Things to Do

11 Nerdy Things to Do This March in Metro Phoenix

The Brides of March will once again hit the streets of downtown Phoenix.
The Brides of March will once again hit the streets of downtown Phoenix. Benjamin Leatherman
So you’ve grown tired of rage-quitting Elden Ring and already binged every episode of both Peacemaker and The Book of Boba Fett? Sounds like you could use some downtime away from your screens.

Consider disconnecting for a few hours and heading out to any of the following geek-friendly events happening around metro Phoenix in March. You can get rowdy in a wedding dress, hang out with unicorns, roll for initiative, meet a legendary comic book creator, or watch some movies that really suck.
click to enlarge Robert Pattinson as The Batman. - WARNER BROS.
Robert Pattinson as The Batman.
Warner Bros.

The Gotham Gala

Everyone’s about to go a little batty at the moment, thanks to the hullabaloo surrounding the Dark Knight’s latest cinematic adaptation debuting in movie theaters. In other words, it's the perfect time for the geeks at Endgame, 1233 South Alma School Road, to host an event like the Gotham Gala. The two-story game bar will become a nerdy version of Wayne Manor on Friday, March 4. Swoop into the spot after you finish watching Robert Pattinson battle corruption and supervillains and enjoy themed cocktails, participate in a riddle-filled mystery, and bust out with the Batusi on the dance floor. Capes, cowls, and other Batman-inspired costumes are encouraged. The party goes from 6 to 11 p.m. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge An elegant weapon for a more civilized age. - MOTOHIDE MIWA/CC BY 2.0/FLICKR
An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.

Star Wars Memorabilia

As it turns out, you don’t have to travel to Tatooine or (even a galaxy far, far away) to see the Skywalker family lightsaber up close. Instead, fire up your landspeeder and head for the Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, 9500 East Via de Ventura in Scottsdale, where the legendary laser sword will be featured as a part of a Star Wars-themed exhibit. The screen-used version of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber hilt from The Empire Strikes Back, which was built from a circa-1930s Graflex flashgun, is one of the centerpieces of the display, which will be at Ripley’s from Friday, March 4, through Sunday, March 27. (And, no, you won’t be able to touch it.) Han Solo’s prop blaster from Return of the Jedi and the head from the C-3PO made for Empire are also on display. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $24.95 for adults and $16.95 for children 2 to 12. Benjamin Leatherman

DracFest

Bram Stoker’s landmark 1897 novel Dracula will turn 125 this year and, in honor of the occasion, organizers of the annual Phoenix FearCon are putting on the vampire-themed DracFest on Saturday, March 5, at Majestic Neighborhood Cinema Grill, 1140 East Baseline Road in Tempe. Screenings of short films, television pilots, and movies inspired by the vampire genre will take place through the event, which will be hosted by indie producer Jay Michaels. Vendors and an appearance by the Family Dimitrescu Sisters, a group of Resident Evil Village cosplayers, are also promised. The vamping takes place from 1 a.m. to midnight. General admission is $25 and VIP tickets are $50 to $100 and include a variety of perks (including exclusive merch, complimentary drinks, and custom lanyards). Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Tig has a gig. - BOB CHAMBERLIN
Tig has a gig.
Bob Chamberlin

Tig Notaro

The deadpan comedic legend has led a life that's been full of sharp turns and hard stops (including dropping out of high school and surviving breast cancer) but her stand-up skills have proven to be as resilient as her spirit. She's one of the best in the comedy game and has numerous stand-up specials, a New York Times best-selling book (2016’s I'm Just a Person), and a hit podcast under her belt, not to mention an ongoing role on Star Trek: Discovery as Commander Denise “Jett” Reno. Notaro is scheduled to bring her clever skits and sharp-witted barbs to Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street, on Saturday, March 5. Her performance starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $39.50 to $49.50. Michael Palladino and Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Get on a roll at the Arizona Game Fair. - BRENT NEWHALL/CC BY 2.0/VIA FLICKR
Get on a roll at the Arizona Game Fair.
Brent Newhall/CC BY 2.0/via Flickr

Arizona Game Fair 2022

Want to get into tabletop gaming and RPGs but don’t know a Warhammer from a claw hammer? Join the party at the Arizona Game Fair, which returns to the Mesa Convention Center, 263 North Center Street, from Thursday, March 10, to Sunday, March 13. The geek-friendly event is a good place to get a crash course in gaming of the board, tabletop, miniature, collectible card, and role-playing varieties. Attendees can choose from a library of more than 800-plus games during open and scheduled gaming sessions. Other activities will include a flea market, the chance to complete in the Arizona Board Game Championships, and more. Various tournaments will also take place throughout the weekend. Doors open at 8 a.m. each day. Daily admission is $25 to $30, weekend-only badges are $45, full event passes are $80, and kids under 12 are $2. See the fair’s website for full details and the complete schedule. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Thank you for being a friend. - CHANDLER CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Thank you for being a friend.
Chandler Center for the Arts

