Nerd Culture

10 Nerdy Things to Do This June in Metro Phoenix

Not even death can stop Dio.
Kevin Blades / Flickr
Not even death can stop Dio.

The Phoenix Convention Center may have boxed up all its Fan Fusion decorations and put them in the attic next to the Christmas ornaments, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of quirky and offbeat events throughout the month for us all to nerd out on.

Check out this month's list and squash that June gloom before it even has a chance to roll into your part of the Valley.

Dio Returns

Orpheum Theatre
203 West Adams Street

What could be more metal than rocking audiences from beyond the grave?

Nearly 10 years after the death of Ronnie James Dio, his former bandmates are on the road again, and this time they're bringing along the Dio hologram. Music purists might say this is sacrilegious, but given Dio's unrivaled vocal skills and command of the stage, replacing him with a new lead singer would be the truer example of sacrilege.

With a year's worth of technical production behind it, a set list full of classic Dio works, and such guest vocalists as one time Judas Priest frontman Tim "Ripper" Owens, this is a show that promises to please both the rock gods and the fans alike.

Dio Returns will come to the Orpheum Theatre on Wednesday, June 26, at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $28 to $58 and can be purchased at the official site for the Phoenix Convention Center & Venues.

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Ain't no party like a Ghostbusters party.
Columbia Pictures

Ghostbusters Movie Party

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
4955 South Arizona Avenue, Chandler

Get your Slimer on and party like it's 1984, because Chandler's Alamo Drafthouse is throwing one hell of birthday bash for the 35th anniversary of the flick that perfectly blended sci-fi, horror, and comedy, and left a legacy that included a Saturday morning cartoon, a 1989 sequel, a 2016 reboot, and (thank God above) another sequel set to drop in 2020.

The Phoenix Ghostbusters, a local nonprofit that helps Arizona charities, add a little bit of that paranormal party vibe to their events. Guests can expect a Ghostbusters car show in the parking lot, as well as a digitally restored screening of the landmark movie. Audience participation during the show is wholeheartedly encouraged. Think of it as a Rocky Horror Picture Show viewing party, but with Bill Murray rather than Tim Curry.

The Ghostbusters Movie Party will kick off on Saturday, June 8, at 4 p.m. The event will be held at the Alamo Drafthouse theater in Chandler. Ticket prices are $10.78 and can be purchased at the official Alamo Drafthouse site.

The one-of-a-kind comedian will be performing this month here in Phoenix.
Courtesy of Blue Rider Press

Eddie Izzard

Orpheum Theatre
203 West Adams Street

There is no other comedian like Eddie Izzard, and truth be told, there probably never will be. The man is, without a doubt, one of the hardest-working men in show business. He took the same drive and determination that got him through 27 marathons in 27 days and applied it to his comedy career. Case in point: His last comedy tour made the trek through all 50 states and 45 countries, all while Izzard switched gears between a total of four languages.

Oh, and he's also one of the most original comic minds to ever get on stage. His takes on everything from the American film industry to the Heimlich maneuver to Jesus Christ all speak to his ability to find the humor in most anything. They also prove that audiences will never be able to predict what might be in store for them when they come to see the comedy icon do what he does best.

Eddie Izzard will be performing at the Orpheum Theatre on Saturday, June 22, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, June 23, at 7 p.m. Tickets are priced from $52 to $74 and can be purchased on the official site for the Phoenix Convention Center & Venues.

The SNL star will be bringing her talents to Tempe this month.
Wikimedia Commons

Melissa Villasenor

Tempe Improv
930 East University Drive, Tempe

The Saturday Night Live cast member with the unmistakable voice and the dead-on celebrity impressions will be playing the Tempe Improv this month during her summer break from SNL University.

The one-time America's Got Talent semifinalist is the first Latina to be promoted from featured player to the main cast of the long-running NBC institution, and it's no wonder as to why. Her upbeat attitude brings a playful vibe to the show, so if you're of the belief that comedy club shows could be a little more fun these days, then Villasenor's weekend at the Improv definitely ought to be on your calendar.

Melissa Villasenor will be performing at the Tempe Improv from Friday, June 28, to Sunday, June 30. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on the Tempe Improv official site.

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New book, who dis?
Ingrid Christie

David Sedaris

Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 South McClintock Drive, Tempe

The author and storyteller behind such notable works as Naked and Me Talk Pretty One Day will be promoting the paperback release of Calypso, his latest work. It's been described as his most close-to-home offering to his fans. With the man himself in the house to discuss this personal piece of Sedaris-ness, fans are in for an intimate evening that can't be missed.

