, no animal is more celebrated than the bear. What’s not to love? Bears are fuzzy, cuddly, and full of awesome. Whether you’re a bear or a bear lover, there’s no better place to be than Bearracuda at The Rock on Friday, August 30. This 21-and-over kink-friendly, parking lot party will feature go-go dancers, Seattle’s DJ Freddy King of Pants, and more than 500 handsome hairy men.

Hallelujah, it’s raining men this Labor Day weekend at 4129 North Seventh Avenue from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are $6 before 10 p.m. and $8 after. Melissa Fossum

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Dressed for success.
Benjamin Leatherman

Saboten Con 2019

Prepare yourself, gaijin. Hordes of costumed teens toting ridiculously oversize weaponry will invade downtown Phoenix this weekend, particularly in the area surrounding the Sheraton Grand Phoenix, 340 North Third Street. Their intent isn’t to conquer. Instead, they’ll congregate inside for Saboten Con 2019, the annual anime and Japanese pop-culture convention.

Every Labor Day weekend, the event serves up a mix of programming, panels, and activities related to anime, manga, import video games, and pretty much anything else that otaku are into. There are special guests, fashion shows, maid cafes, gaming sessions, a vendor hall, and an insane amount of costumes and cosplayers.

This year’s con runs from Friday, August 30, to Monday, September 2. Event hours vary. Daily admission is $20 to $35, a full-event badge is $55, and the perk-filled Otaku Pass is $350. Benjamin Leatherman

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Look who it is.
Mike Epps

Mike Epps

Mike Epps has been a scene-stealing sidekick for decades. In the early 2000s, Epps cracked us up as the sex-crazed pothead Day-Day in the Friday sequels. More recently, Epps appeared in another comedy trilogy as a hilarious minor character — Black Doug in The Hangover series.

While Epps is great onscreen, he is even better on the stage. His controversial comedy is bound to get some laughs at Stand Up Live from Friday, August 30, to Sunday, September 1.

Get your laugh on at 50 West Jefferson Street. Tickets start at $40. VIP tickets are $50 and include reserved seating. This 21-and-over event has a two-drink minimum. Melissa Fossum

Get ready for a slappin' good time.

Water Tower Slap Show

Graffiti is finally being appreciated for its artistic merits rather than being dismissed as vandalism. Street art has transformed over the last few years due to slap tagging, in which artists distribute their work by placing stickers in public places. Cristina Vanko dubbed the process as “smart vandalism.” Trill will make slap art available to everyone with the Water Tower Slap Show on Saturday, August 31. Attendees will be given their own paper water towers to decorate however they choose. This free, all-ages event features lots of giveaways and music from DJs Psychopat, Fact135, and REFLEKSHIN.

Slap it on at 1817 East Indian School Road from 5 to 9 p.m. Melissa Fossum

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The film starts with the discovery of a strange garbage can from outer space.
All Puppet Players

Garbage Pail Kids

If we’ve learned anything from Mystery Science Theater 3000, it’s that terrible movies can gain “so bad it’s good” status with a good roast. All Puppet Players will lampoon the 1987 live-action Garbage Pail Kids movie on Saturday, August 31. Widely considered to be one of the worst films ever made, the flick starts with the discovery of a strange garbage can from outer space. The Garbage Pail Kids emerge, fart a lot, meet some mutants, steal a Pepsi truck, and meet the “too fat” Santa and the “too bald” Gandhi.

Shenanigans ensue at Phoenix Theatre, 1850 North Central Avenue at 8 p.m. This 17-and-over event is $15. Melissa Fossum

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So. Many. Chiles.
Melissa Fossum

Hatch Green Chile Roast

Hatch chile season is upon us! Chelsea’s Kitchen will celebrate the occasion with its fourth annual Hatch green chile roast by serving up over a ton (literally — 2,500 pounds are anticipated) of green chiles directly from Hatch, New Mexico, on Saturday, August 31. The themed menu offers unique appetizers, entrees, desserts, and drinks featuring the celebrated pepper. All guests who purchase an entree get a free bag of Hatch chiles to take home. There’s also an all-day happy hour and a green chile roast outside the restaurant.

Enjoy enchiladas, green chile corn tamales, and much more at 5040 North 40th Street from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 602-957-2555. Melissa Fossum

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Luis Colato

Goldrush DJ Competition

The end of September can’t come soon enough for EDM fans. This year’s Goldrush Festival will be one for the books, thanks to the impressive lineup of Alison Wonderland, ZHU, and DJ Diesel a.k.a. Shaquille O’Neal.

Can’t wait? You’re in luck. On Saturday, August 31, local DJs will compete at Aura Lounge for a chance to perform at the event. Sets will be judged on technical factors (difficulty, musicality, ease of setup) and interactive judging (track selection, presence, crowd response). Tickets are $10, with proceeds benefiting Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Show your support at 411 South Mill Avenue in Tempe from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. You have to be 18 or older to attend. Melissa Fossum

Need more Drake in your life?
Alexandra Gaspar

Drake Night: Summer ’19

Need a little more Drake in your life? Head over to The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, for Drake Night: Summer ’19, which kicks off at 10 p.m. on Saturday, August 31, and runs through 2 a.m. Tickets are $10 to $15, and you must be at least 21 to attend. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. Expect a night filled with the Toronto rapper’s hits spun by DJs Pickster and Nameless. Don’t be shy if you know the lyrics to every single Drake song out there. Singing along is celebrated. Lynn Trimble

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Feel the breeze.
Thunderbird Lounge

Summer Breeze

Yacht rock walks a fine line between irony and timelessness. Toto’s “Africa” is catchy as hell, but Sugar Ray’s Little Yachty may have crossed the line. Skipper hats, bell-bottoms, and brightly colored tropical shirts will always be fun.

