February is here, which means a societally obligated focus on all things love for the next two weeks! Don't worry, though — apart from a couple of carefully curated selections, this month's list of geek events will barely register the existence of Valentine's Day. Instead, our focus — as always — is on maximum nerd fun in all its many guises, and February is no slouch in that area. From a brand-new con to classic geek film, here are ten of February's best geek events, presented in chronological order.
10. Fantastique: Labyrinth
Even if the world hadn't just lost David Bowie, there's never really a bad time to watch Labyrinth. A dark, twisted fantasy tale about a Goblin King (Bowie) who seeks to steal a baby, the film is beloved by an entire generation of nerds. Between Bowie's incredible screen presence, some fantastic puppet work from Jim Henson's Creature Shop, an early performance by Jennifer Connelly and some great music, it's easy to see why the film is even more beloved almost thirty years after its release.
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See Labyrinth at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 4, at the Alamo Drafthouse. Tickets are $7. If you know the film so well you can recite it line for line, you can also enjoy it in Quote-Along version at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, February 27, at the Alamo. Tickets for that are $13. For more info, visit the Alamo Drafthouse website.
9. The Man Who Fell to Earth
If you haven't had your fill of Bowie onscreen — and really, is that even possible? — you can follow up Labyrinth with a rare big-screen showing of The Man Who Fell to Earth. In this one, Bowie plays an alien who crash lands on Earth seeking help for his home planet. Using his superior technology, the alien quickly becomes rich, but that proves to hold its own dangers. This is not just a smart, delightfully weird classic science fiction film that is under appreciated, it's also an important and oft-overlooked entry in Bowie's creative history.
See The Man Who Fell to Earth at 9:30 p.m. at Friday, February 5, at the Sie FilmCenter. Tickets are $11, or $8 for seniors and $7 for Denver Film Society members. For tickets and more info, visit The Man Who Fell to Earth event page.
8. Valentine X: 13th Floor Haunted House
A haunted house-themed event for Valentine's Day? Sure, why not? It beats the usual dinner and a chick-flick shtick, and scaring your date is sometimes a good way to get her excited. Valentine X promises Valentine's-themed sets and characters, but it's still a haunted house, so if Cupid shoots you with an arrow, it's going to hurt, and all the hearts will be busy pumping copious amounts of blood. Sounds perfect for horror-loving geeks and their sweeties!
Enjoy the lovely scares between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. February 12 and February 13 at the 13th Floor Haunted House. Last-call tickets are on sale now for $28 and will likely sell out soon. For more info and tickets, visit the Valentine X website.
7. Colorado Anime Fest
Colorado Anime Fest is a first-year event, but don't let that scare you. The men and women behind this brand-new anime con are well-versed in the ways of anime and con building, with more than 85 shows under their belts. As a result, they've managed to secure a number of top-flight guests to headline the fest, including well-known voice actors from popular anime such as Dragonball Z and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. All the usual con activities will be available, from a Saturday night rave to numerous panels and viewing rooms, plus a special Japanese culture program curated by Gil Asakawa for those who want to dig into the world that produced all those wonderful cartoons.
The con kicks off at noon Friday, February 12, and runs through Sunday, February 14, at the Denver Renaissance Stapleton. Pre-sale tickets range from $20 to 35 for a day pass, or $45 for a three-day pass, with prices slightly higher at the door. For tickets and more info, visit the Colorado Anime Fest website.
6. Beastival 3: St. Valentine's Eve Wicked Masquerade Costume Ball (of Doom)
Once again, Mile High Comics plays host to a benefit concert and mini con of some of Denver's greatest talent in comics, film, fashion and more. New wave, punk and groove bands, including a band that dresses up as kaiju, will bring the noise. Comedians will bring the laughs. In between all of that, browse the tables and meet some of Denver's best creatives, like Hex Publishers, Colorado Horror Con and cartoonist Stan Yan. If you're in the mood for love, look out for show organizer Groovey parading around dressed as cupid. If you're not, focus on everything else, including a Joker/Harley Quinn costume contest where the Harley Quinns judge the Jokers and vice versa. Throw in the fact that it's also a birthday party for the Night Mutilator of Bloodshed Deathbath and that all the proceeds go to a local woman suffering from advanced stage cancer, and you have a hootenerdy (their word, not mine) that's both fun and for a great cause.
