Nerd Culture

A Music Geek's Guide to Phoenix Comicon 2017

Phoenix Comicon 2017 is just around the corner. That means four days packed with TV star panels, fun people-watching, roving bands of cosplayers, and enough Funko! Pop figures to fill up a dragon's hoard. But there isn't just a lot of stuff to see at Comicon — there's plenty to hear, too.

Folks looking to dust off their dancing shoes, listen to some catchy anime music, or indulge their inner theater kid by singing in public are in luck: This year's Comicon has a wide assortment of options for you to groove to.

Here's your guide to all the music-related events happening during Comicon.

Thursday, May 25

Learn To Dance "Thriller"
4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday; 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
Dust off your red leather jackets, Moonwalkers. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how the dead dance, the fine folks at Thrill The World — Phoenix Valley will teach Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" dance.
Social Set Dancing for Everyone
7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
Ever wanted to learn how to dance? And we’re not talking dirty dancing or crumping or whatever the kids on Snapchat are doing right now — old-school dancing. Waltzes, ballroom dancing, partner dancing.

Friday, May 26

Guardians of the Galaxy Variety Show
2 to 3:30 p.m. Friday
Here’s an event where Rocket Raccoons and Groots (baby or otherwise) can shake their groove thing. A variety show for cosplayers to challenge each other to dance-offs, show off their wit, baffle Drax wannabes with metaphors, and listen to some rocking radio classics.

Geek Musicals
4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday
Here's a place for nerd-dom to mix with theater, featuring an interactive panel discussion on how and why nerd staples like Shrek and Naruto are being adapted for the stage.

Anime Live!
6 to 8 p.m. Friday
A “Live Voice Acting Concert” where voice-actors use their chops to bring entire anime episodes to life. It's bound to also feature a ton of high-energy anime musics, so get ready to bob your head and scratch it over the nonsensical lyric translations.

Talk Nerdy to Me: a Byte of Burlesque
8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday
Burlesque performers from BurlEscapades and Romantasy Cabaret are putting on an 18-and-over show that mixes comic books, video games, and striptease into a late-night theatrical delight. Soundtracked by nerdy music, it’s a show that’s going to put the va-va-voom in Vader.

Dobutsu Lounge: Monster Girls Beach Party
9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday
Who says you can’t have a beach party in Phoenix? Dobutsu Lounge is bringing the sand and surf to Arizona, hosting an 18-and-over beach party with a bevy of party hostesses and hosts in monstrous swimsuits. Plus: There’s a raffle and good tunes to listen to.

Men Strut Your Stuff!
9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday
Oogling goes both ways, guys. That’s why there’s this beefcake-on-parade event for the 18-and-over set. It's an excuse for male cosplayers to dance and strut their stuff to the delight of their male, female, and nonbinary fans.

Rocky Horror: The Cult Phenomenon
10:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday
Break out your fishnets and practice your “Dammit, Janets” so you’ll be ready for this roundtable discussion of the midnight movie classic. This panel will discuss the effect that the Rocky Horror musical and film have had on pop culture, cosplay, and the LGBTQ community.

Saturday, May 27

Dick Van Dyke
10:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Saturday
Star of the big screen and little screen, multi-award winner, and straight-up legend. The star of musicals like Mary Poppins, Bye Bye Birdie, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will do photo ops, signings, and panel discussions throughout Saturday. Just don’t ask him to trip over your ottoman.

Anime Anonymous presents The Karaoke Idol Cafe
Noon to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Combining Japan’s “Maid Cafes” with karaoke, the folks at Anime Anonymous are hosting a karaoke cafe where Karaoke Idols will sing and dance alongside the guests. There will be snacks, cute entertainers, and music — what more could you want?

Horror, Music, Mayhem
Noon to 1 p.m. Saturday
Music is an integral part of horror films. It’s the eerie melodies and creepy tunes that make you tense up, that telegraph when the killer is about to strike and become the soundtrack for your nightmares. A group of horror enthusiasts will be getting together to talk about horror movie music and its importance to the genre. Come for the talk, stay for the bone-chilling sounds.

So, You Think You Can Dance? Marvel Edition
1:30 to 2:30 p.m., 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday
The Arizona Avengers presents two sessions of So You Think You Can Dance?, giving the perennial favorite a Marvel flavor. The first session will teach attendees some funky dance moves from instructors like Star Lord and Wolverine. The second session is the dance-off, where the best dancers will have a chance to take home some Marvel-ous prizes.

Ultimate Anime Dance-Off
3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday
Phoenix Fandom Production hosts a dance-off where anime, video game, and other styles of cosplayers will get to face against the panelists to show off their out-of-this-world dance moves.

Love Live: U’s Music Start!
4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday
Come see Idols perform! Not in the American Idol sense of the word — Japanese-style Idols. Love Live Arizona presents an afternoon of live Idol singing and performing that will have any otakus in the audience screaming like they were girls watching The Beatles at Shea Stadium.

Vaporwave and Future Funk
4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday
Looking to find out more about how to mix your sweet beats together with samples from Street Sharks VHS tapes? Look no further than this panel discussion on the internet’s most aesthetic musical genres.

We Do The Weird Stuff Presents Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
5 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday
Joss Whedon’s 2008 online phenomenon gets a shadowcast treatment, as local geek group We Do The Weird Stuff performs alongside a screening of the flick. Singing along is highly encouraged.

Anime Live After Dark!
8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday
This is an 18-and-over edition of Anime Live’s “voice acting concert." Voice-actors will be using their talents to bring some racier episodes of anime to life. Come check out some amazing vocal talents and fill your ears with catchy anime music.

Dobutsu Lounge: Marvel Vs. Capcom
9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday
The Dobutsu Lounge presents an 18-and-up evening of Marvel Vs. Capcom themed ambience, as hostesses and hosts dress as their favorite characters from the classic fighting game. In addition to eye candy and good music, there will be a raffle for exclusive items.

Sunday, May 28 Vocaloid Music Time! 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday
NerdRage presents an hour of anime and Asian pop songs. Featuring a new playlist hand-picked by NerdRage (along with song requests from the audience), this set will be a nice way to wind down after a busy con.

Phoenix Comicon 2017 runs from May 25 to 28 at the Phoenix Convention Center.
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Ashley Naftule