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Nerd Nite and Nostalgia

As the fun of New York Super Week 2015 quickly approaches and promises to inspire fans of all corners of pop culture, it got me thinking to what inspired me when I was growing up.  Here’s what I came up with…

I was born in 1975.  I’m a middle-aged boy of 40 years.  So when I think of nostalgia, I turn to 1985-1995.  In 1985 I had turned 10 and generally seem to have many more memories of that age than when I was nine, eight, seven, and so forth.  I choose to end my nostalgia fondness in 1995 because, well, life after 21 should be about real responsibilities as an adult, right?  Well, probably not, but it sounds good.   Not surprisingly, as adults now, many of my peers who run Hollywood seem to think that their childhood pop culture touch points were so wonderful that we’re now inundated with reboots of everything from that era ranging from the Transformers and the Smurfs, to Mad Max, Star Wars, and the Terminator.  Though I suppose this longing for one’s youth is certainly cyclical, just like in the late 70s and early 80s when the previous generation was reminiscing about the 50s via Grease, Happy Days, American Graffiti, and Stand By Me.

Nostalgia is generally regarded as looking back at the positive pieces of the past, but I want to jump right in and do the opposite.  Let’s remember the Cold War!  Seriously, until 1989, one my strongest memories is of always being afraid of nuclear war. Nuclear war was pervasive until 1990. Omnipresent.  Inescapable. And it didn’t just come from obvious war-themed movies like Red Dawn, The Morning After, and War Games.  It was such a part of daily life that Coke and Pepsi got in on the act with its cola wars, one of the most benign bands ever, Genesis, made an entire music video ending with President Reagan accidentally launching nukes, and even in the teen comedy Just One of the Guys, the horny kid brother simply wants to get laid as soon as possible because he never knows when we might die via The Bomb.  Kids today don’t know how good they got it.  In the 80s, we feared being kidnapped and ending up on the back of a milk carton, or even worse, finding razors in our Halloween candy.  Not sweet.

But then there’s the good stuff as well.  Namely, the junk food.  Cotton Club orange soda.  Snyder’s BBQ potato chips in the foil bag.  And best yet, Jell-O Gelatin Pops.  While many only remember Jell-O’s Pudding Pops thanks to pitchman-turned-sex-criminal Bill Cosby, gelatin pops were only available for a couple of years and were infinitely more delicious.  They came in strawberry, orange, and raspberry, with the raspberry ones being my favorite food of all-time.  I have vivid memories of eating them on Friday afternoons after elementary school on my front porch in Old Brooklyn, Cleveland, waiting for my friends to come over to play Monopoly.  I stumbled across the ‘Old School Man Crate‘ which understands this stuff too.

From food to footwear, I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up Nike Air Alpha Force, a fringe shoe that only briefly saw shelves.  It was my favorite shoe while I was in middle school – ¾ top, one Velcro strap along the toe, and the first time my parents allowed me to purchase a pair of shoes that cost more than $50.  They were a big deal to me, and most importantly, much sleeker and more streamlined that its bulkier Air predecessor, the Revolution, donned by Dr. Doogie Howser and lauded by John Lennon’s Instant Karma.  The 80s also saw the walls in my room covered in classic Sports Illustrated posters which were simple in their appearance with a big picture beneath a simple black-and-white header of the player’s name.  Ron Harper looked good on my wall as he drove the lane between two Lakers.  And what sports fan of that age didn’t love playing Dr. J vs. Larry Bird (and later Jordan vs. Bird) on a Commodore 64 or trying to figure out if new brands of baseball cards like the Donruss Traded set, Score, or Upper Deck were better than Topps, Fleer, and regular Donruss?  And Sport magazine gave SI a run for its money.

