5 Must-Attend Lectures in Metro Phoenix This October

Sure, professorial styles look great in fall. But without the brains to back up those elbow patches on your tweed jacket, chances are the only thing you'll be teaching is Poseurs 101. Instead of fronting like you've got I.Q. points to spare, bend and stretch your brain this October with Jackalope Ranch's five picks for must-attend lectures.

See also: Top 5 Things to Do in Metro Phoenix This Week

"The Cape Shape" @ Phoenix Art Museum Superheros and the stylish intersect at one particularly fashionable point: the cape. As the cover-up makes its comeback this fall, the Phoenix Art Museum presents an in-depth look at the garment, worn by Batman and Blair Waldorf to equal acclaim, with the fashion exhibition "The Cape," which is on view through February 9, 2014. PAM's curator of fashion design, Dennita Sewell, will discuss the history, evolution, and versatility of the sleeveless coat during her lecture "The Cape Shape." Sewell speaks tonight starting at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

"The Golden Age of Signs" @ A.E. England Gallery If you have a yen for vintage neon signage as seen at Courtesy Chevrolet, Mr. Lucky's, and Bill Johnson's Big Apple, then you'll want to clear your schedule for the evening of Friday, October 4. That's when Glen Guyett, the designer behind those and other iconic metro Phoenix signs, will give a presentation on the Valley's neon signage along with hip-storian Marshall Shore. The talk runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at A.E. England. Tickets are $9 and available at

"News + Play: The Power of Games and the Future of Interactive Storytelling" @ Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication Sure, Candy Crush is teaching you how to maximize your sweets-smashing abilities. But the folks behind ASU's Center for Games and Impact want your games to do more than satisfy an urge to make sugary treats explode. According to their mission statement, they want games "to drive meaningful, sustainable learning, health and social impact." If that seems like a tall order for a digital pastime, then head to the panel discussion "News + Play" on Monday, October 7, for more on the matter. Center for Games and Impact director Sasha Barab and director of innovations Adam Ingram-Goble will be featured panelists on the discussion, which will be held at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication's First Amendment Forum at 7 p.m. Retha Hill, director of the journalism school's new media innovation lab, will moderate. Admission is free.

Ignite Phoenix No. 15 @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Ignite returns for a fifteenth round of mega-lecture by way of many short lectures. During the Friday, October 18, event, which features 18 presentations, attendees will learn about a range of topics including the history of the bow tie, refurbing a hot rod, and how to build a wood fired pizza oven. Each presenter dishes on his topic for a maximum of five minutes, then it's on to the next talk. Catch the flurry of factoids and anecdotes at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $15.

"Make It So: Learning from Science Fiction Interfaces" @ Stauffer Hall Maybe life imitates art, but it goes without question that innovation imitates science fiction. At least, that's the basis of designer Nathan Shedroff's book Make It So: Interface Lessons from Sci-Fi. In it, Shedroff and co-author Christopher Noessel explore how imaginary interfaces (for example, the bridge in Star Trek) can inform real-world designers as to how to create useful, thoughtful, and practical technology -- despite the potentially clunky, goofy, and/or impossible inspiration. Sherdoff will discuss his findings, along with plenty of nerdtastic examples, at 3 p.m. on Thursday, October 24, in suite B125 of ASU Tempe's Stauffer Hall. Admission is free.

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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