Nerd Culture

Here Are 10 Awesomely Nerdy Things to Do This May in Metro Phoenix

Phoenix Comicon is back for 2017 – and nine other nerdy things to do this May.
Phoenix Comicon is back for 2017 – and nine other nerdy things to do this May. Benjamin Leatherman
For some, May in Phoenix means one thing: Phoenix Comicon. And even though the 2017 edition of the con is a big, big (big) deal, there are many other events with geek appeal happening throughout the Valley before the summer hits.

From the instantly recognizable music of John Williams to author events to an evening of birds and beer, here are 10 geeky events locked in for this month.

Hazel Hare Center For Plant Science Tours
From Tuesday, May 2, till Thursday, May 11, the Desert Botanical Garden is offering behind-the-scenes tours of the Hazel Hare Center for Plant Science. Held from 10 to 10:45 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, the up-to-15-person tour highlights sustainable horticultural practices with visits to the Marley Horticulture Learning Lab, Greenhouse West, and the Cohn Ironwood Courtyard. The tour is free with garden admission ($24.95 for adults) and after registration. Call 480-941-1225.

click to enlarge Cory Doctorow will be interviewed by ASU's futurist-in-residence Brian David Johnson. - PAULA MARIEL SALISCHIKER
Cory Doctorow will be interviewed by ASU's futurist-in-residence Brian David Johnson.
Paula Mariel Salischiker
Cory Doctorow
Obviously the author of the graphic novel In Real Life and the regular novel Rapture of the Nerds deserves a spot on this list. ASU futurist-in-residence Brian David Johnson will interview science fiction author and journalist Cory Doctorow at the Doubletree Hilton in Scottsdale at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 12. Attending the discussion is free, but a book must be purchased from The Poisoned Pen to get it signed. Call 480-947-2974 or visit the event page for more information.

Music of John Williams
Does John Williams even need an introduction? The man behind the musical scores of Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Harry Potter, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Indiana Jones, and of course, Jaws, will be honored by the Phoenix Symphony under conductor Robert Franz. There will be four performances from Friday, May 12, to Sunday, May 14, at the Orpheum Theatre. Tickets range from $45 to $85 at the Phoenix Symphony website or 602-495-1999.

click to enlarge The burrow owl is one of Phoenix’s most common birds, which you'll learn at May's Birds n’ Beer. - DAN DIETRICH
The burrow owl is one of Phoenix’s most common birds, which you'll learn at May's Birds n’ Beer.
Dan Dietrich
Birds n’ Beer
The signature monthly happy hour event put on by the Rio Salado Audubon Center is called Birds n' Beer, and the topic for May’s third Thursday is “Top 10 Urban Birding Tips.” Attendees will learn how to spot and identify some of Phoenix’s most common birds, including the humming and hooting varieties. Birding enthusiast and activist Kathe Anderson hosts the free event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center. Visit the event page or call 602-468-6470 for more details.

click to enlarge The Mad Monster Party Arizona 2017 has Pinhead, and events like the Miss Mad Monster Pageant, from May 19 to 21. - LOREN CUTLER
The Mad Monster Party Arizona 2017 has Pinhead, and events like the Miss Mad Monster Pageant, from May 19 to 21.
Loren Cutler
Mad Monster Party Arizona 2017
May is apparently convention season in the Phoenix area, because Arizona’s horror gathering – a.k.a. the Mad Monster Party Arizona 2017 – is also coming to town. Guests range from Butch Patrick of The Munsters to Pinhead himself, Doug Bradley, while events include panels, screenings, the Miss Mad Monster Pageant, and a Saturday night pool party. Mad Monster runs from Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 21, at the We-ko-pa Resort & Conference Center. Tickets go from $25 to $199 at the Mad Monster Party website.

Read on for more of the great nerdy offerings this May — including Phoenix Comicon, duh.
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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.