So many free art shows, so little time. This week you can check out “Nine Smooth Miles to El Centro,” “Keith Dines: Arizona Yellow Hues,” and “Future Arcana.” For more things to do, visit New Times' curated calendar.
Labor Day Divas Show
Kick back and see others
This day-off drag show features big-name performers like Aimee V. Justice, Olivia Gardens, Claudia B., and TC Taylor, your hostess for the afternoon, on the small stage at Park Central. You’re invited as long as you bring the singles. Say “Bye, girl” to summer from 1 to 4 p.m. on Monday, September 4, with drag queens, drinks, and dynamite lip-syncing.
Entry is free, but those cocktails are gonna cost you. For more information, call 602-264-5307 or visit the Facebook event page. Lauren Cusimano
“Nine Smooth Miles to El Centro”
Renowned 20th-century photographer Edward Weston once found a dead body. Weston was making a Guggenheim-funded road trip through the Colorado desert with his partner Charis Wilson. They spotted a note fastened to a stake on a nearly deserted road and followed its instructions, which led to an abandoned stagecoach station. That’s where they found drifter Grover Sutton, who’d written the note while trying to cross the desert.
Hear the full story at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 6, when Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue, presents the artist talk “Nine Smooth Miles to El Centro.” The lecture will feature photographer
Yellow has inspired plenty of art through the years — from van Gogh’s sunflowers to Warhol’s banana. In the ’60s, radios blasted Donovan’s Mellow Yellow and The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. Today, Pantone’s primrose yellow is all the fashion rage.
Of course, nature nailed it first. And Arizona photographer Keith Dines took notice. He’ll be at West Valley Art Museum, 8401 West Monroe Street in Peoria, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 7, for a free open house to celebrate his exhibition titled “Keith Dines: Arizona Yellow Hues.” It’s a chance to meet the artist and explore his images of Arizona landscapes, along with other elements of the natural world. Visit the West Valley Arts website. Lynn Trimble
If you’ve never been to CenPho
Starting at 10:30 p.m. on September 7, the weekly party is set to include the Ruby Reynolds Show for drag fans, and DJ Jesus for those looking forward to a night of Tex-Mex, norteña, salsa, cumbia, old school, country, oldies, hip-hop, and R&B.
There’s no cover for the 21-and-over event. For more information, call 602- 254-0231 or see the Karamba Nightclub website. Lauren Cusimano
Fall Opening Reception
Watch and learn as artists infuse Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum with creative takes on alternative realities. Be the first to see them, between 6 and 10 p.m., on Friday, September 8, during the fall opening reception. The museum will present a free mix of visual and performing arts on the Mesa Arts Center campus, 1 East Main Street.
Highlights include “Slang Aesthetics!” featuring art by California-based Robert Williams, the founder of contemporary art magazine Juxtapoz. A self-described conceptual
There’s also “AltRealities,” a group exhibition exploring fantastical worlds and creatures in contemporary art. It includes work by Phoenix creative Bill Dambrova. The evening includes music, dance, surreal short films, food trucks, and art demonstrations — plus Rachel Bowditch’s Vessel and the Taylor Family Circus. Visit the Mesa Arts Center website. Lynn Trimble
Bat Walk with Ambur Gore
The end of summer means the end of bat season. Make sure you don’t miss it by joining the Bat Walk with Ambur Gore.
The Arcadia area is home to the Phoenix Bat Cave, where thousands of Mexican free-tail bats emerge from a storm wash beginning at dusk. Interpretive ranger Gore will give an informational talk on this migrating bat population at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, at the entrance to the Arizona Canal north of 40th Street and Camelback Road. A short canal walk (so wear comfortable shoes) to the bat cave follows at 6:20 p.m.
The walk and talk are free and hosted by the Museum of Walking. To attend, RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Bat Walk.” See the Museum of Walking website or the Facebook event page. Lauren Cusimano
Gallerist Lisa Sette is marking the year’s diurnal progression toward a darker season with an exhibition of work that resonates with what she calls “our present moment of ecological and moral uncertainty.” The exhibition features Phoenix artist Rachel Bess, as well as the collaborative duo Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick. Each conjures historical and retrofuturist aesthetics of the occult, drawing on the fantastic and unknown to address cultural upheaval.
Bess paints oil portraits whose subjects reflect both contemporary times and an enchanted time beyond history. Kahn and
See “Future Arcana” between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, at Lisa Sette Gallery, 210 East Catalina Drive. The free exhibition continues through Saturday, October 28. Visit the Lisa Sette Gallery website. Lynn Trimble
Fall Concert Series
At Scottsdale Quarter, listening to live music becomes a shared outdoor experience with favorite tunes from different decades. The shopping plaza will kick off its annual Fall Concert Series on Saturday, September 9, with Rock Lobster, a local cover band known for their renditions of ’80s pop music.
The free Saturday night series will spotlight local cover bands playing hits from the ’60s through today. The lineup includes Shallow Water on September 16, the Crown Kings on September 23, Vinyl Station on September 30, the British Invasion on October 7, Obadiah Parker on October 14, Stanley Serrano on October 21, and Rock Lobster again on October 28.
The concerts run from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Quad at 15059 North Scottsdale Road. For more information, call 480-270-8123 or go to the Scottsdale Quarter website. Laura Latzko
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The Lady’s Not for Burning
Unless your neighbor’s applied an ointment made from babies’ blood, taken the form of a fly, and ridden a demon into the treetops like the late Matteuccia de Francesco, they’re a poor witch indeed. Meanwhile, women and children on our planet continue to be persecuted and murdered for alleged witchcraft. Actual magic powers are rare, explaining how witches can be captured and why they die when killed.
In Christopher Fry’s 1948 play, The Lady’s Not for Burning, the prisoner is thought to have turned a man into a dog. Her rescuer is convicted of being depressing, but that doesn’t stop him. And the whole thing’s in rhyming verse.
Enjoy a staged reading at Mesa Encore Theatre’s Black Box space, 933 East Main Street. Admission is free, but donations toward expenses are gratefully accepted. The event begins at 7 p.m. on Sunday, September 10. Visit the Mesa Encore Theatre website or call 480-834-9500 for more information. Julie Peterson