A geek's guide to Milwaukee
Turn your weekend into a geekend. We've loaded up a day of activities that send you on a journey around the greater Milwaukee area in search of the premier geek experience.
The word "geek" can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, so we've tried to narrow it down to a more specific sub-culture while still providing a diverse experience.
From movies to comics to games (both with parts and pixels), we've outlined the journey below. It features six stops and two events.
Coffee at Alderaan
Alderaan Coffee keeps its fandom of "Star Wars" on the down-low. It's named for a "Star Wars" planet but the interior is clad in everything modern and nothing geek. Coincidentally, the building happens to look like a massive Sandcrawler. (Do Jawas buy condos?) This Yelp Review suggests patrons should explore further to get their geek fix, but it doesn't take long to realize these suggestions go off the rails pretty quickly (please don't flick the lights off and on, and don't flush the toilet more than you need).
While the geek rating of this stop is low, it still might be worth it to pick up a set of Alderaan campfire mugs for the novelty or a bag of Alderaan Imperial Blend for your friends.
Bins of bits & bobs, tools & toys
The next two stops are conveniently placed next to each other for a perfectly matched geek pairing, providing a little bit of science with your fiction. American Science & Surplus is a hobbyist's dream, with rows of bins of unique and eccentric bits and bobs, all adorned with humorous labels. Find glass tubes, model supplies, electrical parts, lab equipment and dinosaur poop. It's one of those places that's fun for all ages, because when you set foot in the store, you rediscover your inner child.
Comic books, collectibles, and super ephemera
Right next door is Lost World of Wonders, a fine purveyor of comic books, games and other geeky pop-culture collectibles.
Comic books have ebbed and flowed in popularity from the 1930s to the '60s to the present, but it was the late '90s that managed to wrangle on-screen digital special effects to bring us the first passable comic book movie, "X-Men." Since then Hollywood has not looked back, and the related industries have flourished. Toys, books, costumes, T-shirts and more now come in all shapes, sizes, colors and super powers. And the stories are as diverse as ever, giving just about anyone a jumping-in point, no matter what you dig.
Lost World of Wonders is one of southeastern Wisconsin's largest comic shops and can help you find the stories you seek.
Games in the physical realm
Board Game Barrister is a boutique with hundreds of different styles of games played in the physical world, including board, card, war, strategy, table top, stacking and puzzles. Basically, anything that challenges players in the physical world. They also host game nights every day of the week and gaming events if you're in need of a partner to play with.
Board Game Barrister has four locations around the Milwaukee area, but for the sake of this journey, we're sending you to the Greenfield Towne Center for its proximity to the next location.
Food & drink & dice
Now that you've purchased all kinds of books and games, it's time to sit down and enjoy them. Binary: Games, Food & Spirits is a board game-themed bar in West Allis that provides shelves of tabletop games available, free to play.
There are also semi-regular, semi-irreverent events, such as the "super low-key night like any other" on Valentine's Day that touts: "We aren't doing anything to celebrate … No roses, no chocolate, no illogical human emotions" or the title of the St. Patrick's Day event, which breaks down its purpose succinctly: "An excuse for drinking 2017."
And as the name suggests, Binary also has food and drink available, though it's nothing fancy. You're here more for the experience than the culinary excursion.
Binary opens at 5 p.m. on select days.
Games in the digital realm
End the night Downtown at 42 Lounge, which provides video game consoles and libations. Customers can choose from PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Wii U or Nintendo Switch. You can take part in Cosplay Raves, Dragon Balls and more.
Check the schedule to see if you're in town at the right time to catch a Dainty Rogues show. Fan fiction-themed burlesque that includes fire-eating, singing hula-hooping, stand-up comedy and drag.
Photos: Dainty Rogues
Venues shift depeding on the show
An Anime and pop culture convention
Another event to plan your schedule around: Anime Milwaukee. Sometimes it's a little difficult to make an argument for visiting the city in the middle of February, perhaps the coldest time of year in this area, but it's easy to distract yourself from that fact when you're gawking at all the magnificent cosplay at Anime Milwaukee. The event has grown into more of a general geek culture event, attracting nearly 10,000 pop-culture enthusiasts, including events like learning Japanese and drawing manga and featuring various special guests.
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