Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Benjamin Leatherman
For a perfect holiday season, just add beer.
Your plans have arrived. This week, you can shop for unique holiday gifts at Phoestivus, enjoy true stories with a cocktail during Bar Flies, or get your basketball fix at Basketball Hall of Fame. For more things to do, visit Phoenix New Times’ calendar.

click to enlarge Phoestivus fun with bright and shiny objects. - EVIE CARPENTER
Phoestivus fun with bright and shiny objects.
Evie Carpenter


More than 200 vendors will be showing their wares during Phoestivus, when you can shop for artisan-made goods that make unique holiday gifts for friends and family. It’s happening from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, December 12, at Phoenix Public Market, 721 North Central Avenue. Expect eclectic offerings including jewelry, home and office decor, books, personal care products, and more. It’s a chance to support local businesses, shop in a casual outdoor setting, and enjoy those little extras like live music and food trucks. Bring your holiday shopping list and your neighborly good cheer. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Detail of Fiamma Montezemolo's work at ASU Art Museum. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Detail of Fiamma Montezemolo's work at ASU Art Museum.
Lynn Trimble

‘Begin at the End’

Some people say print is nearing the end times. But ASU Art Museum, 51 East 10th Street in Tempe, is keeping text-based artworks top of mind with an exhibit called “Begin at the End.” The free art show includes works by 14 contemporary artists, including Annie Lopez, a key figure in the development of the Phoenix arts landscape. The exhibit also includes work by Robert Indiana, best-known to locals for his LOVE sculpture in Scottsdale. The lineup also includes Enríque Chagoya, an artist represented by Lisa Sette Gallery in Phoenix. These artists work in diverse mediums, from neon to cyanotype photography. One artist used cigarettes, and another an umbrella. Get a good look on Thursday, December 12, when museum hours will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Lynn Trimble


While Gremlins isn’t heralded as a Christmas classic, what other film is a metaphor for the unlikely bonds of family and features an epic fight scene in an ’80s Montgomery Ward? At least the folks at BS Movies recognize its importance and are celebrating Gizmo and company with a special screening. After the credits roll, hosts Brian Haas and Shelly Grant present their live podcast with trivia and giveaways courtesy of Zia Records. Sadly, there will be no actual gremlins available for cuddling.

The screening is set for 8 p.m. on Friday, December 13, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Tickets are just $9.95. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Strolling through Phoenix Festival of the Arts. - PATRICK RAPPS
Strolling through Phoenix Festival of the Arts.
Patrick Rapps

Phoenix Festival of the Arts

For three days, Phoenix Center for the Arts will transform part of Hance Park, 1202 North Third Street, into a giant arts venue complete with a fun assortment of visual and performance art. Experience the Phoenix Festival of the Arts on opening day, Friday, December 13, when festival hours are noon to 5 p.m. You’ll find artists live painting murals, onstage entertainment, food trucks, and plenty of artists selling paintings, ceramics, jewelry, and more.

Head to the entertainment pavilion at 1 p.m. to see Diana Calderon demonstrate printmaking, or 2 p.m. to see a performance featuring guitars made at the Roberto-Venn Luthiery based in the Grand Avenue arts district. Sule Greg Wilson performs at noon, and the Arizona School for the Arts jazz ensemble will round it all out at 4 p.m. The festival is free, but you’ll need money for eats and shopping. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge A rendition of Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. - HECTOR ECHEVARRIA
A rendition of Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Hector Echevarria

Drawn to Comics

There’s a ton of great artistic talent across the Valley, and that holds true for the mediums of pop culture and comic books. Drawn to Comics is taking the time to highlight some of these folks through its annual artist spotlight event, Brightest Saturdays. On Friday, December 13, the store will host Ken Schwab, who creates nerdy accessories with his Ken’s Buttons line. Then, on Saturday, December 14, Hector Echevarria, who works primarily with digital art and acrylics, will swing by the shop.

Both events are free and run from 6 to 10 p.m. at Drawn to Comics, 5801 West Glendale Avenue in Glendale. Chris Coplan

A Drag Queen Christmas

Drag queens make just about everything better. Try posting a few up at the DMV, and people would happily wait the six hours required. If you’ve got an especially bleak outlook on the holidays, then you just need to catch A Drag Queen Christmas. Hosted by Nina West, this evening of hilarious, borderline naughty performances features several cast members from RuPaul’s Drag Race. If this doesn’t change your take on the holidays, maybe try 1,000 viewings of A Christmas Carol?

