Christmas was typically geeky (for me) in the Tocci household this year, netting one Mario brothers t-shirt, two comics, four Xbox 360 games, one PS2 game, one DS game, and the new They Might Be Giants album. I also had the opportunity to introduce my girlfriend’s family to the Guitar Hero series, graciously lent by my brother Stephen. Now I am turning my attention back to papers, the dissertation, and taking stock of the links I’ve gathered to clutter up my browser lately.
At a recent performance of â€œComic Book Club,â€ a weekly stage talk show at the Peopleâ€™s Improv Theater in Chelsea, an audience member declined to give his name. â€œI have family and friends,â€ he explained. â€œIâ€™m a closeted geek.â€
Alexander Zalben, 30, the showâ€™s moderator, understood completely. Talking about being a comic book fan, he said, is â€œlike coming out of the closet.â€ In fact Mr. Zalben only discovered that Justin Tyler, 28, another host, was a fellow aficionado when he spotted Mr. Tyler with a Midtown Comics bag. Pete LePage, 31, who rounds out the three, had a similar experience. â€œJustin busted me reading a comic,â€ he confessed.
The show, which celebrates its first anniversary Tuesday at 8 p.m., covers all things comic book, which these days also includes the worlds of video games, television and film. As that anonymous audience member put it, â€œItâ€™s great to be in an atmosphere where you can sit and discuss these things without getting strange looks.â€
I had thought the success of the “graphic novel” might have done away with this fear to some extent; when I talk to people about being “closet geeks,” RPGs come up more often than comics. I’d say the Midtown Comics bag is the right-ear-earring of comic geek culture, but of course, there was no implication here that the carrier of said bag wanted to get noticed. Incidentally, the show also has a segment titled “The Week in Geek,” and the regularly attending “fan” was reportedly “not happy” when the show went on hiatus for a few weeks and he was compelled to find a girlfriend in the down time.
French Geek Documentary: Chris C., a Geek Studies regular and stalwart co-founder of the UMass Comic Art Society, sends word from the News Askew blog that Kevin Smith will be discussing “such topics as the San Diego Con, geek culture, Simpsons ‘Vans’, and lots more” in a French documentary titled Suck My Geek. You can download the Kevin Smith portion here. The blog also reports that “The program was broadcast by the french Canal+ network … only in France,” and (aside from Kevin’s commentary) entirely in French, which I don’t speak. Still, I’m going to poke around on their website and some torrent sites, and if anybody has an easy idea how to get ahold of this (especially if in translation), please do let me know.
The Fight Against Voldemedia: You may have already heard (perhaps from Hipster, Please! or Pitchfork) about how Harry Potter fans and the Wizard rock community have been involved in efforts to fight media consolidation. I thought that this article in the Huffington Post, by the founder of the Harry Potter Alliance, was particularly worth checking out. Andrew Slack spells out pretty explicitly how and why this type of activist effort should be relevant to fans. I suspect that the vast majority of Harry Potter fans (which is an awful lot of people) could care less about such issues, but this does seem a potentially effective and sincere way of coating activist efforts with the themes from entertainment we find deeply affectingâ€”much more so, anyway, than having Spider-man instruct kids to vote (when they’re old enough, I guess).
[Occulture is] a term for the space explored in recent years by a loose network of British electronic musicians. Groups like Mount Vernon Arts Lab and Raagnagrok are weaving together their interests in the occult, strange phenomena, fantastic fiction, and horror and translating the moody mindset into enchanting and/or challenging audio.
The Diffusion and Evaluation of Geek Chic: Geekadelphia refers us to some neat Space Invaders rings. Curious as to how one might come across such a product, I followed the “via” link to Technabob, which in turn refers us to Geeksugar, a blog which I’ve seen before but I don’t think I’ve linked. I was particularly interested to see that Geeksugarâ€”which belongs to the Sugar Inc. network of female-oriented consumer blogsâ€”runs a series of posts tagged “Totally Geek or Totally Chic?” Visitors can vote in an informal poll on whether an item is “Totally Geeky,” “Geek Chic,” or “It’s so ______” (with the blank filled in the comments). I haven’t checked many of the products’ poll results (as you can’t just view results without voting yourself), but from the few I’ve glanced at, I wonder if fashion-oriented items get the most votes for “Geek Chic,” whereas more utilitarian itemsâ€”the contemporary equivalents of pocket protectorsâ€”get dismissed as “totally geeky.” (Side note: I should’ve been following this blog before Christmas. It is a treasure trove of presents for my girlfriend.)
Sexiest Geeks Alive: Z. also refers me to Violet Blue’s top 10 sexiest geeks of 2007. Frontalot nabs the #2 spot, the highest ranked male on the list, with the #1 spot going to Veronica Belmont (who not only walks the walk and talks the talk, but sounds like she should be killing Dracula). I might’ve also given a nod to Schaffer the Dark Lord after seeing the video for “The Rappist” (courtesy Nerd World). Check the “update” at the end of Violet Blue’s post for other sites that have something to say about the list.
Science Tattoos: And as long as we’re talking about the chic and the sexy in the geek world today, check out this Flickr set assembled by a guy who wondered whether scientists get tattoos. The set includes molecule diagrams, complex equations, alchemical symbols, and more, with some comments by submitters.