It's not easy lacking green. But we're here to help. This week, you can visit the Grand Canyon, get into some geeky trivia, and get weird at ASU Art Museum. Best part? It won't cost you. For more things to do this week, see New Times' curated calendar of events.
Barrel cactus get a twist in work by Robert P. Meyer, an artist inspired by desert landscapes. The beauty of desert plant life isn’t always apparent to Arizona transplants, who sometimes pine for the forests or oceans they left behind to settle here in the Valley. In some cases, it’s only the seasonal blooms of color that inspire us to take a closer look and appreciate the beauty of Arizona’s cactus.
Meyer captures and amplifies that beauty in paintings for his “Sonoran Shades” exhibition at the Herberger Theater Center Art Gallery, 222 East Monroe Street. See the free exhibit, curated by Carrie Meyer, from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, August 21. It continues through Tuesday, August 29. Visit the Herberger Theater website. Lynn Trimble
We’re into geek gatherings, which get peppy simply as a side effect of sheer numbers. August 22 brings Trivia and Tunes Tuesday, which is not just an old box of Trivial Pursuit and a mixtape. From 7 to 9 p.m., Geeks Who Drink Pub Quizzes conducts a spirited competition. Then, legendary VG cover band minibosses takes the stage until 11 p.m. Unbe-freakin-lievable.
It’s at The Grid: Games and Growlers, a bar and grill with a lengthy name and beer for days. For the time being, this happens every Tuesday, so enter it into your “If I ever do get out of the house” app or whatever it is you do. Let it fly at 525 South Gilbert Road in Mesa. Visit the Grid Facebook page or call 480-621-8088. Julie Peterson
Besides revealing what Channing Tatum looks like in wrestling tights, the 2014 film Foxcatcher also illustrated the pressures of playing the sport at the Olympic level.
Similar challenges could be part of the discussion at this month’s First Draft Book Club. Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash is this installment’s conversation piece. The main character in this self-titled book is a college student and wrestler in his senior year of school. As he strives toward success, he battles a crumbling psyche.
Grab a beer or a thirst-quencher of the nonalcoholic variety and gather with other reading buffs to talk about this debut novel at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 23, at Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 West Camelback Road. Admission is free. Call 602-274-0067 or visit the Changing Hands website. Amy Young
All eyes may be on Burton Barr Central Library, thanks to recent devastating storm damage. But just across the street is another important community resource. It’s the century-old Ellis-Shackelford House, located at 1242 North Central Avenue, which serves as the headquarters of Arizona Humanities. That’s the state affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities, which works to convey the lessons of history to all Americans.
On Thursday, August 24, Arizona Humanities hosts “The House is a Heart: Why Historic Homes Matter,” a free discussion with Stuart Graff, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The talk runs from 6 to 8 p.m., and it’s all about the role historic structures play in thriving communities. Learn more and RSVP at the Arizona Humanities website. Lynn Trimble
Arizona’s national parks and monuments offer sights you can’t see anywhere else, including the majestic Grand Canyon and stunning Petrified Forest. Besides taking in the scenery, visitors can go exploring, hiking, boating, or fishing, and learn about the state’s history, plants, and wildlife.
On Friday, August 25, you can visit the state’s national parks and monuments for free as part of the National Park Service Birthday. Developed to conserve and protect such spaces, the park service started in 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed an act forming the organization. Other key figures, including President Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Stephen Mather played roles in the establishment and growth of the national organization.
In honor of the annual day of celebration, national parks in Arizona will waive entrance and vehicle fees for the day. Camping, reservation, and tour fees aren’t included. For more information about Arizona’s national parks, visit the NPS website. Laura Latzko
Remember the “mystery flavor” Dum Dums sucker? The wrapper was all purple and enticing, with little question marks all over it. Well, that’s exactly the vibe ASU Art Museum is going for with Get Weird.
The message for this event is simple: You know about ASU Art Museum’s Escape the Museum events? This is supposed to be bigger, badder, and, as you might’ve guessed, weirder. No one is giving away any details beyond that. Though we can tell you there’s free admission, free food, games, and photo ops galore.
Get Weird from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, August 25, at 51 East 10th Street in Tempe. Attendees are asked to register at Eventbrite. For more information (good luck with that), call 480-965-2787 or see the ASU Art Museum website. Lauren Cusimano
Shopping for a retro wardrobe is fun, but you’ll have to make a lot of stops to check out all the rad vintage shops in town. That is, unless you attend Sip & Shop Sundays at DeSoto Central Market, 915 North Central Avenue.
Also known as the PinUp PopUp, this retro and vintage-inspired marketplace and shopping event brings together vintage and retro reproduction clothing and handmade items like jewelry, dresses, and upcycled accessories.
You can shop, sip cocktails, and grab lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 27. Sip & Shop Sundays: PinUp PopUp is hosted by Tara O. Photos (a Valley pinup portrait photographer), and entry is free. For more information, see the Facebook event page. Lauren Cusimano