On Friday night, Nerd Nite Phoenix and Dr. Diabolic teamed up to put on a holiday event for all the Star Wars fans in the valley. As was promised, the event included photo opportunities with Darth Santa and his Mandalorian Merc elves (with a bonus Stormtrooper thrown into the mix!), a fun yet educational presentation by Star Wars expert Dustin Diehl, and a few unintentionally hilarious clips from the Star Wars Holiday Special. In that way, the night could very well be called successful; however, I do have some complaints.
Maybe it was just me, but the event itself was pretty hard to find. I stepped into the Phoenix Art Museum a bit uncertainly. Looking around, I found there were no signs that said: “Attention Nerds! Go that way.” There was no crowd to follow; since it was also the night of the First Friday artwalk, several people were just there to wander around and look at the art. I circled through a number of galleries until I eventually found Whiteman Hall, and that was only because I heard the folk music—wait, what?
Indeed, for an hour before the presentation began, the band outside of Whiteman Hall was trying to get visitors to square dance. Only a handful of tentative volunteers conceded. Unconvinced, I wandered to the bar. The specials included such appropriately named cocktails as the ‘Pink Chewbacca’. This I could sip on while watching the otherwise unbearable square dance until 7 o’clock rolled around. Meanwhile, I got a few quick pictures with the costumed actors.
The variety show itself proceeded quite well, although with a few small hiccups. First of all, no one took my ticket at the door. The start of the show wasn’t so much announced as it was signaled by a swarm of people gathering toward Whiteman Hall. I followed, grabbed a seat, and was never asked for a ticket. It looks as though I could have spent my five dollars elsewhere.
Also, I couldn’t help but notice when the representative from Nerd Nite Phoenix tripped up on the names of his collaborators. He either didn’t know or couldn’t pronounce Dustin Diehl’s last name when he first announced it, pausing after ‘Dustin’ until somebody helped him out. On one occasion he called Dr. Diabolic by the name ‘Dr. Diabolical’. Ouch.
Dustin’s presentation on the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special was excellent and enough to redeem the event’s shortcomings. Those who may have never seen the Holiday Special came to find out just how excruciatingly awkward much of it was. I, personally, learned a few interesting things from Dustin: that there are recipes floating around the internet for Wookiee-ookies, that Carrie Fisher remembers, to this day, the lyrics to her Life Day song, and that with enough poorly applied makeup, Mark Hamill can look a lot like Ellen Degeneres.
Overall, A Very Merry Sci-fi Christmas was a night well-spent for only five dollars (though it could have been free, I suppose). You can visit the Nerd Nite website to find out more about their upcoming events all over the country. They host presentations on some of the geekiest topics you can think of, and always with a healthy amount of drinking involved.
Check out Dustin Diehl on twitter at @DRJedi,
Or Dr. Diabolic at @DrDiabolicShow,
And don’t forget to watch the Star Wars Holiday Special this season. Happy Life Day, everyone, and may the force be with you!