The show begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 13, at Comerica Theatre, 400 West Washington Street. Tickets are $38 to $53. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge 8-Bit Mammoth - TYLER CRUZ
8-Bit Mammoth
Tyler Cruz

The Music of Cowboy Bebop

The Mammoth Ensemble are a very specific cover band. The collective will rework the catalog of The Seatbelts, the multifaceted Japanese group, for The Music of Cowboy Bebop show. Fans of the anime, or those who just love geeky musical crossovers, should find The Mammoth Ensemble’s renditions to be a sonic explosion true to Seatbelts’ mishmash approach. Plus, the group promise a few special “treats,” so don’t be a Punch and Judy and swing on by. Hope that reference landed, Bebop fans!

The concert begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 13, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue. Tickets run $10 to $15. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Best holiday sweater we’ve ever seen. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Best holiday sweater we’ve ever seen.
Benjamin Leatherman

Phoenix Santarchy

Santa Claus has a sizable posse, and we’re not just referring to his cabal of elves, herds of reindeer, or even Mrs. Claus. During the Arizona Cacophony Society’s annual Phoenix Santarchy bar crawl, Kris Kringle’s crew will include such cohorts as Darth Santa, Cowboy Claus, Christmas Ghostbusters, or various other festive characters.

Each year, hundreds of participants dress in a multitude of merry costumes inspired by the holidays as they drink their way across downtown Phoenix. It’s one of the most infamous events of the holiday season in the Valley.

This year’s bar crawl takes place on Saturday, December 14, and will hit up the bars of the Roosevelt Row area starting at 7 p.m. It’s free to participate. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Feeling the vinyl love. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Feeling the vinyl love.
Lynn Trimble

DTPHX Record Show

Enough with running around in circles during the holiday season. Take some time for yourself and those fabulous circular objects called records. The third annual DTPHX Record Show is coming to Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 14. It’s $3 to get in, which also gets you three raffle tickets. The lineup includes local DJs, records galore, and vendors selling all kinds of music-related fare. Think collectibles, T-shirts, storage cases, and more. Bring money for food and drinks. It’s an all-ages affair. Lynn Trimble

CycloMesa Winter Fest

Can bicycle safety fun be fun? Yes, but only by having it snow in Mesa. The city’s bicycle and pedestrian program is hoping to educate folks on helmet safety and concussion awareness by bringing in 20 tons of snow for its CycloMesa Winter Fest. If all that frolicking weren’t enough, there will also be a bounce house, mechanical snowboard, food trucks, and reindeer games.

The free fest is set for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, at Alta Mesa Park, 1910 North Alta Drive in Mesa. Attendees can stick around for a neighborhood ride starting at 5:30 p.m. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Look for Vessel at Mesa Arts Center. - SLAVEN GUJIC
Look for Vessel at Mesa Arts Center.
Slaven Gujic


Vessel Project is returning to Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street in Mesa, with its atmospheric performance called Mystic. It’s happening during the Mesa Arts Festival, a free two-day event that opens on Saturday, December 14. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can check out more than 80 vendors, listen to live music, enjoy hands-on activities, add your wish to a community holiday cactus, and play lawn games.

It’s a chance to shop for original art, then get it wrapped at on-site gift wrapping stations. Also look for artist Kyllan Maney, who’ll be making holiday bows with a creative twist, and pop into the artist collective gift shop. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Can you really be both naughty and nice at the same time? It’s worth a try. - COURTESY OF LEVEL UP/SCOTT KELLER
Can you really be both naughty and nice at the same time? It’s worth a try.
Courtesy of Level Up/Scott Keller

So Naughty, It’s Nice

Can you be both naughty and nice simultaneously? Don’t bother contemplating that moral quandary — this answer is yes, but only if you attend the So Naughty, It’s Nice benefit show. The Level Up Variety Hour will host an evening blurring the line between comedy and burlesque, with showcases from Billie Rae Fox, Luna Lovebutton, Clint Julep, Team Tuerff, and other local performers. The event helps benefit one*n*ten, a local nonprofit that assists LGBTQ youth ages 14 to 24.

The show is set for 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, at Bonus Round, 24 West Camelback Road. The event is free, but a $15 donation is suggested. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Celebrate Hanukkah with family storytime. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Celebrate Hanukkah with family storytime.
Lynn Trimble

Hanukkah Storytime

Everyone is welcome as Temple Emanuel of Tempe presents a Hanukkah Storytime at Changing Hands Bookstore, 6428 South McClintock Drive in Tempe. The free event happens at 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 15. Expect a lively gathering that includes reading stories, singing songs, and spinning the dreidel.

