After October ends, the next holiday on the calendar is Thanksgiving — and there are many reasons to be thankful for being a geek here in Denver. November may lack the nerd cred of October — Thanksgiving is a pale substitute for Halloween, even if you include an MST3K Turkey Day marathon — but don't worry, there's plenty of nerd fun to be had this month. From a symphonic take on Back to the Future to anniversary screenings of one of the greatest slashers of all time, November is a feast of geek goodness. Here, in chronological order, are ten of November's best geek events.
10) Running of the Leaves Con
Bronies! Get together with your fellow ponykind at Running of the Leaves Con, the convention for fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Sure, it may seem a little weird that so many adult men are super into a cartoon aimed at pre-teen girls but...okay, but nothing. It is kind of weird. Then again, Trekkies seem weird to people who hate Star Trek. Hey, that doesn't mean they can't have fun getting together to cosplay, attend panels on what it means to love My Little Pony and do other brony activities. If that's your bag, you can join them! Even if you're not a brony yourself, they welcome "fans of all forms of Western Animation and Animation Culture to join and participate."
9) Horrorhouse Fest Pinball Tournament of Death
Didn't get enough Halloween in October? Bloodshed Deathbath is here to help. Once again, this year's HorrorHouse fuses a pinball tourney to a haunted house for a one-of-a-kind horror-gaming experience in a bar. Each room of the haunted house will contain a pinball machine that will determine the theme; you compete on each to get the highest cumulative score as ghosts, ghouls and assorted freaks interfere with your game. With pitfalls and scares designed by Ryan Policky and partner Daniel Crosier and brought to life by Monster Makeup FX, one thing is certain — this is going to be the wildest pinball tournament/haunted house you'll ever experience.
The haunting and pinball happen at 8 p.m. Saturday, November 7 at 3 Kings Tavern. Tickets are $10, plus $5 for each playthrough if you want to compete for cash prizes in the tournament. For tickets and additional info, visit Bloodshed Deathbath online.
8) Denver Film Fest: Friday the 13th
If you ever wanted to see the seminal slasher Friday the 13th on honest-to-god actual Friday the 13th, this is your chance! Enjoy the merciless slaughter of horny teenagers at beautiful Camp Crystal Lake, hosted by the Watching Hour's Keith Garcia and Scream Screen's Theresa Mercado, via a 35mm print, just in time for the film's 35th anniversary. That's right — this movie is older than some of your parents. (Note: this is just one geek-friendly selection of the Denver Film Fest; have a look through its program for more!)
See the classic kills of Friday the 13th at 11:55 p.m. Friday, November 13, at the Sie FilmCenter. Tickets are $15, $13 for seniors and $12 for DFS members. For more information and tickets, visit the Denver Film Society's Friday the 13th event page.
7) Beastival 2: Electric Beastaloo (of Doom)
Mile High Comics plays host to a benefit concert and mini con of some of Denver's greatest talents in comics, film, fashion and more. A host of bands headline the show, including People Corrupting People, Hi-Strung, The Healz and Dark Horse Light Knight. Elsewhere, dozens of comic-book artists and other creatives will have tables set up, including Stan Yan, My Gal, the Zombie and many more. Hosted by local Hugo award-winner Jason Heller and featuring a Star Wars cosplay contest, it's a lot of nerd fun for very few nerd dollars (five, to be exact). Throw in the fact that proceeds go to buy a wheelchair for a person in need, and you have a hootenerdy (their word, not mine) that's both fun and for a great cause.
The party starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, November 14, at Mile High Comics Megastore. Admission is a suggested $5 donation. For more information, visit the Beastival 2: Electric Beastaloo (of Doom) event page.
6) Symphony at the Movies: Back to the Future
Well, we finally made it to the point that Marty and Doc travel to in the Back to the Future series! Sure, we're all a little disappointed at how hard it is to find a working hoverboard, but that doesn't mean things are all bad. After all, apart from Crocs and Uggs, no one dresses nearly as stupidly as the movies suggested, plus we've got the Colorado Symphony playing the score from the original film. It's a perfect chance to get a little high culture with your geek culture, and one last opportunity to show off your fly Marty McFly (or Doc Brown) cosplay.
