Even 40 minutes early, Nerd Nite 7 was packed with boozing nerds anxious to learn about tea, data, and the work of Diane Williams. Here's our take on the evening:
First up was Alyssa Koestner's "Camellia sinensis: Beverage or Spiritual Ideal? Stories of Ceremony, Meditation, and Espionage." Surely the main thing everyone took away from this lecture was "Damn, this woman really enjoys tea!" Some of the lecture's New Age-y terminology ("quietude" "meditation," "connect with the living archeology of tea," etc) made Chip nervous, but otherwise her enthusiasm was contagious.
Chip: "The presenter didn't seem to take iced-tea very seriously, but I've certainly had some powerful spiritual experiences while drinking iced tea, such as that time the preacher dropped by our porch in Fort Scott while we were drinking iced tea and told us we were going to hell for drinking caffeine."
Next up was one of Nerd Nite's "co-bosses," Travis Weller, with "Information Nation: Data in the USA." This was a terrifying, fact-filled trek through internet "data mining" and surveillance drones and many other ways Big Brother is keeping tabs on our asses. Pleasingly, Travis was wise enough to lighten the tone of the presentation (and its sometimes heavy legalese) with a few of Rob Schulte's GIFs, such as one of Miley Cyrus's "Party in the USA."
Rounding out the evening was Rebecca Evanhoe's "Williams and Keaton: Two Dianes to Help Us Through Those Urgent Moments." This was an admirably unusual attempt to link the well-regarded but largely unknown postmodern author Diane Williams to the actress Diane Keaton through the lens of "moments of urgency" (a Williams' phrase). Personally, we thought the links were a bit of a stretch (that might be applied equally to any number of other actors), but we were intrigued by Diane Williams' work and will likely seek some of it out, most likely this collection: Some Sexual Success Stories Plus Other Stories in Which God Might Choose to Appear.
The Nerd Nite gang knows we love 'em, but we find their approach to "doors" completely bewildering: if you make a major point of saying doors open at 7:30, why open the doors well before 7:00? We arrived at 7:20 and barely got a seat. It was indeed a "moment of urgency." Luckily, some friendly nerds waved us over to sit with them.
"I think it's illegal to talk about Diane Keaton without a clip from Annie Hall."
We received a message yesterday from Mrs. Dodge asking us to share word of a surprise party for Mr. Arthur Dodge tomorrow evening (Sat. June 16):
"Hey LC! There's going to be a tribute/birthday bash at the corner of 8th and Pennsylvania on Saturday night from 7-10ish. Just a few local musicians and of course the 'feathers doing their favorite Arthur Dodge tunes for a few hours to celebrate how old and awesome he is. Some food. Lots of beer. You should come! And you should tell anyone who digs him to come too!"
Mrs. Dodge assured us it was fine to spread the word through the blog. Presumably, Art Dodge has much better things to do with his time than read our boner jokes!! So head on over to the East Side tomorrow evening if you're a fan of terrific songwriting (and/or food and beer). And please keep this a "surprise," you loud-mouthed scenesters!
2004 photo via L.com, back when the Deadwood Edition still existed: