Nerd Culture

10 Nerdy Things to Do This February in Metro Phoenix

Don't forget your keyblade.
Don't forget your keyblade. Michelle Sasonov
The first month of 2019 is about to be in the rear view, meaning the majority of all your well-intentioned “new year, new me” ambitions will most likely be left by the roadside. While the idea of letting your brand-new gym membership collect dust might fill you with a sense of defeat, there are plenty of events throughout the Valley that should distract you from the fact that those kale shakes and washboard abs have once again been put on hold indefinitely.

The shortest month on the calendar certainly has no shortage of entertainment options. Be they campy, quirky, cultural or somewhere in between, this list of 10 nerdy things to do in the Balley this February definitely has everything you’ll need to get past that rigid January vibe and start enjoying 2019 to the fullest.

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Explore the world of cinema at FilmBar
Lynn Trimble
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Women in Horror
This early '90s cult classic kicks off FilmBar’s Women in Horror month, a celebration of frightful female-led features that helped reshape an entire genre.

Although the film didn’t exactly click with critics or audiences when it hit theaters way back in 1992, the wild success of its iconic television adaptation gave it a resurgence in popularity that continues to this day. With a cast that includes Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland, and Paul Reubens in a role that is a far-cry from his Pee-Wee Herman persona, this campy tale of a Valley girl versus vampires is sure to drive a wooden stake through your midweek boredom.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 7. Tickets are $9.95.

Jad Abumrad: The Miracle of Indoor Plumbing
When Radiolab co-founder and Peabody Award winner Jad Abumrad took a hiatus from his radio career in 2017, his perspective on who he was and why things are took on a whole new form. With the weight of his demanding job temporarily off his shoulders, Abumrad found himself noticing the beauty in places that often go unnoticed. Hence the title of his lecture, which takes the seemingly mundane concept of underground pipes and shines a light upon them that illuminates just how miraculous they may actually be.

His new insights didn’t just stop with plumbing. His time away from the mic helped him better understand the power of silence, identify what actually qualifies as “interesting,” and analyze the impact of our current cultural crossroads. It’s these kind of “wow, I never thought of it like that” takeaways that audiences should expect to bring home with them after Abumrad’s upcoming appearance at the Mesa Arts Center on Saturday, February 9, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $23 to $35.

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WWE hall of famer Jake "The Snake" Roberts returns to Phoenix this month.
Benjamin Leatherman
Jake “The Snake” Roberts: Dirty Details Tour
Too many wrestling stars of the '80s have experienced hard hits and even harder times, often resulting in lives cut way too short. This makes Jake Roberts a bit of an anomaly. A lifetime of tragedy and abuse, both self-inflicted and inflicted upon him, had his fans and peers alike presuming that the story of Jake “The Snake” would not have a happy ending.

But with the love of his adoring fans and the help of his best friend, former wrestling star-turned-health and fitness icon Diamond Dallas Page, Roberts defied the odds and shed his old skin, so to speak. The bad habits may be gone, but the stories sure aren’t: Roberts can have audiences doubled over with anecdotes on Andre the Giant’s fondness for flatulence or examples of Macho Man Randy Savage’s eccentricity, but those who come to a show with unhealed wounds from their own unfortunate past are sure to see Jake’s brutally honest tales of rock bottom and redemption as a beacon of hope.

Jake the Snake's “Dirty Details Tour” makes its stop at Mesa's Club Red on Thursday, February 14. Doors open at 7 p.m., the show starts at 8, and tickets range from $20 to $60.

PHX Vegan Food Festival
We’ve got no beef with your typical food festivals, but there’s something about the PHX Vegan Food Festival that we can’t get enough of. Arizona’s original and largest celebration of all things vegan goes well beyond its culinary connotations, featuring such attractions as live local musicians and professional chef demos for a celebration of not just vegan food, but the vegan lifestyle as a whole. No matter what your dietary preferences may be, you’re sure to find the PHX Vegan Food Festival to be a sustainable source of all-day entertainment.

