Local Shout Outs

  • Give Blood, Get a Ticket to the 2018 Arizona Renaissance Festival!

    I am refreshing this article from 2017, because the deal is happening again!

    All United Blood Services Center Donors who make a MAX donation (Power Red, Platelets or Plasma) before the end of February will receive a voucher for a FREE adult admission ticket to the 2018 Renaissance Festival!

    Want to know more about MAX donation? Click here!

    To schedule an appointment, visit their site
    or call 1-877-UBS-HERO (827-4376)

  • More Than Just an Underground Tiki Bar: UnderTow Swept Me Away!

    Personally, I have been wanting to visit UnderTow for the past several months. Jeff saw my post on Facebook about desiring to go, and took me and Allen this past Saturday. If you’re intimidated about going, don’t be! (I was, stupidly, which is why it took me so long to get there.)

    To help others out, here’s a mini guide/adventure on getting to UnderTow and enjoying it.

    Finding UnderTow

    UnderTow is a hidden “tiki/concept bar” located at Indian School and 36th St. To locate it, GPS takes you to Sip Coffee & Beer Garage, which was a former car garage (so coooool). This is not a mistake. There’s no outdoor signage, so don’t drive in circles looking for it.

    Important Parking Note: Uber/Lyft over, or get there early enough to have a backup parking plan if no parking is available at Sip Coffee & Beer House. If you park at a neighboring joint, you will get towed. Friends on Facebook had this happen to them.

    Reservations are Vital

    UnderTow is TINY. It’s the former oil change pit of the car garage Sip is in. In theory, you can hop on over and wait for a chance to get in (in case someone cancels). But don’t do that.

    Getting reservations is relatively easy. Hop to their website, scroll down, and use the Open Table reservation thingie.

    Just don’t try to get a reservation of more than four people. It’s a very intimate location for drinks and conversation. Bring close friends. Bring your partner.

    Reservations are good for 90 minutes. It will fly by. Enjoy the experience while you’re there!

    Allen, Dannette, Jeff, and me!

    Inside the Vessel

    Once you’re in Sip, walk down the stairs under the ship decoration hanging from the ceiling and the door person will direct you to where you’ll be sitting. If it’s your first time, I recommend sitting at the bar (as Jeff suggested to me). It is a blast to watch the bartenders at work – the cocktails here are a work of art!

    You can get a peek of the menu here (no food, pure drinkage). Yes, the drinks are pricey. I am a cheap ass, so I feel your pain. But they are strong, and flavorful, and worth it. Also, two cocktails will leave you relatively tipsy. Additionally, there is no judgement if you just have one drink. If you don’t feel like drinking a lot, no pressure at all.

    If you DO want to drink a lot, they have a few giant $30 cocktails you can split with a friend or go nuts on. Also: the bartenders are more than happy to help you, no matter how busy they look. Ask away!

    I got a “The Smoking Cannon” (Menu description: This stirred cocktail blends Bourbon, Barbadian Rum, French American, Amontillado Sherry, Pineapple, Bitters & topped with Cinnamon Smoke) for my first cocktail, and a “Bridge Between Two Worlds” (Menu description: A blend of Coconut infused Dark Rum, Pineapple Rum, German Bitters, Pineapple & Lime) for my second (which was a recommendation from the bartender when I told her I loved coconut rum drinks). “Bridge” was my favorite, though the “Smoking Cannon,” with its cinnamon infused smoke swirling about, was super cool.

    As a bonus, they were also super accommodating serving Allen a virgin cocktail because he was voluntarily DD for the night!

    Noise

    It’s very crowded and noisy. If you get claustrophobic and (noisy) small spaces give you anxiety, this is not the bar for you. Some conversations had to be yelled into each other’s ears. It took a little getting used to. It also took some creative maneuvering not to bump people over.

    Swag

    Occasionally, they have limited edition art tiki mugs. If you collect them, ask! They also have super sweet t-shirts for $18.

    Overall Review

    I had a phenomenal experience and can’t wait to return for a “treat yo’self” night!

    5/5

  • ASU to Host Diversity in Star Wars Panel This Friday (Free to the Public!)

    One of my fellow GeekyLeaks mods, Jessica Fishell, shared that ASU is hosting a free-to-the-public panel on race and gender studies in Star Wars. The event is this Friday. Check it out!

    Update: A panelist confirms that they will cover the first six films, though it may touch on TFA and Rogue One.

     Star Wars Films & Discussion 
    Free Event

    Agribusiness Center, Room 134 | Arizona State University Polytechnic campus
    Register: https://csrd.asu.edu/CreatedEqual

    The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy (CSRD) and The Philosophy and Film Series at ASU present the “Star Wars” films and discussion.

    In the last 14 months two new Star Wars films, Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Rogue One, released to widespread critical and popular acclaim; however, while largely celebrated, both films have drawn the ire of those unhappy that these films feature women and people of color as principal leads.

    Join us for a discussion that will use this controversy as a catalyst to examine the role race plays in the Star Wars film series and how Star Wars asks viewers to rethink their own prejudices at the same time as it encodes markers of systemic racism in American culture.

    Note: *The “Star Wars” films will not be screened in their entirety, rather a “supercut” of relevant film clips will be shown.

    Star Wars has definitely made some improvements in representation. I mean, SW: TFA’s “holy trinity” marketed good guy characters are a woman (Rey), a black dude (Finn), a Latino dude (Poe)! But, other female characters and POC do still feel fairly under-utilized and under-represented. (I’m looking at you, Phasma, who had a bajillion freakin’ awesome toys and figures and had a teeny tiny movie presence).

    But, for a major franchise, it was still a very important step.

    Rogue One, I actually do have a few more qualms with. They took some major strides with POC but it was kind of a bummer to see Jyn do her final suicide run with… a billion dudes. And of the rebel pilots, I just saw one lady pilot. (Still more lady pilots than the OT, so small victories. Also, TFA had a ton of lady pilots, and Poe Dameron’s mom Shara Bey was a famous pilot.)

    Either way, I am super interested to check this out. I may have to rearrange my schedule!

  • Maricopa Con’s Kickstarter for 2017 is Live (through Feb 19)!

    Maricopa Con will take place August 5 and 6, and they need to fund by February 19. I have no doubt that they will fund, after successfully funding the past few years!

    Tickets are limited, so snag yours!

    Our community has an abundance of smaller, intimate shows where you can chill and get to know people without the looming anxiety of missing the “big panels” or “big guests” at the larger shows. Tus-Con is another favorite of mine.

    A common complaint about Maricopa Con is that by the time folks learn about the event, it’s sold out and the Kickstarter is long over. (Another common occurrence with smaller shows that cap attendance!)

    Well, no excuse now. 😉 Get your ticket(s) and swag and support local!

    Holy cow this is gonna be our fifth Kickstarter project for the convention!  Did you love last year’s new venue?  We plan to return there with the same or a similar layout.  Did you meet new people and gain new gamer friends last year?  We hope you did, and we plan to have another 250+ people at the 2017 convention.  Join us that weekend for some of the best board game, card game, RPG, and miniature war game events in the valley!  Our Core Values remain strong, and we continue to run without debt each year.  The Game Library will return as well.

    What is MaricopaCon?  MaricopaCon is Arizona’s first kickstarted convention.  We are for gamers and run by gamers with business experience.  It was started in Jason’s house in Maricopa many years ago now.  We play board games, card games, RPGs, and tabletop miniature games at MaricopaCon.  Demo groups run games and volunteer GMs do as well.  MaricopaCon also brings together many successful game designers under one roof for one weekend.  Welcome home.

    http://www.maricopacon.com/