May may be the nerdiest month of the year here in the Valley. Our annual comic book convention seems to radiate a sense of joy well beyond the walls of the Phoenix Convention Center, and with events like these on the calendar, this month should be one for the ages.
So don your favorite superhero costume, dungeon master garb, Disney princess gown, or Tejano icon's stagewear, and have a look at our picks for this month's list of 10 nerdy things to do here in Phoenix.
Put on the Cape: A Foundation for Hope
Steele Indian School Park
300 East Indian School Road
You don't have to be faster than a speeding bullet to enjoy this one.
There are fun runs, and then there are fun runs. This event definitely falls into the latter category. Participants are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite comic book crusader and let their cape flap in the wind. All proceeds go to Put On The Cape: A Foundation For Hope, a nonprofit organization that helps abused children realize that there is still good in the world by providing them with food, clothing, shelter, and even action figures of their favorite superheroes.
You can be a hero to a child in need on Saturday, May 18, at Steele Indian School Park. The event starts at 8 a.m. and is scheduled to end at 11 a.m. Tickets range from $20 to $40 and can be purchased through Eventbrite.
Desert City Jazz
Clarendon Hotel Sky Deck
400 West Clarendon Avenue
The Clarendon Hotel's Sky Deck will be jazzed up on Saturday, May 18, when the 16-piece ensemble they call Desert City Jazz pay a visit to the open-air Phoenix venue. Michael Collier's collection of some of the Phoenix area's best LGBTQ musicians have been entertaining jazz aficionados and the most casual of fans all throughout the Valley, and when you throw in the fresh air and view of the city that comes standard with the hotel's Sky Deck, you're in for an evening that adds up to more than the sum of its parts (those parts being five saxes, four trumpets, four trombones, a piano, a bass, and drums).
Come get your jazz on at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $20 and can be purchased through Eventbrite.
Glen or Glenda
815 North Second Street
Is it "so bad, it's good," or is it a film that was way ahead of its time?
Why not both? After all, Ed Wood's reputation as the worst director of all time certainly shines through in this 1953 box office bomb, but so does his longing to be his genuine self without the judgmental side-eye of society telling him to keep his angora sweaters in the closet. This semi-autobiographical account of Wood's own struggle with gender identity and his hope for a tolerant society is an undeniable cinematic mess. Its depiction of sex change operations feels a bit like the mad-scientist-playing-God trope used in so many monster movies of that same era, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a film from the early '50s that dared to tackle a subject that still raises controversy and stirs debate in the year 2019. For all his faults, Wood absolutely deserves some credit for taking such a bold risk. See for yourself.
Glen or Glenda will be shown at the FilmBar on Sunday, May 12, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $9.95 and can be purchased at the FilmBar website.
Phoenix Psychic Fair
Four Points by Sheraton
2532 West Peoria Avenue
You don't need a crystal ball to see how this event will make for an awesome Sunday. Whether you're a believer or a skeptic, there is a great time to be had on May 26 at the Four Points by Sheraton. All the standard psychic staples will be front and center, from tarot cards to gemstones to astrology readings. A number of noted mediums and healers will be in attendance, offering up possible visions of the future and spiritual tuneups for those that seek some otherworldly guidance.
The Phoenix Psychic Fair takes place at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission tickets are $5 in advance or $7 at the door. Attendees have the option to purchase tickets for a special 2 p.m. group reading by medium Jamie Clark for $25 in advance or $35 at the door. Ticket purchases can be made at the event's official site.
Mystery Men: Zia Nights
815 North Second Avenue
Before Hugh Jackman rocked his claws, before Tobey McGguire swung through the streets of New York, and before Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill bonded over the fact that their mothers miraculously shared the same name, there was Mystery Men.
Avengers: Endgame it is not, but as far as superhero movies go, it makes for a lovely ode to the genre. The story of a group of underdog D-list heroes who embark on a risky mission to save the city's top caped crusader from a powerful super-villain and his gang of disco-loving henchmen still holds up nicely. And in an age where this brand of cinema takes itself so seriously, it's actually pretty refreshing to see a flick in which costumed vigilantes are portrayed as lovable goofs who save the day despite themselves.
