The 10 Best Things I Saw in Metro Phoenix in 2013

Categories: Top Lists

Andrew Pielage
Let's look back on 2013, starting with Ib Andersen's Topia.

2013, it's been real -- and really, really busy. That was especially true when trying to take in as much art, culture, comedy, architecture, and anything else I could get my eyes on this past year in Phoenix. In no particular order, here are the best things I saw.

Topia at Desert Botanical Garden
Sitting in a parking lot during Arizona's early summer sounds plenty unappealing, but during Ballet Arizona's Topia, that initial setting dissatisfaction fell by the wayside quicker than the sun set behind the dancers. With the Papago Buttes as its backdrop, the corps of dancers took to the 80-foot-long stage installed in Desert Botanical Garden's parking lot and performed artistic director Ib Andersen's Beethoven-soundtracked choreography for the second year in a row. Unfortunately, the show didn't make it onto the company's 2013-14 performance schedule, but here's hoping they'll remount the site-specific work in 2015.

See also: The 10 Best TV Shows of 2013

Becky Bartkowski
Alison King's timeline graphic of prominent postwar Phoenix architects.

Alison King's "Where Cantilever Meets Coyote" Lecture at Burton Barr Central Library
As the founder of, Alison King is one of this city's most valuable resources when it comes to local architecture. That made her lecture "Where Cantilever Meets Coyote" a must-attend event for folks looking to delve deeper into Phoenix's postwar architecture boom. King gave a rundown of the city's big-name architects -- Al Beadle, Ralph Haver, Paolo Soleri, Jimmie Nunn, Ed Varney, and Fred Guiery -- complete with a timeline of each man's life and career and swoon-worthy images of buildings preserved and long gone.

Location Info


Desert Botanical Garden

1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Tempe Improv Comedy Theatre

930 E. University Drive, Tempe, AZ

Category: General

Mesa Contemporary Arts

1 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ

Category: General

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

7380 E. Second St., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

Burton Barr Central Library

1221 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Willo North Gallery

2811 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

The Diving Lady

2710 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ

Category: General

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