Things to Do

Nine Nerdy Things to Do This September in Metro Phoenix

Henry Rollins is scheduled to bring his spoken-word tour to Crescent Ballroom on Thursday, September 29.
Henry Rollins is scheduled to bring his spoken-word tour to Crescent Ballroom on Thursday, September 29. Heidi May
After a long, hot summer of staying home and binging must-see streaming shows, geeks of the Valley will have an excuse to get out and do something in September.

There will be a wide variety of nerdy events happening around metro Phoenix in the next few weeks, including the debut of a new maker space, fierce roller derby action, and a chance to stock up on Halloween gear. Podcaster and comedian Marc Maron is also coming to town, as is spoken-word artist and punk icon Henry Rollins. You can also celebrate the 100th anniversary of Nosferatu, check out local museums, or meet two notable cartoon voice actors.
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The historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix.
Lynn Trimble

Nosferatu 100th Anniversary Screening

F. W. Murnau's landmark silent film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror turns 100 this year and is still an eerie and chilling cinematic experience. An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula filmed in Germany, it was released in 1922 and is widely considered to be the world’s first horror movie. Max Schreck’s unforgettable portrayal of Count Orlok and the film’s gloomy atmosphere and cinematography indelibly shaped and influenced the vampire mythos over the next century. The Orpheum Theatre, 203 West Adams Street, will present a special screening of Nosferatu at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6. Local "proto-industrial Americana music quintet” RPM Orchestra will perform a live scoring of the film with a mix of traditional and homemade instruments while also providing sound effects. According to orchestra member Pete Petrisko, their intent is “create an immersive silent horror film [experience].” Tickets are $16 for adults and $11 for kids 12 and under.
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The cut-ups of Whose Live Anyway? are coming to Mesa.
Mesa Arts Center

Whose Live Anyway?

Ever chuckled your way through an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? during its original run on ABC in the ‘90s/2000s or the current version on The CW? You’re likely to experience the same sort of laughs when Ryan Stiles and other comics featured on the show will bring a similar improvisational comedy concept, Whose Live Anyway?, to the Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center, 1 East Main Street, on Thursday, September 8. Much like the series it's based on, the touring show consists of various improv games where the points don’t matter and there’s plenty of audience interaction. Whose Line Is It Anyway? veterans Greg Proops, Jeff Davis, and Joel Murray will also star. The off-the-cuff antics begin at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $35 to $55.
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Phoenix Forge is the Valley's newest (and biggest) makerspace.
Phoenix Forge

Phoenix Forge Grand Opening

Makers, tinkerers, and DIY craftspeople of the Valley rejoice. Phoenix Forge, 535 West Van Buren Street, opened to the public earlier this year and has been offering an enormous community makerspace where the public can work on a variety of projects, from jewelry-making and textile crafting to metalworking and electronics prototyping. The 22,500-square-foot facility is equipped with an array of tools, sewing machines, 3-D printers, laser cutters, design computers, and soldering stations, as well as metal and wood shops, a ceramics and glass studio, and more. Newbies and pros are welcome and there are various classes and workshops happening weekly. Eager for a look inside? Phoenix Forge’s long-delayed grand opening will take place on Tuesday, September 13. Free tours of the space and demos of its equipment will be offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Anyone interested in attending can RSVP here.
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Marc Maron is coming to Phoenix in mid-September.
Travis Shinn

Marc Maron

Better act fast if you’d like to see Marc Maron perform at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street, later this month. Tickets for the popular comedian, actor, podcaster, and geek icon’s gig on Saturday, September 17, are bound to go fast, just as they did when he last came to the Valley in 2021. It isn’t surprising, given the rampant popularity of Maron’s long-running podcast WTF and his vast comic talents, which we described in 2016 as “hilarious, brutally honest, insightful, and engagingly sincere.” The 21-and-over performance is at 7 p.m. and tickets are $35 plus fees and the usual two-drink minimum.

