Nerd Alert!: "Thor - The Dark World," BurlyCon, black holes and theater overload

By Christian Carvajal on November 4, 2013

Giving thanks to Odin the All-Father, this is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.

The rumor mill this week is abuzz with putatively inside scoops about the upcoming Star Wars sequels. Screenwriter Michael Arndt moved on to other projects, leaving room for Lawrence Kasdan - the veteran scribe who penned The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. So yeah, total nostalgia boner. Also, with auteur J. J. Abrams busy in a galaxy far, far away, Paramount's on the hunt for a Star Trek 3 director - and the lead candidate might be Joe Cornish, the guy who made the incredibly awesome Attack the Block. Haven't seen that? Look it up. And you're welcome.


This is the first of two overstuffed autumn weekends for area theater enthusiasts; the second starts after Thanksgiving. Thursday marks the opening of American Roulette, a Theater Artists Olympia/Animal Fire coproduction that uses emotional monologues to tell the story of a school shooting. Friday brings Driving Miss Daisy from Dukesbay Productions, starring Syra Beth Puett as the titular passenger and Malcolm West as the implied driver. Then there's Lakewood Productions' impassioned take on Pride and Prejudice; I'm hearing good things. And don't forget The Weir, a round of spooky Irish ghost stories at Tacoma Little Theatre. Not for nothin', folks, but have you thought about staggering these out?


In the trailer for Thor: The Dark World, Anthony Hopkins's Odin warns of a malevolent darkness. He's referring to the Dark Elves, an army of angry nihilists in the service of somebody called Malekith the Accursed. If that intro strikes you as, well, loopy, Thor and his family of Norwegian demigods may not be your cup of comic-book tea. The plot gets even weirder from there. But after its U.K. release Oct. 30, the sequel managed a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating in the mid-80s, so folks are apparently still rolling with the Shirtless Wonder. Also, it'll be nice to give my wife some pectoral eye candy of her own this week after subjecting her to three "sexpositional" seasons of Game of Thrones. That Chris Hemsworth fellow must live in the gym - and hey, better him than me.

Speaking of pectorals, our stage-struttin' sisters will be in Seattle this weekend for BurlyCon, a four-day celebration by and for burlesque dancers. The event features more than a hundred classes, with topics from costuming to makeup to something called "Google-Fu." You're damn right there are a prom, and a pajama-clad movie screening to boot. So yeah, if you're a member of any of our dazzling local troupes, it's a safe bet your wig and tassels are already packed and ready to roll.

BURLYCON 2013, Nov. 7-10, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Seattle Airport, 18740 International Blvd., Seattle, $275-$375, 206.246.8600

Or, if you'd rather just think about inconsequential matters like the birth and death of the cosmos, consider checking out a one-hour presentation at the Pierce College Science Dome. It's our very own plane'arium, people! That show culminates in a high-tech documentary about black holes, narrated by none other than Liam "Qui-Gon" Neeson (not in person, I'm sorry to report). Take a handful of stellar masses, squish 'em into a couple of cubic yards, and buddy, you have yourself a good old-fashioned collapsar. Now feel free to make a cheeseball live-action movie about it, with trash-can-shaped robots that talk like Roddy McDowall and Slim Pickman. Hey, y'know what? I'm dating myself. Moving on.

BLACK HOLES: THE OTHER SIDE OF INFINITY, 7 p.m., Pierce College Science Dome, 9401 Farwest Dr. SW, Lakewood, $3, 253.246.8600

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may your fellow astrophysicists look like Kat Dennings and Natalie Portman.

Good luck with that.

AMERICAN ROULETTE, 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, through Nov. 24, Capital Playhouse, 612 E. Fourth Ave., Olympia, $12, 360.296.5714

DRIVING MISS DAISY, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through Nov. 23, Dukesbay Theater, 508 Sixth Ave. #10, Tacoma, $15, 253.267.0869

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through Dec. 1, Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd., Lakewood, $19-$25, 253.588.0042

THE WEIR, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, through Nov. 17, Tacoma Little Theatre, 210 N. I St., Tacoma, $12, 253.272.2281

LINK: Nerd Alert! archives