April is here and it's brought a bounty of great geek events — no fooling. From zombie conventions to classic action movies, the month is peppered with fantastic ways to live the geek life in Denver. Here are ten of the month's best, presented in chronological order.
10. The Kepler Story
Science and scientists don't get enough attention, so when you run across something like The Kepler Story, an innovative theater piece about the famed scientist, it catches your attention. Created for performance in a planetarium dome and utilizing sophisticated animation, an avant garde score from cellist Zoë Keating and impassioned performance from creator Nina Wise, the show is not quite like anything you’ve seen before. Tackling themes as diverse as the interconnectedness of all things, the wonders of the universe, and the wild life and momentous discoveries of Johannes Kepler, it’s a piece that’s capable of connecting on multiple levels, from the emotional to the transcendent.
The Kepler Story opens at 8 p.m. Friday, April 1, at the Fiske Planetarium, and runs until April 10. Tickets are $34 or $29 for students and seniors. For tickets and more info, visit The Kepler Story website.
9. Magic: The Gathering Shadows Over Innistrad prerelease
The newest expansion for Magic: The Gathering, the world's most popular trading-card game, is hitting shelves this month, and that means it's pre-release time. The latest set, Shadows Over Innistrad, returns to the Gothic horror-inspired plane of Innistrad, one of the game's most popular settings, to find the place overrun by murderous angels and perplexing mysteries. Magic's pre-release tournaments are among its most casual events, meaning they're a great way to dip your toe into the water of competitive play, even if you're a total noob. Heck, especially if you're a total noob, since a new set is always a great place to jump in. If you've been playing the digital Magic Duels on your computer or console and wondering if it's time to make the jump to the actual card game, this is the way to do it.
April 2-3, various locations. Price may vary, but expect to spend about $30, which nets you six packs of cards plus a special promo card. For more information, check out the official Magic: The Gathering website, and find a location near you with Wizards of the Coast's store locator.
Repo Man is back.
8. Walker Stalker Con
Zombies just won’t die, and each passing day seems to make them more popular. Denver will get its very own zombie-centric convention when Walker Stalker Con brings its full-spectrum zombie experience to town. Touting everything from a tactical zombie shooting scenario to the Robert Kirkman approved The Walking Dead Experience — a hybrid theatrical-production-meets-escape room — Walker Stalker is the most in-depth zombie experience you can have, outside of the actual zombie apocalypse. Central to that experience is the incredible slate of celebrity guests, covering huge swathes of the cast of The Walking Dead, Z Nation and more, plus horror favorites like Robert Englund.
The con runs April 2-3 at the National Western Complex. Tickets start at $100 for the weekend, with day passes, VIP packages and add-ons available. For tickets and more info, visit the Walker Stalker Denver website.
There are but a handful of perfect action movies in existence, and Commando is a standout even among those. In true action-movie form, it's short on plot and utilizes only the most rudimentary dialogue, but every minute is chock full of bullets, blood and bombs. It's one of those action movies that understands you didn't come for a lot of talkin' and thinkin', you came to see a shirtless Arnold Schwarzenegger kill dozens of people while dropping punchy catchphrases — and boy, does it deliver.
Shawn Smith and Mike Moran in a truly terrifying scene from Silence! The Musical
6. Silence! The Musical
The infamous Hannibal Lecter — brilliant psychiatrist, remorseless killer and eager cannibal — has terrified fans in novels, on film and even in a TV series. Now he’s bringing his highly refined evil to his most frightening venue yet in Silence! The Musical, a darkly humorous take on Silence of the Lambs. Like the film it’s based on, the show follows rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling as she tries to charm Lecter into helping her catch Buffalo Bill before he makes another addition to his skin suit. Unlike the film, this version has singing sheep.
The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 8, at the Bug Theatre and runs through April 30. Tickets are $20 ($17 for groups of six or more) in advance, or $25 at the door. Recommended for mature audiences only. For tickets and more info, visit the Equinox Theatre Company website.
Keep reading for five more great geek events in April.
5. Ernest Cline - Armada
Ernest Cline's debut novel, Ready Player One, made him an instant geek icon with its tale of a man who becomes a hero by being really, really good at a video game. He's followed it up with Armada, which offers a tale of an alien invasion that can only be stopped by a man who trained by playing video games. It sounds a little bit likeThe Last Starfighter, but that will all make a lot more sense once you actually read the book, and Cline will be in town to sign it for fans.
Ernest Cline will be on hand at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at the Tattered Cover Colfax to celebrate the paperback release of Armada. Admission is free; the book is $16. For more info, visit the Tattered Cover website.
Andrew Novick is one of Nerd Nite's many distinguished past speakers.
4. Nerd Nite
Nerd Nite is a lecture series that takes fun, nerdy topics, adds booze and generates fun. This edition features lectures on the science of mass transit, polyamory and an audience-choice topic that will be revealed once the votes are all in. Where else can you hear about what it takes to love two people at once and how to figure out exactly how many trains a city Denver's size needs, all while sipping some fine microbrews with a hundred other drunk nerds eager to learn?
3. Conclave of Gamers
Ready to get your game on? Board games, role-playing games, card games and more will be on offer at the fifth annual Conclave of Gamers. Three days of gaming, with everything from tournaments (for you hardcore competitive types) to pre-release game play-testing (for you cutting-edge types) are on the menu, so no matter how you like to roll (dice), you should find something fun to do. Plus, almost every game is preceded by a "how-to-play" intro, so you can join in almost anything, even if your knowledge of games starts and ends with checkers.
The gaming begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 21, and continues through April 24 at the Crowne Plaza DIA. Tickets are $44 presale, slightly higher at the door for a three-day, all-access pass. For more information, visit the Conclave of Gamers website.
Daenerys and the Targaryens.
2. Game of Thrones Watch Party
HBO's grand fantasy epic is back! But you don't want to watch solo, because who can face the grim prospect of something like last season's Snow-blowing finale alone? Luckily, Game of Thrones has a lot of fans. And even more luckily, there's a weekly watch party where you can enjoy the carnage of George R. R. Martin's masterpiece in the company of those fans, with easy access to alcohol to drown your sorrows when your favorite characters finally meet their gruesome ends. (You do realize your favorite character is going to die, right?) Get there early to enjoy activities like the Westeros Spelling Bee, a new song weekly from house band Daenerys and the Targaryens, and more, just in case the bloodshed and dragons and whatnot aren't quite enough to keep you interested.
The games start at 6 p.m., Sunday, April 24, at Stoney's Bar & Grill and continue every Sunday throughout the season. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Game of Thrones Watch Party Facebook event page.
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1. Repo Man
Director Alex Cox's Repo Man is one of a kind, combining punk aesthetics, science fiction and a damn good story about a trunk full of something weird and the repo men who run across it into a stone-cold classic. Sure, you've seen it — probably a dozen times — but you probably haven't seen it in glorious 35mm on the big screen, have you? And even if you have, who cares? See it again. Repo Man is one of those rare films that never gets old, no matter how many times you've seen it.