At Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre, three troupes—the Actor’s Cafe, the Children’s Theatre, and Cullity Hall productions—celebrate great storytelling with seasons full of classic plays and child-friendly adaptations. The Actor’s Cafe’s small, adult casts perform in a 60-seat cabaret, and the grownups and growing-ups of the other companies play on the main stage's still-intimate 136-seat theater-in-the-round.
Every weekend, nationally touring comedians step up to the brick wall at The Comedy Spot Comedy Club to deliver their sets. The performance area allows viewers to get table seating right up to the edge of the stage or hang back in the booths to admire photos of nostalgic comedic icons. While watching, audiences can take in New York– and Chicago–inspired sandwiches and pizzas from the menu. Those looking to hone their own rib-tickling skills can enroll in improv classes or take the stage for a five-minute set during open mic nights. The club’s website even offers fledgling comics tips, such as a dress code, following the light, and checking each patron’s bag for tomatoes.
A kaleidoscope of multichromatic blossoms and emerald leaves bursts from the soil, blanketing 65 acres of desert landscape at Desert Botanical Garden. Diverse walkways flanked by more than 50,000 types of cacti, succulents, and wildflowers educate visitors on the importance of protecting the environment and not hugging every plant they see. In addition to the garden's more stationary organisms, some of which go home with local green thumbs during biannual plant sales, numerous avian and insect species make their homes amid the thriving greenery.
Canadian electrofunk duo Chromeo exhales party-starting inertia, kicking off its Night Falls Tour by rolling out a carpet of dance-floor passports. Melding the talents of guitarist, vocalist, and French-literature buff Dave 1 with the dexterous fingers and throwback savvy of synthmaster P-Thugg, Chromeo has earned reverence from funkophiles for its slick grooves and mastery of jam architecture. Fans can expect congenial beats, riffing Moogs, and song craft that father-and-son yachts can enjoy together in support of the band's latest album, Business Casual. Inflating the soulful evening, singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Mayer Hawthorne channels wandering Motown spirits with a retroactive Detroit sound, and French funk enthusiast Breakbot sets the scene with genre jumping and remixes that rumble like tubas in a Cuisinart.
The Phoenix New Times pick for Best Rock Club in 2010 and 2011, this live-music venue draws crowds that huddle around indoor and outdoor stages to groove and wail every night of the week. Concerts and festivals stage local bands, indie rockers, and national acts playing genres ranging from bluegrass and reggae to jam music and rock 'n' roll. Amid the big-name acts, the house upholds beloved traditions; Grateful Dead fanatics and people with tie-dyed flesh emerge to party on Sunday nights, and each Thursday, burgeoning starlets perform karaoke with the support of a full live band. Beside the outdoor stage, a spacious patio facilitates mingling under the sky's star-freckled firmament. At the indoor bar, barkeeps fill glasses with mixed drinks and brews while colorful lights flash against walls. Black leather couches and huge art canvases line the lounge area, and a dance floor carved before the stage affords up-close views of the passport stamps canvassing rock star's wrists. AZCentral noted: "Not far from Mill Avenue, the Sail Inn offers a whole different scene, with a cool vibe and laid-back people."