Season roundup: Arts and culture events around the Valley

Compiled by Michelle Talsma Everson, October 2019 Issue.
Photos courtesy of venues.

It’s officially fall,

which means cooler temps and arts events galore. Whether it’s a film festival,

a gallery event or themed around a specific holiday, there is no shortage of

things to do and art to experience this season. While the list we’ve compiled

isn’t exhaustive of everything going on in the Valley (and beyond) this arts

season, we hope it inspires you to get out of the house and get your art on.

A Vampire Tale by Scorpius Dance Theatre



The Hardes Theatre at The Phoenix Theatre Company

This fall season,

Scorpius Dance Theatre presents its popular production, A Vampire Tale.

Dubbed “’The ‘Nutcracker’ of Halloween,” the yearly haunt is celebrating its

16th anniversary season. A Vampire Tale indulges audiences with all the

trimmings: dark and sexy drama, quirky and comedic episodes, and visually

stunning dance and aerial feats. This popular, sell-out production pre-dates

all of the vampire pop-culture and evolves annually to keep fans coming back

for more.

Inaugural Mesa Film Festival

October 17-20

Mesa Convention Center and Downtown Mesa Venues

The Mesa

Film Festival is excited to announce the inaugural festival at Mesa Convention

Center and at venues downtown October 17-20. The festival welcomes

participation from industry veterans, students, and everyone in between. Mesa

Film Festival will host about 200 films from around the world for three days of

film, art, food and fun for the whole family.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Select Dates Between

October 9 and November 10

Phoenix Theatre

The Phoenix

Theatre Company is offering audiences an exceptional and powerful multisensory

experience with this show. Set in the main character’s brain, the audience

experiences nontraditional storytelling through a stunning mix of multimedia

effects intended to mimic the over-stimulation the protagonist must endure to

continue to pursue his case. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the

Night-Time tells the story of 15-year-old Christopher Boone and the mystery

surrounding the death of a neighbor’s dog. Christopher is not only a

mathematical genius, but also on the autism spectrum, providing a unique

perspective as the storyteller.

Scottsdale Gallery Association Gold Palette ArtWalk

Select Dates from

October 10 through 2020



Thursday, October 10, the Scottsdale Gallery Association (SGA) kicks off its

45th season recognizing, advocating for and supporting the local art community

with its weekly Thursday evening ArtWalks and Gold Palette ArtWalk series,

which take place amid the Scottsdale Arts District along Main Street from

Scottsdale Road west to Goldwater Boulevard, and on Marshall Way north of

Indian School Road to Fifth Avenue. From 6:30 to 9 p.m., the 45th Anniversary

Celebration Gold Palette ArtWalk is scheduled to include an engaging slideshow

featuring Scottsdale Arts District highlights over the past 45 years; and at

6:45 p.m. guests can also enjoy live music with an early ‘70s theme and

refreshments as they peruse the galleries throughout the District.

Wild Rising by Cracking


October 12 to May 10, 2020

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix


Garden’s newest exhibition is traveling straight from Milan to bring Wild

Rising by Cracking Art, an installation of more than 1,000 animal

sculptures made from colorful and recyclable plastic. Visitors of all ages will

be drawn to engage with these vibrant creatures and to discover that plastic

does not have to end up in landfills, but it can be reinvented into something

eye-catching and thought-provoking.

Enchanted Pumpkin Garden

October 18-27


The Town of

Carefree’s Fifth Annual Enchanted Pumpkin Garden is a one-of-a-kind fall

festival celebrating the magic of the Halloween season. The event takes place

Oct. 18–27, with the incredible artistry of Ray Villafane and Villafane

Studios’ carvers on display live each day, and their carvings found throughout

the four-acre Carefree Desert Gardens. On weekends, this annual event boasts

magical Halloween activities for kids and adults, plus culinary delights and

autumnal refreshments including a beer garden, a harvest market and live music.

