Monday, November 05, 2007

Dance, dork, dance!

If the concept of nerd culture seems downright oxymoronical to you, chances are you’re not alone. To say that a nebulous classification of individuals renowned for their social ineptitude somehow has a shared set of customs or norms is a bit of a stretch to the outsider, but anyone familiar with the myriad of “styles” of nerdiness can attest to the fact that each possesses its own delicate community flavor, its own subtle social slant. It’s the overall framework of the greater “nerd tradition” that proves a bit more difficult to quantify.

If Hipster, please! has any underlying concept at all, it’s the idea that what it means to be a nerd is both wholly subjective and ever-evolving. Thankfully, I am not alone in the proposition of this fairly radical concept.

Jason of Geek Studies, for example, spends his time exploring not merely how nerds interact en masse, but also how modern geeks have come to proudly identify with a term that was once a badge of shame. Lev Grossman brings nerd issues from the BBS to the media forefront through his work with Time magazine, though that is often a thankless task indeed. Artists like YTCracker, Jesse Dangerously, and ZeaLouS1 even go so far as to force us to reconsider both how we view the nerd and how those who we once may've thought of as social outcasts have become such dynamic public personalities.

In short: I’m not alone in my quest. Hell, I’m not alone in this meager endeavor!

Though their names appear far less likely than they rightly should, Church and Matt have their fingerprints on practically everything that I do here at Hipster, please! From feeding me links for my regular Nerd News in Brief segments, to suggesting potential feature artists, to sharing with me geeky tracks from their personal collections for the podcast, Matt and Church – referred to collectively as The Lads – help to motivate me with content and with immeasurable moral support.

Matt has taken his love of geeky music and the people who make it a step further with his most recent venture. Motivated by a love of live music cultivated during his years in the jamband scene and the inspiring work of folks like Becky (from Becky’s Cool Music Stuff), Matt has recently launched a site simply dubbed Stop Standing Still. SSS is, by his own admission, “a listing of geek music concerts from all over the world,” but it’s actually much more. It’s a blank canvas on which memories are painted: recollections of road trips and new friends, spilt beer and haughty sound guys. More than anything, Stop Standing Still is about opportunities.

I’ve always been of the opinion that music was meant to be experienced rather than simply listened to, and the easiest way to experience your music is, as all of us crusty old ex-punkers like to say, to go to the show. Unfortunately, the musical element of nerd culture is also multifaceted and each individual component miniscule, particularly when compared to the extravagant buzz of more conventional events.

Matt’s remedied this by taking information on Wizard Rock, nerdcore, geek rock, chiptune, and game rock shows and compiling it into a single event calendar. When you have to check a dozen sites about info on two dozen bands (like a certain diminutive nerdy music blogger who shall remain nameless) it’s easy for a gig to slip your attention, but when you can see an entire month’s worth of shows from a multitude of acts and genres on a single screen things get significantly simpler.

The events are color-coded by musical theme – nerdcore, game-related music, Wrock, and other – but I urge you not to cherry-pick. This is your chance to experience both artists you know and to explore those you don’t with minimal effort, and I encourage you to do so. Matt’s doing the legwork in the name of the greater good for musical dorks everywhere, and your job is fairly simple.

But heading out to the shows is only part of your role in this brave new world of musical nerditude. If you’re a nerdy artist, keep the SSS crew abreast of you gig plans (be they local shows or a bona fide tour) by hitting ‘em up at matt AT stopstandingstill DOT net, and encourage other acts to do the same. If you’re a regular nerdy concert goer who’d like to share show impressions of help out around the farm, give Matty a holler at the same. But most importantly, when you do make it out to your gig of choice, don’t just fuckin’ stand there. Dance. Yes, you’re gonna look like a total geek. That’s sort of the point.


Church said...

This is an awesome resource. I know I'm going to be referring to it often.

Matt said...

Thank you for the link and the kind words Z. Now let's see if I can make this little thing happen. :)

antisoc said...

great idea, I hope it really takes off

Z. said...

Hopefully I'll generate a little more traffic for you later this week, Matt. ;)