Your guide to Calgary’s hot spots for sci-fi, comics, academia and paintball
By Sally MacKinnon
Do you know the difference between a Vulcan and a Romulan? Strategize paintball tactics in your spare time? Attend academic lectures for fun? Well, you’re not alone. Geek is chic: superhero movies are a sure-fire formula in Hollywood these days, The Big Bang Theory is one of CBS’ highest rated shows, and Barbie’s new profession for 2010 is computer engineer, complete with hot pink glasses and a portable laptop.
Calgary has a wealth of venues for the geek-at-heart, whatever your area of interest.
1 THE 2010 CALGARY COMIC & ENTERTAINMENT EXPO
The most iconic image of geekdom is the annual expos that happen around the world. You can go for the spectacle (costumes & celebrity guests), retail (toys & collector’s items), artwork (by comic book and anime artists), or just the chance to be with like-minded individuals. This year’s Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo features Leonard Nimoy, Brent Spiner, Billy Dee Williams, Malcolm McDowell and actors from Battlestar Galactica, Stargate: Atlantis and Twilight.
2 TABLETOP GAMES
The Sentry Box is Calgary’s mecca for fantasy and sci-fi games, whether it’s role playing, miniatures or cards. Regularly scheduled tournaments include (but aren’t limited to) Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering, Flames of War and Warhammer (1835 – 10 Ave SW). Small Soldier is a store that has narrowed in on fans of the military, offering model supplies, miniatures, classes, and tournaments for Flames of War, a game based on the battles of World War II.
3 ACADEMIC EVENTS
For those with a thirst for knowledge that isn’t satisfied by Wikipedia, the Telus World of Science offers Science Café, a lecture & discussion night at the Ironwood Stage & Grill. Past topics include Arctic ice, black holes, and stem cell research. Big Rock, Calgary’s local brewery, offers the Big Rock Lecture Series at the brewery’s on-site grill, complete with a buffet and two pints of beer. The topics are a mixed bag, from historical shipwrecks to solar technology and genocide in Africa.
4 COLLECTORS’ HAVENS
In addition to the Sentry Box and Small Soldiers (#2), there are stores across the city to suit your interest. Comics are the specialty at Phoenix Comics (1010 – 16 Ave NW & 2523 – 17 Ave SW) and Another Dimension (424 – 10 St NW). Great White (Southcentre) and EB Games (various locations, including Chinook Centre) are one-stop shops for games, toys and comic books. And Medieval Reproductions is a local company that faithfully reconstructs medieval armour, weaponry, furniture and artwork.
5 PAINTBALL WARS
Paintball gives everyone—whether you’re a teacher, engineer or a homemaker— the chance to channel their inner warrior. Wherever you go, the concept is the same: eliminate the enemy with bullets of paint and a (hopefully) watertight strategy. Rampage Outdoor features 50 acres divided into seven different fields; Rampage Urban Combat is an 80,000-sq.-ft. field with buildings, graveyards and vehicles; and Rampage City is a 28,000-sq.-ft. indoor paintball park. Call 403-251-5166 for more information.