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As we head into one of the most exciting weeks in Phoenix in a very long time (28 years to be exact), don’t forget that there’s plenty to do beside watch the Suns play in the NBA Finals, including sunset concerts, literary events, and a letterpress workshop.
Hear T.J. Newman talk about going from bookseller to novelist.
Changing Hands Bookstore
Falling: A Novel
A former Changing Hands bookseller turned flight attendant will return to Changing Hands Bookstore to discuss her debut novel titled Falling. Author T. J. Newman got more than three dozen rejections before finding a publisher, landing a sizable two-book deal, and selling the movie rights for her debut novel. Falling imagines a pilot faced with a terrible choice: either deliberately crashing a plane filled with passengers or refusing to do so, which will mean the death of his own family. Newman will discuss her book during a hybrid live and virtual event at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 5. Tickets for the live event are sold out, but you can still get a pay-what-you-can ticket to participate virtually, or you can get a ticket to the virtual event by buying the book through Changing Hands in Phoenix or Tempe for $30.27 plus fees. Lynn Trimble
Amid all the recent reporting about climate change, immigration, and voting rights, the media has been showing images from a possible UFO sighting, bringing an idea once deemed far-fetched a bit more into the mainstream. Of course, outer space has long been the subject of speculation, story, and scientific research. And it’s been a popular subject among artists, who often imagine what life might be like beyond what’s currently known of our own planet and the vast expanse beyond it. Now you can join them, while taking a Rainbow Galaxy Painting Class at Painting With a Twist, 219 East Baseline Road, Suite H3, Tempe. It’s happening from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 6. You need to be at least 21 to attend, and you can bring your own beer or wine to enjoy while you paint. Pay $37 to paint on canvas, and $41 to make your masterpiece on a wooden plank. Lynn Trimble
It’s the biggest week ever for Phoenix Suns fans as the team heads to the NBA Finals.
NBA Finals: Phoenix Suns v. Milwaukee Bucks
So it all comes down to this. After conquering the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, and L.A. Clippers, the Phoenix Suns have returned to the NBA Finals for the first time in nearly three decades. Four more wins and they become the next kings of pro basketball, to paraphrase legendary Suns broadcaster Al McCoy.
But before Devin Booker, CP3, and the rest of the Fellas can hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy over their heads and secure the team’s first-ever world title, they’ve got to beat the scrappy and resilient Milwaukee Bucks, who were able to win the Eastern Conference championship despite star Giannis Antetokounmpo being hobbled.
The best-of-seven series starts this week with Game 1 on Tuesday, July 6, and Game 2 on Thursday, July 8, at Phoenix Suns Arena, 201 East Jefferson Street. Tickets are available through resellers for both games, but you might need to hawk a kidney to afford one (they’re averaging around $650 for nosebleed seats). More budget-conscious fans can watch the game on enormous screens in the plaza outside the arena while McCoy’s call plays over the loudspeakers. It will also be broadcast locally on ABC15. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. both nights. Benjamin Leatherman
Detail of Dean Tarasaki’s photograph from the “No Strangers” exhibit.
People sometimes fail to appreciate the depth and breadth of artworks being created here in the Valley, in part because they haven’t explored the many galleries and other art venues located off the beaten path. Try venturing out to see some fresh art in Gilbert this week, as Art Intersection, 207 North Gilbert Road, #201, presents a group show highlighting artworks by its members. The “No Strangers” exhibition includes a wide variety of photographic works by artists with vastly different styles and subject matter. Featured artists include Chuck Paulausky, Cyd Peroni. Robert Rice, BK Skaggs, Marilyn Ticknor, Lon Woodruff, and more. Gallery hours on Wednesday, July 7, are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free. Lynn Trimble
It couldn’t hurt to send the Arizona Diamondbacks a few more good vibes.
Diamondbacks v. Rockies
Loyal fans don’t demand perfection, which is a good thing for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who haven’t brought their best to the field so far this year. If you want to cheer them on, and send the good vibes for a serious turnaround this season, grab some friends and get tickets for the game this Thursday, July 8, when the D-backs will be playing the Colorado Rockies at 12:40 p.m. at Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street. Tickets start at $19, which means you’ll still have money for merchandise and a couple of cold brews. It’s easy to be a Phoenix Suns fan while championship prospects loom. But don’t overlook the rest of our hometown teams, from the D-backs to the Phoenix Mercury. They love all that great fan energy, too. Lynn Trimble
Sunset views at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.
The great outdoors has provided some beautiful sunsets in recent weeks, but you might have overlooked their full splendor if you were simply standing your backyard. Step it up this week with a visit to Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway, where you can take in the sunset while you listen live jazz by the Pete Pancrazi Ensemble and tunes spun by DJ Miguel. It’s all part of Sonoran Sippin’, which happens from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, July 9. The last admission time is 8 p.m. and advance tickets are required. Adult tickets for the all ages event, where you’ll find full bar service and non-alcoholic options, are $14.95. The value of Arizona sunsets? Priceless. Lynn Trimble
Renowned turntablist DJ Qbert.
Audio Bend 2021
Concerts featuring big-name touring bands might be months away, but superstar DJs have been visiting the Valley and spinning up beats for crowds of thousands at electronic dance music events. This weekend, it’s DJ Qbert’s turn as the renowned mixmaster will headline Audio Bend 2021 on Saturday, July 10, at The Revelry, 1065 North Dobson Road in Mesa.
Widely considered one of the top turntablists in the world, Qbert’s accomplishments in the DJ world are quite legendary. He’s an ace at scratching, mixing, and beat-juggling who won three straight DMC World Championships, formed the influential Invisibl Skratch Piklz DJ crew with Mix Master Mike, and helped redefine turntable culture in the early ‘90s.
Other DJs scheduled to perform at Audio Bend include Oregon-based EDM artists Jvckfrost and Broox, as well as locals like Akshen, DJ Phox, Roil, Elluna, BB Galli, Tempest, and CHKLZ. The event will also feature video games, turntablism workshops, vendors, and art displays. Start time is 7 p.m. and the party goes on until 2 a.m. Tickets are $20. Benjamin Leatherman
Give letterpress printing a try during a Hazel & Violet workshop.
Use Your Words
Words carry power, sometimes more so when printed instead of spoken. Over at Hazel & Violet, a local letterpress shop located on a strip of Grand Avenue known as a hub for arts and historic preservation, you’ll find walls filled with strong messages and intriguing imagery. Located at 1301 NW Grand Avenue, inside the Bragg’s Pie Factory building that’s also home to several eateries and art spaces, the shop has several letterpress machines you can use to give your own ideas power. Their next Letterpress Workshop happens from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 10. The cost is $60 per person, and most classes have four to six participants. Lynn Trimble
Dinosaurs are headed to the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix.
You have to wonder if dinosaurs might have died out a lot earlier if their only food options were spiny desert plants like those we’re all surrounded by here in Phoenix. We’ll never know, of course, but it’s something to consider as you revisit fun dinosaur fare like the Jurassic Park film series. FilmBar is partnering with Friends of the Orpheum Theatre to screen the original Jurassic Park film from 1993 at the Orpheum, 203 West Adams Street. Adult admission is $16 and there’s a ten ticket per person limit. By the way, organizers are promising “some theatrical surprises throughout the show,” which screens at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 11. Lynn Trimble
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