For fans of Nerd Nite, 1985-1995 was a wonderous time as many of the seeds of today’s gadgets were being planted.  My parents had the foresight to buy a computer in 1983 – an Adam.  This was even before the more popular Commodore 64.  In fact, I used the Adam through high school to write papers.  But when it came to gaming, it was all about Coleco Vision and later the Atari 7800.  Who needed the Atari 2600 when Coleco Vision boasted a slew of games such as Lady Bug, Smurf, Zaxxon Venture, Cosmic Avenger, and Dig Dugg?  Except my dad and I always got nasty blisters playing Decathlon because the Coleco Vision controller dug into the palm of one’s hand when operating it quickly to build up speed in the 100-meter dash.  Even later, Texas Instrument calculators became a necessity, and I finally realized I was a luddite when, throughout all of college, I lugged around a Smith Corona word processor in my suitcase so I could have a portable machine on which to do my homework.  And for reading, we gorged on choose-your-adventure books and relied on World Book encyclopedias to conduct ‘research’ for school – at least its entries were vetted a heck of a lot more than Wikipedia entries are today.  And back then, in encyclopedias, we looked at different maps than we see today, learning about countries like ‘Yugoslavia’ and the ‘USSR.’  Nobody heard of Latvia, Georgia, or Montenegro, and the only way we ever heard of Estonia was if you saw Encino Man.  Those Soviet boundaries have gone the way of Vuarnet, Hypercolor, Panama Jack, and Benetton shirts.

Oh, and baseball, players actually stole bases before they discovered steroids.  Ricky Henderson, Vince Coleman, Brett Butler, and Willie Wilson swiped more than 100 bases in a season.  Most teams don’t even combine to do that these days.

And it’ll be impossible for a television network to top NBC’s Thursday night prime-time line-up of The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, and Night Court.

I will say, life in the 80s was pretty grand, though maybe I say that because I don’t have kids today.  Back then we ‘surfed’ in the back of station wagons (who needs seatbelts?), laughed at the only kid we knew who ever wore a helmet while riding a bike, and thankfully, never had to rely on our parents for arranging ‘playdates’ for us (Author’s note:  ‘Playdate’ is my second most hated word only behind ‘panties.’).  We just knocked on our friend’s door and asked if he or she could come out and play.  This had to have been infinitely easier for parents too, as they never had to accompany their kids everywhere or over-plan them.  Kids today seem so smothered.  I mean, I feel we turned out all right, so why invent all this over-parenting?  Or maybe we didn’t turn out all right and our generation is trying to improve?  Who knows.  Not my point.  Though wearing a bike helmet and spending an entire Saturday day at five sports teams practices sounds a lot better than being nuked.

Nerd Nite at First Annual Brooklyn Brain Jam!

Nerd Nite is proud to be 1/4 of the first annual Brooklyn Brain Jam on Sunday September 7, 2014 from 12-6pm at the Bell House with other edutainment favorites Story Collider, The Big Quiz Thing, and Kevin Geeks Out.  These four venerable NYC-nerd-based organizations will feature a bit of their respective shows in the buffet of nerdery.  Buy tickets here. We’ll feature these two lovely presentations:

*Presentation #1
Should we Build Terminators?
by Erik Schechter

DESCRIPTION: This lecture discusses the rise of killer robots and the controversy surrounding them. Topics covered: how might a fully autonomous system be better a weapon than a simple drone? Who is working on these robots and who is opposing them? Can we can even stop the emergence of Terminator?

BIO: Erik Schechter is a tech journalist whose writing has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Aerospace America, Scientific American, the Wall Street Journal, Jane’s International Defence Review and other publications.

*Presentation #2
Delicious Garbage: The Less-Than-Appetizing History of Pizza
by Scott Wiener

DESCRIPTION: Pizza may just be a cheesy slice on a paper plate after a night of drinking but that simple slice has a dark past. Long before pizza landed in the US, it was a lowly peasant food eaten on the cholera-infested streets of Naples. Forget about toppings like pepperoni and mushrooms – the earliest pizza only came with a side of syphilis. Everybody’s favorite food traveled a long a winding road before achieving prominence, with plenty of dead ends along the way. They don’t teach this stuff in school.

