Party Crasher

11 Best Phoenix Comicon Parties and Nightlife Events

Think nerds don’t know how to party? You’ve obviously never hung out downtown after dark during Phoenix Comicon.

Attendees of the annual geekfest aren’t exactly what you’d call wallflowers, bub, as they tend to let loose at many of the after-parties, costume balls, and late-night shindigs that happen in and around the Phoenix Convention Center during Comicon weekend. (Don’t get us started on all the celebrating that happens at nearby hotels.)

Theme parties, masquerades, concerts, and other geek-friendly nightlife happenings are common each year, which entice con-goers to forgo sleep for a few more hours in favor of drinking and dancing fun. This year is no exception, as a variety of “official” after-parties (like Jareth the Goblin King's Masquerade Ball or the Kung Furious 8-Bit Bash) will transpire along with such unofficial events at Tongue Tied’s annual Comicon dance party.

Here’s a rundown of the best places to geek out after dark this weekend.

8-Bitters Party
Downtown Phoenix’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail will become a destination for both geeks and boozehounds alike on Thursday, June 2, when it becomes an “8-bit paradise” in honor of Phoenix Comicon. The drink wizards on staff will serve up a “warp zone cocktail menu” for the occasion and have drink specials for cosplayers and con-goers, DJ-powered sound selections, and a photo booth. Anyone sporting a costume, geeky getup, or superhero wear should make sure their “cosplay game is tight” in order to win some the schwag that will be awarded. The party starts at 8 p.m.

Star Wars vs. Star Trek: The Music of Deep Space
The Phoenix Symphony will get into the geeky spirit of Phoenix Comicon on Thursday, June 2, when it performs selections from the soundtracks of the two biggest sci-fi franchises of all time. Symphony Hall will be filled with the dramatic sounds of the “Imperial March,” “Duel of the Fates,” the overture to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and other well-remembered leitmotifs. Costumes are, of course, encouraged. The concert blasts off at 8 p.m. and tickets are $15-$45.

Kung Furious 8-Bit Bash
Jump through a warp zone back to the 1980s during this throwback-themed affair on Friday, June 3, which will offer retro arcade and console gaming, old-school cartoons and anime screenings, and the chance to dance. Liam Sevier will spin a mix of progressive house and dance music, and a cash bar will be available for those of legal drinking age. This all-ages event, which runs from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., will take place in Room 120 of the Phoenix Convention Center’s North Building. Tickets are $15 in addition to a regular Phoenix Comicon admission.

Jareth the Goblin King's Masquerade Ball
Fairies and freaky creatures will congregate with party monsters aplenty during this masquerade inspired by Labyrinth on Friday, June 3. The fete will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the beloved cult-classic film, as the well as the legacy of its star, the late David Bowie. Dancing and costumes are both encouraged. The early evening event runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Room 120 of the Phoenix Convention Center’s North Building. It’s free to attend with a paid Comicon admission.

CobraCon Cosplayer's Ball
As you’d expect, given its geeky vibe and relative proximity to the convention center, Cobra Arcade Bar will host back-to-back Comicon after-parties on Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4. Both affairs will feature giveaways, a weekend-long costume contest for prizes, specialty drinks, and (of course) plenty of retro arcade games. Local DJs will be in the mix both nights, including M. Ellery Leach on Friday and Maneone on Saturday. The parties start at 9 p.m. Admission is free.

The Blunt Club’s 14th Anniversary
The crew behind the renowned hip-hop night will be feting a few different occasions when they take over the Crescent Ballroom on Saturday, June 4. More specifically, they’ll be celebrating The Blunt Club’s 14th birthday, first off, as well the arrival of Phoenix Comicon. As such, giveaways from both Raw Rolling Papers, Ash Avenue Comics, and ’68 will be doled out during the party. Live art sessions will be conducted by a number of geek-oriented painters and creatives, including Steve Caballero, Jay Fotos, Mark Kidwell, and local street art legend and indie comics illustrator Jim Mahfood. The DJ lineup includes Pickster One, Melo, and Organic. The 21-and-over event starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $8. 

One Party to Rule Them All
Hardcore fans of Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons, Game of Thrones and other sword and sorcery epics will want to check out this fantasy-themed ball on Saturday, June 4. It’s being put on by Phoenix Comicon’s Blue Ribbon Army fan club, and will offer music, dancing, magically delicious alcohol concoctions like “The Red Queen” and “The Lazy Hobbit,” and other surprises. The 18-and-over affair, which benefits the Kids Need to Read charity, takes place from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. in Room 120 of the Phoenix Convention Center’s North Building. Tickets are $20 in addition to a regular Phoenix Comicon admission.

Bonus Round’s Comicon After-Party
Marvel's Civil War storylines are sort of big right now: the cinematic version of the first superhero-on-superhero battle is doing amazeballs box office numbers and a sequel title just debuted in comic book stores. The proprietors of Bonus Round have their own tie-in to the franchise, which they debuted today, in the form of different cocktails inspired by Captain America and Iron Man. You can sample both and vote for your favorite at the game bar’s Comicon after-party on Saturday, June 4, which kicks of at 8 p.m. No cover.

Tongue Tied’s Comicon Dance Party
It’s safe to say that a typical Tongue Tied shindig at the Linger Longer Lounge is a bit on the geeky side, considering it typically features masks, props, costumed patrons, and even coloring books. The latest edition of the monthly party on Saturday, June 4, will take things to an even geekier level with lightsaber duels, a superhero dance battle, and such themed drinks as Kryptonite Kocktails and Hulk Smashers. A costume contest is also planned (natch) and will award a $50 gift card to the best-dressed attendee. As always, Tongue Tied’s DJ Roya and DJ Funkfinger will spin indie hits, retro sounds, and alternative music. The party kicks off at 9 p.m. and there’s a $5 cover.

RPM Orchestra's Silent Film Score: Snow White
Don’t expect the musicians of the RPM Orchestra to play “Whistle While You Work,” "Heigh-Ho," or other Disney-created ditties during its live scoring session of the 1916 silent film version of Snow White on Saturday, June 4, at FilmBar. Instead, the ensemble, which describes its sound as "proto-industrial Americana," will create an avant-garde and freeform soundtrack using non-traditional instruments that's downright mesmerizing. The 21-and-over event begins at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10. 

The BEAST ToXin: Black Light Party
After they finish up hosting geeks and gamers alike at their booth inside Phoenix Comicon’s Exhibitor hall on Saturday, June 4, the proprietors of Mesa game bar The Grid will put on an “industrial cyberpunk dance party” aimed at cosplayers and LARPers. DJs will blast hard-hitting sounds of the rivethead variety and various prizes and giveaways are planned. Doors open at 8 p.m. No cover.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.