Things to Do

The Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Lynn Trimble
Get reading for the Skate Ramp Jam at The Churchill in Roosevelt Row.

It's the start of another event-packed week in metro Phoenix, and as a bonus, it's supposed to be slightly less miserably hot than last week. Celebrate by getting out and doing something fun, like watching a movie about octopuses, checking out a new art exhibit, or lending some moral support to the beleaguered Arizona Diamondbacks.

Skate Ramp Jam

You’re in luck if you’ve long harbored a fantasy of skateboarding away your days, Cowtown Skateboards is bringing the skateboard action to The Churchill, 901 North First Street, from 4 to 10 p.m. on Monday, June 21. Their Mini Ramp Jam/Free Skate is a community event that’s open to all ages, where you can check out an open skate, watch a best trick competition, try for giveaways, and more. The free event happens on this year’s Go Skateboarding Day organized by the International Association of Skateboard Companies. If you’re feeling inspired to explore more skateboarding culture, remember that several local artists, including Douglas Miles of Apache Skateboards, are doing intriguing work in the fine art of skateboarding. Finally, a fun fact: Skateboarding is scheduled to make its Olympics debut in Tokyo this summer. Lynn Trimble

Arizona Diamondbacks v. Milwaukee Brewers

We’re not going to sugarcoat it: The Arizona Diamondbacks suck right now. Hard. The team is in the midst of one of the worst starts in franchise history (20-52, as of this writing) and recently broke the Major League Baseball record for consecutive road losses (23 to be exact), eclipsing the 1943 Philadelphia Athletics and 1963 New York Mets. (Arizona also happens to be the worst team in baseball at the moment.)

The only good news to be had for the D-backs fans at the moment (more or less) is that tickets to games at Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street, are relatively cheap and there’s still good baseball action to be seen at the stadium, albeit from Arizona’s opponents. To wit: The Milwaukee Brewers are currently neck-and-neck with the Chicago Cubs. Expect to see plenty of Brewers jerseys in the seats when Arizona hosts Milwaukee for a three-game series from Monday, June 21, to Wednesday, June 23. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday nights and at 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday. Tickets start at $25. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Learn about this little guy at the Arizona Science Center this week. - NOAA OCEAN EXPLORATION & RESEARCH/FLICKR
Learn about this little guy at the Arizona Science Center this week.
NOAA Ocean Exploration & Research/Flickr

Cephalopods: Aliens of the Deep

An octopus living in a lush South African kelp forest went viral last year, along with naturalist and filmmaker Craig Foster, who recounts his feelings of bonding with the creature in My Octopus Teacher. Released by Netflix in 2020, the film earned a 2021 Academy Award for best documentary feature, affirming the magic many felt learning how Foster turned to the natural world when facing his own work burnout and depression. If hearing about his experience leaves you curious about the underwater world of the octopus, head to the Arizona Science Center, 600 East Washington Street, on Tuesday, June 22, when they’ll be showing the film Cephalopods: Aliens of the Deep on the five-story screen inside their Irene P. Flinn Theater at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Get $19.95 general admission tickets for museum admission, and $9 tickets for the film, online before you go. Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Suns v. Los Angeles Clippers

Phoenix Suns fans who didn’t get their fill of shouting “Beat L.A.!” as the Fellas dethroned the Lakers in the opening round of the NBA playoffs will get another crack at it this week. The Suns will need it as they battle the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Finals.

The Clippers are coming off upending the Utah Jazz in spectacular fashion after losing the first two games of that series. Despite Kawhi Leonard being sidelined by a knee injury against the Jazz, L.A.’s still got such offensive threats as Paul George and Terrance Mann (who stepped up big time against Utah). Meanwhile, the Suns are trying to get by without “Point God” Chris Paul, who’s still under the NBA’s health and safety protocols because of COVID.

Hopefully, Phoenix can come through in the clutch during Game 2 of the series on Tuesday, June 22, at Phoenix Suns Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. Tickets are available on the secondary market for $175 and up. If you don’t got the dough, the game airs on ESPN. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Exploring "Docents Select: Indigenous Americas" at Mesa Contemporary Art Museum. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Exploring "Docents Select: Indigenous Americas" at Mesa Contemporary Art Museum.
Lynn Trimble

'Indigenous Americas'

Continuing its tradition of showing works by local artists, Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum is exhibiting work by several Arizona artists as part of its “Docents Select: Indigenous Americas” exhibition. The show features works from the museum’s permanent collection, which were chosen for this exhibit by the docents whose volunteer time ranges from researching artworks to talking with museum visitors about what’s on view at the museum. The museum is located at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, where admission is free. Hours on Wednesday, June 23, are noon to 5 p.m. Arizona-based artists featured in the exhibit include Monica Aissa Martinez, Champ Styles, and Frank Ybarra. The show continues through August 8. While you're there, explore Something to Hold Onto by Cannupa Hanska Luger (Madan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, European), which is part of a collaborative, site-specific exhibition called "Passage" where you can also see work by prolific muralists Thomas ‘Breeze’ Marcus (Tohono O’odham) and Dwayne Manuel (Onk Akimel O'odham). Lynn Trimble