BIO: After quitting a nice city government job, Scott Wiener decided to dedicate his life to pizza. Since founding Scott’s Pizza Tours in 2008, he has guided over 27,000 pizza lovers from around the planet to significant pizzerias around NYC. Scott also writes an award-winning column for Pizza Today Magazine (yes, it’s a real magazine) and recently authored the book Viva La Pizza: The Art of the Pizza Box about his Guinness World Record collection of over 750 unique pizza boxes from around the world. His pizza pontifications have been featured on the Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, Food Network, Discovery Channel.

 

Nerd Nite Teams Up with SUBMERGE! NYC Marine Science Festival for October 2, 2014 Nite

We’re on a motherf*cking boat!  Hudson River Park and the New York Hall of Science have partnered with Nerd Nite so we can bring you some fun-yet-smart evening entertainment on The Frying Pan (the name of said boat…spoiler alert: it’s docked) at Hudson River Park as part of the 2014 SUBMERGE! NYC Marine Science Festival .  Enjoy three funny-yet-smart presentations — marine-themed, of course — while the audience drinks along.  And wear your best nerdy t-shirt as part of our dry t-shirt contest.  We’re sure that learning, drinking, and a gently roiling docked boat is a terrific combination.  Buy tickets here.

October 2, 2014 at 8pm
The Frying Pan (pier 66 at West 26th Street) at Hudson River Park
NYC, NY 10001
C/E trains to 23rd Street
$10

Back to the Lectures At-Hand:
*Presentation #1
Stomatopods: What’s up with those Eyes and why is my Thumb Bleeding?
by Dr. Peter Thompson

Description:  So many organisms in the world and so many COOL adaptations.  Meet the lowly mantis shrimp, commonly referred to as the “thumb-splitter.”  A denizen of the colorful world of coral reefs, this crustacean sees the world through the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom and has an attack strike that can knock a hole in glass.  Come learn about what stomatopods can see that you cannot and the biomechanics behind the generation of extreme power in a liquid environment.  You too may come to believe that marine ecosystems are where its at.

Bio – Pete is a researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he works to keep young urbanites healthy if they eat that tasty free-range pork.  There is a parasite responsible for the common prohibition of eating rare pork.  It was nearly a thing of the past.  Now, with pasture raised pigs, it may make a comeback.  Pete is working on that.  In his fantasies, he lives in an underwater house surrounded by coral reefs.  That is why you will hear him talk about what he thinks is a most remarkable organism, the stomatopod.

*Presentation #2
A Journey Through Liquid Space: The Disney 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Ride
by David Shuff

Description: In 1971 Disney unveiled the greatest theme park attraction ever, the 20K ride. For decades it inspired, delighted and scared the crap out of anyone with half an imagination. In 1994 the ride was temporarily “closed for maintenance,” but it was a lie, lie, lie. In fact it never sailed again, and after laying fallow for a decade the decrepit ruins were unceremoniously demolished in 2004. But the story—and the dream—doesn’t end there. David Shuff has dedicated himself to keeping the memory and magic of 20K alive; in spite of riding it only once when he was 3 years old. Sharing rare photos, video and actual crew member accounts, he will helm a spine tingling adventure through the rise, fall and surprising afterlife of the 20K ride—the lost 8th wonder of the world.

Bio: David Shuff is a well rounded human being with a healthy dislike of most things Disney. Always drawn to the mysteries of the deep, as a child his dream was to be a marine biologist and his nightmares were about giant squids; it only dawned on him recently that he had the 20k ride to thank for both. Beware the plush giant squid behind his couch.

*Presentation #3
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 journalist, entrepreneur, TV commentator, and co-founder of Cloth for iOS. A former editor (and current contributor) at Maxim and Popular Mechanics, he also contributes to InStyle, Fast Company, Self, Men’s Journal, Mashable, and Forbes. In addition to making regular appearances on cable news as a science and technology analyst, he appears on four series currently in rotation on History, Discovery, and National Geographic. His recently produced documentary series “The Most Insane Amusement Park Ever” was based on a prior Nerd Nite talk. You can follow him on Twitter at @sethporges, or Facebook.

