From the first of the month to after Christmas, there is much to do in the final month of 2018. December calls for ridiculous holiday movies screenings from Love Actually to The Star Wars Holiday Special, plus ornament making using plastic straws, museum openings, and cosplay-heavy library cons.
From musician-made music videos and movies to the music of the X-Files played live by the Phoenix Symphony, here are 10 nerdy things to do this December in the Valley.
Drawing: The Artist’s Secret Geometry
What if every art class came with this disclaimer: “No drawing experience necessary, all interested students welcome, simply bring an open mind and the required supplies?” That’s the welcome message for Drawing: The Artist's Secret Geometry – a three-hour introductory workshop presenting the ideas behind the Dynamic Symmetry and Golden Section – i.e. the structure and design used by Michelangelo, Van Gogh, little known people like that. Taught by Gwendolyn Stine, the class is held at in the Drawing & Painting Studio in the Mesa Arts Center from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, December 1. Cost is $47, and you must register.
Alamo Encore: Love Actually Movie Party
If you think about it, Love Actually has a cast packed with nerds. Think about it – Andrew Lincoln of Walking Dead, Martin Freeman, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Olivia Olson, January Jones, Emma Thompson, Chiwetel Ejiofer, the incredible Bill Nighy, and of course, Rowan Atkinson – a.k.a. Mr. Bean. And to kick off December, Alamo Drafthouse hosts Alamo Encore: Love Actually Movie Party where participants are encouraged to laugh, cry, and quote along without being obnoxious. Showtimes are 6:30 p.m. on Monday, December 3, and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 5, at the Tempe location (Chandler showings are happening later in the month). Tickets are $12.98.
Chandler History Museum Grand Opening
Stemming from a decision made in 1982, the grand opening of the new Chandler History Museum is finally happening. Museum-hoppers can head over to the new 10,000-square-foot museum for special events throughout the day. The free event starts at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 8, with the mayoral and city council ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony – and lasts till 7:30 p.m. See the Facebook event for additional details and to invite friends.
One event that will be heavy on the cosplay this month is a LibCon West – an annual event at the Glendale Public Library packed with vendors, programming, and costumes. Featured cosplayers include the AZCosplay Team, Southwest Costumers Guild, the Phoenix Ghostbusters, and Kiba the Cosplay Corgi. The whole thing runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 8. Entry is free, and new this year is a Youth Art Show.
Recycled Ornament Making
If you have a couple of plastic bottles, straws, cups, milk jugs, and aluminum cans, Local First Arizona and artist Ann Morton are hosting the perfect event for your recycle bin. The recycled ornament making class offers templates and tools for making holiday decor with all those Diet Coke bottles. DIY your own cheer for $30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 9, at Practical Art.
Christmas on Mars: Zia Nights
The holidays mean several things – family, food, good will, and of course, super goofy Christmas movies. Therefore, FilmBar is hosting a screening of Christmas on Mars – the science fiction flick from The Flaming Lips – as part of Zia Nights. Check out Wayne Coyne’s directorial debut and get a discount with your Zia card. Movie starts at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, December 10. Tickets are $9.95.
The Star Wars Holiday Special
FilmBar and Zia Records team up again as they present the 1978 embarrassment that was The Star Wars Holiday Special – a variety show-style holiday special with singing Wookiee families, Jefferson Starship, and an appearance by the incredible Bea Arthur. Consider joining the dark side with an 8 or 10:30 p.m. showing at FilmBar on Friday, December 14. General admission is $12 for both showings.
OK Go: The Live Video Tour
Remember music videos? Fans of the Chicago-based creative rock band OK Go probably do, and they’ll tell you all about it this month at Mesa Arts Center. The band is known for their wacky videos, and plan to put on an interactive concert in sync with 20 of their videos – during which they stop to take questions from a most likely stoked audience. OK Go: The Live Video Tour starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 14, in the Ikeda Theater. Tickets are $30 to $50 – and you can also opt in for the preshow happy hour package.
Teenagers from Outer Space with Marshall Shore
Did you know one of the silliest episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 rips on a movie directed and written by Tom Graeff – a gay, independent filmmaker and Arizona native? Hip historian Marshall Shore hosts a screening of Teenagers from Outer Space at FilmBar at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 16. Tickets are $12 and part of the proceeds go to benefit the Arizona LGBT+ History Project.
Blockbuster Scores: Music from TV and Film
The year ends with a big number from conductor Stuart Chafetz and the Phoenix Symphony. Part of the AZ Pops Series, Blockbuster Scores: Music from TV and Film gives you a chance to hear the live scores from The Simpsons, 2001: A Space Odyssey, House of Cards, X-Files, X-Men: The Last Stand, Wonder Woman, and loads more. Choose performances from 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 28, 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 29, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 30. Tickets range from $25 to $108.