‘NerdvanaCon’ celebrates blog’s 5th birthday Friday in Mesa - East Valley Tribune: Events

‘NerdvanaCon’ celebrates blog’s 5th birthday Friday in Mesa

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Posted: Sunday, August 5, 2012 2:45 pm | Updated: 7:20 pm, Sun Aug 19, 2012.

If the saying is right, it’s certainly not the geeks who shall inherit the Earth.

Guess they’ll just have to settle for Downtown Mesa.

Calling all nerds and fanboys (and fangirls): NerdvanaCon is the theme for the August rendition of the area’s “2nd Friday” art walk series.

A play on the growing popularity of ComicCon-style gatherings — and as a vehicle to celebrate the fifth birthday of the East Valley Tribune’s popular Nerdvana online community and blog — Friday, Aug. 10 is the date Downtown Mesa becomes the epicenter of all things geek.

Bob Leeper, owner of Evermore Nevermore — an East Valley-based pop culture and alternative art network formerly housed in a Downtown Mesa storefront — has been an integral part of the 2nd Friday planning team.

“Second Friday has been holding geek-centric events for a couple of years now,” Leeper said. “I think that (Nerdvana blog founder) Jayson Peters saw the direction we were taking with many of our themes — like Sci-Fi Fridays, Steampunk Street, Zombies Versus Robots — and thought we would be a good fit for helping to celebrate Nerdvana’s fifth anniversary.”

The Nerdvana blog, one of the Tribune’s fastest-growing online communities, kicked off in August 2007 by a team of Tribune staffers — including Peters, a former Tribune editor who still manages the community from his new locale in Colorado.

Peters said the connection of the Tribune’s GetOut brand with the Valley’s arts and entertainment community inspired the development of a realm that catered to coverage of off-beat entertainment, pop-culture, comics and sci-fi genres.

“Phoenix ComicCon is a great example,” he explains of the annual event that drew more than 32,000 visitors in May – and until 2010 actually made its home in Mesa. “That was once this tiny thing, but that kind of shows the growth of this community, and the pop-culture community in the Valley.”

For NerdvanaCon, that element will be the star of Friday’s scene, slated to run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. along Main Street. Five live bands and more than 70 booths will line the street — that in addition to the host of local eateries and storefronts downtown.

Costume contests, panel discussions, concept art and comic drawing workshops, strategy gaming contests, and science and technology demonstrations by HeatSync Labs are also scheduled, as is a 9:30 p.m. screening of the 1980s cult sci-fi flick “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension” at the OneOhOne gallery and sponsored by Bookmans.

Two of the night’s events — the Monsterland-hosted Pop Culture Artist Corner and Vul-Con’s gaming event (hosted by Queens Pizzeria) — will also carry over into Saturday.

And the Tribune will be on hand to formally debut its East Valley-targeted mobile app for smartphones, and to give away a pair of tickets to see geek-favorite William Shatner at the Mesa Arts Center in January.

Leeper notes that the geek-centric culture has become mainstream in a way in recent years, but part of that, he says, is because everyone is a geek in some way.

“There is a nerd inside of everyone,” he said.

Added Peters: “I like to tease people who play fantasy football. All it is, is Dungeons and Dragons. ... Everybody geeks out about something, sometime.”

If You Go

What: NerdvanaCon (Downtown Mesa’s ‘2nd Friday’)

When: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10

Where: Main Street/Downtown Mesa

Cost: Free for all ages

Information: evtnow.com/nerdvanacon

Nerdvana blog: EastValleyTribune.com/nerdvana

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