Dry T-Shirt Contest: Wearyour nerdiest t-shirt and the audience will vote on a winner

About the SUBMERGE! NYC Marine Science Festival
NYSCI has partnered with Hudson River Park to bring a free science festival to New York City residents. SUBMERGE! NYC Marine Science Festival is a daylong festival devoted to understanding our coastal waters. This inspiring day of interactive science will take place on the waterfront in lower Manhattan, at Hudson River Park’s Pier 26, on Sunday October 5 from 11 am – 3 pm. City residents and visitors alike will be invited to Pier 26 for a unique opportunity to engage directly with scientists and other professionals to experience first-hand the cutting-edge science, technology and engineering responsible for helping us to better understand, conserve and restore our ocean and connected waterways. Learn all at: http://nysci.org/submerge-nyc-marine-science-festival/

Nerd Nite Brings Games & Music to Brooklyn Winery on December 2, 2013

Nerd Nite prides itself on bringing its audience fun-yet-informative presentations about countless subjects and disciplines.  But on December 2, 2013, Nerd Nite NYC shines the spotlight specifically on music and movies.  Join us for a special weekday Nite at the lovely Brooklyn Winery in Williamsburg that will feature presentations about NYC pinball controversy, math feuds, and choose-your-own music videos.  Enjoy learning about the greatest pinball maneuver ever played, listening to Paco rap about math, and watching a music video get customized before your eyes.  Space is limited and the venue is lovely, so act fast. Fun! Buy tickets here.

brooklyn-winery1Monday December 2, 2013
$10
213 N 8th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Take L train to Bedford stop

*Presentation #1
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 journalist, entrepreneur, TV commentator, and co-founder of Cloth for iOS [http://clothapp.com]. A former editor (and current contributor) at Maxim and Popular Mechanics, he also contributes to InStyle, Fast Company, Self, Men’s Journal, Mashable, and Forbes. In addition to making regular appearances on cable news as a science and technology analyst, he appears on four series currently in rotation on History, Discovery, and National Geographic. His recently produced documentary series “The Most Insane Amusement Park Ever” [http://mashable.com/2013/08/28/action-park/] was based on a prior Nerd Nite talk. You can follow him on Twitter at @sethporges [http://twitter.com/sethporges], or Facebook [http://facebook.com/sethporges].

*Presentation #2
XELLE presents Hologram: the first truly interactive, choose-your-own-adventure music video
by JC Cassis

Description: In pop group XELLE’s interactive music video for their single, Hologram, Janeane Garofalo stars as Holly Graham, the “Charlie” to XELLE’s “Angels.” Legendary singer Martha Wash (“It’s Raining Men”) has been captured by Meanie Mo (played by Reno 911’s Kerri Kenney-Silver), and it’s up to you to help XELLE save her. Hologram is the longest music video of all time, consisting of 37 possible video segments to choose from and over 90 minutes of footage, and only you can choose the storyline that will lead to Martha’s rescue. In this presentation, XELLE will guide you through the video as you choose where to go, what to do, and how to escape sudden death at any wrong turn. This fully interactive video was created by utilizing YouTube’s existing features to create a never-before-seen web 2.0 experience.

Bio: You’ve heard of XELLE. They’re that girl group that threw an illegal dance party on a moving NYC subway train for their debut video, Party Girl. They’re the indie band whose songs and videos are lighting up TV shows, radio stations and dance floors around the world. They’re those sexy girls with huge voices who rocked the stage at your favorite club last night. They are XELLE, and you’ve been waiting for them to come along.

Presentation #3
Mathematicians: Behind the Music
by Paco Adam Hanlon

Description: Back by popular demand! Take a tour of the dank, trash-strewn alleys of the mathematical world. This portal into the seedy underbelly of math promises to be full of cheating scoundrels, meth-addiction, vagrancy, and no less than four cold-blooded murders. All this and more in the pursuit of inventing your iPhone, sewer system, and all those lovely ballistic missiles! Plus, you’ll finally be able to say you can name more than one important mathematician!

