Play some pinball at ZapCon 2018, and a couple of other things to do around town, too.EXPAND
Play some pinball at ZapCon 2018, and a couple of other things to do around town, too.
Benjamin Leatherman

9 Nerdy Things to Do in Phoenix This April

It’s tax season. And while some of you probably enjoy crunching numbers, the rest of us need to let off a little steam. Good thing there are workshops, book signings, and annual geek gatherings like the Phoenix Film Festival and ZapCon.

Get your calendar apps ready for evenings attending a play about The Simpsons, a zine workshop, and a Dungeons and Dragons-themed comedy show. (Yes, really.) And there’s more. Here are nine nerdy things to do in Phoenix this April.

Kevin Hearne signs books and talks shop at The Poisoned Pen.EXPAND
Kevin Hearne signs books and talks shop at The Poisoned Pen.
Kimberly Hearne

Kevin Hearne at The Poisoned Pen
If words like Norse, Ragnarok, and pantheons intrigue you, visit The Poisoned Pen for an appearance by author Kevin Hearne. He’ll be there to talk shop and sign his book Scourged – the ninth book and big finale in the Iron Druid Chronicles. Find out what happens to Atticus O’Sullivan from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3. The talk is free, and the book is for sale in the shop. See the event page for details.

Phoenix Film Festival has movies, panels, and the 2018 Phoenix Film Festival Geek Day.EXPAND
Phoenix Film Festival has movies, panels, and the 2018 Phoenix Film Festival Geek Day.
Jennifer Mullins

Phoenix Film Festival 2018
Arizona's largest film festival returns to Harkins Scottsdale 101 with over 250 films (plus parties, seminars, and panel discussions) from April 5 through 15. The 2018 schedule includes films like Sinatra in Palm Springs, Palacios, and The Last Movie Star – as well as horror, live action, and sci-fi shorts. Tickets range from $15 for a single ticket to $450 for a platinum pass. You’re also encouraged to check out the 2018 Phoenix Film Festival Geek Day, featuring vendors, talks, and, of course, cosplay. See the Phoenix Film Festival website for more details.

Annie Lopez wants to show you how to make a zine.EXPAND
Annie Lopez wants to show you how to make a zine.
Courtesy of Tempe Center for the Arts

Text and Image Zines with Annie Lopez
No two zines are ever alike – well, unless you, like, printed a bunch of them. But first, you've gotta know how to make one. Which is why you should check out the Text and Image Zines workshop with artist Annie Lopez at Tempe Center for the Arts. Attendees will put together hand-stitched zine books combining imagery, content, and print materials to make writer, photographer, and artist Lopez proud. The workshop is free, and runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 6. See the Gallery at TCA website for more information.

So puppets and Star Wars go well together, okay?
So puppets and Star Wars go well together, okay?
Courtesy of Great Arizona Puppet Theater

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Death Star
Apparently puppets and Star Wars go great together, and if you don't believe us, visit the Great Arizona Puppet Theatre for the musical puppet show A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Death Star. Curt Bright wrote the show, and Mesner Puppet Theater artistic director Mike Horner adapted it for puppets. This SW spoof is appropriate for ages 12 and up at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 6, and Saturday, April 7. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 day of at 602-262-2050. See the GAPT website for details.

RadioLab host Jad Abumrad talks navigating the emotions behind the popular radio show.
RadioLab host Jad Abumrad talks navigating the emotions behind the popular radio show.
Courtesy of Mesa Arts Center

Embracing the Gut Churn: An Evening with Jad Abumrad
Everyone’s favorite radio show-slash-podcast about science and philosophy, Radiolab is sort of coming to Phoenix. Mark your calendar for Embracing the Gut Churn: An Evening with Jad Abumrad. Radiolab host Abumrad will discuss the emotions, hardships, and rewards that come with tackling topics for the show starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 13, in the Ikeda Theater at the Mesa Arts Center. Tickets range from $24 to $35. See the MAC website for tickets and details.

Trevor Noah hits the big stage this April.EXPAND
Trevor Noah hits the big stage this April.
Courtesy of Live Nation

Trevor Noah
A winning combination of writer, producer, political commentator, and South African comedian, Trevor Noah is scheduled to delight Phoenicians during his upcoming appearance at Comerica Theatre. Trev hits the big stage at 7:30 p.m. on that spooky night of Friday the 13th (of April, duh), and tickets range from $55 to $291.79. Invite your friends through the Facebook event, or see details and find tickets on the Live Nation site.

Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play highlights how memories of Sideshow Bob will live on.EXPAND
Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play highlights how memories of Sideshow Bob will live on.
Courtesy of MCC Theatre & Film Arts

Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play
Love the coming apocalypse and The Simpsons? The folks at Mesa Community College are so on board. The school's theater program will present a mainstage production of Mr. Burns, A Post Electric Play. Created by Anne Washburn, this post-apocalyptic play is about survivors recounting that awesome Sideshow Bob/Martin Scorsese episode of The Simpsons "Cape Feare." Tickets start at $9, and show times are 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 20, at MCC Theatre, with shows through Saturday, April 28. See the MCC event page for more information.

Emily Ritter will teach you how to make paper. Like, really.
Emily Ritter will teach you how to make paper. Like, really.
ASU

Papermaking workshop with Emily Ritter
Face it, you love workshops. Especially if they involve making sheets of paper from recycled material. Emily E. Ritter hosts one such event where things will get super-DIY, covering techniques like like basic sheet formation, decorative sheet formation, and pulp-painting techniques. Get the gist of paper-making from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on both Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, at Xicoindio Artist Collective – or just Xico. Tickets are $35 each day. See the Xico website for tickets and more info.

Get some pinball in at Zapcon 2018.EXPAND
Get some pinball in at Zapcon 2018.
Benjamin Leatherman

ZapCon 2018
It’s back, babies. Phoenix’s annual arcade and pinball convention ZapCon is here April 21 and 22 for a weekend of arcade games, pinball, tournaments, and more. Events will include the IFPA Pinball tournament, the women's pinball tournament, and Best of Show Awards, while games include Dig Dug, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Flash Gordon, and Taxi. The Mesa Convention Center hosts ZapCon 2018, and passes are $20 for Sunday, $30 for Saturday, and $40 for the whole weekend. See the ZapCon website for tickets and details.

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