Halloween might be in the rearview, but there’s no shortage of nerdy things to do around the metro Phoenix area in November. In addition to a major local film festival, events celebrating various creative endeavors and geeky pursuits will be happening over the next four weeks.
You can also attend screenings of a documentary exploring local skateboard culture, concerts focused on anime music, or parties where cosplay is encouraged, as well as events where you can get tips on writing a novel or putting out a fanzine.
Have fun, be safe, and geek out.
Scottsdale International Film Festival
Cinephiles can indulge in their favorite activity when the Scottsdale International Film Festival returns for its 21st year this month. The eight-day event will include both virtual and in-person screenings of 22 different films, including flicks of the independent, foreign, and documentary variety. In-person showings will take place Friday, November 5, to Sunday, November 7, at Harkins Shea 14, 7354 East Shea Boulevard, and Monday, November 8, and Tuesday, November 9, at Harkins Camelview at Fashion Square, 7014 East Camelback Road. (Online screenings will happen from Wednesday, November 10, to Friday, November 12, through the SIFF website.) Highlights of this year’s lineup include the Julia Child-focused documentary Julia, the Netherlands-produced drama Do Not Hesitate, and the French rom-com My Donkey, My Lover and I. The full schedule can be found here.
Local Author Fair
Newbie scribes participating in National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo) in search of some tips can head for the Phoenix location of Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, 8034 North 19th Avenue, and this author event from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 6. Authors from around Arizona and across a number of literary genres will participate in the afternoon event. There will be a chance for kids and teens to create their own comic books with sci-fi/fantasy graphic artist and writer Kayla Shaggy, a reading by poet Madison Meadows, and an appearance by Feminine Archetypes and Journey to Soul author Courtney Tiffany. It’s free to attend. More details are available on the Bookmans’ website.
All Villains Eve
Local dudes who are either growing out their facial hair (it’s No-Shave November after all) or already sport a full set of whiskers are encouraged to attend this charity celebration from 2 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, November 7, at The Duce, 525 South Central Avenue. The members of the Bearded Villains Phoenix group are putting on the event, which will feature lucha libre wrestling, door prizes, a 50/50 raffle for various items, kids crafts, and drink specials. If you’d still like to show off your get up from Halloween, a costume contest is also planned. Admission is $5 per person and all genders are welcome. Proceeds will benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
High Rollers: The Golden Age of Arizona Skateboarding
As any local old-school grinder can tell you, Arizona has a rich history of skateboarding culture stretching back to the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Back in those days, abandoned pools and enormous concrete pipes became places to shred, bands like JFA rose to prominence, and an entire scene was birthed. Longtime skaters and punkers Donnie “Don Ho” Crist and Steve Shelton created their documentary High Rollers: The Golden Age of Arizona Skateboarding as a love letter to the era and how it influenced a generation of locals. The 58-minute-long flick features original footage from the ‘70s and ‘80s, as well as a soundtrack filled with local acts like Beats the Hell Out of Me, Junior Achievement, and The Van Buren Wheel. The film will be screened at 7:15 and 9 p.m. on Friday, November 12, at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Tickets are $11 per person.
Arizona Railway Day
The general public can climb aboard the vintage trains of the Arizona Railway Museum, 330 East Ryan Road in Chandler, during this event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 13. All of its rolling stock – from a pair of antique locomotives from the Southern Pacific Railroad to the high-style luxury cars built by the Pullman Company – can be explored. You can also blow train horns, check out the various indoor exhibits, or purchase historic ephemera and models. Admission is free.
Phoenix Zine Fest
The folks behind Wasted Ink Zine Distro, 906 West Roosevelt Street, Suite 3, are staging this year’s Phoenix Zine Fest on Saturday, November 13, and Sunday, November 14, as a “virtual event,” owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That said, it will offer many of the hallmarks of an in-person version, like a lineup of workshops and panels (both of which will be conducted via ZOOM) featuring more than 80 zine creators and a sticker design contest. Participation in the event is free and more details can be had here.
A quintet of animators from Arizona State University – Victoria Penner, Lynette Graham, Carrie Chacon, Jacqueline Folgar. and Stacy Nuñez – spent countless hours working on the 3-D animated experience called Project Oberon, which involves the story of “astronauts sent to recover information on a distant planet.” An exhibition inside ASU’s Gallery 100, 65 East University Drive in Tempe, will detail how the project was developed. It’s viewable from noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 16, through Friday, November 19. Admission is free.
Candlelight: Favorite Anime Themes
The members of the Listeso String Quartet will perform music from more than a dozen different anime films and shows on Sunday, November 14, inside the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central Avenue. The program will include theme songs and score selections from titles like Sailor Moon, Attack on Titan, Inuyasha, Evangelion, Death Note, Naruto, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. A medley from Studio Ghibli’s various movies is also promised. Socially distanced performances will take place at 7 and 9 p.m. and will be lit by candlelight. Tickets are $50 to $60 and can be purchased here.
All manner of cosplayers, geeks, and rave kids will be welcome at this two-night music festival and massive party on Friday, November 26, and Saturday, November 27, at nerdy nightlife spot Endgame, 1233 South Alma School Road in Mesa. A mix of circus performers, magicians, body painters, fire artists, exotic animals, and other attractions will be featured on both evenings. Food and drinks will also be available and various DJs and bands will perform across multiple stages. The celebration kicks off at 8 p.m. on November 26. Tickets are $25 to $30 per day for general admission, $45 for the weekend, or $100 for VIP access.