Bio: Paco Adam Hanlon is a math teacher and curriculum designer at the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School for a Sustainable City. He is a Math for America fellow, has a BS in Actuarial Mathematics from University of Michigan and a Masters in Secondary Mathematics Teaching from Bard (where he also published a paper on stochastic cellular automata). He also records and performs hip-hop music under the name Dopest Nerd (album on iTunes and new mixtape coming soon).

Trivia Tuesday Nights at Brooklyn Bridge Park Extended Thru Sept 17

The new bar / lemonade stand, Lizzmonade, just opened its newest location on Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Yes, as in the park with the best view of lower Manhattan.  The bar was a lovely place to spend warm summer nights outdoors enjoying cocktails and priceless views – and now you can play trivia too a bit longer.  We extended our summer Tuesday nights trivia through mid-September.  So now you can come by on Tuesday September 10 and/or Tuesday September 17 too at 8pm!  It’s just $5/person and you can have up to 6 people on a team to play.  So come on down to Pier 2 with some friends, play some trivia, have some drinks, and enjoy NYC in its late-summer’s finest.

Nerd Nite Trivia @ Lizzmonade
Pier 2, Brooklyn Bridge Park
A/C to High Street
Tuesday September 10 & 17, 2013
8pm
$5/person – teams can have up to 6 people

Win prizes and drink drinks!

Sunset Trivia on Tuesdays at Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park

I proudly bring thee yet another summer of outdoors Tuesday night trivia at arguably the prettiest place in all of NYC.  Nerd Nite trivia (trivia only) is back again at the Lizzmonade bar/lemonade stand at Pier 2 of Brooklyn Bridge Park every Tuesday at 8pm thru August 30, 2016.  Yes, as in the park with the best view of lower Manhattan.  The bar is a lovely place to spend warm summer nights outdoors enjoying cocktails and priceless views – and now you can play trivia too.  As always, it’s just $5/person and you can have up to 6 people on a team to play.  So come on down to Pier 2 with some friends, play some trivia, have some drinks, and enjoy NYC in its summer’s finest.  There’s a pop-up pool and beach too…so yes, you can even play with your toes in real sand!

Nerd Nite Trivia @ Lizzmonade
Pier 2, Brooklyn Bridge Park
A/C to High Street (or F to York Street plus a 12-minute walk)
Tuesdays all summer long (starting July 5, 2016)
8pm
$5/person – teams can have up to 6 people

Win prizes and drink drinks!

 

pier 2 pop-up pool

Trivia, drinks, sand, and a pool. A perfect Tuesday night.

Recording: Nerd Nite Webinar Bad Trips: How Not To Explore The World

We held our first live online-only webinar on Sunday March 24, 2013 featuring 3-time Nerd Nite NYC presenter Erin Thompson discussing, Bad Trips: Not How to Explore the World, a presentation she first gave in Fall 2011 that was subsequently rewritten as an article for Nerd Nite: The Magazine.  Erin’s presentation was a guinea pig presentation to determine if we can regularly offer webcasts by presenters across the globe…we can!  Watch the recording here.

Bad Trips: How Not to Explore the World
by Erin L. Thompson

The intrepid linguist subduing restive natives; the idealistic scientist struggling to reach base camp; the daring journalist hacking through the jungle… didn’t we all dream of doing such things and thereby elevating our nerdiness into nerdy badassery? Well, it’s a good thing we didn’t actually, because it turns out that exploration totally sucks. Thompson will go over the minor accomplishments and major failures of three notable explorers: Charles Montagu Doughty (“Travels in Arabia Deserta,” 1888), who spent years enduring death threats and camel dung in his tea so that he could examine, and fail to translate, pre-Arabic inscriptions; Apsley Cherry-Garrard (“The Worst Journey in the World,” 1922), who nearly froze to death on an expedition to collect Empire penguin eggs only to have the scientists who requested them inform him that they weren’t needed any more when he got back; and Graham Greene (Journey Without Maps,” 1936), who, well, acted like Graham Greene while hiking across unmapped areas of Liberia, proving that whiskey makes everything better in the end.