Keith Silverstein and Phil LaMarr Signing

If you’ve been watching cartoons or anime since the ‘90s, you’ve heard the vocal talents of Keith Silverstein and Phil LaMarr. Both are esteemed voice actors who have played hundreds of roles during their respective careers. Silverstein is a well-known name in anime, having been featured in the Americanized versions of Monster, Bleach, Attack on Titan, Sailor Moon Crystal, and One-Punch Man, just to name a few. LaMarr is best known for voicing Hermes Conrad from Futurama and the titular protagonist of Samurai Jack, but has more than 250 credits on his resume, including roles in Invader Zim, Hey Arnold!, Kim Possible, Transformers: Animated, G.I. Joe: Renegades, and BoJack Horseman. Both actors are scheduled for a signing appearance from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 17, at the Arrowhead Mall location of Toy Temple, 7700 West Arrowhead Drive, Suite 2238, in Glendale. It’s free to attend the event, but people are asked to sign up for designated time slots. Silverstein and LaMarr will also charge various prices for autographs or pictures. Click here for more information.
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The exterior of Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West.
Lynn Trimble

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

Writer and illustrator Maira Kalman once described visiting a museum as “a search for beauty, truth, and meaning in our lives.” And on Saturday, September 17, metro Phoenix residents can engage in such high-minded hunts during this year’s Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day. A handful of local museums will offer free admission to the general public, art, including the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum, 2017 North Greenfield Road in Mesa, and Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West, 3830 North Marshall Way. You can spend the day strolling through a particular spot while soaking up history, culture, and some of the aforementioned concepts on the cheap. Operating hours vary. Free tickets and a list of participating museums are available on the Smithsonian Magazine’s website.

Serenity in the Desert

Back in September 2002, the cult sci-fi television show Firefly debuted on the Fox network, quickly earning a geek following with its ensemble cast, darker themes, and complex characters. The action-packed space western might’ve only lasted a dozen episodes, thanks to shortsighted network executives, but its supporters (collectively known as “Browncoats”) still celebrate the program. To wit: the Arizona Browncoats fan group will mark Firefly’s 20th anniversary on Sunday, September 25, at the annual Serenity in the Desert charity fundraiser at Majestic Cinema Neighborhood Grill, 1140 East Baseline Road in Tempe. The event takes place at 2 and 6:30 p.m. and will feature screenings of Serenity, the 2005 film that continued the show’s storyline, and Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. A costume contest, raffles, and other festivities are planned. Proceeds benefit Pappas Kids Schoolhouse Foundation and the Women's Foundation for the State of Arizona. Tickets are $15 plus fees. Get more info here.
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The scary season is almost here.
Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

AZ Halloween Marketplace

Less than two months remain until Halloween and local devotees of the holiday have already begun gearing up in earnest. You’ll see them buying up hordes of props, decorations, costumes, and other trinkets at the annual Arizona Halloween Marketplace on Saturday, September 24, and Sunday, September 25, outside of The Horny Toad, 6729 North 57th Drive in Glendale. The restaurant’s courtyard will be populated by more than 50 local vendors, artists, and retailers during the two-day event. So far, the lineup only includes geek scene favorites Steam Crow and BeezleBub Ross Illustration, but organizers promise more will be announced over the next couple of weeks. Doors open at 11 a.m. each day. Admission is $5 for adults and children 6 and up and kids 5 and younger get in free. Click here for more details.

Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins is a natural-born showman. From his days fronting Black Flag in the ‘80s to his stint hosting a talk show on IFC in the mid-2000s, the prolific author, radio show host, and punk rock icon knows how to captivate and entertain an audience. He’s done both during any of the spoken-word gigs he’s performed over the past few decades, sharing profane and profound tales of his travels, stories about hanging with RuPaul and William Shatner, or lengthy rants about the state of the world. Rollins also throws some sage-like wisdom into his tales, including such pearls as “Half of life is fucking up, the other half is dealing with it.” Even if you don’t necessarily learn something at his shows, you’ll nonetheless be entertained. Rollins is on his first spoken-word tour since 2018 and is scheduled to perform at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 29. Tickets are officially sold out but can be found on the secondary market.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.