Nerd Culture

10 Nerdy Things to Do This April in Metro Phoenix

Record Store Day is almost here again.
Michelle Sasonov
Record Store Day is almost here again.
Though it may seem hard to believe, we're already in that magical month of Easter egg hunts and plentiful blunts. April is, by its very nature, one of the best months to get out and experience everything our beloved city has to offer. The weather is as good as it gets here in Phoenix, and those long-awaited springtime temperatures seem to bring about a sense of optimism and upbeat attitudes among most valley residents. No disrespect to late December, but in this town, April may very well be the most wonderful time of the year. And with events like these, this may very well be the best April ever.

Spring has sprung, Mercury is no longer in retrograde, and our list of 10 nerdy things to do is sure to get you a whole lot more out of month number four.

click to enlarge Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are coming to Phoenix once again. - ROBYN VON SWANK
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark are coming to Phoenix once again.
Robyn Von Swank
My Favorite Murder Live
Macabre as it may sound, murder mania is running wild from coast to coast. We can't resist the jaw-dropping fascination that comes from a solid true crime tale, so long as the synopses of those stabbings, shootings, and slayings are viewed through a screen or heard through a pair of earbuds.

Comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark's hit podcast My Favorite Murder has played a substantial role in this nationwide craze of the crazed. Their legion of "murderinos" can't get enough of the duo's take on some of the most truly inhumane acts ever committed against humanity, most likely due to the fact that they're cringing in shock right along with the audience. As one host shares a story, the other reacts with recoils and gasps. It's this kind of connection with fans that have crowds flocking to their live appearances, and their upcoming live show at Comerica Theatre should be, if you'll excuse the terminology, one killer night out.

My Favorite Murder Live will make its way to Comerica Theater on April 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are sold out, but are available from resale sites.

click to enlarge What's Record Store Day without a trip to Zia? - MICHELLE SASONOV
What's Record Store Day without a trip to Zia?
Michelle Sasonov
Record Store Day at Zia Records
4/20 isn't the only April celebration that you won't find on any mainstream calendar. There's a certain hi-fi holiday that takes place twice a year, and the first round is set for the second Saturday of April.

The very first Record Store Day took place in 2008, and it spread nationwide in the years that followed. It's now making its way around the globe, but its sense of community never seems to waver. The beauty of RSD is that every record store that takes part in it does so in a way that's unique to their fanbase, community, demographics, and the variety of other factors that have always made record stores the grand embassies of independent identities.

If you're truly in the holiday spirit, then a trip to one of Zia Record Exchange's several locations should probably be on your itinerary. All those sacred RSD traditions will be celebrated in full. Vinyl exclusives, merch specials and live DJs are just a few of the festivities on the list for this most momentous occasion. Zia locations will be hosting Record Store Day events all day long on Saturday, April 13. Visit their site to RSVP.

The Toxic Avenger: The Musical

All throughout April, Mesa Arts Center will be presenting the greatest musical export to come from the Garden State since Springsteen's Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.

Is that description a little over the top? Sure. But so is everything about The Toxic Avenger. In fact, the 1984 Troma feature is so densely packed with low-budget absurdities that there was only one way it could possibly move up to the next weight class of camp. David Bryan and Joe Di Pietro's musical stage adaptation of the ultra-violent cult film landmark is something of a mashup between its source material and Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Toxic Avenger: The Musical will run from April 5 to 21, with shows at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $28 for adults and $25 for seniors and students. Visit Mesa Arts Center's site to purchase tickets.

click to enlarge Local wrestling can be just as exciting as the WWE. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
Local wrestling can be just as exciting as the WWE.
Jacob Tyler Dunn
Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna
Cirque du Soleil is what you're left with when you remove the antiquated big-top spectacle and elephant slavery of Barnum and Bailey and add a liberal amount of acrobatic surrealism. The French-Canadian phenomenon will continue its Phoenix run through April 14 with Amaluna, which tells the tale of an island ruled by Amazon women and their encounter with a group of shipwrecked men who find themselves washed up on the shore.

Amaluna's largely female cast makes this Cirque du Soleil production stand out from their other shows. Its themes of power, tradition, mythology, and love all add up to a night out that is sure to take audiences to the moon and back. The show will play through April 14 at State Farm Stadium. Prices for individual tickets and packages vary and can be purchased at Cirque du Soleil's official site.

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
Pour yourself a plate of Mr. T cereal and hop aboard the best bike in the whole wide world, because Tim Burton's comedy classic is making its way to the FilmBar.

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure originally premiered in 1985, only a handful of years after actor Paul Reubens donned a grey suit and gave Pee-Wee his first live appearance at L.A.'s Groundlings Theater. The character with an indeterminable age and an unmistakable laugh became something of a box-office leading man with Big Adventure, thanks in part to a cast that has just as many comedic chops as Reubens and a script that takes the "epic journey" feel of The Wizard of Oz and shines it through a lens made of 1950s toy commercials. Here we are over thirty years later, and audiences still love this timeless tale of a boy and his bike and his bowtie.

