Nerd Culture

10 Nerdy Things to Do in Phoenix This December

Here are 10 ways to geek out this December in the Valley.
Here are 10 ways to geek out this December in the Valley. Courtesy of FilmBar
Puppets, petroglyphs, and Pompeii dominate Phoenix New Times' guide to geek-leaning events for the final month of 2017, but there is still much more to do.

In between buying Pop! dolls for those on your Christmas shopping list and playing Magic: The Gathering at Samurai Comics on Friday nights, you can check out a full moon hike and see what Anne Rice is up to these days. You can even get into the holiday spirit, with a screening of the Star Wars Holiday Special at FilmBar, and ring in the new year at the Flannel Ball.

Give the gift-wrapping a break and check out these 10 nerdy things to do this month in the Valley.

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Join the Exquisite Corpse Puppets Workshop on December 16.
Courtesy of Dain Q Gore
"Pompeii: The Exhibition"
December is the first full month of "Pompeii: The Exhibition" at the Arizona Science Center. (Quick history lesson: Pompeii was a Roman city completely buried for over 1,700 years after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.) More than 200 artifacts from the preserved city – on loan from the Naples National Archaeological Museum – are on display. You can check them all out for $11.95, in addition to the Center's $18 general admission. See the Arizona Science Center website for more details.

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Ideal holiday shopping at the Nile Theater Record Swap.
Jim Louvau
Die Hard: A Christmas Story
It’s now widely accepted that Die Hard is a Christmas movie. So of course the next logical step is to perform it with puppets during the holidays. The All Puppet Players will present Die Hard: A Christmas Story from December 1 through 23 at Playhouse On The Park at the Central Arts Plaza. Call 602-254-2151 or see the Phoenix Theatre website for tickets, which are $22 for general admission and $54 for the VIP experience.

December Full Moon Walk
It's taking a while to cool down this year, so let’s celebrate our jacket-worthy nights with the December Full Moon Walk led by the Museum of Walking’s director and co-founder Angela Ellsworth. Participants will meet at the Elliot Ramada Loop at Papago Park at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 3, and silently take the 2.7-mile walk illuminated by the "Cold Moon." You’re encouraged to bring water, and maybe a flashlight. To register and find out more about this free walk, see the MoW website.

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See "Pompeii: The Exhibition" all month long at the Arizona Science Center.
Arizona Science Center
Nile Theater Record Swap
There's no avoiding holiday shopping, so you might as well make it fun. Cue the Nile Theater Record Swap, with a collection of 20 vendors hawking everything from records to art, fiction, comic books, old band shirts, music and movie posters, and assorted unique items like old folk art masks. The swap runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 3 at the Nile Theater in downtown Mesa. Entry is free. See the Facebook event for more details.

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Bea Arthur, Carrie Fisher, Lumpy the Wookie ... what's better than the Star Wars Holiday Special during the holidays?
Courtesy of FilmBar
Anne Rice and Christopher Rice
Yes, it’s December, but that doesn’t we can’t get a little spooky. Authors Anne Rice and Christopher Rice are stopping by Changing Hands Tempe at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6 to discuss their new book, Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra. You can line up for a signing starting at 5 p.m., and $16 gets you one copy of the book and admission for two people. See the Changing Hands website for tickets and additional details.

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LIBCON West takes over Glendale's Main Library on December 9.
Courtesy of Glendale Public Library
The Star Wars Holiday Special
FilmBar and the Unfathomable Film Freakout present the 1978 embarrassment that was the Star Wars Holiday Special – a variety show-style holiday special with singing Wookie families, Jefferson Starship, and an appearance by the incredible Bea Arthur. Consider joining the dark side with an 8 or 10 p.m. showing at FilmBar on Friday, December 8. General admission is $7. For more details, see the FilmBar website.

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LIBCON West takes over Glendale's Main Library on December 9.
Courtesy of Glendale Public Library
Every month needs a good con, and December is not looking to be the exception. The free LIBCON West is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, at the Glendale Main Library. All-ages programming includes Storytime with the (Drag) Queen, the Retro Trivia Challenge, and a talk billed as "So You Want to Be a Cosplayer?" Vendors will include the City of Glendale Parks and Recreation, Drawn to Comics, Merpunks, Popshop AZ, and more. You can also take a photo with the Phoenix Ghostbusters, peruse the library, or hit the few food trucks. See the LIBCON West for details.

[image-15]Make-and-Take Exquisite Corpse Puppets Workshop
Local puppeteer and artist Dain Q Gore is hosting a free exquisite corpse-inspired make-and-take puppet workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 14. Create your very own mix-and-match creature that's fit for the mantle with Gore’s guidance in the Gallery @ The Library at the Scottsdale Civic Center. Go crazy or stay classic; either way, it’s your puppet to keep. See the Scottsdale Public Art website to RSVP for the event.

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Games and more at the 2018 Flannel Ball.
Melissa Fossum
Petroglyph Discovery Hike
For a “petroglyph rich hiking experience” with an experienced museum guide, join the Petroglyph Discovery Hike with the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park. The one-mile, interpretive hike is $5 per registrant, and runs from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 16, at South Mountain Park. Meet at the Box Canyon trailhead. See the Pueblo Grande Museum website for more information and to register.

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Die Hard, with puppets. You gotta.
Courtesy of All Puppet Players
2018 Flannel Ball!
Looking for an alternative New Year’s evening? The 2018 Flannel Ball will combine flannel clothing with games, food trucks, beer, live music, community awards, and the Old On New Art Show. Presented by Lawn Gnome Publishing, Bud's Glass Joint, Roosevelt Growhouse, and Roosevelt Row CDC, tickets to the Flannel Ball are $10 till November 30, $15 from then till December 24, $20 through December 30, and $25 on the big day. The party starts at 9 p.m. at the Roosevelt Growhouse. See the Eventbrite page to purchase tickets.
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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.