Bio: Erin L. Thompson has given previous Nerd Nite presentations about art forgery and antiquities smuggling. She has a PhD in ancient art history from Columbia University, and is an intellectual property and tech lawyer in Manhattan.

Nerd Nite’s First Live Webinar about Bad Trips: How Not To Explore the World

Hello Worldwide Nerds and Friends of Nerds!
In the better-late-than-never category, we’ll hold our first live online-only webinar on Sunday March 24 at 9pm EDT / 6pm PDT by 3-time Nerd Nite NYC presenter Erin Thompson about Bad Trips: Not How to Explore the World, a presentation she gave in Fall 2011 that was subsequently rewritten as an article for Nerd Nite: The Magazine.  Erin’s presentation will be a guinea pig presentation to determine if we can offer weekly webcasts by presenters across the globe.  As an audience member, you simply need speakers/headphones to connect from your laptop, iPhone, or iPad.  Register here (it’s free).  Though we’ll certainly accept small donations if you think our content is worth a nominal amount.

Sunday March 24, 2013 at 9pm EDT / 6pm PDT
Online via Blackboard Collaborate. Will email you the link 30 minutes before the webcast

Bad Trips: How Not to Explore the World
by Erin L. Thompson

The intrepid linguist subduing restive natives; the idealistic scientist struggling to reach base camp; the daring journalist hacking through the jungle… didn’t we all dream of doing such things and thereby elevating our nerdiness into nerdy badassery? Well, it’s a good thing we didn’t actually, because it turns out that exploration totally sucks. Thompson will go over the minor accomplishments and major failures of three notable explorers: Charles Montagu Doughty (“Travels in Arabia Deserta,” 1888), who spent years enduring death threats and camel dung in his tea so that he could examine, and fail to translate, pre-Arabic inscriptions; Apsley Cherry-Garrard (“The Worst Journey in the World,” 1922), who nearly froze to death on an expedition to collect Empire penguin eggs only to have the scientists who requested them inform him that they weren’t needed any more when he got back; and Graham Greene (Journey Without Maps,” 1936), who, well, acted like Graham Greene while hiking across unmapped areas of Liberia, proving that whiskey makes everything better in the end.

Bio: Erin L. Thompson has given previous Nerd Nite presentations about art forgery and antiquities smuggling. She has a PhD in ancient art history from Columbia University, and is an intellectual property and tech lawyer in Manhattan.

Nerd Nite Goes to the Movies – Videology in Williamsburg November 29

We all love the movies.  From dramas and sci-fi to low-brow teeny romps and those films of the adult persuasion, there’s just something irresistible about the cinema.  So we’re proud to announce a special Nerd Nite Movie Nite.  The folks at Videology in Williamsburg are unveiling their brand new watch-a-movie-while-drinking-cocktails theater, and we’re helping them kick it off.  Join us on Thursday November 29, 2012 featuring presentations about the psychology of screenwriting, DIY filmmaking, and a humorous look at D-movies (you know, the ones that make B-movies look like blockbusters). Hooray for drinking and movie-themed presentations! Buy tickets ($10) at http://www.regonline.com/nerdnitemovies.

Nerd Nite Movie Nite
Thursday November 29, 2012 at 8pm
at Videology in Williamsburg
308 Bedford Avenue

Back to the Lectures At-Hand:
*Presentation #1
The Psychology of Scriptwriting : The Spooky World of the Scriptwriter’s Mind
by Jack Feldstein

Description: Writing a script? Join us for a wild and wacky tour into scriptwriters’ minds. Why do scriptwriters write scripts?  What makes them sit in rooms and mumble to themselves obsessively for hours? Discover the inner workings of your own… scriptwriting mind!

