Yes, our neighbor city to the south is bursting with geeky home runs this month, such as the Tucson Comic-Con and TusCon 45, but that doesn’t mean us losers can’t still have fun right here in the Valley.
There’s a lot going on in November, including film and book festivals, a live performance of the Harry Potter soundtrack, and one of young Matthew Broderick’s best performances on the big screen. Here are 10 nerdy things to do this month across metro Phoenix.
Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, & the Perils of Science's Highest Honor
There’s nothing like kicking off the month with a talk from the inventor of the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization — a.k.a. the BICEP. Cosmologist and physics professor Brian Keating will cover Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science's Highest Honor – also the title of his recent book, which happens to be on sale at the presentation's location, Changing Hands in Phoenix. Catch Keating at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 1. Tickets are available on the Changing Hands website.
If you’d still like a little Halloween in your November much like that leftover candy, Southwest Shakespeare Co. presents Frankenstein – and on its 200th birthday, too. Part of the winter repertoire, this new adaptation of the Shelley novel uses 13 actors to create unique take on the classic story. Frankenstein plays at the Piper Repertory Theater in the Mesa Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 2, and Saturday, November 3. Tickets range from $25 to $35.
Dinner at Five
If you're a fan of ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s TV – and we know you probably are – do we have the stage play for you. Written by Lloyd J. Schwartz of The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island, Dinner at Five is all about swinging seniors — and we’ll let you use your imagination on that one. The cool thing is, the show stars Kathy Garver (Cissy from Family Affair), Caryn Richman (Gidget from The New Gidget), John Moschitta (a.k.a. Motormouth), and Larry Thomas (yes, the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld). Have fun, but just be sure not to tell Thomas he looks like Al Pacino. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, at Tempe Center for the Arts. Tickets are $35 to $45.
Scottsdale International Film Festival
Film buffs look forward to November every year thanks to the Scottsdale International Film Festival. The SIFF 2018 opens with Roma from director Alfonso Cuarón, followed by documentaries like Studio 54, and panel discussions like "Independent Women Directors.
Roma opens on Friday, November 2, at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, and the rest of festival is held at Harkins Shea 14 Theatres from November 3 to 11. Tickets range from $5 for the panel to $14 per movie, $25 for opening night, and $250 for a festival package.
Tempe Book Festival
Walk, shop, then read till you’re dead. The Tempe Book Festival is an annual celebration of all things books with local authors, publishers, and booksellers, plus panels, vendors, exhibitors, and storytellers. Participating writers include best-selling author Sue Halpern, while exhibitors range from Adagio Publishing and Goose Flats Graphics & Publishing to Arizona’s International Dyslexia Association, Phoenix Writers Club, Scottsdale Society of Women Writers, Poetry on the Spot, and Friends of the Tempe Public Library. The 2018 Tempe Book Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, at the Tempe Public Library. Entry is free.
Cat Film Festival
If you could pick one animal to focus an entire film festival on, you’d probably try to be clever and say sloth or hedgehog, but we all know it'd be the kitty cat. That’s why FilmBar is hosting the Cat Film Festival, a one-day, two-program event featuring a multitude of feline-focused short films. A heavily recommended documentary revolves around Akamatsu, a very brave disabled cat. The first program starts at 1:30 p.m., while the second starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 10. Cost is $10 per program.
National Geographic Live: The Search for Longevity
Mesa Arts Center in partnership with National Geographic presents National Geographic Live: The Search for Longevity. In other words, two dudes have traveled the world to understand how people live long and prosperous — ahem, happy — lives, and want to talk to us about it. Join Blue Zones author Dan Buettner and award-winning National Geographic photographer David McLain at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 14, in the Ikeda Theater. Tickets range from $27 to $41.
Still in Ikeda Theater, Mesa Arts Center is hosting Snap Judgment LIVE as part of the Performing Live series. The wildly popular, Glynn Washington-created storytelling radio program and podcast is produced by WNYC and aired quite a bit on NPR. What’s more, each story is backed by the Snap Judgment band. Check out a live radio show at 8 p.m. on Friday, November 16. Tickets are $41.
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Phoenix Symphony: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Ever watch your favorite Harry Potter movie really loud? You can do that times 1,000 at Phoenix Symphony Hall. Conductor John Jesensky and the Phoenix Symphony Chorus presents Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Concert, where you get to watch one of the better Potter films accompanied by live performers. Show starts times vary from Friday, November 23, to Sunday, November 25, and tickets range from $25 to $93.
WarGames: This Won't Hurt a Bit
Move over Ferris Bueller, an even more manipulative Broderick is coming to the big screen at FilmBar. The theater and ASU’s Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics present “This Won’t Hurt a Bit," a gathering of scholars and experts talking about mind, memory, and welcoming our soon-to-be robot overlords with a screening of 1983’s WarGames. It’s all about early '80s computer games, the Pentagon, Russia, and possibly destroying the whole wide world. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 29, and tickets are $9.95.