For some, May in Phoenix means one thing: Phoenix Comicon. And even though the 2017 edition of the con is a big, big (big) deal, there are many other events with geek appeal happening throughout the Valley before the summer hits.
From the instantly recognizable music of John Williams to author events to an evening of birds and beer, here are 10 geeky events locked in for this month.
Hazel Hare Center For Plant Science Tours
From Tuesday, May 2, till Thursday, May 11, the Desert Botanical Garden is offering behind-the-scenes tours of the Hazel Hare Center for Plant Science. Held from 10 to 10:45 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, the up-to-15-person tour highlights sustainable horticultural practices with visits to the Marley Horticulture Learning Lab, Greenhouse West, and the Cohn Ironwood Courtyard. The tour is free with garden admission ($24.95 for adults) and after registration. Call 480-941-1225.
Obviously the author of the graphic novel In Real Life and the regular novel Rapture of the Nerds deserves a spot on this list. ASU futurist-in-residence Brian David Johnson will interview science fiction author and journalist Cory Doctorow at the Doubletree Hilton in Scottsdale at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 12. Attending the discussion is free, but a book must be purchased from The Poisoned Pen to get it signed. Call 480-947-2974 or visit the event page for more information.
Music of John Williams
Does John Williams even need an introduction? The man behind the musical scores of Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Harry Potter, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones, and of course, Jaws, will be honored by the Phoenix Symphony under conductor Robert Franz. There will be four performances from Friday, May 12, to Sunday, May 14, at the Orpheum Theatre. Tickets range from $45 to $85 at the Phoenix Symphony website or 602-495-1999.
Birds n’ Beer
The signature monthly happy hour event put on by the Rio Salado Audubon Center is called Birds n' Beer, and the topic for May’s third Thursday is “Top 10 Urban Birding Tips.” Attendees will learn how to spot and identify some of Phoenix’s most common birds, including the humming and hooting varieties. Birding enthusiast and activist Kathe Anderson hosts the free event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center. Visit the event page or call 602-468-6470 for more details.
Mad Monster Party Arizona 2017
May is apparently convention season in the Phoenix area, because Arizona’s horror gathering – a.k.a. the Mad Monster Party Arizona 2017 – is also coming to town. Guests range from Butch Patrick of The Munsters to Pinhead himself, Doug Bradley, while events include panels, screenings, the Miss Mad Monster Pageant, and a Saturday night pool party. Mad Monster runs from Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 21, at the We-ko-pa Resort & Conference Center. Tickets go from $25 to $199 at the Mad Monster Party website.
Michael Ian Black
The State, Stella, Wet Hot American Summer — that's where you know Michael Ian Black from. And this goofball is stopping at Crescent Ballroom during his Shut Up & Comedy tour on Friday, May 19. Doors are at 7, show’s at 8 p.m., and tickets for this 21-and-over event range from $24 to $28. Call 602-716-2222 or see the Crescent Ballroom website for more information.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
People still can’t get enough of Twin Peaks, despite the fact that David Lynch's celebrated TV show about Laura Palmer and the other Northwestern weirdos is decades old. If you’ve never peeped the show’s prequel, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, FilmBar is offering you the chance to get the backstory (and see Chris Isaak with a pompadour) at 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, May 21. Tickets are $12, and include damn fine coffee and gorgeous cherry pie. See the FilmBar website for more details.
If you’re looking for a straight-up sci-fi extravaganza, Elevengeddon happens to be billed as just that. It’s a 20-plus author signing party presented by The Poisoned Pen and held from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24, at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort. Authors include Victoria Schwab, Wesley Chu, Elizabeth Bear, Aprilynne Pike, Beth Cato, Weston Ochsse, and many more – and all hosted by fantasy writer Sam Sykes. Admission is free (a great way to get some books signed without paying to get into Phoenix Comicon). Call 480-947-2974 or visit the event page for more information.
The Book of Mormon
You don’t have to be a South Park fan to enjoy The Book of Mormon. This super-silly play and musical is coming to Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium – or ASU Gammage – with varying times from Thursday, May 18, through Sunday, May 28. Get ready to hear the Good Word from boys in neckties for two and a half hours. Tickets range from $50 to $258 at the ASU Gammage box office or 480-965-3434. See the show’s event page for more information.
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It’s almost here, guys. Memorial Day Weekend brings the 2017 Phoenix Comicon to the Phoenix Convention Center and other venues in downtown Phoenix. From Thursday, May 25, to Sunday, May 28, geeks can experience a messload of panels, vendors, guests, parties, exhibitors, and much more, including the Phoenix Comicon Masquerade Costume Contest, the Phoenix Comicon Film Festival, Talk Nerdy to Me: A Byte of Burlesque, and some escape rooms. Guests include Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Tucker and Dale vs Evil, and the voice of the Niles Crane-esque K-2SO in Rogue One), Danny Trejo, Curtis Armstrong (a.k.a. Booger), Anthony Michael Hall, Joan Cusack, Ming-Na Wen, and University of Arizona professor Dante Lauretta. Tickets range from $20 to $299. Visit the Phoenix Comicon website for all the deets.