Nerd Culture

7 Things to Do for $15 or Less in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

This weekend's chockfull of ways to geek out in Phoenix without breaking the bank.

You'll have the chance to study the science of sound, march with a gaggle of geeks, and see a show of Japanese marionettes. Take a look at our guide to this month's best nerdy offerings and our curated calendar of events for more ways to spend your weekend.

Science with a Twist
Remember when your kid self couldn’t decide between rock ’n’ roll superstar and straight up white-coated scientist as your future profession? Well, dream no more, reader who probably didn’t become either one. Arizona Science Center, 600 East Washington Street, is hosting the 21-and-over Science With A Twist: Party Like A Rock Star event from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, April 21, so you can see what you’ve missed.

click to enlarge Mitsuru Kamijo has a handle on Japan Week. - COURTESY OF MITSURU KAMIJO, EDO MARIONETTES
Mitsuru Kamijo has a handle on Japan Week.
Courtesy of Mitsuru Kamijo, Edo Marionettes
The night includes demonstrations on sound and pyrotechnics, a Pink Floyd or Metallica laser show in Dorrance Planetarium, a chance to check out the “Planet Shark: Predator or Prey” exhibit, eats at Beansprouts Café, and cocktails with names like Fender, Gibson, and Ibanez. Also on deck are lip-sync battles and jams from DJ Dragon Lee.

Tickets are $12 at the door or online, and free to Science Center members. Shows, cocktails, and dinner may cost extra. Call 602-716-2000 or see the Arizona Science Center website. Lauren Cusimano

Japan Week
The name of Japan’s Edo Marionette Group proves blandly descriptive: Edo (the city that became Tokyo) is also the name for a period of Japanese history during which the country was ruled by the Tokugawa shogunate, which delivered a cocktail of rigid class distinctions (and, thereby, oppression), enabling phenomenal artistic achievements — as long as the artist hadn’t been forced into prostitution.

EMG brings the crazy-detailed string puppets introduced in those years to Great Arizona Puppet Theater to share their captivating stories for Japan Week through Sunday, April 23, at 302 West Latham Street. Showtime on Friday, April 21, is 10 a.m. The performance is recommended for kindergarten age and up. Tickets are $7 to $10; call 602-262-2050 for reservations. Visit the Great Arizona Puppet Theater website for more information. Julie Peterson

click to enlarge Method and madness: The cast of Circle Mirror Transformation builds the perfect beast. - KRISTEN ZEIGENBEIN
Method and madness: The cast of Circle Mirror Transformation builds the perfect beast.
Kristen Zeigenbein
Circle Mirror Transformation
Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation doesn’t lend itself to a “what it’s about”: five awkward people in a community center’s Creative Drama class. (Really, sadly, three, since two of them are the instructor and her husband.) Also, Baker specializes in dialogue, something there used to be a lot of in movies, but now not so much. Those are merely potential drawbacks, though. The script shimmers with loving humor and searing gut punches.

We like to imagine the classroom somewhere in Pawnee, Indiana, but it’s not strictly necessary. Mesa Encore Theater presents the play through Sunday, April 30, at its Black Box space, 933 East Main Street. Admission is $15. Showtime on Friday, April 21, is 7:30 p.m. Visit Mesa Encore Theatre's website or call 480-834-9500 for more information. Julie Peterson

click to enlarge The Official March For Science is ready to show its numbers on Earth Day in downtown Phoenix. - COURTESY OF OFFICIAL MARCH FOR SCIENCE
The Official March For Science is ready to show its numbers on Earth Day in downtown Phoenix.
Courtesy of Official March For Science
March For Science
Instead of spending Earth Day on a trail or something, consider celebrating on the streets of downtown Phoenix. Hit the concrete during the Official March For Science Phoenix, “a call to support and safeguard the scientific community,” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 22. The march is free and open to scientists and science enthusiasts, and it coordinates with other science marches happening nationwide.

The day’s events will begin with a rally at the Cesar Chavez Memorial Plaza at Historic City Hall, 125 West Washington Street, followed by the Phoenix March For Science at 11 a.m. Later in the day, expect a science fair, speakers, and presentations, and food trucks till 4 p.m. For more information, see the Phoenix March for Science website. Lauren Cusimano

The Rebel Alliance '80s All High School Prom
If you’re a high schooler, chances are good you know an adult who lived through the 1980s — one who you seriously lol’d at when you saw the pics of them gussied up in the popular styles of that decade. Don’t feel left out. The Rebel Alliance ’80s All High School Prom is your chance to rock an asymmetrical and teased-out hairdo, slip into some neon and spandex clothes, and dance the night away. Party to old-school jams, like totally, from 7 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, at Trunk Space, 1124 North Third Street. Admission is $5. Visit the Trunk Space website. Amy Young

click to enlarge Installation view of Repellent Fence in October 2015. - MICHAEL LUNDGREN/COURTESY OF POSTCOMMODITY
Installation view of Repellent Fence in October 2015.
Michael Lundgren/Courtesy of Postcommodity
Through the Repellent Fence
Today, they’re part of the prestigious 2017 Whitney Biennial contemporary American art show in New York. But back in October 2015, Postcommodity bisected part of the U.S.-Mexico border with a land art installation titled Repellent Fence. The artist collective includes Arizona creatives Raven Chacon and Cristóbal Martínez, and New Mexico artist Kade L. Twist.

Filmmakers tagged along, and now you can see the results of their work in a film titled Through the Repellent Fence: A Land Art Film, directed by Sam Wainwright Douglas. The film follows the artists as they install their two-mile-long artwork, and talks with experts about its significance within the larger context of land art.

See the Arizona premiere of Through the Repellent Fence: A Land Art Film at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, at the SMoCA Lounge inside Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 East Second Street. Tickets are $7. Visit SMoCA's website. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Judy Rollings and Patti Suarez mix it up in Ripcord. - MARK GLUCKMAN
Judy Rollings and Patti Suarez mix it up in Ripcord.
Mark Gluckman
Sharing a bedroom when you don’t want to? Trying to regain your ground by frightening or pissing off your cohabitant? Sounds like the way a lot of us grew up. This dysfunctional conflict style can persist into the golden years, as it does in David Lindsay-Abaire’s play Ripcord. Two residents of a retirement facility get wedged together and make a crazy bet to decide who’s the queen bee. Holy season four of Friends, Batman!

Phoenix theater grandes dames Judy Rollings and Patti Suarez star in the current production, presented by their company Two Old Broads Productions at Theatre Artists Studio in Scottsdale. The closing performance begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at 4848 East Cactus. Tickets are $15 to $25 through Theatre Artists Studio's website or 602-765-0120. Julie Peterson