David Sedaris will be appearing at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe on Saturday, June 15, at 4 p.m. Tickets are $19.45 before Eventbrite fees and can be purchased at the official Changing Hands site.

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Meditate on this one.
Okan Caliskan / Pixabay

Sound Bath in Desert Transcendentalist

Phoenix Art Museum
1625 North Central Avenue

Dude, you need to chill.

Chances are, that sentence resonated with about 90 percent of you, and that's a conservative estimate. We all need a third-eye exam and cosmic recalibration from time to time, and Emily Blanche's deep-dive into the center of your soul should cure what ails you. Blanche will help you step closer to that ever-elusive sense of inner peace with a little help from the soothing sounds of instruments like chimes and crystal bowls. Take all that workweek stress and let it fade away the right way.

Sound Bath in Desert Transcendentalist will take place on Saturday, June 15, at 1 p.m. Tickets are included with general admission, and free for museum members. Visit the official Phoenix Art Museum site for more info.

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Zoso will be bringing a Whole Lotta Love to the Marquee Theatre this month.
Zoso - The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience

Zoso – The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience

Marquee Theatre
730 North Mill Avenue, Tempe

Pack your bags for the Misty Mountains and move through Kashmir on Friday, June 21, because this much-loved tribute group is stopping here in the Valley. The group re-creates the long-extinct live spectacles that Led Zeppelin were known for, right down the tiniest detail. It's the closest you'll get to seeing Robert, John, Jimmy, and John in their heyday, so put on your two-sizes-too-small jeans, let your hair down, and come rock out with us.

Zoso – The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience will visit the Marquee Theatre on Friday, June 21, at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are priced from $20 to $35 and can be purchased on the Marquee Theatre site.

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Big guys with ripped biceps and triceps will put their strength to the test before your eyes.
Ryan McGuire / Pixabay

Arizona State Arm Wrestling Championship

Talking Stick Resort
9800 East Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale

A different kind of gun show will be taking place at Talking Stick Resort this month. Is it "nerdy?" Certainly not if you're participating. But does that even matter? You've wanted to catch a live arm wrestling event ever since you first saw the 1987 Stallone vehicle Over the Top, and now is your chance. 

Okay, maybe you never saw that one. That's fine. It doesn't change the fact that it would be a total blast to watch a select group of Arizonans lock up and throw down, all in the name of statewide supremacy. Plus, you can take part in a meet-and-greet with Travis Bagent. Who's he, you ask? Oh, just the greatest arm wrestler in the world. No big deal.

The Arizona State Arm Wrestling Championship will be held at Talking Stick Resort on Friday, June 21, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 22, at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit the official site for the Talking Stick Resort.

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These nice boys will be serving up slices of hot laughter this month.
Pizza Party Comedy

Let's Make a Gameshow!

Crescent Ballroom
308 North Second Avenue

Pizza Party Comedy is made up of four local boys with varying degrees of facial hair and similar degrees of talent.

That's a compliment, by the way. Pizza Party has been producing such live Phoenix comedy shows as Repent! With Pastor Mike and The Antiques Groan Show, and now they're buzzing in with their latest production, which they call Let's Make a Gameshow!

PPC describes this show as "a partly written, partly improvised, fully interactive free comedic game show" that gives audiences the chance to win some prizes by playing games like "Pong Jovi," a Bon Jovi-themed beer pong game. The very notion of merging a frat house activity with the band that gave love a bad name is just one of the many examples that prove Pizza Party Comedy is unlike anything else in our local comedy scene right now.

Grab yourself a slice of Pizza Party Comedy's Let's Make a Gameshow! on Sunday, June 23, at Crescent Ballroom. Admission is free; the show starts at 8 p.m. For more info, visit the Crescent Ballroom site.

Everyone's favorite fake California Highway Patrolman is coming to town this month.
Wikimedia Commons

Erik Estrada Autograph Signing

Free Agent Sports @ Paradise Valley Mall
4568 East Cactus Road

Erik Estrada is signing autographs at the mall.

So, there's that.

Ponch will make his appearance at Free Agent Sports inside Paradise Valley Mall on Saturday, June 8, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Autographs are $49 each. For more info, visit the Paradise Valley Mall site