Attention fans of birds, big names, and game conventions: This August, Phoenix is hosting a number of nerd-friendly events welcoming to everyone from comedy fans and environmentalists to bookworms and joystick enthusiasts. Here's your guide to the geekery.
"Bird Cloud Island"
Artist Koryn Woodward Wasson's "Bird Cloud Island" is on view in The Gallery at Scottsdale Public Library through August 31. Presented by Scottsdale Public Art, the installation is a resort for artistic renditions of birds, but humans are welcome, too. Check out the Neato-Nido Nests, Early’s Diner, Jewel Pool, and the Good-Night Show at the Luna Club, bird-themed snacks and refreshments, and a workshop on making bird puppets, happening from 10 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 12. Other related events include the presentation “I’m a Harwood Steiger Addict” by Cynthia DeVillemarette at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 16, in the Civic Center Library Auditorium, and the "Bird Cloud Island" closing reception on Saturday, August 26. Everything is free. See more details at the Scottsdale Public Art website.
Lit Happy Hour: Culture as Weapon by Nato Thompson
SMoCA director and chief curator Sara Cochran will take center stage during Lit Happy Hour from 5:45 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 3. She'll discuss the book Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life by Nato Thompson, artistic director of the nonprofit Creative Time. Thompson's book “argues that culture is a powerful and direct force in democratic societies but also a battleground for the hearts and minds of each citizen.” Tickets are $7 through the SMoCA website.
Val Kilmer Live: Cinema Twain
The dude who does a killer Jim Morrison and Doc Holliday presents a screening of his one-man play about “First American” Mark Twain in downtown Phoenix for Val Kilmer Live: Cinema Twain. Kilmer waxes Twainisms, whether political, family-based, or philosophical in general as he introduces a 90-minute Cinema Twain film – all followed by a Q&A. The 18-and-over show starts at 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 6, at Stand Up Live. Tickets are $30 at the Stand Up Live website.
2017 Game On Expo
Billed as the Southwest’s largest gaming event of its kind, the annual Game On Expo is set to feature a free-play console and arcade area, gaming tournaments and tutorials, and a gaming auction. There will, of course, also be a massive vendor hall, live music, a huge cosplay contest, and special guests like voice actors Dave Fennoy, Melissa Hutchison, Patricia Summersett, and rapper Mega Ran. The 2017 Game On Expo runs Friday, August 11, to Sunday, August 13, at the Phoenix Convention Center. Membership ranges from $20 to $85. See the 2017 Game On Expo website for details.
EOS Discovery Day: Intermediate 202
Save it, Rex Manning. It’s EOS Discovery Day. Tempe Camera is hosting EOS Discovery Day: Intermediate 202. It's a three-hour creative photography class to showcase the more sophisticated features and advanced controls of an Electro-Optical System camera. The class will cover sharp image and focus techniques, a workflow in producing a final image, and advanced printing. The class runs from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 12. It's also free to attend, but there is limited space. Be sure to RSVP though the Facebook event.
Read on for more of the best geeky pursuits in August — including an evening with Steve Martin and Martin Short.
Steve Martin and Martin Short
Two out of three amigos ain’t bad, especially when they’re comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short. Between the two of them, you've got The Jerk, Father of the Bride, Jiminy Glick, numerous SNL appearances, and countless comedy specials. Comedy nerds of all ages can catch Martin and Short at 8 p.m. on Sunday, August 13, at Comerica Theatre. Tickets range from $55 to $175. See more at the Live Nation website.
Birds n' Beer: Saving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Birds and beer are already a winning combination. Add a discussion topic like preserving an Arctic wildlife refuge, and now you’re just being a good person all around. Audubon Arizona will host Stan Senner (who's the vice president for Bird Conservation Pacific Flyway, National Audubon Society) as the speaker during this month's Birds n' Beer event, and beer from Wilderness Brewery will be available. The fun runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 17, at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center. Admission is free. See details on the Facebook event.
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Sci-Fridays Book Discussion Group
Summer is reading season in the Valley, and the people at The Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale know this. You're invited to join the shop's Sci-Friday Book Club, held every third Friday in the store and hosted by blogger Michael Senft and The Poisoned Pen’s own Pat King. The club discusses contemporary science fiction and fantasy, and August’s book is The Passage by Justin Cronin. The free club runs from 7 to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 18. See more information at The Poisoned Pen website.
You’ve seen the monsoons, noticed that traffic is picking back up, and spotted the displays at Target. It’s back-to-school season, and depending on your perspective, Chase Field is either easing your pain or helping you celebrate with ASU Night. Starting at 6:40 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29, join in on ASU Night while the Arizona Diamondbacks play the L.A. Dodgers and get a custom D-backs ASU soft-style T-shirt. Use the offer code “ASU” when ordering your discounted Baseline Reserve ticket on the Diamondbacks website.
Make Your Own Beer Stein
Doing it DIY will always earn you geek cred, which is probably why State 48 Brewery is hosting a Make Your Own Beer Stein night in Surprise. You’ll get to choose from painting a traditional beer stein, a tallboy mug, or sugar skull cup with all the necessary and provided art supplies at the brewery. KD's Studio is in the house to glaze your new mug, and hand it back to you for filling-with-beer purposes. The class is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 31, and cost is $25. See more details on the Facebook event.