You’ve finally made it to Labor Day weekend. Make it one to remember with an Alice in Wonderland-themed tea, downtown Phoenix art shows, punk rock karaoke, and more.
Peter Pan-Inspired Literary Tea
We love a good afternoon tea, especially when there’s a fun theme. Drink Me! Tea Room, 1730 East Warner Road, is celebrating all things Peter Pan with this month’s literary tea. All your tea party dreams are sure to come true (and as J.M. Barrie wrote, “Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough”), plus there will be quite a few Neverland surprises. Enjoy savories, sweets, and a pot of tea for $33 a person. Seatings are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, September 3, through Sunday, September 5. Julie Levin
Endgame Labor Day Expansion Bash
If you’d like another spot to show off your costumes and get in some joystick action, Endgame, 1233 South Alma School Road in Mesa, will put on the three-night “Labor Day Expansion Bash” from Friday, September 3, to Sunday, September 5. It will have a geek-friendly flair with Endgame’s resident selection of PCs and consoles available for play sessions, artist and vendor tables will be set up, and cosplay encouraged throughout the weekend. Various electronic dance music DJs and hip-hop artists will perform each night in the main room and upstairs lounge. Activities start at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $30 to $40 per day and bottle service packages are $750. Benjamin Leatherman
Salon des Refusés
Had you lived in France during the mid-nineteenth century, you might have seen artworks in a renowned exhibition called the Paris Salon. Only artists selected by a jury made the cut. Most artists wound up showing at Salon des Refusés, which was basically an exhibition of works rejected by the upper art echelons of the day. They’re playing with that concept over at The Icehouse, 429 West Jackson Street, where artist Lucretia Torva has organized an exhibition showcasing artists whose works haven’t been selected for Artlink’s annual juried exhibition. Check it out during the opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 3. Admission is free. Lynn Trimble
Saboten Con 2021
Otaku, anime fans, and weeaboos of the Valley rejoice. Japanese pop-cultural event Saboten Con makes its long-awaited return this weekend after taking a pandemic pause last year. As one might expect, given COVID-19’s continued spread, there will be safety protocols in place during the event, which runs from Friday, September 3, to Monday, September 6, at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, 340 North Third Street. Masks must be worn at all times and social distancing will be encouraged.
Four days of activities are planned for this year’s con, including panels, concerts, a cosplay masquerade, maid cafes, and more. Special guests include J-rock band Kazha and voice actresses Olivia Hack, Jackie Lastra, and Faye Mata. Hours vary. Admission is $20 to $35 per day and $60 for a full pass. Complete details can be found here. Benjamin Leatherman
You’ve likely heard a musician play the sitar, even if you’re not an expert in the classical music and instruments of India. The Beatles’ lead guitarist, George Harrison, helped to popularize its sound after studying with famed musician Ravi Shankar. You can always learn a bit more about India’s musical sounds and culture at the Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 East Mayo Boulevard, where there’s an India display featuring instruments, video, and related artifacts. But you can also experience live sitar music, classical dance of Southern India, and other India-related activities during the first day of Experience India on Saturday, September 4. The event, which is free with museum admission, runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. that day. (There’s a different lineup for Experience India on Sunday.) Lynn Trimble
You’ll find an eyesore on the corner of Roosevelt and Seventh streets in Roosevelt Row, where the wrap around a construction site is covered with graffiti. Pity they didn’t think to wrap the site with artwork by Amy Sansbury Manning, because she’s got a great body of work filled with images of iconic construction fare from yellow tape to orange cones. Get a good look at Eye Lounge, 419 East Roosevelt Street, where her “Safety Zone” exhibit exploring danger, order, and control amid pandemic life will be on view from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 5. Pro tip: Her safety cone piñata makes a whimsical selfie backdrop, so take a camera along when you’re checking out the gallery. Lynn Trimble
Punk Drunk Karaoke Night
Come celebrate the fact that you have Labor Day off with a whole bunch of singing at drinking at Rips Ales & Cocktails, 3045 North 16th Street. On Sunday, September 5, the bar will host the intriguingly named, first-ever Punk Drunk Karaoke Night. The event starts at 4 p.m., and karaoke will go on nonstop till 8, when there will be a short break for a DJ set composed entirely of (what else?) punk tunes. At 9 p.m., karaoke starts back up and goes till 2 a.m. And then you get to spend the next day recovering without having to go into work — good deal. Jennifer Goldberg
AEW All Out Screenings
If you’re a fan of All Elite Wrestling, Sunday, September 5, will be a red-letter date in the short history of the upstart promotion challenging the WWE’s market dominance. AEW’s biggest pay-per-view of the year, All Out, will be happening in Chicago and the legendary CM Punk will have his first match in seven years. And you don’t necessarily have to pay your cable company per viewing of this event as it will screen at several participating Harkins and AMC movie theaters across the Valley starting at 4 p.m. Admission is $20 per person. Benjamin Leatherman