Bio: Originally from Sydney, Australia, Jack Feldstein is an award-winning neon animator and scriptwriter. His neon animations have screened worldwide from Rotterdam International Film Festival to Lincoln Center, NY. As a scriptwriter, he writes for feature film, TV, theater and was an interactive scriptwriter for Superman, Xena and Spiderman webisodes. http://www.jackfeldstein.com

*Presentation #2
“Bending Steel”: Professional Filmmaking on a DIY Budget
by Ryan Scafuro

Description: Filmmaker Ryan Scafuro discusses his experience as the producer and director of photography of the feature length documentary “Bending Steel,” and how the advent of affordable high definition DSLR cameras and the popularity of crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding has opened up a new world of opportunities for independent filmmakers hoping to produce and distribute films on a micro-budget.  He’ll also present outtakes from the film, talk about dudes bending nails and horseshoes and other cool shit with their bare hands, and inevitably cuss a bit too much.

Bio: By the time he was 8 years old, Ryan had been kicked out of his school’s talented and gifted program.  At 10 he got a rock stuck in his head trying to jump over a dead frog on a BMX bike.  At 14, he almost burned an entire suburban development down while trying to light a cigarette. Once he reached 16, he realized he could barely draw the simplest of stick figures, let alone paint a still life pear.  So he came up with what seemed to be the obvious solution to his history of failure and apparent lack of talent – he picked up a camera. Since those early years, he has worked as director of photography on a number of social issue documentaries, including the Emmy Award winning “Just Married” (2004) which explores the epic battle over gay marriage in Massachusetts, and “Hidden Wounds” (2005) a film about soldiers returning from the war in Iraq with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Throughout his career he has traveled around the world as a photojournalist and filmmaker. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with a hyperactive dog, a variety of bad tattoos, and an unsettling urban gardening habit. “Bending Steel” is his first feature length documentary film.

*Website: www.bendingsteelmovie.com
*On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bendingsteelmovie
*On Twitter: @BendingSteelMov (https://twitter.com/BendingSteelMov)

*Presentation #3
Crappy Cinema Council: Nerds!
by Jim Van Blaricum and Jim Crocamo

Description: Comedians Jim Crocamo and Jim VanBlaricum will be presenting a special Nerd Nite-exclusive version of Crappy Cinema Council, their monthly celebration of sub-par films. They’ll show hilarious, undiscovered clips from the weirdest, worst movies that they watched so you don’t have to. This is your chance to see the show that Time Out New York described as “comedy” and “in Brooklyn”!

Bio: Jim and Jim are two dudes who watch bad movies and make fun of them in front of people. After subjecting friends and family to screenings of terrible films throughout their lives, they combined forces in 2010 to add “total strangers” to the list of those they’ve forced to watch weird garbage. Sometimes they post stuff on crappycinemacouncil.com. They are much better at comedy than they are at writing summaries and bios.

Drive a new Chevy to Nerd Nite Nerdtacular

CALLING ALL NERDS IN NEED OF AN ECO-FRIENDLY RIDE!

On Friday, September 7, at our Nerd Nite Nerdtacular, Chevrolet will offer vehicles for Manhattan workers/dwellers to transport themselves to Nerd Nite, as well as chauffeured transportation home from the Galapagos Art Space following the event.  Pre-event vehicle loans and post-event shuttle service are first-come, first-served with limited seats, so don’t forget to RSVP to molly.biddiscombe{AT}mslgroup.com if you’re interested.

The Pick-Up Deets:
6:45pm & 7:15pm:  First 36 guests who RSVP can drive themselves or ride as a passenger to Nerd Nite in a Chevy.
10:45pm: First 20 guests who RSVP can hitch a ride back to Manhattan at the conclusion of Nerd Nite (save cab $$ or a subway ride!).

Pick-up and drop-off spot:  Union Square in front of Parsons The New School for Design: 5th Avenue at the corner of 13th Street.

When RSVPing, please indicate if you’d like to be a driver or passenger.

You can RSVP for both pick-up and drop-off.

Save the cab fare and come check out all that Chevy has to offer – from dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs, award-winning passenger cars and crossovers, and other gas-friendly Chevrolet vehicles!

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