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March 9, 2015 at 10:28am

Nerd Alert issued for Leonard Nimoy, Kenneth Branagh, Yahoo! Screen ...

Leonard Nimoy represented the best of humanity. ©2003 By Paramount Pictures All Rights Reserved

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Wishing Harrison "fly yes, land no" Ford a speedy recovery, this is Nerd Alert, the Weekly Volcano's recurring events calendar devoted to all things nerdy. I myself am a Star Wars fan, mathlete, and spelling bee champion of long standing, so trust me: I grok whereof I speak.

I'd be remiss if I didn't begin this installment with a tribute to the late, lamented Leonard Nimoy. (Cue the Vulcan salute and "Amazing Grace" bagpipes.) Mr. Nimoy was a hell of a lot more than half-human, but of course I have to start with his most beloved character. Spock represented, not the alien, but the alienated. He stood for all of us who got picked on for being smart and socially awkward - pretty much all of SF fandom. I was addicted to Fringe, on which he played a recurring role, and the docu-series he hosted on Nickelodeon, Standby: Lights, Camera, Action! I loved his stage Sherlock. He was probably the first actor I knew by name. In short, I've been a Leonard Nimoy fan for 40 years. We all have. He lives in us now. Nimoy has been, and always shall be, our friend.

Our nation has contributed hundreds of characters to the planetary mythos over the years, a fact about which we should be patriotically proud. Yet many of those characters are defined by their ability to kill. Others are famous for quests purely vengeful or materialistic. Spock's goal is different: he wants to understand as much as possible of the universe. He seeks to find kinship with those least like himself. His favorite word, "fascinating," attaches value to the "merely" interesting. His catchphrase, "Live long and prosper," is both secular and applicable to all. That character lives on, of course, in Zachary Quinto's respectful performances, and his spirit owes to the labors of multitudes. Yet I think it's important to remember why Spock and Leonard Nimoy were synonymous in so many people's minds: they stood for the same unimpeachable goals. I hope future guardians of Star Trek and its ideas will remember that.

FRIDAY, MARCH 13

Who's got big balls? Disney princess geeks, that's who! So don your blue ribbon, transmogrify Bruno, Gus, Jaq and Luke, and saddle up, fellow Mouseketeers! Kenneth Branagh, acclaimed director of Thor, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and umpteen Shakespeare adaptations, has lavished his talents on a live-action retelling of Cinderella. It stars Lily James (Downton Abbey's Lady Rose) as Ella, Cate Blanchett as her snotty stepmum and Helena Bonham Carter as the world's greatest personal stylist. As I write this, RottenTomatoes.com rates the flick a bippity-boppity-beautiful 94 percent. Ah, Cinderella: disparaging stepparents in favor of the patriarchal monarchy since 1634.

SATURDAY, MARCH 14

Feel like getting your act on? Olympia's Shakespeare-in-the-Park company Animal Fire Theatre is auditioning for King John at 11 a.m. in the Midnight Sun (113 N. Columbia). Think Game of Thrones minus zombies and whores, but with bloodthirsty mosquitos the size of direwolves. At 7 the next evening, Lakewood Playhouse would love to see actors and singers for Drood, a musical adaptation of Dickens's unfinished novel. The Kander & Ebb musical Cabaret, which features both prostitutes and Nazis, holds auditions at Tacoma Little Theatre on March 22. It's springtime for Hitler!

Two promising stage productions open this weekend: Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard at Evergreen State College, and Steve Martin's thinky Picasso at the Lapin Agile at Tacoma Little Theatre. I've peeked through the windows of the real Lapin Agile on Montmartre. It's the size of a Starbucks. Who knew?

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17

After getting unceremoniously expelled from NBC's prime-time campus, season six of Community moves to something called Yahoo! Screen, where it probably streams between levels of Candy Crush. In a related story, Generalissimo Francisco Franco and Chevy Chase are still dead to us.

Until next week, may the Force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favor, and may you live long and prosper.

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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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