Of course, Nerd Nite must always begin with the "origin story," an important ritual but one that can potentially run the risk of getting a bit dull. So we were pleased that Nick Ray's version of the origin took some local detours into a discussion of the "Lawrence Dorothys," a group of gay men ("gay-bors") who live near each other in North Lawrence.
Aimee Polson's presentation on the "Politics of Community Gardens" offered a fact-filled journey through the history of collective gardening that ranged from the school garden movements of WWI to the "relief gardens" of the Depression-era to the "Green Guerillas" movement of the 70's before arriving full circle back to school gardens with Michelle Obama. Chip, however, was not inspired to remove the barbed wire from around his small garden which he puts up "to keep the hippies from snatching my cabbage."
Katy Wade's look at coffee production intrigued us immediately, not so much because we like coffee (we don't: we like booze), but because Katy works at the Pig, and we love nerdy bartenders. The presentation began with this unusual statement: "I started off drinking gas station coffee after play rehearsals, like probably everyone else in here." At that point we looked around, at first believing that such a sweeping statement couldn't possibly be true. But in a room of such nerdiness, maybe it (mostly) was.
But the evening's true crowd-pleaser was certainly the final presentation: Jen Humphrey's "Sheep go to Heaven, Goats Go to Hell." This look at raising goats on a farm outside Larryville contained numerous adorable pictures of baby goats (see below), and also some eye-opening facts, such as that 70% of red meat consumed in the world is goat meat and that goats have panoramic vision so it's hard to sneak up on them. Also: "a goat is not a sheep."
This week the City Fathers voted to ban camping trailers and other large vehicles from parking on public streets near South Park. The decision will uproot a few people such as Michael Tanner, a street performer who has recently been living there "in a shack built upon a trailer that is pulled by van." At the meeting, "Tanner accused city workers and officials of harassing him while he slept in his homemade camper by driving by and honking their horns or directing sprinklers in the park to spray his camper on the street." (LJ-World).
A chorus of local progressives: "This kind of harassment of an important local artist is tantamount to Bull Connor turning fire hoses on peaceful demonstrators."
Tanner has apparently written a song on the matter called "Goofy Needs a Dressing Room Too," which we hope to hear in the near-future.
Michael Tanner photo via LJ-World: