Fall has arrived in the Southwest, with no shortage of excellent events to close out the year. Whether you’re a music lover, a foodie, or a lover of comedy, there are thought-provoking cultural activities exhibiting in the Valley of the Sun. Here are some highlights of things to see and hear this autumn:
Margaret Cho is one of America’s groundbreaking stand-up comedians. Cho’s observational comedy is subversive, irreverent, and feminist, focusing on politics, identity, sexuality, and race. In the mid-1990s, Cho produced and starred in one of the first Asian American sitcoms, All-American Girl, paving the way for the now wildly popular sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. This fall, Cho performs at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts as a stop on her psyCHO Tour.
In honor of Halloween, the Arizona State University Herberger Institute School of Music performs a “spooktacular” show featuring the ASU Euphonium Tuba Ensemble. This performance combines the talents of faculty and students for a fun, family event.
Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza is a four-time winner of the James Beard Award and owner of Barrio Café, one of Arizona’s top Mexican restaurants, hosts a one-night only dinner at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. As she prepares her signature dishes, patrons are free to check out the exhibits and pieces up at SMOCA.
Now in its 30th year, the Arizona Classic Jazz Society is a not-for-profit organization that holds monthly jazz parties and an annual festival every November in Chandler, AZ. The festival focuses on classic jazz, which is defined as New Orleans jazz of the late 19th century, which transitioned into swing in the 1930s. As a result, the sounds are danceable, and with a few dozen acts over three days, this event is highly celebrated by music lovers.
One of the oldest bluegrass festivals in the Southwest, the Four Corner States Bluegrass Festival is sponsored by the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce. This year, the festival features food and drinks, arts and crafts and a family-friendly Kids Zone. Contests include open fiddle, mandolin, flat pick guitar, and banjo. The Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting vendor and competition applications.
The Phoenix Art Center presents a live simulcast of the National Theatre of London’s Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the lead role. This classic Shakespeare tragedy is transformed in the hands of director Lynsey Turner (Posh, Chimerica), contemporizing this re-telling of a wayward son in the shadow of a powerful father, and a re-examination of ambition, identity, and politics.