Downtown Phoenix is about to transform into a geek wonderland over the next 96 hours, both during the day and especially at night.
That's because Phoenix Comicon has become a round-the-clock experience with the actual convention and its related programming occupying everyone's attention when the sun is out, and a wealth of parties, masquerades, comedy shows, burlesque gigs, or hardcore gaming sessions taking place after dark at nearby hotels, bars, clubs, and other spots around downtown.
See also: 12 Must-See Phoenix Comicon Guests
Every evening from Thursday, June 5, through Saturday, June 7, offers some sort of nighttime distraction for the Comicon crowd, including a couple of happenings over in Tempe and Scottsdale. So if you've still got some energy left after marching around the Phoenix Convention Center, here are several places and parties to hit up, get down, or just fly your geek flag high, in costume or otherwise.
Given that Nathan Fillion, the actor behind Captain Malcolm, is one of the biggest guests at Comicon this year, it comes as no surprise that the annual Captain's Cantina party boasts a Firefly theme. So expect to see plenty of space cowboys, companions, and Browncoats hanging out at the hotel's Pueblo Ballroom on Friday, June 6, during the event, which runs from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and will include a costume contest and themed cocktails. Admission is free.
Over in the hotel's grand ballroom that same night, the Talk Nerdy to Me: A Byte of Burlesque showcase returns for a third year with a lineup of ecdysiasts from around the Valley vamping it up in geeky attire before stripping down and "taunting, teasing and titillating" for the delight of the 18-and-over audience from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Although this Scottsdale champagne lounge is a bit removed from the utter Comicon hubbub of downtown Phoenix, it will nonetheless celebrate the event (and the recent release of X-Men: Days of Future Past) during a special edition of its weekly Global: Thursday Nights affair on June 5. Those wearing costumes won't have to pay a cover to get into the dance wonderland that will feature DJ Hazardous, DJ Tone, and AJ Slim Fly spinning house, electro, trap, and mashups. Doors open at 9 p.m.
The Sheraton is getting in on Comicon-related activities and festivities this year, including three of can't miss events happening after nightfall. The annual Doctor Who: Party Like A Time Lord gala will be held in the hotel's ballroom from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 6, and will include special cocktails, dancing, and attendees dressed as their favorite characters from the landmark BBC show. Admission is free.
A few hours later, the yearly Geek Prom will commence at 9 p.m. and feature a retro gaming theme and a slew of prizes, face painting, balloon artists, the crowning of a king and queen, and a nonstop parade of some of the sexiest and most spectacular costumes of the entire weekend. As always, the prom requires both regular Comicon admission and a separate $15 ticket for each person.
And on Saturday, June 7, the hotel will host the Comedy Mutant Tour starring the always-amusing Mr. Show vet Brian Posehn, as well as Myq Kaplan and Mike Drucker. The laughs start at 7:30 p.m. General admission is $20 and reserved seating is $50.
The annual Zombie Walk outside of the Phoenix Convention Center won't be the only place in downtown where creatures of the night in spooky makeup will writhe about on Friday, June 6. Just up Central Avenue inside goth nightclub Palazzo, DJ Tristan/Iseult will reign over the dance floor during a special Comicon after-party edition of his HÄXAN party that's been dubbed "Necromancy: Witches, Warlocks & The Walking Dead." A soundtrack of discordant jams (read: darkwave, witch house, industrial, and doomed disco) will ring out courtesy of Tristan/Iseult and DJ Plastic Disease while unsettling visuals are projected on the wall. Costumes of an undead nature are encouraged. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $8.
Speaking of fantastic costumes, the duo behind Phoenix-based tribute One More Time probably has the most dead-on recreation of the Daft Punk robots that we've ever seen. And over Comicon weekend, they'll show off their highly accurate neon-laden jumpsuits and helmets during the two-night ConcertCon at the Crescent. One More Time will perform on Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, with support from geek-friendly acts like Nintendo cover band Minibosses, nerdcore rapper Random (a.k.a. Mega Ran), and Dr. Awkward. The performances start at 8:30 p.m. each night. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door.
