A Late Night Adventure at A-Kon

Categories: Nerdery

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People partied hard at A-Kon. Check out this slideshow by Catherine Downes.

Every year Dallas hosts the high-nerd homecoming A-Kon. Tens of thousands of costumed characters clogged the hallways of the Hilton Anatole this weekend, where nearly 100 vendors sold everything from DVDs to broadswords and rooms were filled with card dueling gamers. Meanwhile, I was looking for something off the fairly unbeaten path.

Above the panels and anime dealers, I wanted to peek inside the hotel rooms and elevators of the nations' longest running anime convention. What excitement and oddity takes over the hallways of the Anatole when the last vendor packs up his foam swords and wigs? Turns out, A-Kon attendees party hard and cause all sorts of trouble.


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Free Comic Book Day Happens Saturday, Judge Reinhold Will Be in Plano

Categories: Nerdery

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Wikipedia

Don your capes, strap on your superhero boots and head to a local comic book store to dig your way through the quarter comics and pick up a few freebies at Free Comic Book Day. The first Saturday in May is probably the only Stan Lee- endorsed holiday on the normal calendar, until one of his comics get its own day. Oh, wait, Google tells me that recently August 1st was declared National Spiderman Day. Anyway.

Nearly all of the local shops will be celebrating Saturday with comic book giveaways, professional cosplayers, and special guests. We've compiled a full list of where the festivities will take place.


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Ten People We'd Like to Hang Out with at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival

Categories: Lists, Nerdery

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Rhombi Survivor
This Observer reader.

We love you, Scarborough Renaissance Festival. We love your jovial mood, your festive fashion, your adopted vocal patterns, your lack of irony, and your don't give a horse's turd attitude. Recently we sent out a photographer to snap you lovely people in all your finery, then I sat around wanting to be friends with all of you. Here's a quick round-up of the people whose company would be worth the $22 cost of admission to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival.


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A Completely Scientific Review of the Perot Museum's World's Largest Dinosaurs Exhibit

Categories: Nerdery

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All photos by Jane R. LeBlanc
What are these? Dinosaurs for ants?
The Perot Museum recently unveiled their World's Largest Dinosaurs exhibit, a traveling collection of fossils, skin impressions, animation and more. Sauropods, the super-sized group of dinosaurs shown at Perot (and pictured above), stomped their way around Earth for approximately 140 million years, eating every plant in sight while showing off their bumpy scales and seriously long necks. Their remains are pretty mind-blowing, and the exhibit goes all out by recreating a 60-foot-long female Mamenchisaurus, which isn't the biggest sauropod overall, but does feature a neck half the length of its entire body. That's a lot of Deep Ellum neck tats. This exhibit might be the closest we can come to visiting the giants of our past, so I checked it out earlier this week, armed with awe, wonder and a liberal arts degree. Here's some of what I found.


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Who to Expect (You May Be Surprised) at This Weekend's Sci-Fi Expo

Categories: Nerdery

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It's cold outside, but it's time to snap out of that video game coma and break out of hibernation because signage for Jaws and a giant TARDIS outside the Irving Convention Center in Las Colinas can only mean one thing: Sci-Fi Expo 2014! So, burrow out of that cozy blanket fortress you've built and trade in your Batman onesie for your Batman cosplay. The smallest of Dallas Comic Con's three annual events only lasts two days, but they are jam-packed with more than enough fandoms worthy of braving the cold air and biting wind you've heard so much about.

Here's a preview of the biggest franchises represented at this weekend's Sci-Fi Expo:

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Richard Dreyfuss, Geek God, Will Speak at Dallas Sci-Fi Expo

Categories: Nerdery

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Compliments of Comic Con
Comic Con announced yesterday that Close Encounters and Jaws star, Richard Dreyfuss, will headline February's Dallas Sci-Fi expo, happening at the Irving Convention Center. He's an uncommon "get" for one of these gigs, which typically cull television celebs and other non-Academy Award winners for their meet-and-greets.

Dreyfuss is different.

