Happy New Year! This was a great year to be a geek, but there's every reason to think 2016 will be just as good, if not better. To get your year started off right, we've rounded up ten of Denver's best opportunities to get your geek on and listed them, in chronological order, to make it as easy as possible to be the best nerd you can be. From a look at the roots of Star Wars to a zombie apocalypse dance party, here are ten of the month's best geek events.
10. Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
What's better than your first ever opportunity to see a brand-new standalone Sherlock special at the same time as the U.K.? How about a chance to see it as a special presentation from Fathom Events on the big screen, plus bonus behind-the-scenes content, with a few hundred fellow fans? The ninety-minute special demodernizes the show’s take on the characters, returning them to their Victorian roots for a one-off adventure that’s both a fun change of pace for longtime fans, and a great introduction to the noobs. There's no reason not to start the year with a heaping helping of Benedict Cumberbatch in a role he was practically made for.
See it at 7:30 p.m. January 5-6 at the local theaters. Tickets are $15. Get tickets and more info at Fathom's Sherlock event page.
9. The Room with Tommy Wiseau in person
Fulfill your geeky obsession with inexplicably entertaining bad movies with a rare chance to see one of the very best/worst of them — the infamous stinker The Room — with director/writer/star Tommy Wiseau in person. Wiseau is possibly even weirder and more entertaining than his movie, and his off-the-wall Q&A sessions are sure to yield bizarre non sequiturs, indecipherable rambling and possibly even a kernel of insight into how The Room came to exist. Plus, they're throwing in a screening of his rancid sitcom The Neighbors for those Wiseau completists out there!
8. The Hateful Great: Inglourious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino's alt-history masterpiece is one of his geekiest films to date — only Kill Bill rivals it for sheer geek appeal — making it the perfect film to launch the Alamo's The Hateful Great series, a look back at nearly every film he's ever made. A favorite "what if" scenario of alt-historians everywhere comes to vivid, bloody life in Tarantino's capable hands, as he posits a group of Jewish commandos sent to terrorize the Nazis and, incidentally, kill Hitler. Violent, profane and a hell of a lot of fun, Inglourious Basterds is an epic take on a World War II that could have been.
7. Star Wars: Origins of the Force
Ever wonder what kind of films influenced a young George Lucas as he conceived and created Star Wars? The Denver Film Society and filmmaker Alexandre Philippe (The People vs. George Lucas, a film in which I appeared for no compensation) delve into the serials, samurai movies and even the early work of Lucas himself to explore how the films we all know and love came to be. The series kicks off with a compilation of clips from a diverse array of movies Lucas drew upon, as well as two episodes each of the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials. Later films in the series include Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress, THX-1138, and Metropolis.
The series starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 13, at the Sie FilmCenter. Tickets are $12 for DFS Members, $8 for students, $15 for non members, or buy a pass and see all four films for $40 for DFS members and $50 for non members. For tickets and more info, visit the Star Wars: Origins of the Force page.
6. Pixar in Concert
A whole generation of geeks grew up on Pixar films, and even more of us have nurtured our own little geeks on their work. From classics like Toy Story through recent favorites like Wall-E and UP, Pixar films have consistently delivered memorable characters, great stories and nerd-friendly cinema fare — not to mention some pretty fantastic music. Now you can hear a selection of the best of that music, accompanied by a montage of clips from the films themselves, as the Colorado Symphony Orchestra presents Pixar in Concert, two hours of the studios greatest musical hits, all performed by our excellent orchestra.
Hear the music of Pixar at 7:30 p.m. Friday, January 15, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, January 16, at Boettcher Concert Hall. Tickets start at $34. For tickets and more information, visit the Colorado Symphony website.
5. Magic: The Gathering Oath of the Gatewatch 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, Oath of the Gatewatch, continues the story of the popular Battle for Zendikar, which returns to one of Magic's most popular planes just in time to watch it be devoured by immense alien monstrosities. 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.
January 16-17, 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.
4. The History of LGBT Characters in Comics
Ever wonder if any of those weird Batman villains was secretly gay? Or even Batman himself? Or what kind of weird subtext was going on way back before you could even say the word "gay" in a comic without being mercilessly shut down by the censors? Queer multimedia artist and comics fanatic Sara Century is here with the answers. For ninety minutes, she'll expound on characters such as Iceman, Storm, Catwoman and the Rawhide Kid, revealing all the queer goings on just beneath the surface of your favorite comic books, with a Q&A to follow. Plus, everyone gets a free, limited edition zine made specially for this event.
3. Nerd Nite
Nerd Nite is a lecture series that takes fun, nerdy topics, adds booze and generates fun. This edition features lectures on Denver's homeless problem, the challenges of putting objects into orbit and what comedians can teach academics about spicing up their presentations into one evening of inebriated learning. Where else can you hear about exactly what it takes to put a satellite into space, all while sipping some fine microbrews? Okay, maybe in your basement, but then you're not with a hundred other drunk nerds....
2. Dead Snow: Zombie Apocalypse Ball
Just because Halloween is ten months away doesn't mean you have to miss out on zombie fun! Club promoters Ominous are pulling out the stops and turning Tracks into a nightmare vision of the undead apocalypse and then setting the whole thing to a soundtrack of dark techno, goth-flavored EDM and other heavy sounds of the night while classic zombie flicks play on a gigantic screen. The bartenders, dancers and staff will be dressed as zombie hunters, so dress up in your gory zombie finest and prepare to get shot in the head while you dance your ass off.
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1. Cartoons and Comedy
Would any of us be the same geeks we are today were it not for the influence of cartoons? Now you can relive your Saturday morning cereal-and-cartoon binge glory days at Cartoons and Comedy, where some of Denver's best comedians gather to mock the '80s- and '90s-era toons (and the commercials that accompanied them) we grew up on while we all eat some sugary crap cereal. This is the show's three-year anniversary and host Christopher Baker promises some fun surprises and special guests for the event.
The show starts at 10 p.m. Thursday, January 28, at Deer Pile. Admission is free.