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The Best Things to Do in Phoenix This Week

17November 2021

Before you settle in for that big Thanksgiving feast, take some time this week to experience the events Phoenix has to offer. Over the next seven days, you can listen to mariachi and jazz music, learn some Irish dance moves, and see a Jackass star in person.

Live and Local

Ready for a night of traditional Latin music from rancheras to mariachi? Head to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 East Second Avenue, for the 7:30 p.m. Las Chollas Peligrosas concert on Thursday, November 18. It’s the latest performance in the venue’s Live and Local series designed to spotlight the metro Phoenix creative scene. Las Chollas Peligrosas includes six talented musicians who deliver an eclectic blend of diverse Latin music styles with compelling vocals. With material ranging from contemporary compositions to classic standards, the all-female band elevates music that celebrates human rights and cultural awareness. Tickets range from $15 to $28, or you can livestream their performance for $10. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge All in for Irish culture. - LYNN TRIMBLE

All in for Irish culture.

Lynn Trimble

Irish Dance Lessons

Odds are your dance repertoire doesn’t include Irish favorites like The Walls of Limerick or the Haymaker’s Jig. But there’s an easy way to fix that, now that Third Friday Ceili has returned to the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 North Central Avenue. The center describes ceilis as family-friendly social dances, and they’re eager to help community members join in the fun. Jim and Anne Daugherty will be teaching and calling several Irish dances on Friday, November 19, when the venue will also have a cash bar. The beginners’ lesson and orientation starts at 6:45 p.m. that night, and the official dancing kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Adult admission is $6, and you don’t need any prior experience to participate. Lynn Trimble

Crime in Sports Live Podcast

You can’t swing a cardioid condenser XLR microphone these days without hitting a true-crime podcast, as there are literally thousands to listen to on your daily workout or commute. Five years ago, local comedians James Pietragallo and Jimmy Whisman started offering a different take on the genre with they started quipping about the misdeeds of athletes both famous and obscure every week on their hit podcast Crime in Sports. The duo, who also create the phenomenally popular podcast Small Town Murder, has dished about such felonious jocks as Olympic sprinter-turned-money launderer Tim Montgomery, NFL star and infamous strip club connoisseur Adam “Pacman” Jones, and the late WWE Superstar Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Pietragallo and Whisman will record a live episode of the podcast at Tempe Improv, 930 East University Drive in Tempe, at 9:45 p.m. on Friday, November 19. Admission is $35 (plus a two-drink minimum). Benjamin Leatherman

Speedway Motors

If hot rods and classic cars appear every night in your dreams, you probably need to make your way to the Speedway Motors Southwest Nationals Car Show happening from Friday, November 19, to Sunday, November 21. It’s a chance to see more than 3,000 vehicles built before the late ‘80s, including trucks, muscle cars, custom cars, and more. They’ll be on view at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16500-16526 North 94th Street, where the lineup also includes model/pedal car shows, a burnout competition, a dragster exhibition, and more. It opens at 8 a.m. daily. Closing time is 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday. General admission tickets at the gate are $25 for Friday or Saturday, and $20 for Sunday. Zoom, zoom. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Violet Duncan in the sculpture garden at Tempe Center for the Arts. - TEMPE CENTER FOR THE ARTS

Violet Duncan in the sculpture garden at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Tempe Center for the Arts

Indigenous Arts Festival

Violet Duncan has been working with Tempe Center for the Arts for nearly a year now, helping to create opportunities for fellow Indigenous artists. She’s especially excited about the venue’s free Indigenous Arts Arizona Festival happening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 20. The festival, which was designed to create cultural awareness and understanding, includes traditional Native arts, dance, music, and storytelling. Expect wellness sessions, painting activities, theater performances, children’s mask-making, and more. Highlights will include a 4 p.m. hoop dance workshop with Duncan, where participants can learn to create up to three hoop picture designs. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge ASU Music Theatre and Opera is performing Hansel and Gretel. - ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

ASU Music Theatre and Opera is performing Hansel and Gretel.

