The dog days of summer are upon us. Luckily, we geeks have nothing to worry about, because August is full of opportunities to beat the heat and have some nerd-friendly fun at the same time. From gaming conventions and classic geek films to the world's nerdiest county fair, August offers a multitude of opportunities to get your geek on. Here are the month's ten best geek events in Denver.
See also: - Dungeons and Dragons changed my life -- thanks, Gygax - Denver County Fair Geek Pavilion: "Stormtroopers, zombies, steampunks ... it's going to be pretty dang cool" - Kevin O'Brien on the These Things Matter podcast and Mile High Sci Fi
10) Sleepaway Camp with Jonathan Tiersten in person Horror geeks have a special place in their hearts for the 1983 summer-camp slasher Sleepaway Camp. Like its more famous predecessor Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp features teen campers and adult staff being murdered in creative ways and a WTF twist ending. If you haven't seen it, don't spoil it with a Google search; just take this opportunity to see it on the big screen and be glad you waited. As a bonus, actor Jonathan Tiersten, who plays the role of Ricky, will be on hand to answer questions and lead Sleepaway Camp-themed games.
9) Evil Dead: The Musical You read that right: Evil Dead: The Musical, as in a musical version of Sam Raimi's classic horror comedy series. The stage show combines plot elements from all three of the films -- Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness -- then adds songs like "All the Men in My Life Keep Getting Killed by Candarian Demons," "Look Who's Evil Now" and "Do the Necronomicon" to make one batshit crazy take on the timeless tale of possession, dismemberment and death. All that, plus a "splatter zone" where the audience gets covered in gore. Groovy.
8) Richard Kadrey Kill City Blues Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim novels are widely acknowledged as some of the best contemporary fantasy of the past decade. His latest, Kill City Blues, finds his protagonist searching for a lost weapon of unimaginable power while pursued by angry elder gods and other nasty things. That's no small task, even for a man who's already escaped Hell, but if anyone can do it, it's Sandman Slim.
, the opening night film
7) Close Encounters of the Animated Kind If there's one thing geeks love, it's cartoons. For the four days of Close Encounters of the Animated Kind, the Denver Film Society is going to be awash in them. Half a dozen countries are represented in the lineup: in nine features, a short feature and a program of shorts. Some of the films deal with the fantastic and otherworldly, some are more down-to-earth, but all of them are worth a look for fans of animation.
Close Encounters of the Animated Kind runs from August 8 through August 11 at the Sie FilmCenter. Tickets start at $13 for individual films ($11 for DFS members), or pay $40 for a festival pass ($35 for members). For more info and tickets, visit the Denver Film Society website.
6) CutthroatCon Two days of just about every kind of gaming there is, from hyper-competitive fighting game tournaments to mock Japanese game shows? That's a prescription for geek nirvana, and it's precisely what CutthroatCon offers. Show off your skills to win prizes on video games Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Injustice: Gods Among Us, turn cards sideways in a high-level Magic: The Gathering tournament, or just play some Rock Band casually with friends. There's also the usual selection of con events, like panels, celebrity meet-and-greets and the chance to show off your insanely detailed Chun Li cosplay to fellow enthusiasts.
CutthroatCon runs August 2-3 in the Tivoli building on the Auraria Campus. Admission is $30 for the weekend if you want to compete, or $20 if you'd rather skip the competition and just hang out and play casually . For more info and tickets, visit the Colorado Cutthroat website.
5) So much Shaun of the Dead It is a truth universally acknowledged that Shaun of the Dead is one of the five finest zombie movies ever made. That's probably why the Alamo Drafthouse is offering not one, but two, Shaun events this month. First up, on both August 15 and 18, is the Shaun of the Dead Quote-Along, for fans who've long since memorized all the great lines in the film (that's all of us, right?). Watch the film, say the lines, hit your pals with an inflatable cricket bat -- good times. Come August 22, enjoy Shaun as part of a triple-header marathon of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz (like Shaun, but for action movies instead of zombies) and the brand-new The World's End (aliens, this time), comprising director Edgar Wright's so-called Cornetto trilogy.
Quote along with Shaun of the Dead August 15 and 18; Edgar Wright Cornetto marathon August 22. All at the Alamo Drafthouse in Littleton. For tickets and showtimes, visit the Alamo Drafthouse Denver website.
4) The Watching Hour: Grabbers With Denver Film Society programming manager Keith Garcia headed to the Alamo Drafthouse to take the position of creative director, his long-running geek-friendly series The Watching Hour is going on hiatus. Before it goes, though, you've got a few more chances to enjoy his eclectic taste. Two of the final three selections are cult films without strong geek ties, but Grabbers is just the kind of odd, obscure monster movie that made the Watching Hour such a geek staple over its long run. The plot's about a group of folks on a remote island under siege by monsters who want to drink their blood. When they discover that the things are allergic to alcohol, the only solution seems obvious: stay drunk. The movie's earned mostly positive reviews, and should be a perfect chance to say goodbye -- if only temporarily, as Garcia promises the series will return in some form -- to a Denver institution.
3) The Room with Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero in person It was ten years ago that writer/director Tommy Wiseau unleashed The Room on unsuspecting audiences for the first time. In that decade, the film has grown to become one of the biggest cult phenomenons ever, despite -- or perhaps due to -- its technical deficiencies, meandering story and over-the-top histrionics. It's more of a cult film than a geek film -- no aliens, alas -- but it's the kind of bizarre, one-of-a-kind spectacle that defies easy categorization, and its cult of fans is certainly geek-friendly, thanks no doubt to its enduring popularity as a midnight movie. As a special bonus, Wiseau and producer/actor Greg Sestero will be here in person, their first-ever appearance at a screening of The Room in Denver.
Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero will appear at special midnight screenings of The Room Friday and Saturday August 9-10 at the Esquire Theater. Tickets are $15. For more info, visit the Landmark Theatres page for Denver.
2) Mile High Sci-Fi: Terminator Taken one way, James Cameron's Terminator is a taut, lean, action-horror film with a chilling premise and sublime execution. Taken another, it's a hammy, dated-looking chunk of '80s buffoonery, anchored by a combination of an early but typically silly performance by the Governator and Linda Hamilton's ridiculous hairstyle. Guess which angle the comics of Mile High Sci-Fi are going to take? Denver's own answer to Mystery Science Theater 3000 always turn in a good show, and their riffs on Terminator are among their best.
1) Denver County Fair Blessed are the geeks of Denver, for we live in an unbelievably geek-friendly city. Seriously, how many other municipalities have a county fair that features a Geek Pavilion as one of its main attractions? You'll get everything from a zombie beauty pageant to battling robots, plus gaming areas, an art show and more. It's like the county fair has a little con baby inside it, and when you get tired of that you can still go see the more typical pie-judging areas and what-not. Last year's Geek Pavilion was one of the highlights of the fair, and this year's should be even better.
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The Denver County Fair runs August 9 through August 11 at the National Western Complex. Tickets are $10 general admission, or $5 for kids and seniors. For more info, visit the Denver County Fair website.