5. Scream Screen: Monkey Shines
Horror impresario Theresa Mercado's new scare series is tackling an underrated subgenre with the latest series, "When Animals Attack!" She's kicking off this exploration of the most terrifying corners of the wild kingdom with the helper-monkey-gone-mad movie Monkey Shines. In the film, directed by the legendary George Romero, a quadriplegic man's helpful little monkey goes ape shit on its master and things get stabby fast. Before the show, DJ Tanner (aka Westword contributor and local filmmaker Keith Garcia) will play a special "When Weird Animal Songs Attack!" set to get you in the proper mood.
The evening starts at 8:30 p.m. (film at 9:30 p.m.) Saturday, February 13, at the Sie FilmCenter. Tickets are $11, or $8 for seniors and $7 for Denver Film Society members. For tickets and more info, visit the Monkey Shines event page.
4. Project Cosplay
Every con these days has a moderate to heavy emphasis on cosplay, but until now, there wasn't an event that focused first and foremost on it. That's about to change with Project Cosplay, a three-day celebration of cosplay, cosplay and nothing but cosplay. From workshops on crafting to professional photo shoots, this will be a long weekend of everything cosplayers love, all in one place. Whether you're a newcomer to the scene looking to polish your craft or a hardcore vet looking to take it to the next level, Project Cosplay will be the place to do it.
The event starts at 4 p.m. Friday, February 19, at the Ramada Plaza Conference Center. Tickets are $35 for general admission, or $50 for VIP access. For tickets and more info, visit the Project Cosplay website.
3. Hyperspace Arcade grand re-opening
Do you miss the arcade? Relive the days of classic gaming, dim lighting and sticky floors at Hyperspace Arcade's grand re-opening! With more than eighty classic games and pinball machines, this is a one-stop shot of nostalgia for everyone who grew up dropping every bit of our allowance into Galaga, Donkey Kong and Crystal Castles. You could also bring your own PlayStation-addicted kids and show them how we used to do it in the old days — sure, they kill you dead in Call of Duty, but you can school them in Gauntlet, right?
The games begin at 4 p.m. Saturday, February 20, at Hyperspace Arcade. $10 will get you in the door, and all the games are on free play all night. For more information, visit the Hyperspace Arcade grand re-opening event page.
2. The Nerd Roast: Star Wars vs. Star Trek
One of the great nerd debates — Star Wars vs. Star Trek — gets its own event! Comedians dress up as your favorite characters from both storied franchises and duke it out to determine, once and for all, which nerd world is the best. Dress up as your favorite character to show your support, and prepare yourself for comedic takedowns of all your favorite moments from both franchises.
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Get nerd-roasted at 7 p.m. Friday, February 26, at El Charrito. Admission is free, but the venue will be accepting donations for Planned Parenthood. For more info, visit the The Nerd Roast: Star Wars vs. Star Trek event page.
What better way to close the month than a robot exploitation flick from Japan? No better way, I say, and Robotrix is here to do the job. When a pervy Japanese robo-scientist transfers his mind into one of his cyborg creations and becomes a killing/raping machine (literally), only a dead cop, resurrected into a robot body, can stop him. Throw in a robot that just wants to know what the magic of sex feels like and a bunch of dead prostitutes, and you have a robot film for the ages.
See Robotrix at 10 p.m. Friday, February 26, at the Sie FilmCenter. Tickets are $11, or $8 for seniors and $7 for Denver Film Society members. For tickets and more info, visit the Robotrix event page.