Nerd Culture

20 Best Things to Do in Metro Phoenix, February 27 to March 5

See fashions by Phoenix-based Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo) in Scottsdale.
See fashions by Phoenix-based Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo) in Scottsdale. Courtesy of Scottsdale ArtWalk

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Cincinnati Reds
Before they become the “boys of summer,” baseball players scrape a little rust off as the boys of spring. And exactly half of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams do so in our backyard. Which means that for a brief yet glorious window of time each year, the Valley becomes the world’s most descended-upon baseball mecca.

Well, that window just opened.

It’s officially time to skip work, soak up some not-yet-life-threatening sun, sip on an overpriced margarita, and maybe even watch a few minutes of the game. Start the “work” week with some well-deserved leisure on Monday, February 27, when the Arizona Diamondbacks host the Cincinnati Reds at Scottsdale’s Salt River Fields, 7555 North Pima Road, at 1:10 pm. Tickets are $11 and up. Visit the Cactus League website or call 480-270-5000 for details. Rob Kroehler

click to enlarge The nerds are coming (to Little Woody). - LUIGI RICHIE
The nerds are coming (to Little Woody).
Luigi Richie
Comic Book Series
You’re encouraged to dress up in costume for just about everything these days, and that includes events for adults held at bars. In this instance, it’s the Comic Book Series night of costumes, dancing, and (obviously) drinking held Monday, February 27, at the Little Woody, 4228 East Indian School Road. It’s the perfect way to kill time in between cons.

Get ready to see about 1,000 Harley Quinns from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., as Cobra Arcade Bar will take over the Arcadia watering hole for a special comic-book-inspired night with DJ Maneone, specialty cocktails, and guest bartenders Liza and Tyler. Entry is free, and proceeds from the courageous evening will benefit the Phoenix-based HALO Animal Rescue No-Kill Facility.

For more information, call 602-955-0339 or see the Facebook event page. Lauren Cusimano

Seinfeld Trivia
What is the deal with Seinfeld Trivia at Valley Bar? Well, the game night hosted by Emily the Lewis is no joke. To have a fighting chance, you need to assemble a team with knowledge that goes deeper than George is willing to trash-dive for gently used pastry. There’s no faking it. That means no bizarros, just a crew that knows “The Contest” in and out, as well as itsy-bitsy details from all nine seasons. Another pro tip: Show up a little early to get a good spot (and $1 off cans of craft beer), because other people will be there. And as Saint Jerome of West 81st Street taught us, they’re the worst.

Sign-up starts at 7 p.m. in the basement bar’s Rose Room. There’s no cover for the 21-and-over event at 130 North Central Avenue, and play starts at 8. See Valley Bar's website. Becky Bartkowski

Gabriel Flores Romero/Flickr Creative Commons
Outstanding Cinematic Delights Film Festival
In general, OCD is the acronym used to describe obsessive compulsive disorder. A local event is using the abbreviation differently, but it’s focused on creating awareness about mental-illness issues.

The Outstanding Cinematic Delights Film Festival, or OCD Festival, features several short movies by mostly local filmmakers, including Douglas Proce, Baron Dixon, and the event’s host, Suzanne Steinberg. There’s also a stand-up comedy performance by April Walterscheid. Steinberg says that some of the films do spotlight mental-health issues, and her goal is to help break down the negative stigmas and stereotypes associated with mental disorders. Start the night with a stroll down the red carpet at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, at Silver Cinemas Super Savers Cinema 8, 2710 West Bell Road. Admission is $10. Visit Amy Young

click to enlarge Still shot from a Richard Lerman video featured in his retrospective exhibition at ASU West. - PHOTO COURTESY OF RICHARD LERMAN.
Still shot from a Richard Lerman video featured in his retrospective exhibition at ASU West.
Photo courtesy of Richard Lerman.
"Sound Art Works from the '70s to the Present"
Most people think of mix tapes as homemade collections of popular songs with a nostalgic twist. But in the world of internationally renowned artist and Arizona State University professor Richard Lerman, they happen at a whole other level.

Lerman makes his own microphones, which capture sounds made by wind, spiders, and ice either freezing or melting. It’s a tad more complicated than digging up an old Beach Boys or Led Zeppelin album.
Meet Lerman, and explore his work during the free opening reception for “Sound Art Works from the ’70s to the Present” retrospective exhibition, happening from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, at ArtSpace in the University Center Building on the ASU West campus, 4301 West Thunderbird Road in Glendale. Visit ASU's event calendar for more. Lynn Trimble

click to enlarge You Can't Cry While Drinking (Coffee) is just one thing you can learn at ASU Tempe. - COURTESY OF BINARY THEATRE COMPANY
You Can't Cry While Drinking (Coffee) is just one thing you can learn at ASU Tempe.
Courtesy of Binary Theatre Company
You Can't Cry While Drinking (Coffee)
Binary Theatre Company, the student production arm of ASU’s school of film, dance, and theater, presents a series of three productions this spring, one every few weeks through Saturday, April 15. It’s like an extremely protracted tasting menu. In fact, there’s time to visit other restaurants between courses, to continue the analogy. (Which might make it possible to get full.)

