Officially, the exhibition hall at Phoenix Comicon this weekend only stays open until around 7 o'clock on Friday and Saturday evening. But that doesn't mean that geeks have to call it a night.
A slew of after-parties, nightlife events, and costume balls (both official and unofficial) are scheduled to take place into the all weekend long at hotels adjacent to the Phoenix Convention Center, as well as local bars and clubs.
Prizes will be available to those in the geekiest threads and luxe libations will be served, which should help ease your aches and pains from spending all day walking around Comicon.
10. Captain's Cantina @ Renaissance Hotel's Pueblo Ballroom Phoenix Comicon's opening night soiree on Thursday, May 24, will celebrate all thing science fiction-oriented and offer live music, a costume contest, and a variety of themed entertainment. The freaky folks from Monsterland will mix up such specialty alcoholic concoctions as the "The Slimer," "Orion's Belt," and the "Vulcan Mind Probe," as well as glasses of blue milk and Klingon Blood Wine (Qapla!). Doors open at 9 p.m. Free with Comicon admission.
9. Kosupure Cosplay Party @ Bar Smith
Patrons at Bar Smith's Sticky Fingers night are used to wearing fancy or flashy duds while attending the trendy club event. But if they're sporting a cool costume at this week's edition on Friday, May 25, they might win a seriously swank prize from Samurai Comics. A cosplay contest starts at 11 p.m. and offers a $200 gift card to the winner (with a $100 gift card for the runner-up). DJs like William Reed and Prince$$ will also perform and drink specials include $3 Smirnoff vodka cocktails. Doors are at 9 p.m. Admission is $10.
8. Naruto Cosplay Roast @ Phoenix Convention Center
There are dozens of insults we'd love to hurl at renowned anime/manga character Naruto Uzumaki, especially since we've endured countless hours of his long-running cartoon. Like, for instance, this hammy jape: "You look like the bastard offspring of some stoned snowboarder and am inbred Japanese cat." (Rimshot.) Similarly humorous invectives will be flung during the comedy roast of the fictional spiky-haired ninja that takes place on Friday, May 25, in Room 226 of the convention center. Costumed roasters will dish plenty of disses starting at 6 p.m. Free with comicon admission.
7. A Life of Science's Comicon Party @ Rockbar
This local rock/electronica isn't just a band, it's an entire effin' multimedia project. And a geeky one at that. In addition to its albums -- including the just-released disc Vita Nova -- A Life of Science has produced a comic book, animated shorts, and even a recently published novel, all of which are inspired by its 2007 concept album The Apneist. We hear there's even a movie in the works. The band celebrates the release of its CD and book starting at 10 p.m. on Friday, May 25. A costume competition features a $100 gift card from Pop Culture Paradise for the winner. Admission is free.
6. Steampunk Ball @ Renaissance Hotel's Pueblo Ballroom
Vintage throwback waistcoat? Check. Gear-covered finery? Got it. Antique goggles? Polished and ready. Well rehearsed. Sounds like you're fully prepared to attend this old-timey affair on Friday, May 25, where costumed steampunk characters will be in abundance and wildly elaborate backstories probably concerning zeppelins and autogyros will be on everyone's lips. A genteel evening of dancing and music is planned and the artists of Steam Crow will be in attendance. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Free with Comicon admission.
5. Marvel vs. Capcom @ Renaissance Hotel's Pueblo Ballroom It's gonna be gamer heaven inside the Renaissance Hotel at a party devoted entirely to Capcom's epic fighting game series, minus all the super powers and pixilated blood. Attendees are encouraged to dress like Ryu, Spiderman, or any of the other characters from the series for a "Costume Contest Faceoff." Various Marvel vs. Capcom games will be available for play and local 8-bit-obsessed rapper MegaRan and Nintendo cover band Minibosses will be among the musical guests. Doors open at 9 p.m. Free with Comicon admission.
4. Secret Wars @ Ghost Ultra-fly comic book creator, graf artist, and onetime Valley resident Jim Mahfood returns to his old stomping grounds this weekend for a special appearance at Phoenix Comicon. And his pals are throwing a serious shindig in his honor. Given Mahfood's longtime involvement with local hip-hop and street art, its no surprise that the all-night event (which is described as an "underground comicon after-party") will offer DJs, live art, and rhyme-slinging rappers. It also features comics-oriented slant with Mahfood taking on painter Adam "Dumperfoo" Dumper in a "live art battle to the death." Meanwhile, The Gentlemen Ether will faceoff against DefStar in a contest of "lyrical wizardry and mad audio science." The party runs from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. Its Facebook page has more details on price and location.
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3. Doctor Who: Party Like A Timelord @ Renaissance Hotel's Pueblo Ballroom
Getting into a major rager with Doctor Who would be major fun. After all, the universe's most infamous time traveler has some crazy dance moves (as seen at Rory and Amy's wedding), plus he arguably invented the banana daiquiri and can use his sonic screwdriver to stage some killer party tricks. The next best thing to partying with a timelord, however, is partying like a timelord, which is what the Whovian will be doing at this otherworldly affair on Friday May 25. A costume competition (with prizes for the "best doctor and companion") will take place and a replica TARDIS will be set up. Doors are at 10 p.m. Free with comicon admission.
2. Star Wars Turns 35 @ Rips Ales & Cocktails
The red-letter date of May 25, 1977, will forever be known as the day that George Lucas irrevocably changed the world. It was on that fateful Wednesday three-and-a-half decades ago that a space opera by the name of Star Wars inauspiciously screened for the first time in less than 40 theaters across the country. The rest, as they say, is history. A slew of local punks will hold a special 35th birthday party for the flick on Friday, May 25, with an intergalactic mix of costumes, cheap drinks, and three-chord thunder. Bands like Manual Sex Drive and Family Secret will perform and prizes will be offered for the best Star Wars-inspired outfits. The force will be with you starting at 9 p.m. Cover is $5.
1. Geek Prom @ Renaissance Hotel's Pueblo Ballroom
Comicon has much in common with prom. Both are events that involve spending a lot of cash, cool outfits are in abundance, and awkward moments are common. (Plus, if one plays their cards right, they just might get lucky.) So its fitting that both are combined at the annual Geek Prom on Saturday, May 26, where the brainy crowd will dance the night away, get their pictures taken at a special photo booth, and crown a "geek king and queen." This year's event has an "outer space" theme, so expect to see countless astronauts, interstellar voyagers, and space oddities. The fun starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15-$20 and also require purchasing Comicon admission.