This Week in Geek, July 11-17: Sand sculptures, Slurpee’s, and tons of free stuff!

Some of the best things in life are free, and I don't mean the taste of new toothpaste or laughing with friends. Sure, those are great, but that warm fuzzy feeling we call happiness can be achieved with more creative ways, like scoring free Slurpee's, learning how to make art out of trash and attending a sand sculpture festival. Or how about jamming out to promote the end of the Nuclear Age, hearing a campfire story or listening to authors swear at fictional children?

If the multitude of free-and-open-to-public events this week don't do it for you, indulge yourself by attending some good old Pirate-themed theater, learning astronomy or seeing William fuckin' Shatner at the Boston Star Trek Convention this weekend. Free or not, it's the summer, so go out and live it up with maximum Geekiness on all days of the week.


[slrrrrrrrrrp] Free Slurpee Day @ 7-Eleven 12am - 11:59pm
Free Slurpees, much like newborn puppies or the upcoming album by Blink-182, are one of those things you must celebrate with spontaneous, public dance. Join 7-Eleven's birthday/possibly-dance-partay today with a complimentary Slurpee drink from participating stores around the area. Just remember to make sure the cashier's forgotten who you are before trying to score that second free drink (you bastard).

[film] High Rise @ The Brattle Theatre 8pm
When documentarian Gabriel Mascaro discovered a curious book that maps the richest people in Brazil, he decided to visit their homes and ask them about social inequality, politics and more personal topics such as their prejudices, fears and histories. Presented by the DocYard, High Rise (Um Lugar Ao Sol) analyzes the Brazilian upper class through revealing dialogues with the owners of nine penthouse apartments. Mascaro and producer Rachel Ellis will visit the Brattle tonight via Skype for a Q&A session after the film.

[boom] Boomtown Festival @ Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center Until July 14, and July 18-21
Cantabrigians rejoice! The second of many free events this week, the Boomtown Festival 2011, hosted by CMAC, presents a variety of open-to-public dance, art, music, poetry and interactive events going on until July 21, rain or shine. Highlights include readings by local poet Toni Bee, a junkyard sculpture workshop with artist Bobby Brown and an "illustrated picnic" with chalk artist Jerrie Lyndon. You can find the full schedule here.


[exploring] Kitty Pilgrim The Explorer's Code @ Brookline Booksmith 7pm

Her name may be Kitty, but this globe-trotting, award-winning journalist is serious business, especially when it comes to storytelling. Kitty Pilgrim turns from CNN to the world of fiction with a new earth-spanning thriller that follows the quest for a multi-million dollar deed. Pilgrim will be at the Brookline Booksmith to talk about and sign copies of The Explorer's Code.

[gazing] Stars in the City: Urban Astronomy @ the Boston Center for Adult Education 7:30pm
To celebrate (or lament) NASA's final flight of its Space Shuttle Program, why not learn how to expertly gaze into the sky in the smoggiest and most light-polluted of cities? For $65, the BCAE introduces the planets, stars, and constellations that can be seen on clear summer nights, even in metro areas like Boston. You can register at or by calling the Center at 617-267-4430.


[yarr] The Unfortunate Cutthroats @ BCA Plaza Blackbox Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat + Sun

Did you know a pirate's favorite branch of the military is the Arrrrr-my? Oh wait, it's actually the Navy. The Vagabond Theatre Group, a pretty new addition to the Boston theater scene, presents a swashbucklin' tale about loyalty and mutiny aboard a pirate ship. Tickets are $22 and can be bought at the link above.

[fantasy] Dawn Metcalf Luminous @ Pandemonium 7pm
When a 16-year-old girl finds out she can peel off her skin to reveal a lustrous, magical skeleton, she slips into a parallel universe filled with other teenagers with mystic abilities. Add in a murder mystery twist, and Dawn Metcalf's debut novel, Luminous, is sounding like some scrumptious, trippy summer reading. She'll be signing her new book at the Pandaemonium until 8:30pm, so be sure to bring your favorite color Sharpie.


[goodnight] Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortés, Go the F*** to Sleep @ Brookline Booksmith 7pm

Go the f*** to sleep... Now that's no way to talk to a child. But isn't that what every embattled parent of a tantrum-prone child thinks as their kid demands yet another bedtime story? The author and illustrator of this delightful picturebook for adults will be speaking/signing at this free and public event.

[reading] Readercon 22 @ Burlington Marriot in Burlington, MA thru Sunday
If you'd rather spend a summer huddled away with Slaughterhouse-Five or a Jonathan Lethem novel than rewatching Star Trek: Enterprise, than maybe this is the con for you this weekend. Readercon 22 will feature illustrious writers such as Geoff Ryman and Gardner Dozois (who will act as guests of honor) and will be paying tribute to the late Mark Twain. According to its website, the convention is devoted to "‘imaginative literature' - literary science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the unclassifiable works often called ‘slipstream.'" Sounds like a great weekend to me.

[sand] Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival @ Revere Beach through July 17
Beige-colored spectacles in the form of Biblical scenes, castles, and giant violins will soon emerge from the Boston coastline for any beachgoer to see. Yes, sand sculptures! They are perfect for those simultaneously hungry for art and a summer vacation. There's obviously no lack of sand at the Blue Line-accessible Revere Beach, but the sand used for its annual Sand Sculpting Festival is actually a special type that comes from Hudson, New Hampshire. This allows for the complex pieces of art that will be showcased at the 4-day festival. Once again, this event is free!