Your amuse-bouche is You Can’t Cry While Drinking (Coffee), a new play by Tess Galbiati that is “like a fever dream, in a way,” says director Rowan McLeod, “a show about people and the struggles we go through in life — how we deal with our pain. It’s humorous and sad in equal parts.”

click to enlarge Geek out. - DIANA LUSTIG
Geek out.
Diana Lustig
Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 2, through Sunday, March 5, at Prism Theatre, 970 East University Drive in Tempe. Admission’s $8, or $5 with a donation of nonperishable food. Purchase advance tickets at Binary Theatre's website. Julie Peterson

Geeks Night Out
STEAM is so hot right now, and to prove the importance of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, the City of Tempe, Tempe History Museum, Tempe Public Library, and Tempe Opportunities group are hosting Geeks Night Out.

The sixth annual festival is a collection of booths showcasing everything from solar-powered vehicles and robotics displays to liquid nitrogen demonstrations and classic science experiments. There’s also a costume parade. Should you dress up? We can’t stop you.

Local schools, colleges and universities, community partners, and area businesses operate the booths, including an arts and sciences booth from the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts.

This signature event of the Arizona SciTech Festival runs from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 2, at the Tempe Community Complex, 3500 South Rural Road. Geeks Night Out is free and open to the public, and presented by StateFarm. Call 480-350-5209 or see the City of Tempe website. Lauren Cusimano

click to enlarge See fashions by Phoenix-based Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo) in Scottsdale. - COURTESY OF SCOTTSDALE ARTWALK
See fashions by Phoenix-based Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo) in Scottsdale.
Courtesy of Scottsdale ArtWalk
Native Trails Art Walk & Fashion Show
Show some spirit, people. Not for sports or trendy cuisine, but for Native arts and culture. Get to downtown Scottsdale for the Native Trails art walk happening from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 2, as several galleries show works by Native artists, and Native performance artists help bring the gallery scene to life.

Start at Main Street between Marshall Way and Goldwater Boulevard to enjoy a free fashion show highlighting contemporary Native American clothing and jewelry designers.

With any luck at all, you’ll leave inspired to expand your wardrobe beyond flip-flops, leggings, and baseball caps. Visit Scottsdale Galleries online. Lynn Trimble

Lip Sync Battle
Lip-syncing is the opposite of karaoke, kind of. That theory won’t change your life even a little. But Kobalt Bar’s Lip Sync Battle just might. The mouthy pursuit is a work of art when done well. Adding the adrenaline of competition steps it up. Performers have already challenged one another, and the matchups promise a full evening of fever-pitched action.

Kobalt’s event puts the fun in fundraiser and benefits Phoenix Unified Gay Bowling Alliance, which is not something you get a chance to benefit just any old day. So circle and highlight and glitter Friday, March 3, on the calendar, because the good times roll starting at 8 p.m. at 3110 North Central Avenue. A minimum $5 donation is suggested. Call 602-264-5307 or visit Facebook. Julie Peterson

click to enlarge Riders of the Purple Sage makes its world premiere. - TIM TRUMBLE
Riders of the Purple Sage makes its world premiere.
Tim Trumble
Riders of the Purple Sage
When the curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 3, Arizona Opera will make history. The evening marks the Valley debut of Riders of the Purple Sage — and the organization’s first world première performance.

Set against a backdrop familiar to any who’ve taken a cross-state road trip, Riders is the first American Western opera. Arizona painter Ed Mell, known for his modernist landscape pieces, recreates sunset-colored canyons and desert snapshots for the stage, while Karin Wolverton (as protagonist Jane Withersteen) brings the tale of religion, women’s rights, and gun-slinging to life through three performances at Symphony Hall, 75 North Second Street.

Set in the late 1800s, the story follows a devout Mormon woman under pressure from the church to marry and add her land to a growing Mormon settlement. Landscape aside, this is far from your average spaghetti Western.

Tickets start at $25 and are available by calling the box office at 602-266-7464 or through Arizona Opera's website. Janessa Hilliard

Read on for more things to do this week.
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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski
Lauren Cusimano is Phoenix New Times' food and drink editor. She is a journalist and food waste writer based in Tempe. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Contact: Lauren Cusimano
Janessa is a native Phoenician. She joined New Times as a contributor in 2013. You can connect with her on social media at @janessahilliard, and she promises you'll find no pictures of cats on her Instagram — but plenty of cocktails.
Contact: Janessa Hilliard
Rob is a Phoenix native, husband, dad, and an active member in the local music scene. He's written original songs for feature films.
Contact: Rob Kroehler
Julie has written for the Night & Day events calendar section since 2005. As a student at Arizona State, she received the Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Creative Writing Award and the Theatre Medallion of Merit.
Contact: Julie Peterson
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble
Amy Young is an arts and culture writer who also spends time curating arts-related exhibits and events, and playing drums in local bands French Girls and Sturdy Ladies.
Contact: Amy Young