The 2019 PHX Vegan Food Festival will be held at Margaret T. Hance Park from Saturday, February 23, at 10 a.m. to Sunday, February 24, at 5 p.m. Tickets range from $25 for general admission to $90 for VIP.

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Getting a tattoo of Bela Lugosi's face at Mad Monster Arizona 2018.
Benjamin Leatherman
Body Art Expo Phoenix
The AZ State Fairgrounds will have fun written all over it this Valentine’s Day weekend. The Body Art Expo is a three-day event that celebrates a lot more than just the end product of ink plus skin. Over 200 of the globe’s top tattoo artists will gather in one location, so whether you’re new to the tattoo game, a seasoned vet, or just a spectator who appreciates the art, you’re sure to find a good time.

This family-friendly event takes place Friday, February 15, to Sunday, February 17, at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. Advance tickets are $18.

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Irasshai! Explore Japanese culture at Arizona Matsuri.
Michelle Sasonov
Arizona Matsuri: Festival of Japan
The Land of the Rising Sun has piqued interest here in the states for decades, if not centuries. Whether you’re a Japanophile or someone completely unfamiliar with the culture, you’re sure to enjoy the Arizona Matsuri, now in its 35th year. The festival gives visitors an immersive experience in all things Japanese, from its feudalistic history to its modern influence on entertainment, cuisine and fashion. This all-ages event features attractions that cater to everyone, from arts and crafts activities to a relaxing beer and sake garden.

Admission for the Arizona Matsuri is free, and the festival will be taking place at the Sixth Street Heritage and Science Park, February 23 to 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Patton Oswalt (not "Oswald") will perform his latest stand-up set this month in Phoenix.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr
Patton Oswalt
With a career in stand-up comedy that stretches all the way back to 1988, Patton Oswalt has entertained audiences with a point-of-view that few comics share and a talent for wordplay that would make even the most well-versed English professor take notice. His uproarious material has tackled subjects that range from the seemingly simplistic (his bit on KFC Famous Bowls is a fine example) to the utterly tragic, which serves as a testament to his undeniable skill and his ability to dig up humor in the most unlikely of places.

Oswalt will be performing at Comerica Theatre on Saturday, February 23, at 8 p.m., with ticket prices starting at $36.

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Michelle Sasonov
The Phoenix Pancakes & Booze Art Show
The self-described premier art show in the nation makes its stop in the Valley on February 22, bringing with it some of the most innovative and evocative examples of modern art audiences have ever had the privilege of viewing. Paintings, photography, jewelry, and music will all be on display, and a steady stream of free pancakes is the very definition of the term “icing on the cake.”

The Pancakes & Booze Art Show will be held at The Duce on Friday, February 22, from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., with tickets starting at $10.

Is there such a thing as too much chocolate?
William Westfall
Glendale Chocolate Affaire
For those of us who still lament the sad fact that “The Land of Chocolate” was nothing more than Homer’s fantasy in a classic episode of The Simpsons, the 24th annual Glendale Chocolate Affaire may be the next best thing. The two-day event, which boasts a celebration of not only chocolate, but also arts, culture, and romance, is essentially Mecca for chocoholics. Visitors will not only be able to enjoy pieces of what may be the world’s favorite sweet treat, but the Valley’s own Ceretta Candy Company will offer tours of their off-site facility with free shuttles making round trips from the event to the chocolate factory.

Come get your Wonka on in downtown Glendale on Saturday, February 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, February 10, from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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Get medieval at the Arizona Renaissance Festival.
Blake Benard
Arizona Renaissance Festival
What has become a longtime fixture in the world of Arizona family entertainment has now reached its 31st year in the Valley, and it’s not hard to see why. With classic attractions such as live jousting shows to an artisan marketplace offering locally made leather, lotions, candles, and more, this medieval mainstay is sure to provide visitors with an entertainment experience of royal proportions.

The festival opens its doors (or lowers its drawbridge) from February 9 all the way to March 31. Tickets are $27 for adults, with special pricing for children and seniors. Season passes are also available, with prices ranging from $70 to $155.
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