It’s time to start over, guys. Here comes a new year, maybe a new you (if you go for that sort of thing), and definitely some new nerdy things to do around the Valley.
And we’ve got quite a lineup of events and activities worthy of your new, somehow-J.J. Abrams-related wall calendar, including a rock and mineral show, tabletop game fair, and talks of Mars supporting life. Here are 11 ways to geek out this January in metro Phoenix.
Super Trivia Night
The people of Crescent Ballroom know how to start the year right, and despite it being New Year’s Day, Super Trivia Night is still happening. Trivia Crüe kicks off its fourth season with an extravaganza of current events, food and drink specials, and of course, prizes. DJ Heimbuck spins between rounds. This free, 21-and-over event starts at 6 p.m. on Sunday, January 1. Visit the Crescent Ballroom website for more information, or call 602-716-2222.
Adults Only Puppet Slam
If you’re an adult who enjoys puppetry, then you probably already know about Great Arizona Puppet Theater’s Adults Only Puppet Slam. The next one starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 6, and Saturday, January 7, at the Greater Arizona Puppet Theater in downtown Phoenix. The content is definitely geared toward an adult audience – but what that content is for this show, you’ll have to find out for yourself. Cost is $10 if you call and book at least 24 hours in advance, or $12 the day of the show. Call 602-262-2050 for reservations.
2017 Flagg Gem And Mineral Show
Forget the face paint at this tailgate party. Mark your calendar for the 2017 Flagg Gem and Mineral Show, a three-day event where local mineral and lapidary clubs and enthusiastic collectors showcase their assortment of rocks and minerals in a traditional tailgate-style atmosphere – all sponsored by the Flagg Mineral Foundation. The 45th annual Flagg Gem and Mineral Show is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday through Sunday, January 6 through 8, at Mesa Community College in the West Parking Lot. Parking and admission are free. Visit the Flagg Show website.
"Potential Evidence of Past Life on Mars"
This adult-oriented discussion focuses on how Spirit, a Mars Rover from 2007, discovered some stuff on Mars that’s pretty similar to some stuff on Earth. We’ll let planetary geologist Steve Ruff cover the technical side of things during his free talk “Potential Evidence of Past Life on Mars Based on Observations from a Dead Rover and a Living Hydrothermal System in Chile” during MACH1: Science Café from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, January 12, at Burton Barr Central Library. Visit the Phoenix Public Library website for more details.
Plant Tour of Pueblo Grande
The desert has some edible, even medicinal, plants coming right out of the ground, and the folks at Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park are more than willing to tell you about them during the Plant Tour of Pueblo Grande. A guide will point out desert flora and some seasonal and traditional crops used by the ancient Sonoran Desert people from 10 to 11 a.m. on Friday, January 13. Cost is free with paid museum admission, which is $6 for adults. Visit the Pueblo Grande Museum website for more info.
Science Before Saturday: "Star Wars, A Galaxy Of Discovery"
Science Before Saturday is a new monthly and all-ages event that takes place each second Friday at the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa. The New Year brings “Star Wars, A Galaxy of Discovery” from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday, January 13. Attendees can try hands-on experiments, attend workshops overseen by local scientists and institutions, and meet and greet downtown Mesa artists and business representatives. It’s all followed by the Downtown Mesa Second Friday block party. Cost is $9 for adults, and free for members. Check out the Facebook event.
3D Printing Night
Ready up your Makerbot, Rep Rap, or just your overall curiosity for the free 3D Printing Night with Heatsync Labs – a co-op of volunteers and nonprofit shop and workspace. The group meets every third Wednesday of the month to "print stuff, hack on machines, and talk about the 3D printing and prototyping industry.” The first meeting for 2017 runs from 7 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, at Kipp Hall in Mesa. Visit the HeatSync Labs website for more info.
As if Planet Earth 2 wasn’t guilt-inducing enough, ASU’s School of Sustainability is screening Sonic Sea, a film about protecting the many creatures of the sea from oceanic noise pollution. A Q&A session will be led afterward by Ph.D biology and society student Aireona Raschke. The free screening will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, at Harkins Valley Art in Tempe. Doors open at 6:30, and free parking is available at the City Hall Parking Garage. Register at the ASU School of Sustainability website.
A creeper of a New York landlord to two New Zealanders, a seashore-adjacent and quite loud child in a burger suit – we can only be talking about roles inhabited by one crystal blue-eyed and incredibly hilariously person. It’s Eugene Mirman. And he’ll be here on Thursday, January 19, at Crescent Ballroom. Doors are at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8. Tickets are $22 to $25 for this 18-and-over show. Visit the Crescent Ballroom website for more information.
Arizona Game Fair
Hyped as two days of open gaming, the Arizona Game Fair is a weekend tabletop gaming convention held at the Mesa Convention Center. Check out 6,000 square feet of card and board games in the Rendezvous Center starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, January 21, and ending at 5 p.m. on Sunday, January 22. Tickets range from $15 for a single-day pass to $30 for the full event. Visit the AZGC website to register and for more information.
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The Moth Mainstage
One of the OG storytelling series is coming to the Mesa Arts Center. A nonprofit organization, The Moth is part of the Performing Live Series put on the by the center, and features five storytellers. The Moth Mainstage: True Stories Told Live starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 27, in the Ikeda Theater at the Mesa Arts Center. Tickets are $35 to $45. Visit the MAC website to purchase tickets or for more details.