The 2nd annual Nerd Nite Nerdtacular is upon us!  I’m thrilled to announce that we’ll kick-off our second year at Galapagos Art Space on Friday September 18, 2009 at 8pm. Even though last year’s first annual Nerdtacular set the bar extremely high, I can confidently say that said bar will be easily overtaken by our 2nd Nerdtacular which will feature a former presenter and his friend performing body-and-mind-contorting science acrobatics, presentations about foraging for food by a New York Times writer, Daoist sexual vampires, and Cold War-era pinball raids, DJ Eric EQ spinning wise tunes, as well as a musical performance by eccentric, bear-costume-wearing Claymation Velociraptor. ‘Whoa’ is right!

I definitely recommend you buy tickets in advance ($12):

Back To The Lecture(s) At-Hand:

*Presentation #1
Foraging for Food in New York
by Ava Chin

Description: Finding food in New York City isn’t exclusively relegated to restaurants, street carts, bodegas, and grocery stores. Sometimes all you have to do is look in a local park or even an empty lot. In this presentation, Ava discusses the numerous delicacies that grow all around us. Sometimes weeds she finds are medicinal and sometimes they’re just good eats. Occasionally, she even finds things that could kill you–or at least give you hallucinations or a terrible stomachache. And with mushroom season starting up again next month, this promises to be one thrilling, and even poisonous, presentation.  All botanicals addressed in the presentation can be found in Brooklyn parks, streets, or off brownstone stoops.

Bio: Ava, aka the Urban Forager, writes a popular foraging blog for the Local section of the New York Times online in which she details local plants and fungi that are either healthy or harmful, such as gingko, reishi mushrooms, and jimson weed. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, SPIN, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, and is forthcoming in Saveur magazine. She is a professor at the City University of New York, and can be found studying edible plants across the five boroughs.  You can find her New York Times posts here:

*Presentation #2
The Bizarre War Against Pinball
by Seth Porges

Description: Today, pinball seems like an innocent and all-American pastime. But for three decades, the game was a crime in most of America’s major cities–including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. In NYC, just weeks after Pearl Harbor, Mayor LaGuardia enforced Prohibition-style raids, in which thousands of machines were rounded up and destroyed. On the verge of extinction, the game survived behind closed doors in seedy joints in Harlem and the Village. This talk will explore the bizarre history of this quintessentially American game, from its Depression-era origins and its suspected links with the Mob, to the present state (today, just one company in the entire world still makes pinball machines). The goal is to answer a single question: Why have so many people found pinball to be so scary?

Bio: Seth Porges is a technology editor at Popular Mechanics magazine, and the former technology columnist for Bloomberg News. He is a frequent guest on television, including recent appearances on Fox & Friends, The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet, Fox Business, Today in New York, Good Day New York, and G4TV’s Attack of the Show. A scholar of pinball history, he has written about the game for BusinessWeek, Popular Mechanics, Men’s Journal, PC Magazine, and the Chicago Reader.

*Presentation #3
Yin, Yang, Thank You Ma’am: Confucius, Daoist Sexual Vampires, and Women in Ancient China
by Jo Krukowski

Description: In the early days of the Chinese empire, two strongly contradictory views of women and sexuality coexisted in strange harmony. Confucian social codes allotted women a subordinate role in society, and maintained that sex was solely a reproductive necessity. Daoist teachers, on the other hand, insisted that women were spiritually superior to men, and that the sex act was a means of achieving oneness with the universe, even immortality. On the surface, Daoist mystification of women and sex appears to be a major step towards gender equality and sexual freedom in the ancient world. Upon closer inspection, however, we realize the Daoist boys had a secret… and it definitely involved vampires.

Bio: Jo Krukowski is a recent grad of Grinnell College, and now works as a production assistant for ABC. She spends her time bridge and tunneling her way into the city, and reading art history books. Jo also writes for a geektacular movie review show entitled F is For Film, which you can check out at the following Youtube address:


Special surprise 5-minute guest presentation by an unsuspecting Surprise Industries attendee.


For Nerd Nite presenter Kerry Donny-Clark, with a friend, doing science acrobatics


DJ Eric EQ


Claymation Velociraptor (

2nd Annual Nerd Nite Nerdtacular
Galapagos Art Space
16 Main Street in DUMBO Brooklyn (F train to York St. or A/C train to High St.)
Friday September 18, 2009 at 8pm
$12 cover charge for this special Nerdtacular