Things to Do

Nine Nerdy Things to Do This June in Metro Phoenix

Be on the lookout for the art of James B. Hunt (a.k.a. Nxoeed) later this month.
Be on the lookout for the art of James B. Hunt (a.k.a. Nxoeed) later this month. James B. Hunt
Suffering a case of post-con blues after geeking out at Phoenix Fan Fusion? If so, you’re not the only one who's feeling a little down after the experience. Instead of moping around and counting the days until next year’s event, though, consider checking out any of the nerdy events taking place in metro Phoenix in June. You can participate in an art hunt, score some vintage toys, find a few new books to read this summer, or enjoy the final tour of nerdcore godfather MC Chris.
click to enlarge Alex Winter (center) and Keanu Reeves (right) clown around behind the scenes of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. - PHILLIP CARUSO
Alex Winter (center) and Keanu Reeves (right) clown around behind the scenes of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Phillip Caruso

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Movie Party

Thursday, June 9, and Sunday, June 12
Majestic Neighborhood Cinema Grill, 1140 East Baseline Road, Tempe
In case the large Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure mural outside didn’t tip you off, they take the legendary sci-fi comedy flick pretty seriously at the Majestic’s Tempe location. Hence the reason why they’ll be hosting two screenings of the film (which was shot in the Valley back in the ‘80s). The first will take place at 7 p.m. on June 9 (a.k.a. 6/9 or “Bill & Ted Day”) and feature giveaways, special merch, and a trivia contest. Admission is $13. A second screening will happen at 5 p.m. on June 12. Tickets are $8. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Nerdcore godfather MC Chris is bringing his final tour to the Valley this month. - MARA ROBINSON
Nerdcore godfather MC Chris is bringing his final tour to the Valley this month.
Mara Robinson

MC Chris

Monday, June 13
Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue
Whereas most rappers make a name for themselves by slaying competitors in freestyle rhyme battles, MC Chris came up through strange circumstances: voicing a cartoon spider. In the early 2000s, he voiced characters on such Adult Swim toons as Sealab 2021 and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. At the same time, the rapper was becoming famous for his tracks about such geeky topics as Boba Fett, ninjas, Pikachu, and Dungeons & Dragons. Over the years, MC Chris has become known as the godfather of nerdcore and helped influence artists like Schaffer the Darklord and the Valley’s Mega Ran. The rapper is in the midst of his final tour and is scheduled to perform at the Crescent Ballroom in mid-June. The gig starts at 7:30 p.m. and Crunk Witch opens. Tickets are $17. Michael Vennard and Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge The late James Joyce. - CORNELL JOYCE COLLECTION/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
The late James Joyce.
Cornell Joyce Collection/Wikimedia Commons


Thursday, June 16
Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library, 1106 North Central Avenue
Ever celebrated Bloomsday? For those who skipped James Joyce’s 1,000-plus-page tome Ulysses, Bloomsday is the date the story takes place. The novel, one of the most important works of modernist literature, chronicles the life of protagonist Leopold Bloom during an ordinary day in Dublin. Bookworms in Ireland and around the world use June 16 as a good excuse to commemorate Joyce and his heritage, including the lads and lasses at the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library in downtown Phoenix. While the venue was originally set to its annual Bloomin’ Beerfest in honor of the occasion, unknown circumstances caused its cancelation. Instead, the ICC will still celebrate Bloomsday, albeit with a more subdued affair, inside the McClelland Library from 3 to 8 p.m. on June 16 that will include a book sale and info on Ulysses. Various online programming will also be offered throughout the day. More details are available here. Janessa Hilliard and Benjamin Leatherman

Adam Conover

Thursday, June 16, to Saturday, June 18
CB Live, 21001 North Tatum Boulevard
If there was a living embodiment of the “well, actually” trope associated with nerddom, Adam Conover would be it. The actor, writer, podcaster, and “investigative comedian” has made a career of demystifying difficult concepts or debunking myths, first on his TruTV edutainment show Adam Ruins Everything and then on the Netflix limited series The G Word (which helped explain how the federal government words). Conover’s stand-up comedy is equally brainy, as he jokes about such topics as growing up in a family of geniuses, science, and his own lack of depth perception. His summer stand-up tour will start off in the Valley with a three-night stint at CB Live, and he’s not only promising all-new material but is also offering to take selfies afterward with anyone who attends. Showtimes vary each evening and tickets are $22 (plus a two-drink minimum) per set. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Calling all Buzz Lightyears. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Calling all Buzz Lightyears.
Benjamin Leatherman

