Magic City Comic Con
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 MagicCityComicCon.com. 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.”