Hear your favorite Back to the Future themes at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 14, at Boettcher Concert Hall. Tickets start at $34. For tickets and additional info, visit the Symphony at the Movies: Back to the Future event page.
5) Mile High Sci-Fi vs. The Last Starfighter
In 1984, every nerdy gamers' fantasy came true — or at least came to theaters — when The Last Starfighter was released. Who among us hasn't wished that the video game we spent countless hours mastering wasn't just a game, but was instead a way for super-advanced aliens to find the best of the best and recruit them into their kickass alien army? Seems plausible, right? Now the good people of Mile High Sci-Fi have decided to tackle the '80s cult favorite, enhancing its questionable CGI and clunky acting with their own brand of comedic commentary, live, over the film.
See Mile High Sci-Fi take down The Last Starfighter at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 19, at the Alamo Drafthouse. Tickets are $12.50. For tickets and more info, visit the Mile High Sci-Fi vs. The Last Starfighter event page.
4) Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys
If we're being honest, it's obvious that our blinding love for the Star Wars franchise has just as much to do with the toys as the movies themselves. Sure, we all remember watching our first Star Wars film, but for every hour we spent watching, we spent three, or five, or fifty playing. Action figures, lightsabers, spaceships and more, the toys have always been as much of the experience as the actual films. Now there's a documentary that digs deep into the toy chest to bring out the truth about our plastic fantastic obsession and the part it played in the larger Star Wars experience. (This screening is a benefit for the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys.)
See Plastic Galaxy at 7 p.m. Friday, November 20, at the Sie FilmCenter, with a Skype Q&A with the filmmaker to follow. (There's also a reception and silent auction starting at 5:30 p.m.) Tickets are $30 or $20 for Denver Film Society members. For tickets and more info, visit the Plastic Galaxy event page.
3) Denver Indie Game Expo
Interested in what the smaller developers in the area are up to? There's no better place to find out than the Denver Indie Game Expo. Check out demos and finished games directly from the creators themselves and experience some of the most innovative and unusual concepts in gaming before they become the next Minecraft-level sensation. Everything from virtual-reality headset games to casual phone games will be on display, making this a good time for gamers of all levels.
2) Tough Guy Cinema: Starship Troopers
The movie Starship Troopers may be an utter failure as an adaptation of Robert Heinlein's revered classic science-fiction novel, but it's a hilarious send-up of that same novel, skillfully blending black humor, over-the-top action and unsubtle social commentary that can be enjoyed on many levels. On the one hand, it's brainless space opera, the ultimate cheeseball B-movie sci-fi shoot-'em-up epic about a group of friends who join Earth's military forces to fight an evil alien menace threatening humanity. On the other, it's also a darkly funny, tongue-in-cheek take on a xenophobic and militaristic fascist society that's not worlds removed from our own. The CGI bugs and space battles have aged passably well, considering the movie is more than a decade old, but the commentary is funnier, creepier and more powerful in the era of the War on Terror.
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1) Lady Terminator
Blood, guts, bullets and mullets abound in the one and only Lady Terminator. It wasn't enough to rip off The Terminator, so the film spices things up with a dose of Indonesian folk tales, somehow incorporating the legend of the South Seas Queen — a demon with an insatiable sexual appetite and a predilection for murder — into the familiar tale of a time-traveling cyborg. Does it make a lot of sense? It does not, but you will not mind amid the insane action, bad haircuts and hilarious dubbing. A favorite of bad film lovers everywhere, Lady Terminator truly needs to be seen to be believed, and this is likely your only chance to see it in a theater on a 35mm print.
Experience the madness of Lady Terminator at 10 p.m. Friday, November 27, at the Sie FilmCenter. Tickets are $11, $8 for seniors and $7 for Denver Film Society members. For tickets and more info, visit the Lady Terminator event page.