Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nerd Nite Review: Silent Film Magic, Mardi Gras Phalluses, and Adam Lott's Cat

First off, kudos to Pachamama's and the Nerd Nite gang for providing a little extra seating to accommodate all the nerds who wanted to witness last night's proceedings (and for offering us a prime spot at the "press table": oh, we felt very special indeed!).

Now let's review the three presentations.

With The Artist and Hugo (two loving tributes to the silent-film era) leading the Oscar-nominations this year, Justin Runge's survey of silent films was an especially timely presentation. Runge served up a nice sampling of clips ranging from two kitties boxing each other (which remains the equal of anything you've watched on Youtube this morning) to "Fred Ott's Sneeze" (seven seconds of pure sneezing action: see it here!) to Edison's "May-Irwin" Kiss (Chip: "Still surprisingly erotic": see it here ).

And note that two major opportunities to witness silent films are coming soon: Murnau's Sunrise with live orchestral accompaniment at the Arts Center on Thurs. Feb. 23 (click pic in sidebar) and the Topeka Silent Film Festival beginning the next day. "Talkies" are for suckers!

Next up was Alison Heryer's look at Mardi Gras costumes and traditions (also timely, with Fat Tuesday just around the corner). Once we got over our disappointment at the complete lack of titties in this presentation, it was a quite enlightening look at such ideas as the lingering "anthropomorphic tradition" of Mardi Gras attire as well as groups such as the Mardi Gras "Indians" that fascinate us so much on HBO's Treme. Heryer also regaled us with useful tips on dressing for Mardi Gras, such as "Sexy is different from skanky." Chip disagreed. This lecture also contained the most uses of the word "phallus" of any Nerd Nite presentation so far.

By then, we were drunk, and so (we suspect) was final presenter Adam Lott, who nonetheless maintained perfect delivery and scored big laughs with what Nick Ray later termed Nerd Nite's "first ever analog presentation" about the various incarnations of the musical Cabaret, which also contained hand-drawn pictures of Lott's kitty, Lott singing snippets of "Pineapple Song" ("a love song that's also a fart song"), and important trivia ("Wolverine was in Oklahoma, ya'll!").

See you at the next Nerd Nite in March, which is rumored to include a special (nerdy) sports-themed presentation to coincide with March Madness. We're hoping for local Larryville baseball-stats legend Bill James or perhaps Sherron C.llins talking about his elevator/boner fetish.

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