Recalling a Moonviewing Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix. - JAPANESE FRIENDSHIP GARDEN
Recalling a Moonviewing Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix.
Japanese Friendship Garden

Moon Meditation

The moon has captivated human imagination since ancient times, with diverse cultures exploring connections between the moon and myriad human experiences such as birth, death, fertility, health, and enlightenment. Van Gogh captured a glowing crescent moon in Starry Night and an iconic Pink Floyd album references the dark side of the moon. More recently, artists Hsin-Chien Huang and Laurie Anderson transported people To the Moon via virtual reality. Of course, the moon is also central to Japanese culture, as evidenced in part by its annual moonviewing festival. If you share their fascination, join the Moon Meditation in the Garden happening from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, June 25, at the Japanese Friendship Garden, 1125 North Third Avenue. Led by Biophilia instructors, it includes soothing sounds from chimes and ocean drums. Bring water and a yoga mat or blanket. Tickets are $50, which includes a Biophilia moon healing kit to take home. If you want more time to explore the garden, you can arrive as early as 5 p.m. Lynn Trimble

Candlelight: Film Scores Featuring John Williams and More

An memorable movie deserves an equally epic soundtrack, which notable composers like John Williams, Ramin Djawadi, and Michael Giacchino have created for multiple films throughout their respective careers. Some of their more beloved works for the silver screen will be showcased during the latest edition of the Candlelight concert series this weekend, at Chateau Luxe Event Venue, 1175 East Lone Cactus Drive. Entitled “Candlelight: Film Scores Featuring John Williams and More,” it will feature an ensemble of local classical musicians performing such songs and selections as Giacchino’s theme from Up, “Por Una Cabeza” from Scent of a Woman, the love theme from The Godfather, and a medley of movie music by John Williams. Performances are at 9 p.m. on Friday, June 25, and 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 26. Tickets are $35 to $55. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Checking out the sky portion of an acrylic panting with a desert evening theme. - CARRIE CURRAN ART STUDIOS
Checking out the sky portion of an acrylic panting with a desert evening theme.
Carrie Curran Art Studios

Van Gogh Vino

Maybe you’re eagerly anticipating the immersive Van Gogh exhibition that’s heading to Phoenix or dreaming of traveling to Amsterdam to explore the Van Gogh Museum. Either way, you can indulge your passion for Van Gogh’s expressive paintings by trying a little painting of your own at Carrie Curran Art Studios, 8300 North Hayden Road, Suite A100, Scottsdale. That’s where their next Van Gogh Vino class will feature painting a desert scene with its own starry sky. An instructor will guide you through creating an original work of art, and the studio will provide everything you need to make it — including canvas, paints, and an apron to wear while you’re there. The studio also has wine glasses and wine openers on hand, so you can bring your favorite bottle of wine and sip away while you make those broad strokes and detailed finishes in the evening desert-themed class. You don’t need any experience to enjoy the mix of wine and art, which happens from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, June 25. The class costs $45. Take note: Painters have to be at least 13 years old, and an adult needs to accompany anyone under age 18. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge See new works created through [nueBOX] at Park Central this week. - [NUEBOX]
See new works created through [nueBOX] at Park Central this week.

New Moves

When creatives Julie Akerly and Matthew Mosher co-founded [nueBOX] in 2014, they sought to expand opportunities for performance and installations artists in the metro Phoenix area. Focused on research-driven and collaborative works, the nonprofit is elevating the voices of BIPOC artists, creating spaces for emerging and established artists to make and share work. As pandemic life put performance art on hold, several creatives involved with [nueBOX] programs such as their Studio/LAB Residency and Black Artist Cohort were making new works that they’ll be sharing during an outdoor event called nueWork Live Performance, which is happening at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 26, at Park Central, 3121 North Third Avenue. It’s a great chance to see new work by Sam Arrow, Shaniece Brazwell, Dienae Hunter, Kraken Still & Film, Zarina Mendoza, Ruby Morales, and Halley Willcox. Admission is pay-what-you-want (suggested $25). Get tickets online, and remember to bring water and snacks for the show. Lynn Trimble

Glow Skate

Odds are, the men credited with creating roller skates never imagined glowing disco mashups of roller skates and sensuality a la Beyonce’s Blow video. Nonetheless, the technology they unleashed has fueled some fascinating fare, from Charlie Chaplin’s The Rink and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Starlight Express. The ‘50s gave us carhops on roller skates, but the ‘70s and ‘80s brought the heyday of roller disco culture. Even Ronald Reagan took note, declaring October National Roller Skating Month back in 1983. And Nebraska has its very own National Museum of Roller Skating. Now, you can explore retro roller skate culture during glow-in-the-dark themed skates at your favorite roller skating rinks. Don your best glow gear on Sunday, June 27, when USA’s Skateland in Mesa presents a Glow Skate from 4:30 to 7 p.m. It’s located at 7 East Southern Avenue. Admission is $8 and skate/roller blade rentals are $4.50. If a night of skating kindles fresh appreciation for the sport, organizations like the Arizona Derby Dames can help you learn more about local skating culture. Lynn Trimble