Counter-Landscapes: Performative Actions from the 1970s – Now

October 26 - January

19, 2020


As a

counter to the established ideas of land art, Counter-Landscapes:

Performative Actions from the 1970s – Now presents leading artists working

with performance who have brought about new ways of seeing and interacting with

the environment. Through a focused selection of key historical and contemporary

works, Counter-Landscapes illuminates how the strategies of women

artists in the 1970s and 1980s are employed by artists today, especially those

interested in issues of social, environmental, and personal transformation. The

works present a dialogue across generations, locations, and genders and feature

photography, video, sculpture, performance, and installation. Organized

by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

Dia de los Muertos Festival

Sunday, November 3, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

St. Mary’s Basilica Plaza, downtown


The sixth

annual Dia de los Muertos Festival, hosted by St. Mary’s Basilica in downtown

Phoenix, will be bigger than ever this year with the addition of Aztec-costumed

dancers leading the opening procession with energetic dance, and four large

community ofrendas (altars to honor the memory of ancestors) designed by local

Hispanic artists. The family-friendly, outdoor event takes place at 3rd and

Monroe Streets, and is free and open to all. A suggested donation: one item of

non-perishable food for St. Vincent de Paul.

Canal Convergence | Water + Art + Light

November 8-17

Scottsdale Waterfront

This is a

free, 10-day, public art event from November 8–17 at the Scottsdale Waterfront.

This year’s event follows the theme of “The Story of Water” and will feature

numerous large-scale, light-based installations, many of which will have

interactive components. Featured artworks include “Standing Wave,” by the

UK-based artist studio Squidsoup, and “Water Serpent,” by Scottsdale-based

Walter Productions. “Standing Wave” comprises 600 orbs of light and sound that

will simulate a wave over the Arizona Canal while “Water Serpent” is a

200-foot-long, floating sculpture that shoots fire into the air from its

metallic spine and sparks from its mouth. In addition to the artworks, Canal

Convergence features live performances, food vendors, a beer and wine garden,

educational artist talks and all-ages workshops and activities throughout the

event. It is organized by Scottsdale Public Art, part of the nonprofit Scottsdale


Kierland POP Festival

November 15-16


To kick off

the beautiful fall weather season, the annual outdoor Kierland POP festival

will take place Friday, Nov. 15 and Saturday, Nov. 16 in Scottsdale. The

two-day festival will include a series of interactive, pop-up experiences

featuring wine from Arizona winemakers, art in unexpected places, live music

and entertainment, a vintage market, a night run, and more.

Arizona Musicfest

Select Dates November

8 – March 13, 2020

The 29th

annual Arizona Musicfest festival season brings a diverse lineup of exceptional

artists to Valley audiences. Arizona Musicfest’s 2019-20 Festival Season

includes 27 performances from November 8 through March 13. Festival highlights

include Grammy award winner Michael Bolton; chart-topping, multi-talented

entertainer Vanessa Williams; acclaimed country star Sara Evans; iconic TV,

stage and screen celebrity Tony Danza; Musicfest favorites Chris Botti and

Michael Feinstein; plus, holiday concerts featuring The 5 Browns and New York

Voices. Stellar ensembles coming to the Musicfest stage include the legendary

John Pizzarelli Trio, The Hot Sardines, Back to Bacharach, as well as Under the

Streetlamp performing classic hits with tight harmonies.

Hidden in the Hills Artist Studio Tour

Nov. 22-24 and Nov.

29-Dec. 1 

A signature event

of the nonprofit Sonoran Arts League, Hidden in the Hills is

Arizona’s largest and longest-running artist studio tour. This year’s event features

199 artists at 47 studio locations throughout the scenic Desert Foothills

communities of Cave Creek, Carefree and North Scottsdale.

 The free,

self-guided studio tour offers art enthusiasts a rare chance to observe artists

at work in their private studios, which are open to the public from 10 a.m. to

5 p.m.


November 30

Piper Theater at the Mesa Arts Center


Choir! Choir! is a Toronto-based singing group led by creative directors Nobu

Adilman and Daveed Goldman. The duo takes a non-traditional approach; there are

no auditions, and the audience is the choir. Audience members will learn an

original arrangement to a well-loved song. Founded in 2011, Choir! Choir!

Choir! has amassed a dedicated community of singers and an international fan

base on YouTube.

Las Noches de las Luminarias

Select Dates in

November and December

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

Celebrate the romance of the season with one of Arizona’s longest-running holiday traditions — Las Noches de las Luminarias. On select nights Nov. 29 through Dec.31, stroll the Garden’s trails lined with 8,000 glowing luminaria bags and gaze at the glistening lights with a warm drink in hand. Happen upon toe-tapping tunes from eclectic entertainment groups and cherish the time spent with friends and family during the holiday season.

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The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

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