Magic City Comic Con

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In his Na­tional Geo­graphic doc­u­men­tary “Ex­plorer: Bill Nye’s Global Melt­down,” the au­thor and bow-tied “sci­ence guy” sounds an­grier than ever as he rides shot­gun in a he­li­copter tour over Mi­ami Beach.

“This is the most at-risk coast­line in the U.S.,” Nye says in the doc­u­men­tary of the tourist­blitzed shore­lines off Collins Av­enue, throw­ing up his arms in a mo­ment of the­atri­cal hand-ges­tur­ing. It’s hardly the first time the en­gi­neer will re­sort to stag­ing histri­on­ics in this hour-long sci­ence ex­plainer, which aired last Novem­ber on ca­ble. Nye con­fronts cli­mate change de­nial in bizarre con­ver­sa­tions with shirt­less South Florida beach­go­ers on Collins Av­enue (one isn’t con­cerned about global warm­ing be­cause he’s “in Mi­ami”). In Tal­la­has­see, Nye sits down with Florida Rep. Mike Hill (R-Pen­sacola Beach), whose flat dec­la­ra­tion (“We’ve gone through th­ese cy­cles be­fore – warm­ing and cool­ing, warm­ing and cool­ing – and the Earth has al­ways sur­vived”) is enough to send Nye spi­ral­ing. In one scene, Nye ap­pears scruffy and de­pressed, bowtie un­done, puff­ing a cig­a­rette on a high­way.

Not far from where he hov­ered over Mi­ami, Nye will bring his sci­ence and show­man­ship to pop­cul­ture con­ven­tion Magic City Comic Con on Fri­day, Jan. 15, for a Q and A and tour pro­mot­ing his new book “Un­stop­pable: Har­ness­ing Sci­ence to Change the World.” Nye is the mar­quee en­ter­tainer on a geeky bill of 90 sci­ence-fic­tion, anime, fan­tasy, film and comic­book celebri­ties vis­it­ing the Mi­ami Air­port Con­ven­tion Cen­ter Jan. 15-17.

Magic City founder Mike Broder, who also pro­duces big-sis­ter con­ven­tion Florida Su­per­con, calls it a “coup” that he landed Nye at all. The one­time host of 1990s chil­dren’s TV se­ries “Bill Nye the Sci­ence Guy” rarely books con­ven­tion ap­pear­ances, so Broder bid $10,000 over the sum­mer for a crowd­funded Bill Nye doc­u­men­tary on Kick­starter to lure the en­gi­neer back to town.

“The bid orig­i­nally said $10,000 to make him sub­sti­tute sci­ence teacher for a day at a grade school,” Broder says. “I wanted him to do a Q and A on­stage in­stead. In a way, he’ll be teach­ing our class, which is 23,000 diehard fans.”

To Broder, Nye’s ap­pear­ance taps into Magic City’s hottest com­mod­ity, nos­tal­gia, but also the po­lar­iz­ing is­sue of cli­mate change in South Florida.

“I grew up in Fort Laud­erdale as a teenager, so I’ll tell you, we have a freak­ing ero­sion prob­lem,” says Broder, whose Magic City Face­book page has drawn “nasty com­ments” about Nye’s ap­pear­ance. “He has an op­por­tu­nity to When: Noon-2 a.m. Fri­day, 10:30 a.m.- 2 a.m. Satur­day, and 10:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Sun­day Where: Mi­ami Air­port Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, 711 NW 72nd Ave., in Mi­ami Costs: $35-$40 for sin­gle-day ticket, $75-$250 for week­end pass Con­tact: 305-261-3800 or Mag­icCi­ talk to an au­di­ence about evo­lu­tion and cli­mate change, and I’m sure he’ll up­set a few ap­ple carts.”

Other celebri­ties in­clude “Doc­tor Who” ac­tors Jenna Cole­man and Bil­lie Piper, which Broder calls the other big-ticket draws at Magic City. There is also World Wrestling En­ter­tain­ment wrestler Ric Flair, along with Kris­tian Nairn, the lum­ber­ing gen­tle gi­ant Hodor on “Game of Thrones”; and pup­peteer Carol Spin­ney, the iconic voice of Big Bird and Os­car the Grouch on “Sesame Street.”

More at­trac­tions this year in­clude cos­play con­tests, a Su­per Geek Film Fes­ti­val, a “Dat­ing a Cos­player 101” ses­sion and a screen­ing of “The Rocky Hor­ror Pic­ture Show” with orig­i­nal ac­tors Barry Bost­wick, Pa­tri­cia Quinn and Nell Camp­bell.

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that the cal­iber of tal­ent ap­pear­ing here “seems sim­i­lar” to Florida Su­per­con, Broder says Magic City is de­signed as a “com­peti­tor,” not a com­pan­ion, to the pop­u­lar sum­mer con­ven­tion he also man­ages.

“Magic City is like a young up­start, so I want to treat it like, ‘How do I make it bet­ter than Su­per­con?’ ” Broder says. “The tier of guests that are com­ing speak to that point.”


Au­thor and sci­ence guy Bill Nye con­fronts cli­mate change de­nial in wacky con­ver­sa­tions with South Florida beach­go­ers in his Na­tional Geo­graphic doc­u­men­tary “Ex­plorer: Bill Nye’s Global Melt­down.”

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