[it all ends] Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in Imax and 3D 11:59pm
Daniel Radcliffe was 8 years old when J. K. Rowling penned the first Harry Potter novel. Now, at the end of a series that defined the culture of multiple generations, the film series' titular character is 21, which is old enough not only to drink but to also face Lord Voldemort (who, at the end of Part 1, had regained the Elder Wand) in an epic final battle. If you're really following the craze, you probably already bought the $45 marathon movie ticket that gives admission to all 8 of the HP films. If not, the midnight showing (if you can get tickets for it) will prove to be a worthy conclusion to 14 years of Harry Potter books, films, toys, costumes, video games and symposiums.

[fantasy] Various Authors read from Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy @ Porter Square Books 7pm
Within the past decade, urban fantasy has been a popular subgenre, especially among YA audiences. Some of the biggest names in the field contributed to Naked City, a compilation of short stories, among them Holly Black, Melissa Marr and Jim Butcher. Editor Ellen Datlow introduces a roster of contributing writers reading including Jeffery Ford, Kit Reed, Matthew Kressel, John Crowley, Ellen Kushner and Caitlin R. Kiernan


[boldly go] Star Trek Convention @ Hyatt Regency Cambridge thru Sunday

The 45th Anniversary Celebration Trekkies Con is this weekend, FEATURING THE SHAT HIMSELF. Need we say more? (Tickets range from $20 gen. admission to $329 for the Gold Weekend Package.)

[oui] Bastille Day Party @ Marlborough St 6pm
Whip yourself out of that bourgeois-life malaise and hit the streets, Parisian-style to celebrate the birth of a country whose cultural influence may be unmatched around the world. Taking place at Marlborough St. between Berkeley & Clarendon, the French Cultural Center's celebration of Bastille Day features the best of Boston French food and drink (as in beer and wine) as well as musical headliners Yoro Ndiaye and Rupa & the April Fishes.

[theater] The Good Doctor @ The Factory Theatre Fri + Sat 8pm Sat + Sun 3pm
Boston's Independent Drama Society presents The Good Doctor Neil Simon's adaptation of the stories of Russian satirist Anton Chekov. Consider it a comedy based on a satire, a loose association of vignettes set in 19th century pre-communist Russia.

[as you wish] The Princess Bride @ Somerville Theatre 11:59pm Fri + Sat

Robin Wright, Mandy Parinkin, Andre the Giant and Wallace Shawn unite in this cult-classic about the best bedtime story ever. This swash-buckling film is screening twice this weekend, on Friday and Saturday at 11:59pm. A good excuse for skipping it would be... INCONCEIVABLE.

[no more nukes] Festival for a Nuclear-Free Future @ Copley Square 2pm

"No more Hiroshimas and Fukushimas... It's time for the nuclear age to end," the website for the Festival for a Nuclear-Free Future proclaims. Hear hear! Activists Randy Kehler, Brian Corr, Anna Maker and musical performers Public Interest and John Loretz will take the stage to take a stand against the use of nuclear power and the existence of nuclear weapons.


[theater] 1001 @ BCA Plaza Theatre 8pm

From Disney's Aladdin to 1942's Arabian Nights, the classic tale of One Thousand and One Nights has been retold for the umpteenth time, but never like this. Jason Grote and Company One places the timeless tale into an apocalyptic, 21st-centuring setting that is described as "a seductive fever-dream of a play." The fact that Osama bin Laden is one of the characters certainly piqued my interest. 1001 will be playing until August 13.

Betsi Feathers Burlesque Show @ Coolidge Corner Theatre 11:59pm
The Betsi Feathers burlesque troupe is stepping up and stepping out (of their clothes) in this midnight engagement at the Coolidge Corner theatre. Tickets are $15 for this night of frolicking fun, featuring appearances by geek-burlesque troupe Rogue Burlesque and Boston Ballet instructor (and Betsi Feathers namesake) Betsi Graves.


[mouthoffs] MassMouth @ Columbus Park in the North End 7pm

Actor and storyteller Alan White revitalizes the lost art of oral literature with a campfire tale of ghastly deeds and high piracy along The Freedom Trail. "Fire" is the theme of the night, and don't be shy to bring your own 5-minute story about fire -- a fire in your belly? on the stove? in your heart? forest fires? -- whatever it may be. The event, organized by MassMouth, rounds off a bustling week of free-to-attend outdoor summer events.

[yellow brick road] The Wizard of Oz @ Somerville Theatre 11am
The story of Dorothy n' friends has become an iconic modern fairy tale (even though it is actually an allegory for monetary reform) and is a much-beloved classic. It's inspired countless sequels, rehashes and re-imaginings, but nothing beats the original.

[KHAAAAAAAAAN] Star Trek 2 - The Wrath of Khan @ Coolidge Corner Theatre 11:59pm
Apparently this week is extra Star-Trekkie. The aging cast of the Enterprise fights against Khan, an exiled supervillian who breaks out to get revenge on the Kirk and his crew. This is the reboot that breathed life into the series that has kept it alive (rabid fandom intact: stand outside the Cambridge Hyatt this weekend for concrete proof) to this day.

-- Kelly Dickinson contributed

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