Arizona State University

Hansel and Gretel

Witches abound in children’s lore, where the most famous characters include a witch who lured lost children into her forest lair decorated with candies. Perhaps you were intrigued by Hansel and Gretel as a child, but always knew there was more to the story. Now you can see ASU Music Theatre and Opera perform the opera based on the famous Brothers Grimm fairy tale, which premiered in Germany near the end of the 19th century. It’s a chance to support emerging performers in your midst, and perhaps let go of all your preconceived notions about this evolving art form. Tickets to see the live 2 p.m. performance on Sunday, November 21, at the Evelyn Smith Music Theatre, 50 East Gammage Parkway, Tempe, are $22 and you can only get them online. Or you can get a $10 ticket for a virtual streamed performance, in case you want to watch from home while you build your very own candy-covered gingerbread house. Lynn Trimble

Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets

After stumbling a bit to start the season, the Phoenix Suns have rebounded to become one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Led the always dynamic play of Devin Booker, they’re firing on all cylinders with a deep lineup of centers (Deandre Ayton, Frank Kaminsky, and JaVale McGee), great defense, and a reliable bench. Phoenix is once again playing like the team that won the Western Conference earlier this year and this weekend will be facing one of the teams they vanquished during that incredible run. The Denver Nuggets, currently the kings of the NBA’s Northwest Division, will come to Footprint Center, 201 East Jefferson Street, on Sunday, November 21, for a 6 p.m. game. The Nuggets are no strangers to facing Phoenix at their best (remember the whole “Suns in 4” thing from the playoffs?) but center Nikola Jokić is having another stellar season and the team is running roughshod over the rest of the league. Tickets for this epic showdown between two of the NBA’s best start at $14. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Work by Ellen Blalock, who is curated the new quilt exhibit in Chandler. - VISION GALLERY

Work by Ellen Blalock, who is curated the new quilt exhibit in Chandler.

Vision Gallery

Story Threads

You might think of quilts as quaint covers for your grandmother’s bed, but historians know them as vehicles for sharing stories and passing down oral histories. See how contemporary artists are using the form to create and share their own compelling narratives and designs as Vision Gallery, 10 East Chicago Street, Chandler, presents the free exhibition “Art Quilts: Stitching Stories.” Curated by Ellen Blalock, the exhibit includes 64 story quilts created by 53 artists around the country. Some are on view at Vision Gallery, and others at the gallery inside Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Chandler Avenue, Chandler. Both venues are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, November 22, and you needn’t take your grandma along to enjoy them. Lynn Trimble

Get Chill

Don’t let the scarcity of snow in metro Phoenix keep you from getting chill this time of year. The Arizona Science Center, 600 East Washington Street, is showing The Arctic: Our Last Great Wilderness at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in its Giant Screen Theater on Tuesday, November 23, which means you can vicariously experience all that ice and snow without having to dig out your down jacket or snow boots. You’ll see polar bears, grizzlies, wolves, and musk oxen, plus learn more about the people who’ve long called what’s now the farthest north portion of Alaska home. Tickets to the center are $19.95, and admission for the show is $9. All those dreams of sledding down snowy hills and drinking hot chocolate by the fire? That’s a freebie. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge Daredevil and comedian Steve-O. - STAND UP LIVE

Daredevil and comedian Steve-O.

Stand Up Live

Steve-O’s Bucket List Tour

Jackass co-star Steve-O may have grown a bit since his days playing beehive tetherball or wearing a jellyfish as a sombrero on MTV circa early 2000s, but he refuses to grow up. The daredevil and comedian (who dealt with his various mental issues and substance abuse problems years ago) continues to make his living pulling off crazy-ass antics on the regular. To wit: Steve-O is scheduled to bring his Bucket List Tour to Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street, which will feature him telling jokes on stage and showing footage of the 10 gnarliest stunts he’s always wanted to perform in what he describes as “sort of like a Jackass movie and a [comedy] show rolled into one.” Steve-O has stated in recent interviews they’re “flagrantly illegal and absolutely XXX rated,” so prepare to be shocked, appalled, and entertained if you go. Performances are at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 23. General admission is $35 per person plus the usual two-drink minimum. Benjamin Leatherman

click to enlarge Hear the Superstition Jazz Orchestra at The Nash. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN

Hear the Superstition Jazz Orchestra at The Nash.

Benjamin Leatherman

Jazz Stylings

Already annoyed by all the Christmas music playing in your midst? Try spending a little time at The Nash, 110 East Roosevelt Street, where the offerings on Wednesday, November 24, include a mix of big band sounds by composers from Thad Jones to Carol King. The Superstition Jazz Orchestra is presenting a concert that day at 7:30 p.m., giving it a title with a twist on a classic phrase you typically hear at weddings. Instead of something blue, you’ll hear the blues. The orchestra expects to play original compositions as well as classics. Tickets are $21, and you don’t have to be a jazz aficionado to feel the beat. Lynn Trimble

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