Zia Records brings Mystery Men to FilmBar on Monday, May 6, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $9.95 and can be purchased at FilmBar's official site.
Stand Up Live
50 West Jefferson Street
Dying is easy. But dying in front of Tony? That's another matter altogether.
It's kill or be killed on May 9 at Stand Up Live when comedian Tony Hinchcliffe brings his hit live podcast to the valley. Local comedians and totally inexperienced jokers alike will line up and perform a tight one-minute set in front of Tony and his comedian crew. Once those 60 seconds are up, performers will get grilled by a series of cutting questions from the hosts. The no-holds-barred interviews are as ruthless as they are hilarious. So even if the jokes land flat, the schadenfreude that follows will undoubtedly have you laughing hysterically.
Kill Tony comes to Stand Up Live on Thursday, May 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased at Stand Up Live's official site.
Comedy&D: A 20-Sided Quest!
Phoenix Fan Fusion
Phoenix Convention Center
100 North Third Street
If we were to exclude this one, then we'd have no business running this monthly column.
The local comedians behind Drift Compatible Productions are bringing their chaotically good show to this year's Phoenix Fan Fusion, right where it belongs. Comedy&D has been a monthly fixture at Phoenix's [Sic] Sense Theater, and its epic quest to the Desert Kingdom of Nerdery will bring the show to a much wider audience.
The premise is simple: funny people playing Dungeons & Dragons. Since the game hit store shelves in the '70s, it spawned what is essentially poker night for the indoor kids. In many ways, the highlight of these get-togethers was the camaraderie and riffing that came from a group of friends goofing around and poking fun at each other. This show offers viewers a chance to be a part of the fun, and every roll of the 20-sided dice is sure to lead to audiences rolling in the aisles.
Comedy&D: a 20-Sided Quest! will take place at Phoenix Fan Fusion on Saturday, May 25. Admission to the event is included with any purchase of a Saturday membership. Visit the official Phoenix Fan Fusion site for tickets and time info.
"Mummies of the World"
Arizona Science Center
600 East Washington Street
The Arizona Science Center's must-see event stretches all throughout the month of May, offering museum-goers a chance to see a massive collection of mummified humans and animals from every corner of the globe.
The stories of these preserved specimens are hardly kept under wraps, as multimedia stations offer a look into their unique history. Mummification methods differed from region to region, as well as throughout various time periods, and the exhibition showcases all these interesting intricacies in a way that is as entertaining as it is educational.
Mummies of the World continues its run at the Arizona Science Center all through May, and will officially end on September 2. Those who purchase general admission tickets to the museum can purchase tickets to this exhibition, with prices listed at $9.95 for museum members and $11.95 for nonmembers. Tickets can be ordered at the official site for the AZ Science Center.
The Selena Experience
441 West Madison Street
Is it technically a "nerdy" event? Maybe not. But who cares? As the saying goes, "Anything for Selena."
Los Chicos del 512 will bring their renowned tribute act to Phoenix this month, offering up a show that gives us all a chance to remember the legacy of both a musical and cultural icon. It's the closest thing audiences can find to a live Selena performance, right down to the smallest detail. This isn't a cover band playing dress up. It's a step back in time that honors "The Mexican Madonna's" legendary body of work and her ability to put on one hell of a live show.
The Selena Experience comes to The Pressroom on Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through Eventbrite.
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Disney's Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical
Mesa Arts Center
1 East Main Street, Mesa
The 1991 Disney film helped set the tone for what may very well be the studio's greatest decade, and after nearly 30 years, the tale still draws a crowd. Anthropomorphic clocks and candles aside, the true star of the film was its collection of musical masterpieces. So it only makes sense that the classic songs penned by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman take their rightful place on the stage. This live performance even features some songs by Menken and lyricist Tim Rice that weren't featured in the film, so even the most ravenous fans of Belle and her beastly boyfriend are sure to have a truly memorable experience.
Disney's Beauty and the Beast will hit the stage from May 3 to May 12 at the Mesa Arts Center's Nesbitt/Elliot Playhouse. Ticket prices range from $16 to $23 and can be purchased at the official site for the Mesa Arts Center.