He grabbed his Best Actor Oscar in 1978 for The Goodbye Girl and was nominated again in 1996 for his leading role in Mr. Holland's Opus. But it's his spots on Weeds, as nerdy scientist who knows better in Jaws and C'MON: Close Encounters, that made him a cinematic geek god. Apparently he had a little extra time the weekend of February 8 and 9, because the American Graffiti star will discuss his career in a Saturday Q&A panel.

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Ticket Giveaway: Passes to the Calvin and Hobbes Documentary, Dear Mr. Watterson

Whether delivering a tree house harangue as Dictator-for-Life of G.R.O.S.S. or getting sneak-jumped by his tiger sidekick, Calvin was our kid id. Operating on a combination of misunderstood genius and pranky mischief, he and Hobbes conquered the world, time travel, art, dumb girls and physics -- one perfectly drawn frame at a time. Bill Watterson, the hand behind the ink, became our collective cool uncle.

He just got us. More importantly: he got Calvin.

No cartoonist since has captured children's imaginative capacity the way Watterson did. He knew bottle caps are really medals of honor. That dinosaurs sometimes materialize out of nowhere. And that a cardboard box serves at least 3,000 important purposes.

The new film Dear Mr. Watterson is look at all of that, told by those who Watterson influenced. The movie's a sorta Calvin and Hobbes tribute, colored-in with visits to Watterson's hometown, discussions with comic historians and even talks with a few folks you've heard of, like Seth Green, who -- surprise -- is, like, a really big fan too.

Texas Theatre is the only screen in the entire state that's showing the thing -- and we believe a few Dallas Observer readers might cherish Calvin and Hobbes -- so we're holding a day of nerddum. We'll crash Sunday's 5 p.m. screening with our Street Team, do little giveaways and celebrate child/tiger friendship with you.

I have three pairs of tickets to the screening, and winning them is a snap. Leave a Calvin and Hobbes-related comment below. It can be anything: a favorite strip, a memory, what you'd transmogrify if you had the technology or just "I love Calvin and Hobbes."

I'll randomly pick three of you at noon on Wednesday. Winners will be alerted via email. Just make sure you can go to the 5 p.m. Sunday screening with us. And if you don't win, show up anyway and hang with fellow Watterson fans.

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The Dallas Chamber Symphony Lured Us In With Slapstick. Then, it Pulled the Rug Out.

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Oh, Keaton, you charmer.
I think most of us went to the City Performance Hall last night for the slapstick. I'm not ashamed to say it: I love Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin.

I love big guy/ little guy moments.

I love seeing people fall through trap doors and become the jogging prisoners of treadmill carpets.

So you tell me the Dallas Chamber Symphony's performing three original compositions for Ask Father, By the Sea and The Scarecrow and I'm there. That's because I'm a reasonable thinking human.

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Gunther Schuller on Miles Davis, Improvisation and Why Retirement Isn't an Option

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Next Friday is composer Gunther Schuller's 88th birthday, but he hasn't planned a celebration. "I've had so many birthdays," he explains, "I suppose something will come up."

It doesn't seem unreasonable to ask an almost 88-year old about his retirement plans, especially since he's in Dallas preparing two area colleges for back-to-back weekend performances. But when I started to bring up the topic, Schuller interrupted me with an indignant scoff. "Retirement! I don't know the word. This is my love. This is my life! Why should I retire from it? I mean, if I'm forced to retire because I start writing crappy music or my eyesight goes or my right hand won't write anymore I suppose . . . ." He lets the sentence trail off with a mumbled profanity.

Retirement is clearly not a possibility Gunther Schuller likes to discuss, or even consider.

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For 2014, Dallas Comic-Con Moves to Downtown Dallas

Categories: Nerdery

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H/T Frontburner

Get excited nerds of planet Earth. Or Endor, Hoth the Twelve Colonies -- wherever your allegiances align. Dallas Comic-Con has announced that for its May, 2014 edition, the convention will move closer, setting up camp at the Dallas Convention Center.

That means you'll no longer have to pack your hatchback full of weaponry and trek to the Irving Convention Center or some other distant suburban galaxy. You'll just roll downtown and cosplay it up in DCC's 600,000 sq. feet of space. (Small request: Please visit the DMA in your most slammin' Dr. Who garb. There's got to be a special Friends badge for that by now.)

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