Ron Funches on Cute Butts, His Favorite Comic Books, and Being Nice to People

Courtesy of Ron Funches
Ron Funches performs Thursday, April 2, through Saturday, April 3, at Tempe Improv.

It must be hard to hold a grudge against Ron Funches.

Scratch that. We'd imagine it's downright impossible. Thanks to the stand-up comedian's infectious giggle and his laidback delivery, Funches is as warm in his demeanor as he is in his career. As he puts it, he's "like a big stuffed bear."

For almost nine years, the Portland native has been generating a following through his stand-up, appearing on programs like The Conan O'Brian Show, Chelsea Lately, and @midnight, while seizing smaller reoccurring roles on Fox's New Girl, and Comedy Central's Kroll Show (may it rest in peace).

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5 Cool Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

Categories: Events

Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts star in While We're Young, playing at Phoenix Film Festival 2015.

Phoenix Film Festival

Butter the popcorn and pass the Milk Duds. The Phoenix Film Festival is back for its 15th year. In addition to the industry parties, geeky gatherings, and cinema seminars, this one-week event will bring all forms of film to the big screen from animated shorts and documentaries to foreign features and sci-fi thrillers.

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Ballet Arizona Presents Today's Masters, Premières Two New Works

Categories: Dance, Reviews

Alexander Iziliaev
Ballet Arizona performs Nayon Iovino's Resonance at the Orpheum Theatre this weekend.
It's been more than a decade since Ib Andersen, artistic director for Ballet Arizona, wowed us with his choreography and set design for Mosaik, which premièred here in Phoenix in 2004, and was performed again in 2006. It featured not only Andersen's choreography, but also sculptural set pieces of his own design and creation.

Though best known for his ballet roots with the Royal Danish Ballet and years spent as a principal dancer with New York City Ballet during famed choreographer George Balanchine's tenure, Andersen is more than a one-time wunderkind in the world of ballet. He's also an accomplished visual artist, who told Jackalope Ranch last year that he came to Phoenix with his painting supplies "because of Arizona's remarkable clear light." Andersen started working with Ballet Arizona in 2000.

Andersen describes his first passion as classical dance, but says his "secondary artistic passion" is creating visual art -- which explains why his creativity is most apparent in mash-ups of visual with performance art. It's evidenced by his newest dance piece, Pines of Rome, which premièred during Today's Masters on Thursday, March 26, at the Orpheum Theatre.

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Comedian Paul Rodriguez Opens Scottsdale Laugh Factory This Weekend

Evie Carpenter
Paul Rodriguez hams it up while he helps the staff prepare for opening night at Scottsdale Laugh Factory.
Scottsdale's about to get a whole lot funnier, as the newest location of the Laugh Factory opens in Scottsdale presented by the self-proclaimed "George Lopez of [his] day," Paul Rodriguez.

The 398-seat venue will be the largest comedy club in Scottsdale and Rodriguez says he plans to draw nationally recognized names as well as emerging talent to his stage.

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5 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Weekend

Categories: Events

Courtesy of H.T. Chen & Dancers/Chen Dance Center
H.T. Chen & Dancers performs South of Gold Mountain Friday and Saturday, March 27 and 28, in Tempe.

South of Gold Mountain

When H.T. Chen & Dancers take to the stage at Tempe Center for the Arts on March 27 and 28 to perform South of Gold Mountain, they'll bring with them a multitude of stories. Through a series of interviews, compiled oral histories, historic photographs and footage, and traditional southern music, the performers will bring to light the lives of Chinese immigrants who ventured to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Madewell to Open at Kierland Commons in Scottsdale

Courtesy of Madewell
Scottsdale: 2. The rest of Arizona: 0.

Good jeans? They're on the way.

Purveyor of tomboyish wearables and choice denim Madewell is coming to Kierland Commons outdoor shopping center in Scottsdale. It will be the J. Crew subsidiary's second location in Arizona. The first is located inside Scottsdale Fashion Square.

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Postcommodity Retools Mechanisms of Western Culture to Critique Itself at SMoCA

Mikey Estes
Postcommodity's two installations will be on view at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art until April 26, 2015.

Indigenous art collective Postcommodity's two installations currently on display at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art as part of its "southwestNET" series until April 26, 2015 transform idyllic imagery into a subversive spectacle, utilizing Western culture to critique itself. The Southwest-based interdisciplinary collective currently consists of Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez, Kade L. Twist, and Nathan Young. What ties these two participatory installations together is the precarious nature of our interactions with the works.

Promoting a More Just, Verdant and Harmonious Resolution (2011) and Pollination (2015) each utilize the audience as a catalyst for dystopic destruction -- our movement within the space activates the piece. Our bodies are essentially invading the space, much like how Western modes of culture and capital invade the natural landscape and non-Western cultures. The problems that Postcommodity addresses are heavy and deeply ingrained in history and social constructs. Through speaking the language of Western culture and retooling it, the collective is raising these concerns in an ironic, humorous, and accessible way.

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Lesbian Dating App Her Launches in Phoenix

Categories: Culture News, Fun

Courtesy of Her
Looks like every night is now ladies night, thanks to a new dating app by London-based entrepreneur Robyn Exton. Formerly known as Dattch (a slightly clever but not so catchy blend of the words "date" and catch"), Her is a dating platform designed specifically for lesbians and bisexual women.

Although the app originally launched in the United Kingdom back in 2013, the program rebranded and rereleased back in February of this year. Now, with a new name a new media attention, Her is launching in cities throughout the United States, including, as of Wednesday, March 25, Phoenix.

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"Minimally Speaking" Plays With Art History at Bentley Gallery in Phoenix

Bentley Gallery/Clutch Photos
From Here to There by Matthew Magee is featured in "Minimally Speaking" at Bentley Gallery.
Plenty of ink has been spilled on the topic of minimalism, a particular type of art process and product popularized during the 1960s. John Reyes, director for Bentley Gallery, describes it as art meant to be "totally objective, unexpressive, and non-referential." It followed something called abstract expressionism, a style prevalent during the 1940s and 1950s, which favored abstraction over realism and valued artwork filled with expressive qualities.

"Minimally Speaking," an exhibition on view at Bentley Gallery through the end of March, explores works by six artists who reflect the recognition that it's possible to combine impulses towards order and expression in a single work. It's most evident in a trio of works by Matthew Magee, which reflect mainstays of minimalism such as repeated lines and shapes while demonstrating the artist's own impulses towards whimsy and play.

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2015 Arizona Governor's Arts Award Winners Announced


Winners of the 2015 Arizona Governor's Arts Awards were announced in a Tuesday, March 24, ceremony at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

The awards honor both individuals and businesses who have made substantial and outstanding contributions to arts and culture in Arizona and are presented by the Office of Governor Doug Ducey, Arizona Citizens for the Arts, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

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