Get in, losers. We’re going … everywhere. It’s a busy month for nerds across the Valley this May due to a couple of major annual events, including Star Wars Day, the Arizona Comic Mini Expo, and – oh, I don’t know – Phoenix Comic Fest.
Throw in the music of John Williams as performed by the Phoenix Symphony and a Mesa appearance by "Weird Al" Yankovic, and we’ve got ourselves a full dance card of fringe entertainment.
Here are 10 nerdy things to do in the Valley this May.
Star Wars Day
For some, May 4 is the day MCA moved on from this mortal coil, but for others (and there’s probably a big overlap), it’s Star Wars Day. May the fourth be with you at the CopperWynd Resort & Club when they host Star Wars Day. Expect Star Wars airings, drink specials, and plenty of popcorn. This free event runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 4. RSVP to Kitty at firstname.lastname@example.org. See the Facebook event for more details.
Downtown Mesa will host six illuminated humanoid figures constructed by Australian artist Amanda Parer. See three at Mesa Arts Center, one at Milano Music, one at the i.d.e.a. Museum, and the last at the Federal Building. The American debut of Fantastic Planet will be a sight, and a free-to-view one at that. The installation starts Friday, May 4. Other festivities that night include Second Friday Night Out: Sci-Fi Friday and free admission at i.d.e.a. Museum, the Arizona Museum of Natural History, the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum (also hosting a free reception from 7 to 10 p.m) on Friday, May 11. See more information at the Mesa Arts Center website.
Arizona Comic Mini Expo
Hosted by Samurai Comics in Mesa, the annual Arizona Comic Mini Expo is a gathering of professional comic creators who will be on-site signing and selling comics, as well as sketching and most likely chatting with fans. Guests include Andrew Maclean, John Layman, Meredith McClaren, Ryan Cody, and more. ACME 2018 is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 5 – a.k.a. Free Comic Book Day. See the ACME website for more details.
There’s nothing more comfortable than cozying up with a good book, hence Cozycon 2018. It's an annual, multi-author event held at The Poisoned Pen . This year’s event is scheduled with talks, panels, and plenty of refreshments, with guests including Tessa Arlen, Kate Carlisle, Jane Cleland, Vicki Delany, C.S. Harris, Jenn Mckinlay, Ann Parker, and Page Shelton. The event is free, and goes from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 5. See the Poisoned Pen website for more information.
“Weird Al” Yankovic
Everyone’s favorite parody artist isn’t coming to the Mesa Arts Center to do parody. That’s right, that goofball “Weird Al” Yankovic is promising an intimate show of original, more sincere songs from his three-decade, 14-album career. He’s calling it the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour, and it ropes in Emo Phillips, too. See Al at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8, in the Ikeda Theater. Tickets are $39.50 to $69.50. See the Mesa Arts Center website for details.
Explore AZ Storyfest & Expo
It’s assumed you’re a fan of public radio, but did you know the Valley’s local NPR station KJZZ is putting on the Explore Arizona StoryFest & Expo? Held at the Mesa Convention Center, the whole experience will be a combination of live storytelling events and the Explore Arizona Expo – a collection of exhibitors like the Arizona Historical Society, Arizona State Parks & Trails, Grand Canyon Association, Lowell Observatory, and way more. The event is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 12. General admission is $10 for adults and free for kids 13 and younger. See the Explore AZ Storyfest & Expo website for information.
Retro Game Night
The fourth Wednesday of every month, Michael's at Park Central hosts Retro Game Night hosted by Refined Revelry. We’re talking about dominoes, cards, and board games concerning battleships and operating on a woke naked man. Retro Game Night goes from 7 to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23. Entry is $5 online and $8 at the door. See the Facebook event for tickets and more information.
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Phoenix Comic Fest
Get ready to saddle up and ride (well, depending on your costume), for the 2018 Phoenix Comic Fest, f.k.a. Phoenix Comicon. Held at the Phoenix Convention Center, this convention will bring together celeb guests including Tim Curry, Val Kilmer, William Shatner, and actual Disney princesses like Ming-Na Wen, Irene Bedard, Linda Larkin, and Paige O’Hara. Other guests are masters in the worlds of comics, horror, video games, and cosplay. Phoenix Comic Fest runs from May 24 through 27, and tickets range from $35 for Thursday entry to $450 for a full VIP pass. See the Phoenix Comic Fest website for memberships and way more information.
"Music of John Williams"
When you think Jaws, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Harry Potter, E.T., and Indiana Jones, your common denominator — besides great costumes and sexy co-stars (young Roy Scheider, so help us) — is music. The music is part of what makes these iconic films beyond iconic, and we have one man to thank: composer, John Williams. The Phoenix Symphony is performing the "Music of John Williams" at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 25, and nightly through Sunday, May 27. Tickets range from $25 to $98. See the Phoenix Symphony website for tickets and further details.
Mesquite Class & Harvest Demonstration
If you’re looking for a good talk and harvesting demo, consider the Mesquite Class & Harvest Demonstration at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center. Hosted by Audubon Arizona and Trees Matter, the class helps attendees identify mesquite trees, then how to harvest, store, and process pods with the help of herbalist Peggy Sue Sorensen. The class is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30. Tickets are $15 per person or $25 for two. See the event page for more information.