If comic books have taught us anything, it's that superheroes are often found perched high atop buildings either brooding away or keeping watch over their city below, which makes a spot like the Hotel Palomar's rooftop bar an appropriate place to party after a day of geeking it up. You can make like Batman and play the silent guardian from three stories up while partaking in villain-themed cocktails, which will be available at a discount during all four days of Phoenix Comicon. Live music will also be offered at night on Friday, June 6, while a pool party will take place on Saturday, June 7, and Sunday, June 8. The hangout opens at 11 a.m. each day. Plus, there may or may not be a Bat Signal shining into the night sky.
The already geeky aura of Gypsy Bar -- thanks to its arcade in the back, array of fantastical art and murals, and various burlesque performances -- will become even more pronounced during the weekly Proper Fridays night on June 6. A variety of "Comicon-style visuals" will stream across the video screens while go-go girls dance and DJs like 2ToneDisco, The Ariel, A-Tay, and Tommy Roberts spin up sounds. The party begins at 9 p.m., and there's no cover.
Don't be surprised if you happen to spot supergeeks Kevin Smith or Jason Mewes strolling around the exhibition hall during Comicon. While neither cult movie icon is listed as an official guest, they'll be in downtown on Saturday, July 8, to stage an episode of their podcast Jay and Silent Bob Get Old at the comedy club starting at 7 p.m. (Smith will also participate in a recording of his Edumacation with Andy Mcelfresh immediately afterwards at 10.) Given the erstwhile Bluntman and Chronic's fandom for comics and whatnot, we wouldn't be at all surprised at all if they checked out the 'con before their performance. Tickets are $40 for each show. (And as we've previously reported, Jonah Ray and Matt Mira of The Nerdist will also be at Stand Up Live on Thursday night.)
Need proof of how big Comicon is gonna be this year? Look no further than this fenced-off outdoor complex that will make its debut along Third Street and will feature non-stop fun all four days. And after darkness falls, it becomes more of a block party, especially during the weekend. On Friday, June 6, punk band Grave Danger and Americana act Kevin Daly's Chicken & Waffles will both perform while the gals of both the Desert Dolls Roller Derby and AZ Roller Derby will stage separate bouts. Hours are from 8:45 p.m. until midnight and a raffle drawing for big prizes is also planned. The Saturday Night Street Party will then take place on June 7 from 9:30 p.m. until midnight and feature local stringpunk/steampunk act Deus Ex Vapore Machina and hipster DJ king Sean Watson. Admission to each fete is free.
Costumed craziness is often a regular part of DJ Roya and DJ Funkfinger's monthly Tongue Tied party up at Apollo's. So much so that it seems like each edition of the indie dance fiesta is a themed affair with clubgoers dressed in colorful outfits of some sort. In other words, it seems rather fitting that this weekend's Tongue Tied party on Saturday, June 7, is inspired by Comicon and will include a costume contest, a superhero dance battle for $200 in booze, lightsaber duels, a Star Wars trivia contest, specialty drinks like Kryptonite Kocktails and Hulk Smashers, and other nerdy fun. Roya and Funkfinger will be in the mix all night and various giveaways will be doled out. The party starts at 9 p.m. Admission is free before 9:30 p.m. and $5 afterwards.
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If you happen to love The Dude and hate the frickin' Eagles, man, hop aboard an eastbound light rail train and head for the Sail Inn's Big Lebowski Fest on Saturday, June 7. This costume party and celebration of the Coen Brothers' 1998 cult film will include a number of local bands and musicians -- Japhy's Descent, Delta Nove, Sister Lip, and Page The Villiage Idiot -- as well as fire-dancing by Pyrokinesis, raffles, drink specials, games, and a screening of the movie (natch). The party abides starting at 5 p.m. Admission is $6 with costume, $8 without.
Phoenix Comicon 2014 is scheduled for Thursday, June 5, to Sunday, June 8, at the Phoenix Convention Center and other downtown venues. Advance tickets are $15-$40 for daily admission, and $70 for the entire weekend.