Thunderbird Lounge will celebrate Yacht Rock during Summer Breeze by playing the good music from your dad’s record collection. Think Hall & Oates, Michael McDonald, and Kenny Loggins.

Enjoy saxophone, swagger, pizza, yard games, and drink specials at 710 West Montecito Avenue from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday, September 1. This 21-and-over event is free. For more information, call 602-283-4621. Melissa Fossum

Dragalicious: A Drag Convention

Geeks aren’t the only ones having conventions these days. Drag queens have also gotten into the con action, presenting absolutely fabulous extravaganzas in cities around the country. (Heck, even RuPaul has one every year in L.A.) This weekend, the Valley gets its own event, thanks to the folks behind Dragalicious: A Drag Convention.

Local female illusionists and drag artists can sashay over to The Cash Nightclub, 1730 East McDowell Road, on Sunday, September 1, for a day of performances, vendors, workshops, panel discussions, giveaways, an audience participation contest, and runway entrances. Shuga Cain from RuPaul’s Drag Race will be the guest of honor and will perform and conduct a special meet-and-greet (a $15 fee is required).

The convention runs from noon until 8 p.m. General admission is $20 and VIP tickets (which include the meet-and-greet) are $35. Benjamin Leatherman

They're mixing it up over at Modified Arts.
Miguel Angel Monzón

‘Squares and Gestures’

Artists don’t like being boxed in, especially when their work is labeled and siloed away from other forms of creative expression. Consider the case of Paul Lorenz, an artist whose affinities include abstract painting, architecture, musical composition, and performance. He’s found myriad ways to mix it up, including live drawing on the gallery floor while a trumpet player creates music for the shared audience experience. Explore his work at Modified Arts, 407 East Roosevelt Street, where gallery hours on Monday, September 2, are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. His “Squares and Gestures” exhibit continues through Saturday, September 14. Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Mercury

As you may have heard, Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner made headlines this month after getting into a fracas with Dallas Wings players during a recent game between the two WNBA teams. The bench-clearing incident, which also involved Mercury stars Diana Taurasi and Briann January, earned Griner a three-game suspension.

Thankfully, she’ll be back in the lineup on Tuesday, September 3, when the Phoenix Mercury face off against the Seattle Storm at Talking Stick Resort Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Griner leads the league in points, and her talents will be needed as the Mercury try to secure a playoff berth during one of their final games of the season. Seattle and Phoenix are virtually neck-and-neck in the standings, so it’s a big game for both teams.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. and tickets are $9 to $216. Benjamin Leatherman

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Poetry calling!
ASU Piper Center

Free Readings

Escape the less poetic parts of your life for an hour on Wednesday, September 4, as two poets present free readings from 7 to 8 p.m. at Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 North Central Avenue. Featured poets include Erika L. Sánchez, a Princeton arts fellow whose young adult novel I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter was published in 2017, as well as sam sax. sax (who uses all lowercase letters) is a queer, Jewish writer and educator whose collection titled Madness was published that same year. No need to RSVP, but registering online will help organizers know how many people to expect. Lynn Trimble

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Let the lip sync battle begin.
Megan Leetz

Offpitch: A Lip Sync Battle

If your eyes roll every time someone mentions the word “fundraiser,” you’ve probably missed out on all the fun ways to raise money for a good cause. Beyond the world of rubber chicken dinners, there’s a land of lip sync. And it’s right in our own backyard. Check out Offpitch: A Lip Sync Battle at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 4, to see how it’s done. It’s a CO+HOOTS Foundation fundraiser, designed to raise money for youth innovators and equity through entrepreneurship. You need to be at least 21 to attend, and tickets are $20 ($25 day of show). Doors open at 7 p.m. Lynn Trimble

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Ready to rock.
Atomic Music Group’s

Call it the Quentin Tarantino effect. The famed director has made a habit of plucking lesser-known or long-forgotten musicians from obscurity, using their songs in his movies and propelling them into the pop-cultural spotlight. To wit: In 2003, QT tapped all-female Japanese rock trio The’s for Kill Bill: Volume 1 to perform during the flick’s House of Blue Leaves scenes, which launched the band to international fame. Since then, their rip-roaring and fuzz-laden surf, rockabilly, and garage rock tunes have been featured in TV shows, movies, and an infamous mid-aughts commercial for Vonage.

And when the band come to the Rhythm Room, 1019 East Indian School Road, on Wednesday, September 4, we’re fairly certain the gig won’t end with ungodly amounts of bloodshed, unlike in Kill Bill. The Darts open the evening, which starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22 in advance, $25 at the door. Benjamin Leatherman

We like to think wine boosts creativity.
Lynn Trimble

Wine & Design Paint Night

Plenty of places offer wine and painting classes these days. No complaints there, but it’s worth noting that most don’t give you the chance to paint inside an actual arts venue, where creatives often spend time teaching, making, and showing their work. Xico Arte y Cultura’s Wine & Design Paint Night happens inside the actual gallery and studio space used by several Valley creatives, located at 1008 East Buckeye Road. Check it out from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 4. It’s a chance to create your masterpiece with guidance from artist Janet Diaz, plus enjoy wine and light snacks. You need to be at least 21 to attend. Tickets are $40, which includes art materials. Lynn Trimble