For those who don’t celebrate Hanukkah, it’s a fun way to learn more about Jewish traditions and celebrate the diversity of local communities with other families. Of course, you can also shop for related books, with 15 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Tempe synagogue, which operates a school, children’s center, Judaica shop, and more. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Is your mouth watering yet? - JIM LOUVAU
Is your mouth watering yet?
Jim Louvau

Fried Chicken and Beer/Chimac Festival

Chimac (or Chimaek) is the Korean term for pairing beer alongside fried chicken. If you’ve never partaken of such a culinary one-two punch, then prepare to indulge heavily at the Fried Chicken and Beer/Chimac Festival. More than a dozen local vendors will sell a variety of fried fowl, alongside a selection of various brews, cocktails, desserts, and boba drinks. Then, work off some of those added calories by playing board and lawn games or dancing along to a K-pop concert.

The festival is set for noon on Sunday, December 15, at The Pressroom, 441 West Madison Street. Tickets are $13 for early admission (10:30 a.m.) and $8 for general admission, and kids ages 6 and under get in free. Chris Coplan

click to enlarge Scene from A Christmas Story. - ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE CINEMA
Scene from A Christmas Story.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

A Christmas Story

Nine-year-old Ralphie dreams of finding an air rifle under the Christmas tree in the 1983 holiday film A Christmas Story. But that’s a long shot, for reasons that grow clear as the movie unfolds. Refresh your cinematic memory as Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 4955 South Arizona Avenue in Chandler, presents an interactive screening of the festive fable of family life at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, December 16. Feel free to wear your film-inspired bunny pajamas, but maybe leave your fishnet leg lamp at home (“It’s a major award!”). And don’t get any wild ideas when you see the famous scene with the boy whose tongue gets stuck to a frozen lamp pole. That totally flops when you try it with a saguaro. Tickets are $14.02. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Bar flies meet margaritas. - PHOENIX NEW TIMES ARCHIVE
Bar flies meet margaritas.
Phoenix New Times Archive

Bar Flies

Enjoy true stories and drinks as Amy Silverman and Katie Bravo curate a holiday-themed Bar Flies called Eating Christmas, which happens at The Van Buren, 401 West Van Buren Street, on Tuesday, December 17. More than a dozen locals will be taking to the stage starting at 7 p.m., including Jacob Meders, Anwar Newton, Robrt L. Pela, Gabe Trujillo, Joy Young, Tom Zoellner, and many more. Full disclosure: Many of the storytellers and organizers have ties to Phoenix New Times.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $23 at the door. The ticket price includes a copy of Bar Flies: True Stories From the Early Years, and a 5 p.m. book signing at The Van Buren plus admission to the 5 p.m. Paper Mart, where you can find offerings by Hazel + Violet, Wasted Ink Zine Distro, Phoenix Fridas, Warbird Press, and more. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Exploring the “Medieval Piñata” exhibit. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Exploring the “Medieval Piñata” exhibit.
Lynn Trimble

‘Medieval Piñata’

You’ve seen pinatas shaped like hamburgers, cartoon characters, and cactus. But odds are, you’ve never seen a fine art pinata that pays homage to art history while exploring issues related to race and sexuality. Now, you can see a gallery filled with pinata sculptures created by California artist Roberto Benavidez. His “Medieval Piñata” exhibit at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, 1 East Main Street in Mesa, includes meticulous creations inspired by illuminated medieval manuscripts and the famous Garden of Earthly Delights painting by Hieronymous Bosch. It’s one of several free exhibits you can visit between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, December 17. The exhibit continues through January 12, 2020. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Fame is the name of the game. - PHOENIX NEW TIMES ARCHIVE
Fame is the name of the game.
Phoenix New Times Archive

Basketball Hall of Fame

Let’s say you want to watch basketball at Talking Stick Resort Arena, but can’t stand the Phoenix Suns (whatever). Well, you’re in luck, as the Basketball Hall of Fame hosts its annual out-of-conference college showcase. This year, Arizona State University takes on Saint Mary’s College of California in only their second-ever meeting (the Gaels bested the Sun Devils on New Year’s Eve 1954). Could this be the makings of a bitter half-century rivalry? Probably not, but good basketball is still good basketball.

The game is set for 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18, at 201 East Jefferson Street. Tickets are $15 a piece. Chris Coplan