7 Best Arts and Culture Events in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

New Times picks the best in art, culture, comedy, and theater events in metro Phoenix from November 20 to 22. For more things to do, see our curated calendar of events

Emerging Artists II
There’s not enough modern dance hereabouts. Meanwhile, performing arts grad students can’t just toil away at a thesis on the solo. They have to perform (or make other people perform) in front of an audience. Problems! Suffering! If only there were a solution . . .

Eureka! Demand meets supply at Emerging Artists II, a weekend of stimulating dance choreographed by Master of Fine Arts candidates See Cha and Emily May, continuing through Sunday, November 22. Along with live performance, you’re likely to experience extras such as film and other media as the artists explore subjects both personal and universal.

The showcase takes place on the east side of ASU’s Tempe campus in PEBE 132. Yes, that’s the PE building, but the studio is no stinky gym (not that dancers don’t stink). Showtime on Friday, November 20, is 6:30 p.m. For tickets, $8 to $16, call 480-965-6447 or visit Julie Peterson

Mayor's Arts Awards
Pity the foolish yokel who still spouts the bitter lie that Phoenix has no art, culture, or history. Even if artists, organizations, and local businesses hadn't paved the way in a grittier downtown scene decades ago, the Hohokam had the Valley on lock going back about, oh, two millennia or so. The artistic legacies of more contemporary Phoenix artists in creative writing, dance, music, public art, theatre, and visual arts will be celebrated at The Mayor's Arts Awards on Friday, November 20. From nationally recognized figures to up-and-comers new to the spotlight, one of the biggest nights in the art scene encourages artists and patrons to mix and mingle.

The gala event is at The Phoenix Center for the Arts, 1202 North Third Street, with dinner starting at 6 p.m., and the ceremony at 8. Tickets for the dinner and ceremony are $75, while the ceremony alone is $25. Visit for more info. Jose Gonzalez

"Time Don't Mean Nothin' to a Hog"
Time flies. Time heals. Time is a flat circle. Take your pick, because ultimately time is kinda B.S. (we see you, Albert Einstein). And yet, its power to inspire art is inarguable. Florida-based artist Jenny “Iggyart” Odom travels back to Phoenix, where she lived and worked for 22 years, to show her latest body of work in the exhibition, "Time Don't Mean Nothin' to a Hog.” Opening at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 20, at The Hive, the show explores the concept of time and how things change — or don’t — as it passes. The free show remains on view at 2222 North 16th Street through December 13. For more information, call 602-254-1641 or visit Becky Bartkowski

The Drowsy Chaperone
A play within a play is sometimes a clever device, sometimes more of a tiresome nudge-nudge inside joke. But it’s rarely more entertaining than it is in The Drowsy Chaperone, a much-lauded Broadway hit from 2006 in which a lonely man plays the soundtrack of his favorite show, which comes to life onstage in all its glitzy, ditzy glory.

Lovingly parodying the musical extravaganzas of the 1920s, and inspired by the impending marriage of its creators’ friends, Chaperone features blindfolded roller-skating, a mind-reading soubrette, and a production number about giving up show business. The show runs through Sunday, November 22, at 33606 North 60th Street in Scottsdale. For tickets ($16 to $32.50), visit or call 480-488-1981. Saturday, November 21’s performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Julie Peterson

“Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold"
Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist and activist, recently sought an enormous number of LEGO bricks for a much anticipated piece on free speech and ironically, the Danish blockheads rebuffed his order, citing his political slant. Weiwei's art isn't simply childsplay; he's a legit badass whose works call out the hypocrisies of his government while drawing from his deep Chinese cultural heritage to make his statements.

Weiwei's “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold" is on exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum through January 31, 2016, and draws from the looted 18th century bronze sculptures of the animals of the Chinese zodiac. General admission is $15. For more information, visit Jose Gonzalez

LTWSE: Vol. 2 Happy Spanks-giving
In preparation for a long weekend of family, dad jokes, and tryptophan, you could use a good laugh. Local comedians Erick Biez and Anwar Newton are willing to provide when they re-ignite their monthly stand-up series with LTWSE: Vol. 2 Happy Spanks-giving. Comedian Trenton Davis headlines.

Winner of the 2013 World Series of Comedy Raleigh Satellite and the Sacramento Comedy Festival that same year, Davis is a self-described “unmarried family man” with quick quips on racism, politics, and daily life. Valley comics Jason Hill, Christopher Centanni, and Kristofer Royer also perform.

Catch Literally the Worst Show Ever at 8 p.m. on Sunday, November 22, at Valley Bar, 130 North Central Avenue. Tickets are $8 to $10; the show is a 21-and-over event. Visit for more information. Janessa Hilliard

"Sonoran Light"
Interested in making your life a little brighter? If so, a new, light-filled exhibition can make that a reality.

British artist Bruce Munro’s “Sonoran Light” at the Desert Botanical Garden magnifies the garden’s exquisite beauty with eight, large-scale light installations comprising an array of materials, and miles of luminous fiber optics. One piece, titled Field of Light, brightens the venue’s Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail using 30,000 individual spheres of light. Another work, called Saguaro, is the artist’s homage to the regionally iconic plant. The exhibition runs through May 8, at the Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway. Garden admission ranges from $10 to $22, while passes to the Munro show are $25 to $30 for adults. Call 480-941-1225 or visit Amy Young