That Golden Girls Show: A Puppet Parody

If you’re yearning to relive classic moments with TV’s Golden Girls, you’ll want to check out this all-puppet parody of the classic ‘80s series being staged at Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue, from Thursday, March 17, to Sunday, March 20. You can bet there will be references to Rue McClanahan’s character Blanche and her never-ending manhunt and Estelle Getty’s get-rich-quick schemes in her role as Sophia. Add Dorothy (Bea Arthur), fending off her pesky ex, and spacey Rose played by everybody’s fave Betty White (who sadly left us in January just shy of her 100th birthday) spouting tales of St. Olaf’s. Curtain times for the production penned by New York Drama Desk nominee Jonathan Rockefeller are at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday plus a 3 p.m. show on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $36 to $56. Reba Liner
click to enlarge Looks like a nice day for a white wedding (dress). - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Looks like a nice day for a white wedding (dress).
Benjamin Leatherman

The Brides of March 2022

Equal parts bar crawl and costumed urban prank, the annual Brides of March involves hundreds of local men and women donning wedding dresses or other matrimonial finery and hitting up downtown Phoenix’s various drinkeries for an afternoon of fun. The nuptial-themed event put on the Arizona Cacophony Society also features a high-heel footrace and other antics. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, March 19, starting at noon. It’s free to participate, but you’ll have to spring for the cost of your outfit and (of course) whatever drinks you want to imbibe. More details and the starting point can be found on the society’s website. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Believe in unicorns. - ANNIE SPRATT
Believe in unicorns.
Annie Spratt

Unicorn Fantasy Festival

Unicorns may not exist, except in your imagination or the realm of fantasy, but their popularity is very much real. As any Lisa Frank fans might tell you, the magical single-horned creatures have been a big thing in recent years, rivaling mermaids, adorning any number of products (remember those rainbow-colored Starbucks frappuccinos?), and causing countless people to go unicorn crazy. If you’re one of them, then the Unicorn Fantasy Festival on Sunday, March 20, at Hidden Lake, 24445 West Sunrise Drive in Buckeye, is meant for you. The six-hour event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. will offer all unicorn everything, from themed drinks and cookie decorating to activities, vendors, and the chance to meet a “real” version of the mythical beast. Kids and teens ages 2 to 17 can get in with an $18.50 “Unicorn Pass,” which includes access to interactive activities, bounce houses, photo ops, and games. Adult companion tickets are $5 and other admission packages are available. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Bust out your Angeal Hewley cosplay for the Final Fantasy VII Remake Orchestra. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Bust out your Angeal Hewley cosplay for the Final Fantasy VII Remake Orchestra.
Benjamin Leatherman

Final Fantasy VII Remake Orchestra

Final Fantasy VII is considered one of the greatest video games of all time, and one of the factor in its near-universal acclaim is its soundtrack. Created by Japanese composer and keyboardist Nobuo Uematsu for the 1997 PlayStation game, it’s alternately catchy, stirring, and melancholic, particularly such tracks as “One Winged Angel” and “Aertith’s Theme.” Uematsu’s music, which included both electronic and choral elements, got even better when new arrangements were created for the game’s 2020 remake. Fans can enjoy a symphonic interpretation of the soundtrack performed by the Phoenix Symphony and Chorus on Wednesday, March 23, at the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street, on Wednesday, March 23. The concert starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $49 to $88. Benjamin Leatherman

A Dark Knight with Frank Miller

Frank Miller is a renowned name in the world of comic books, and for good reason. The writer, penciler, and inker helped reinvent Daredevil in the early ‘80s and created landmark titles and miniseries like Hard Boiled, Sin City, and 300 in the ‘90s. One of his biggest claims to fame, though, is returning Batman to his gritty, noirish roots in the late ‘80s after the character’s campy and cartoonish runs in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Story arcs like The Dark Knight Returns in 1986 and Batman: Year One are not only widely acclaimed by critics and geeks alike, but influenced future portrayals of the Caped Crusader (including all of his subsequent appearances on the silver screen). The famed comic book creator will visit the Majestic Neighborhood Cinema Grill, 5478 South Power Road in Gilbert, on Friday, March 25, for two showings of the 2021 documentary Frank Miller: American Genius. A Q&A session with Miller and director Silenn Thomas will take place before each screening, which are at 6 and 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $86.24 and include a limited-edition print autographed by Miller. Benjamin Leatherman

Letterkenny Live

If you’ve seen every single episode of Letterkenny, memorized all the best bits, and randomly tell people, “If you have a problem with the majestic Canadian goose, then you have a problem with me,” then it's fair to say you’re a die-hard fan of the hilarious sitcom from the Great White North. And you probably already know a touring version of the show called Letterkenny Live! is coming to the Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street, on Tuesday, March 29. If not, we suggest you let that one marinate for a while, put on your muscle shirt, and make plans to attend. The 90-minute “comedy experience” features nine actors and actresses from the show – including Jared Keeso (Wayne), Nathan Dales (Daryl), Michelle Mylett (Katy), Dylan Playfair (Reilly), and Andrew Herr (Jonesy) – performing never-before-seen sketches from Letterkenny. Tickets are technically sold out, but go easy over there, Squirrelly Dan, since they’re available through resellers. Benjamin Leatherman
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.