Nerd Culture

10 Nerdy Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This January

It's officially the beginning of a new year, which means all your friends, family, and followers are blowing up your feed with vague "new year, new me!!" posts that indicate little to no significant life changes. This year, let's mix it up and all resolve to spend more time learning new things and geeking out over the things we love. Phoenix is hosting a number of informative, educational, and downright nerdy events this month that offer something for everybody.

Arizona Bach Festival
If four-part harmonies and modulations get you all sorts of excited, then we've got good news for you. The Seventh Annual Arizona Bach Festival is returning to Phoenix this January, and it offers three different opportunities to hear some of the composer's greatest hits. It will kick off on Friday, January 8, with a 7:30 p.m. organ recital by Christopher Houlihan at All Saints’ Episcopal Church downtown. Next, there will be a 7:30 p.m. staged production of the Passion According to St. John at Camelback Bible Church on Friday, January 15. The festival will wrap up with a violin performance by James Stern at the All Saints’ Episcopal Church on Sunday, January 24, at 3 p.m. Individual concert tickets will cost between $23 and $40, but you can purchase a $80 pass online for all three shows. For more information on prices and concerts, visit

Coffee and Crime Book Club
Few things go better together than a good book and strong coffee, and the folks at Scottsdale's independently owned Poisoned Pen celebrate the pairing each month with its Coffee and Crime Book Club. This month, the club will read and discuss Ngaio Marsh’s Enter a Murderer, a theatrical thriller from 1935. Those interested in attending should meet at the bookstore on Saturday, January 9, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Call 480-947-2974 for more information.

Astronomy Evenings 
If you often find your head in the clouds and mind in the stars, you may want to join the City of Scottsdale for a night of free stargazing and light hiking on Saturday, January 9. The monthly Astronomy Evening Program provides desert dwellers with an opportunity to explore the desert and night sky with local experts in the field, who can point out prominent celestial clusters and some of the surrounding flora and fauna. The walk will take place at Pinnacle Peak Park on a low-intensity trail, but participants must be 8 or older to join. Call 480-312-0990 to register for the event or find more information. 

Schoolhouse Rock!
The Phoenix Symphony is combining classical music and childhood favorites this month with a production of Schoolhouse Rock. On Sunday, January 10 at 2 p.m., the family-friendly concert will playfully revisit the series' classic numbers like "I'm Just a Bill" and "Conjunction Junction." Tickets are $11 to $20 and can be purchased through the Symphony's website. You can also call the box office at 602-495-1999 for more information.

MACH: Science Cafe
If you've ever wondered just how 3D printing works or what it means for future scientific endeavors, now is your chance to learn. The Burton Barr Library in downtown Phoenix will dedicate its Thursday, January 14, MACH: Science Cafe to the mechanics, materials, and possibilities of 3D printing. The club will meet from 7 to 8 p.m. and is open to the public. Call the library at 602-262-4636 for more information.

Taiyou Con 2016
Anime, manga, and video games, oh my. The annual Taiyou Con, a three-day festival celebrating Japanese culture, will come to the Mesa Convention Center January 15 through January 17 and will bring some of the biggest names from popular anime shows to the Valley. Events will include panels by artists and writers, cosplay gatherings, and lip sync battles. A full weekend pass costs $45, but individual day passes can also be purchased for $25 or $30 depending on the day. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

"Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane"
Art history buffs should prepare for one of the most significant exhibits to visit the Phoenix Art Museum this month. Circles of Support and Corporate Council level members at the Phoenix Art Museum will have a special opportunity to preview Michelangelo's "Sacred and Profane" drawings before the public on Sunday, January 15. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., guests can peruse 26 of the iconic artist's work, which rarely ever leaves Italy. Drinks and snacks will be available. In order to attend, you must RSVP by January 8 by calling 602-257-2115 or emailing [email protected] The exhibit will open to the public on January 17, and will stay at the museum until mid-March. You can find more information about the event and exhibit on the museum's website. 

Einstein's Legacy
Einstein's theory of general relativity is arguably one of the most crucial discoveries in modern physics. The Origins Project at ASU is honoring the man and his legacy on Friday, January 22, with some of the world's foremost scientists and professors, including Nobel Prize winners, Frank Wilczek and Adam Riess, and Interstellar's scientific supervisor Kip Thorne. They will gather to celebrate and discuss the centennial anniversary of Einstein's theory and welcome students and the public to join in on the conversation. Student tickets are free with an ID, and adults pay $10. Find tickets for the event here.

Tempe Public Library Comicon 2016
Yet another comic convention is coming to the Valley, and this one will be totally free to attend. The Tempe Public Library's 2016 Comic Con will feature local cosplayers, writers, and artists, as well as costume contests. The event is open to all ages and will take place on Saturday, January 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit the event's Facebook page for more information.

An Iliad
Written by Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare, this production of An Illiad combines poetry and humor to tell Homer's classic war story. Daniel J. Tobin, an MFA in Performance student at ASU who has performed in the production all around the country and in England, will star in the show on Thursday, January 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center. Tickets are between $12 and $24. See the production's Facebook page for more information.
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Sara Weber