Moving On Up: Successful Nerd Nite relocating to High Noon starting Wednesday night
Post by Christie Taylor on 4/10/2012 1:00pm
The claustrophobic and anxiety prone among us can rejoice: Nerd Nite is moving to the High Noon Saloon, and you’re no longer in danger of spilling your drink because you knocked your elbow against someone next to you in the sardine-can standing-room-only crowd as you were bringing the glass to your mouth (yes, this has happened to me).
The bimonthly TED talks-plus-toasts, which kicked off with a full house last fall, hasn’t seen much loss of interest as it’s aged. Co-founder Lee Bishop reports that every single event since has filled the second floor of original home Genna’s to--and possibly past--capacity, with an average of about 125 nerds filling every seat, standing too close together, and even sitting on the stairs themselves in the hopes of being able to see the projector screen.
"(Co-founder Elena Spitzer) and I were super shocked and psyched about the huge turnout on our very first Nerd Night and every one afterwards," Bishop said. "We initially expected just a few of our friends to show up and we could all nerd out for a while, but things just exploded."
The High Noon, in contrast, holds up to 399 people, and sight lines to the stage are much clearer than the anglular and pillar-strewn Genna's.
“We resisted moving for laziness/coziness reasons mainly, but kept hearing stories of big groups showing up, not even being able to find standing room, and just turning right back around,” said Bishop. “We're psyched to see how many nerds Madison can produce, as the High Noon offers plenty of room to expand.”
The event will remain free, Bishop said, because the High Noon is not charging for the space.
“They are banking on making enough money in booze, which should not be an issue with our crowd,” he said.
If you haven’t been before, you can expect to see a 20-to-30-minute presentation, plus Q&A, following by a break to refill your drink and mingle with your dorky brethren. Rinse, wash, repeat for two more talks, and hope you can still grok the nerdspeak by the time the last one rolls around. Past topics have covered everything from the risque subjects of promiscuity and penis morphology, to more classical topics like ancient Greek philosophers and the science of candy.
The next talk is Wednesday, beginning at 8 p.m., and will feature a mix of philosophy and science. Talk titles (descriptions available at the Nerd Nite website):
- Multiple Choice Memory: The Joker (yes, as in Batman) and John Locke’s account of personal identity over Time
- Building the Tower of Babel: Why are there so many languages and why are some so damn complicated?
- Anything You Can Do, Ants Can Do Better: Why ants rule and humans drool.
The event is always looking for presenters, too, and you can contact the organizers here to sign up. While many talks have been offered by UW-Madison students or faculty, they welcome anyone who’s passionate about something to give it a go.
“Anything you can geek out about, show people your passion and teach them something (anything!) along the way, is fair game,” Bishop said.
Christie Taylor (@ctaylsaurus) covers science, environment, and, depending on the season, state politics for dane101. She verbs a lot of nouns, including rollerskates, radio, and Kurt Vonnegut. A Madison native, she's not sure she'll ever quite manage to leave Wisconsin, and that's just fine by her. Contact her at email@example.com.