Conventional wisdom says March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb. But when it comes to geek events in Denver, March is full lion on both ends, with plenty to roar about in the middle as well. From a chance to say goodbye to one of geekdom’s greatest icons to a steampunk extravaganza, here are ten of the month’s best ways to get your geek on, presented in chronological order.
10) Fresh City Life Game of Thrones events
If you think all that chainmail in Game of Thrones is looking sweet, here’s a chance to get some for yourself (sort of). Every Monday in March, you can learn to knit an authentic chainmail replica balaclava hood — looks like chainmail, but with the comfort and functionality of your favorite knitted hat. You’ll need some knitting skills — this is no place for beginners — but if you’ve mastered the basic tools of the trade, they’ll teach you the rest. If you need an excuse to sit down for hours and finish all those stitches, try the Game of Thrones viewing party on Saturday, March 14, where they’ll plow through most of the fourth season in one sitting.
The GoT knitting workshop starts Monday, March 2 at 5:30 p.m. in the Fresh City Lounge of the Central Library. The class is free, but registration is required. If watching TV is more your speed, head down at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 14 for the viewing party — or drop in and catch an episode or two at any point during the day — in the Level B2 conference center of the Central Library. For more information, visit the Fresh City Life webpage.
9) Spock Wake
The nerd world lost one of its biggest stars and most indelible icons when Leonard Nimoy died last week, and saying goodbye is always easier in the company of friends. The Denver County Fair Geek Pavilion and StarFest are teaming up on March 4 to send off the man who brought everyone’s favorite Vulcan to life at Spock Wake, a tribute to the life and work of Leonard Nimoy. Drink Romulan Ale, Saurian Brandy and Vulcan Mind Melds, enjoy a four-hour video compilation of the best of Spock and swap memories with other fans of the man.
8) Nerdlesque: A ComicStrip-Tease
Geek culture and burlesque don't often cross over, so when they do, it's kind of a special occasion. Absent a talented and very understanding/very geeky partner, this may be your best chance to see a well-choreographed, classy striptease by the Hulk. Just don't blame us if you can't ever look at the big green lunk the same way again.
The burlesque begins at 8 p.m. Friday, March 6 at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret. Tickets are $25 or $35 for VIP admission; 18 and up only. For tickets and more info, visit the Nerdlesque event page on the Lannie's website.
7) Stan Yan’s Kickstarter Launch Party
Ever want to be in a comic book? Here's your chance: Local cartoonist and zombie caricaturist Stan Yan is launching his Kickstarter for the next edition of the Vincent Price Presents comic, and he’s looking to put his backers in the comic. Be an extra for just $20, or splurge on making yourself the big bad of the book for a cool grand. Or hell, just go party on March 7 with a bunch of other comics-loving zombie nerds and listen to some music from The Love Electric, Mr. Majestyk's 8 Track Revival and The Sound and Color.
The party starts at 6 p.m. March 7 at the Toad Tavern. Get there before 7 p.m. and avoid the door charge; 21 and up unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information, visit Stan Yan’s Vincent Price Kickstarter page or the Facebook event page.
6) Alien Director’s Cut
Ridley Scott’s Alien is the kind of core geek movie that you can go back to again and again, discovering new things and enjoying it every time. The original theatrical cut is basically flawless, but if you’ve already committed every frame to memory and want a new twist on old greatness, the “director’s cut” is worth a look. Adding four minutes of footage and deleting five, it’s a slightly leaner take on the cat-and-xenomorph shenanigans we all know and love that still hits all the proper “terror in space” buttons.
5) Vampire Brunch: Vampire’s Kiss
Enjoy a vampiric brunch menu and two-for-one Bloody Marys while you watch one of Nicolas Cage’s most entertainingly insane films. Here he plays a literary agent named Peter Loew who’s bitten by what he believes is a vampire, precipitating a descent into madness. Or maybe vampirism. Who can say? Affecting a ridiculous accent and throwing himself, sometimes literally, into every scene, Cage has never been more ludicrous — or more awesome — than he is in this film. Only he could deliver lines like, “Well, I did murder someone last night. I turn into a vampire. It’s a long story” with complete conviction. And talk about doing whatever it takes to deliver, he even ate a live cockroach to bring this completely insane film to life. That’s dedication. A must-see for Cage fans, vampire fans and anyone who likes really weird movies. Plus, local act Poet’s Row opens the show with a special in-theater performance.
4) Nerd Nite
Nerd Nite is a lecture series that takes fun, nerdy topics, adds booze and generates fun. This edition pairs lectures on cellular automata and the mysteries of your mouth, plus a special Nerd Nite version of an open mic, into one evening of inebriated academia. Where else can you hear about the weird things growing on your teeth, discover the insights offered by programming cellular automata and catch a nice buzz while you do it? Okay, maybe in your basement, but then you're not with a hundred other drunk nerds....
Polish your brass raygun and break out your finest mustache wax, because it's time for AnomalyCon. Steampunk and alt-history aficionados, as well as anyone else who enjoys a good corset-and-parasol combo, can enjoy three days of everything from a LEGO contest to a film festival, plus a great lineup of guests headlined by a geek icon: science fiction author and blogger Cory Doctorow. Throw in the usual con activities such as panels, costume contests and a dealer's room, and you have a recipe for Victorian era sci-fi bliss.
2) Dan Simmons: The Fifth Heart
Geeks know Dan Simmons for his Hugo award-winning Hyperion series, not to mention his other work in horror, fantasy and science fiction. His latest work, The Fifth Heart, follows Sherlock Holmes and Henry James as they investigate the death of Clover Adams, wife of a famed historian and in-law to the Adams family that boasts two U.S. presidents. Here he will discuss the strange twists and turns he’s experienced in researching The Fifth Heart and his other works. It’s a perfect opportunity to gain some insight into the process of how your favorite books come into being, or find out how to go deep with your own research.
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1) Mile High Magic
With more than ten million players worldwide, a twenty-year history and a tournament circuit that awards hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to the top players, it's fair to say that Magic: The Gathering is a juggernaut in the gaming industry. Despite that, it's never garnered the same kind of attention lavished on other gaming phenomenons like World of Warcraft, perhaps due to the complex nature of the game and the insularity of its community. Local production company Broken Science Productions aims to change that with Mile High Magic, a feature-length documentary that digs deep into the game and the people who play it. Focusing on a group of local players trying to break into the tournament scene, the doc offers a charming take on the people who play and the reasons they find the game so irresistible.
See Mile High Magic at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 31 at the Sie FilmCenter. Tickets are $10, or $7 for Denver Film Society members. For more information and tickets, visit the Mile High Magic event page of the Denver Film Society website.
Find me on Twitter, where I tweet about geeky stuff and waste an inordinate amount of time: @casciato.