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure plays at FilmBar on Monday, April 22 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $9.95 and can be purchased at FilmBar's official site.

click to enlarge Phoenix Symphony fans are in for another magical weekend. - WARNER BROS.
Phoenix Symphony fans are in for another magical weekend.
Warner Bros.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Concert
Forget about Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. Once April 26 rolls around, the only house you'll want to be a part of is the Phoenix Symphony.

The fourth installment of the Harry Potter film franchise will be played in full while the symphony performs the film's score live, bringing a whole new level of depth to the magic and majesty that made the adolescent wizard's adventures such a pop culture milestone. Conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos will be waving his magic wand all through the last weekend of April at an event that couldn't possibly be left off our monthly look at Phoenix's nerdy nightlife.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Concert will play from Friday, April 26, through Sunday, April 28, at the Phoenix Symphony. Showtimes vary, and tickets can be purchased at the Symphony's official site.


4/20 isn't the only day of the month that's all about the green. In this case, we're talking about the witchy facepaint and emerald decor of Wicked, the Broadway hit that's now in its 16th year.

Wicked's touring production will follow the yellow brick road all the way to ASU Gammage on April 2. The long-running musical that tells the story of how things went down in Oz before Dorothy wasn't in Kansas anymore. Its award-winning songs and awesome visuals have made it one of the highest-grossing productions of all time, with a legendary status in the theater world.

Wicked will have its monthlong run at ASU Gammage Auditorium from April 2 through May 5. Tickets can be purchased through the official ASU Gammage website, with prices ranging from $39 to $245. Prices may fluctuate based on date and demand.

click to enlarge "The Grand Canyon Clash" makes its grand return on April 20th. - CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM ARIZONA
"The Grand Canyon Clash" makes its grand return on April 20th.
Championship Wrestling From Arizona
We're sure our readers would agree when we say that there's something beautiful about watching a power-hungry semi-dictator in President's clothing have his feet held to the fire.

Based on the landmark 1977 television interviews between British journalist David Frost and disgraced former President Richard Nixon, this 2006 play comes across as a high-stakes prizefight. In one corner is a former champion hell-bent on preserving the last shreds of his legacy. In the other corner, we have a hungry young contender in Union Jack trunks who knows this is the fight of his life and that his opponent won't be pulling any punches. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, you can still appreciate how Frost and Nixon bob, weave, and counter for all 10 rounds in this gripping battle. And that's the undisputed truth.

Frost/Nixon will continue its run at Phoenix's Herberger Theater Center through Saturday, April 13. For showtimes and tickets, visit the Herberger Theater's official site.

Half Baked

Christmas has It's a Wonderful Life, and 4/20 has Half Baked. The movie didn't exactly rack up any Academy Awards when it hit theaters in 1998, but it sure did earn its spot as one of the top stoner comedies of all time, a massive cult classic, and a bottomless well of quotes that are still heard between bong rips nationwide.

At the time of its release, Dave Chapelle was a young stand-up comic who had just begun the next phase of his career. In the years that followed, he cemented his legacy as one of the top comics of all time, which ever-so-slightly elevated Half Baked into mainstream territory without straying from its cult roots. Does the movie hold up after 21 years? Its depiction of medicinal marijuana falls along the same lines as the depiction of home computers in Weird Science, and Chapelle's on-screen girlfriend has an attitude toward cannabis that feels a little Reefer Madness-ish, but with a flick this fun, who cares?

Half Baked will be shown at FilmBar on April 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $9.95 and can be purchased on the official FilmBar site.
click to enlarge The Lucha Libre wresting at Flying Burrito Festival really heats up at night. - JACOB TYLER DUNN
The Lucha Libre wresting at Flying Burrito Festival really heats up at night.
Jacob Tyler Dunn
The Grand Canyon Clash
Maybe you plan to celebrate 4/20 by getting higher than a top-rope elbow drop through the announcer's table, or maybe you'd rather spend the day as clear as a ring bell. Either way, Championship Wrestling from Arizona's blockbuster event should make for a Saturday well spent.

The Grand Canyon Clash is a joint production from CWFAZ and the esteemed National Wrestling Alliance, a decades-old organization that shaped the professional wrestling industry long before Hulk Hogan was practicing leg drops on his parent's sofa. Championship Wrestling from Arizona's live shows have always been a total blast for wrestling freaks and casual fans alike, but with NWA's backing, this show promises to be unlike anything else that the local promotion has put on here in the valley. The match card is stacked with some prime wrestling talent from all over the Grand Canyon State and beyond, including the TucSons of Anarchy, Arizona State Champion EJ Sparks, and the nationally recognized NWA champ Willie Mack.

"The Grand Canyon Clash" will be held at Mesa's Nile Theater on Saturday, April 20, at 3 p.m. Ticket prices start at $10 and can be purchased at the official site for the Nile Theater.