Rambunctious headliner Chris Bennett, a comedian previously featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, will comically congregate with top local comedians for Hidden House's signature Comedy on Tap night, a stand-up show that left the Phoenix New Times "feeling buzzed and re-energized." Nosh on Hidden House's cocktails and snacks that can be delivered from Mexican restaurant Mi-Patio (not included in the Groupon) as Bennett slings his high-energy and sometimes improvisational comedy. Three local acts will warm up the crowd, helping them forget about haunted board meetings of the past week, before Bennett takes the stage. Conveniently located near the light rail, visitors need not worry about operating cars or rocket-powered Vespas after having a couple of libations at the show.
Originally established as the Phoenix Players in 1920, Phoenix Theatre operated out of the Phoenix Little Theatre for almost 30 years before settling into its current location. The 1952 building would become the core of the city’s cultural area, later drawing such establishments as the Phoenix Art Museum and Phoenix Library. The company’s current performance space does little to draw the audience’s attention away from the stage, save for the crisscross of industrial railings that support the catwalks and the retired jerseys of older playwrights.
Conceived by the Arab American Association, The USA Belly Dance Queen Show showcases some of the nation's top torso twisters in an effort to bridge cultural gaps through art and tradition. Three different levels of contestants wiggle their hips in front of professional Arab judges, who rate each routine based on specific criteria, including costume and makeup, use of props, and ability to make hula-hoops blush. As sultry Middle Eastern music drifts throughout the venue, the show's standout dancers groove past opposition and into the final rounds before judges crown 2012's queens of belly dancing. A surprise celebrity guest will captivate the audience with a dancing performance, and onsite vendors enable attendees to corral exotic décor, tribal jewelry, and DVDs of football's most famous touchdown belly dances.
Demonstrating inventive takes on old myths is par for the course at Great Arizona Puppet Theater, whose adaptation of Cinderella won the 2010 UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence in puppetry. Behind the scenes, professional puppeteers guide the characters through kid-friendly narratives, both ancient and original. Their performances often include a timely moral that parents can discuss with children with the help of accompanying study guides, which encourage guests to analyze themes and ask questions such as "how can puppets talk if they have no brains?"
The puppet masters have more than 50 tales in their collective memory. They perform them in the historical, hand-painted theater space five days a week, as well as at area schools and functions. By crafting scripts that address Arizonian themes, including the conservation of endangered condors and figures in Native American folklore, they hope to educate and engage their young spectators. Guests can interact with the stories even further by adopting puppets from the onsite gift shop or by attending a private party, where they create their own hand puppets out of paper bags. Additionally, seasonal adult shows prove that puppetry can be as edgy as any other art form.
Celebrating German culture can mean a number of things, from showing off your lung capacity in an Oktoberfest Alphorn-blowing contest to sipping Gulasch soup at a traditional German Christmas market. The Arizona Center for Germanic Cultures embraces these activities and more with a variety of events, which honor German traditions more effectively than befriending a life-size statue of an Alp. Beyond Oktoberfest and Christkindlmarkt festivities, the center also hosts a film festival that highlights filmmakers with Germanic roots.
Every year, more than 100 amateur and professional cooks prepare fresh salsas for My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge. Proceeds from the daylong salsa competition and festival benefit the Arizona Hemophilia Association, which aims to enhance the life of sufferers and advocate for bleeding disorders. Now in its 30th year, the fest brings in more than 20,000 people annually. In addition to the salsa challenge, the Patron Margarita Mix-Off, which takes place from 12:30?3:30 p.m., challenges local bartenders to compete for the title of Best Margarita and a $500 cash prize. Outside of competitions, margaritas and cold beers wash down unlimited chips and salsa, and the rhythms of live bands keep crowds chewing in unison. Parents can accompany their children into a fun zone with multiple bounce houses, interactive games, and a bungee run.