Lightspeed Launch Party

Friday, June 17
Desert Ridge Marketplace, 21001 North Tatum Boulevard
In honor of the Disney animated film Lightyear debuting in theaters later this month, The District at Desert Ridge Marketplace will host a free launch party inspired by the film. Activities will include laser tag sessions, glowing starcraft displays, live entertainment, and movie pass giveaways. Attendees can also get a photo with a life-sized Buzz Lightyear. The party runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge The work of local artist James B. Hunt (a.k.a. Nxoneed). - JAMES B. HUNT
The work of local artist James B. Hunt (a.k.a. Nxoneed).
James B. Hunt

Nxoeed 50th Birthday Art Hunt

Friday, June 17
Various locations in Tempe
The thrill of the hunt can rival the satisfaction of a good find. Of course, it’s fine to search for art in traditional venues such as galleries and museums. But seeking out art in the streets is just as rewarding — especially when you know a local creative has hidden paintings for people to find. That’s what local artist James B. Hunt, a.k.a. Nxoeed, has been doing for years and will do so again on June 17 in honor of his 50th birthday on June 17. As with Hunt’s previous, um, hunts, a treasure trove of zines, sticker and button packs, screen-printed posters, and original art pieces will be hidden in and around the Tempe area. He’ll then start posting clues to the various locations on his social media feeds beginning at 9 p.m. that night. Lynn Trimble and Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Vintage playthings will be available at the latest Arizona Toy Con. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Vintage playthings will be available at the latest Arizona Toy Con.
Benjamin Leatherman

Arizona Toy Con

Saturday, June 19
Glendale Civic Center, 5750 West Glenn Drive, Glendale
Children of the 1970s and ‘80s who never quite grew up can take a trip down memory lane at the latest Arizona Toy Con in Glendale. They might just run into some old friends along the way, including such favorites as Optimus Prime, He-Man, or Stretch Armstrong. More the 100 vendors from around the Valley will display and sell vintage and modern toys at the geek-friendly event. Plastic playthings of the past will be legion, whether they’re rare gems like an Electroman action figure from 1977, old-school Kenner-era Star Wars toys, or enough Transformers to conquer Cybertron. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. General admission is $10 for adults and $20 if you’d like to get early access starting at 9 a.m. Children 10 and younger are free (with a limit of two per paid adult). Visit the Arizona Toy Con website for more info. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge The Nile Theater in Mesa. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
The Nile Theater in Mesa.
Benjamin Leatherman

A Midsummer Night's Scream

Saturday, June 18
The Nile Theater, 105 West Main Street, Mesa
We’re only a few months removed from Halloween and plenty of folks are already busy planning what they’ll be doing during the scary season. As such, you can expect a big turnout at this spooky swap meet and concert inside the Nile, which will feature more than 40 local vendors offering a mix of art, merch, costuming items, and even stranger things. It’s free to attend from noon until 5 p.m. Starting at 6 p.m., 13 different local bands and a number of DJs will perform throughout the evening both upstairs in the Nile and downstairs in The Underground. There’s a $10 cover to check out the nighttime activities. More information is available here. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge The exterior of the Linger Longer Lounge. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
The exterior of the Linger Longer Lounge.
Lauren Cusimano

Dead Star Press Launch and Signing Party

Sunday, June 26
Linger Longer Lounge, 6522 North 16th Street
Local indie publishing company Dead Star Press – which, according to their website, focuses on “speculative fiction, sci-fi, social commentary, and all things weird – will celebrate its recent launch with an afternoon of drinks and revelry at Linger Longer Lounge. A number of its authors who contributed to the company’s first anthology, From the Dead, will be on hand for the event and they’ll also have copies of their first wave of books for sale. The event runs from 2 to 6 p.m. and admission is free. Benjamin Leatherman
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.