Old-school Transformers and other vintage playthings will be in abundance at the Epic Toy Show.
Time flies when you’re not in quarantine: Believe it or not, we’ve already made it to August. Though it feels like summer is ending, there’s still plenty of fun to be had, including a bunch of events this weekend.
If you liked Big, the Tom Hanks classic about a teenager who makes a wish and wakes up as an adult, you’ll probably dig Shazam!, the 2019 family film about a teenage foster kid who transforms into a grownup superhero when he says (you guessed it), “SHAZAM!” Zachary Levi (who will star as Kurt Warner in the biopic American Underdog later this year), plays the superhero, who has to take time out from exploring his new powers in order to fight the forces of evil. Catch a free screening of Shazam! at 2 p.m. Friday, July 30, at Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 North Drinkwater Boulevard, Scottsdale. Jennifer Goldberg
Summer Art Vibes
Maybe you’re used to seeing art amid the hustle and bustle of First Friday, or opening receptions that draw dozens of people at the same time. Popping into local art galleries during the week, when formal events aren’t happening but the art is still on view, is a great opportunity to really spend time with artwork without having to be elbow to elbow with other art nerds for a change. You can see this year’s “Annual Summer Exhibition” at Bentley Gallery, 215 East Grant Street, between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 29. Expect to see works by more than three dozen artists, including many who create with unexpected materials such as glitter, hook and eye fasteners, lava, Mylar, and accumulated smoke. Gallery admission is free, and the exhibition continues through August 13. Lynn Trimble
Phoenix Salsa Bachata Congress
After more than a year of staying socially distanced from one another, organizers of the annual Phoenix Salsa Bachata Congress will be encouraging folks to get closer on the dance floor. The weekend-long event from Friday, July 30, to Sunday, August 1, at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix, 122 North Second Street, will bring together novice and experienced salseros for three days and nights of activities, workshops, performances, and pool parties. Renowned dancers like Adolfo Indacochea, Tania Cannarsa, Fausto Felix, and Lawrence Garcia will conduct classes in a variety of styles (including salsa, bachata, and Afro-Cuban) during the day while social dance sessions will take place during the evening. Event hours vary. Passes are $75 per day (or $50 for just the nighttime activities) and $185 per person for the entire weekend. Full details and a complete schedule can be found here. Benjamin Leatherman
Epic Toy Show
Kids who grew up in the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s can relive their childhoods one action figure at a time this weekend at the annual Epic Toy Show. The nostalgia will be thick and the crowd will be geeky inside the El Zaribah Shrine Auditorium, 552 North 40th Street, on Saturday, July 31, when dozens of vendors will be selling vintage and modern toys, comic books, collectibles, and other pop culture items. Expect to encounter enough Transformers to populate Cybertron, an army of G.I. Joes, scores of Star Wars figures, and playthings from popular and iconic franchises like Masters of the Universe, WWE, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission is $3 for adults and free for anyone 12 and under. Early-bird admission will be available for the first 50 people starting at 9 a.m. for $8. Benjamin Leatherman
Strange creatures and beautiful sights can be seen at the Desert Botanical Garden after dark.
Desert Botanical Garden
The phrase “nightlife” takes on a whole new meaning after the sun goes down at the Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 North Galvin Parkway. During its weekly Flashlight Nights on Saturdays, patrons can spend an evening on the trail and encounter night-blooming flowers and a variety of other nocturnal flora and fauna. A mix of local vendors will also be set up at the event. This weekend’s edition takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 31. All-female ensemble Mariachi Pasión will also perform. Admission is $14.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids ages 3 and up, and free for garden members. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own flashlights. Benjamin Leatherman
Summer Sweat Series
Now that the monsoon has brought slightly cooler temperatures, the mornings are actually pretty pleasant. So if you’re a morning person, you may want to head over to Scottsdale Quarter, 15059 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale and start your day with a free outdoor exercise class. On Saturday, July 31, instructors from floo-id YOGA are leading the class, and on Sunday, August 1, you can take a class from the folks at barre3. Both classes start at 8 a.m., and both include juice afterward and discounts from Scottsdale Quarter merchants if you feel like sticking around to shop. Jennifer Goldberg
Baseball Card Day
There’s a lot to celebrate in August, assuming you’re down with all those national holiday calendars that find a special day to celebrate even underwear and trail mix. The long list includes national “holidays” for mustard, book lovers, vinyl records, and baseball cards. Naturally, the Topps company that makes baseball cards is doing a special promotion for that last one, where ticket holders at various baseball games around the country will get a free card. Here in Phoenix, the promotion happens on Sunday, August 1, when the Arizona Diamondbacks play the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street, at 1:10 p.m. The home team has been doing a bit better lately, making this the perfect time to cheer them on. Tickets for the game start at $29. Lynn Trimble
Recent wildfires and flash floods have given people pause about exactly how Arizonans will need to adapt their living spaces for the future. It’s a question considered by some of the state’s best-known architects, both now and in the past. Frank Lloyd Wright is remembered for his organic architecture, which focused on the relationship of manmade structures to the natural world in both form and function. You can get a feel for how Wright’s architecture expressed his philosophy during the Guided by Wright Audio Tour at Taliesin West, 12621 North Frank Lloyd Wright, Scottsdale. Built by Wright as his winter home, Taliesin West was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2019. Learn more during a 60-minute self-guided tour on Sunday, August 1. You’ll need to reserve a timed-entry ticket online (the first entry time is 9 a.m.). Tickets are $40 for adults. Lynn Trimble