10 Nerdy Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This July

Here are 10 nerdy things to do this July in metro Phoenix, including a night with MST3K creator Joel Hodgson.EXPAND
Here are 10 nerdy things to do this July in metro Phoenix, including a night with MST3K creator Joel Hodgson.
Courtesy of Mystery Science Theater 3000

July will hit the ground running with a slew of exhibits, movie screenings, and Westercon 70 landing right in its first week. The rest of the month promises monsters, robots, and even a birthday party for everyone's favorite wizard, Harry Potter.

So, ditch the pool party and sunscreen (wait, actually you should probably still keep that), because we’ve got some nerdy, indoor activities happening across the Valley this month.

“The Rennard Strickland Collection of Western Film History”
One of the keys to being a good dorkus is being a good collector. The Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West in Old Town gets geeky with its July exhibition, “The Rennard Strickland Collection of Western Film History," featuring posters, lobby cards, and graphic arts on Western films that date back to the 1800s. It also serves as a tribute to Strickland, who had a 5,000-piece collection of Western memorabilia. The exhibition is included with admission, which is $13. See the Western Spirit website for more information.

Remember when Near Dark was one of your favorite '80s vampire movies?
Remember when Near Dark was one of your favorite '80s vampire movies?
De Laurentiis Entertainment

BS Movies Presents: Near Dark
We all miss Bill Paxton, and the folks at BS Movies can relate. They'll screen Near Dark, featuring Paxton as Severen, at FilmBar (presented with support from Zia Records) at 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 1. Admission is $9 a ticket, or you can buy a FilmBar 10-pack for $70. The 1987 southern vampire movie (also starring Lance Henriksen, who has a serious sci-fi movie resume) is a serious hoot, and a live podcast taping and some trivia follow it. See the FilmBar website for tickets and more details.

Hugo and Chesley award winning author Connie Willis is the Author Guest of Honor at Westercon 70.EXPAND
Hugo and Chesley award winning author Connie Willis is the Author Guest of Honor at Westercon 70.
G. Mark Lewis

Westercon 70
If there’s ever been a con of cons, Westercon 70 is it. The event encompasses not only its namesake convention but also includes LepreCon 43 and CONflagration. And it's being packaged as the ConAlope for attendees from July 1 to 4. Held at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, this regional science fiction and fantasy convention features the Westercon 70 Film Festival (with genre awards include horror, science fiction, fantasy, and parody), a 3,620-square-foot gaming hall, and a Masquerade (a.k.a. cosplay time). Guests include artist Julie Dillon, sci-fi author Connie Willis, and Space Access Society founder Henry Vanderbilt. General membership for adults is $85. For more, visit the Westercon 70 website.

Unknown, eboshi kabuto (eboshi-shaped helmet) and menpo? (half mask), late Muromachi to Momoyama period, late 16th century. Iron, gold lacquer, bronze, horn, horsehair. © The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas.EXPAND
Unknown, eboshi kabuto (eboshi-shaped helmet) and menpo? (half mask), late Muromachi to Momoyama period, late 16th century. Iron, gold lacquer, bronze, horn, horsehair. © The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum, Dallas.
Brad Flowers

"Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection"
Till July 16, you can visit Phoenix Art Museum’s "Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection," featuring over 140 items of Japanese samurai warrior regalia, including full suits of armor, weaponry, and other pieces of battle gear. Organized by The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum in Dallas, the collection requires a $5 entry fee in addition to $18 museum admission. Visit the PAM website for more information.

It's Robot Night on July 3 at HeatSync Labs in downtown Mesa.
It's Robot Night on July 3 at HeatSync Labs in downtown Mesa.
wk1003mike/Shutterstock

Robot Night
You are welcome to BYOR – that is, bring your own robot – to HeatSync Labs on Robot Night. From 7 to 10 p.m. on Monday, July 10, you can tinker with your own bot buds or some robot kits (everything Lego Robotics to VEX and VEX IQ) found in this downtown Mesa storefront for this monthly mechanical event. There's no charge for admission And if you’ve never been, HeatSync Labs is a 2009-established nonprofit organization offering a coworking area to participants, along with tools, equipment, and other resources. See the Facebook event for more details.

Read on for more of Phoenix's best nerdy events this July.



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