Saturday, July 12, 2008

LA Levels Up!

If you are in the Los Angeles area this Sunday( July 13th) and are looking to shake your Post-Nerdapalooza Depression, let me suggest you make your way to CIA in North Hollywood for the second anniversary concert of my friends from Game Music 4 All.

Level Up! Level 2! boasts an impressive line-up including The Megas, Hot Waffles, Super Barrio Brothers, and my bro ZeaLouS1. The doors open at 8:30 PM, with the first band taking the stage at 9:00. You can get your geek on until midnight for the very reasonable price (especially for LA) of $10. Plus, this is an ALL AGES event, so bring the kiddies!

And be sure to give Ant a hug. A manly, reassuring hug that says "I miss your comforting voice and friendly presence in the least homoerotic manner possible." He'll know it's from me.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Nerd News in Brief

In a world where Jesse Helms has hurried up and died and Jesse Jackson has threatened to emasculate Barack Obama, I must resist the urge to get all political on that collective ass in this edition of NNIB.

By the same token, I must resist the urge to make it all about Nerdapalooza. The first few items are steadfastly rooted in the festival and its participants, but there’s some other stuff too. I’ve got two weeks of news to deal with, so I hope you're sitting comfortably.
  • Pictures to prove it: For those of you looking for a visual representation of what you missed in Orlando last weekend, there are many options. My friend Denika took a lot of great shots (which are only now beginning to surface), as did Sudden Death, funky49, Dual Core, and scores of others. What pictures are your favorite?
  • The sound of things to come: Also from Nerdapalooza comes news of new albums from, y’know, everyone. Wordburglar announced his follow-up album Thirdburglar; MC Frontalot and crew dropped some (secret) knowledge about guests on their new Final Boss; Krondor Krew and Captain Dan & the Scurvy Crew announced their Pirates vs. Ninjas project, and Random, Schaffer the Darklord, and Pixelh8 all spoke of new material. More news as it becomes available.
  • Contractually obligated: Sangriaa made me promise to include her in my next Nerd news In Brief. Consider yourself included. :)
  • Sponsorship has its privileges: I also need to give a shout-out to Steffo, Stephen, and funky49 for donating to my Nerdapalooza travel fund. I scored just enough from these cats to cover that last emergency fuel stop I had to make crossing back into SC. This is good, because the money I had originally spent on that gas was earmarked to buy the D&D 4th edition Player’s Handbook. Henceforth I roll in their honor.
  • Gotta be he: Props to Aussie hip-hopper The Ranger for his new song “Gonna Be.” It’s a smoking track in the hard-living spirit “Rap Bukowski.” Peep it. Bump it. Love it.
  • Grammar Club get up get coffee: The Grammar Club has just offered up a superlative cover of Coulton classic “Code Monkey.” Jonathan said so himself. His fans? Not all feeling it. Bump the track and then go weigh in on this great debate.
  • Until you make it: Brad Sucks also has a new single. It’s called “Fake It,” and he’s looking to pair it with the most cliché music video ever. If you think you can help, give Brad a shout.
  • He’s a supermodel?: Ultraklystron has a new track as well, and it is lyrically fierce! Take a listen to “On Game,” and then give Karl back his lunch money. He will cut you, man!
  • Welcome to his level: Our lovable Mega Ran has broken into the blogging mainstream as a new contributor at That Videogame Blog. Big up to Ran and, by extension, me; Random still has my Nerdapalooza VIP badge, so it’s kinda like I’m doing it too. Right?
  • I mentioned this yesterday, but it bears repeating: G Minor 7 has a number of really cool musicals under his belt. Two of note are 29 and Reality: The Musical. One’s about growing up and how it may or may not relate to growing old, while the other’s about the bane of the modern man: reality television. Peep both at MySpace and be sure to friend ‘em. Nerdy music is more than just songs about Transformers!
  • Dress to impress: This Sunday (July 13th) Dante’s in Seattle is hosting the first annual Summer Semi-Formal featuring the chiptastic Leeni and local rap nerds/hip-hop superheroes Southside. The show starts at 9:00 PM, and since I’m a whole nation away I’m hoping a kind native will go check it out and report back to me. Anyone planning to attend?
  • Southern Comfort: Speaking of cool stuff to check out, be sure to listen to the latest episode of the Gamewave podcast. Not only will you get to hear great VGM and chiptunes (as well as some delightful British accents), you’ll also hear nice mentions of GM4A, Rocket Propelled Radio, and even little ol’ me. Oh, what charmers!
  • Pure nerd: And while I’m plugging the songs, gigs, and ‘casts of my friends, let me remind everyone that RhymeTorrents.ORG (note the extension) has a really cool exclusive interview with Frontalot that dropped earlier this month. Check it out and leave nice comments.
  • Nerd Ink, Undead edition: Church hit me up with a link to this piece on the zombie tattoo guy. I’m sure he has a perfectly serviceable name that his mom gave him, but he’s pretty much become the zombie tattoo guy at this point. Dennis, I’d like your comments on this dude's dedication to the ghoulish cause.
  • Hippie WRock: My buddy Matt shared his thoughts regarding both the Monsters of WRock tour, which he recently attended, and the forthcoming Portus festival, for which he’ll be leaving shortly. Check it out and bask in how seamlessly he shifts from Wizard Rock to jambands and back. It’s almost frightening. Oh, and if you’re gonna be in Dallas for the event, give Matty some love on my behalf.
  • Her enthusiasm, it is unlimited: And speaking or WRock show reviews, be sure to check out Snidget’s take on the Unlimited Enthusiasm Expo. And don’t worry, Snidge, I gave Uncle Monsterface an extra helping of love when I saw them last weekend!
  • Attention hosers: My pal Snake Eyes is looking for nerd musicians – nerdcore, geek rock, WRock, VGM, chiptune, what have you – in the Toronto area for a special project he’s trying to put together. If you’re a southern Ontario nerd who makes with the sweet sounds, give Snake a holler.
  • More Uke: Rather than end on a ‘Palooza vid, I thought It'd be fun to let you know what Optimus Rhyme have been getting into. Here’s a video for their newest track. Now if only we could convince them to tour with the Accio Bodyguard gals!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Nerdapalooza Wrap-up 2: The People That You Meet

I imagine that by now everyone is waiting for me to give my rundown of the performances at Nerdapalooza, and I plan to. Just not now.

I’m not trying to jerk anyone around or anything like that, there’s just another element that I feel needs to be addressed before I get into it. If you really want a sneak peak at my impressions of the musical element of the show, feel free to check out my recent post over at GeekDad. Actually, please check out that post anyway. It isn’t exactly burning up the charts and a couple extra page views couldn’t hurt.

I once had a friend tell me that he didn’t have to respect an artist to enjoy his music, but that it sure helped. I find steel in that statement. The attitude of a performer both on and off the stage can really make the difference between an average concert experience and the kind of affair that you talk reverently about for months thereafter.

I’ve stated before that one of the best things about moving in nerdy music circles is how genuinely nice everyone is, and my time at Nerdapalooza corroborated this statement. Never have I been in a room with so many individuals who so desperately wanted to get along with each other. Seriously. Nerds are, by nature, timid creatures, and that certainly came into play, but not once did I make an awkward first stab at conversation only to be giving the coldest of shoulders. Each interaction with a fellow fan or performer immediately turned into a truly friendly exchange.

There were a number of folks in attendance with whom I’d previously spoken, Frontalot and his crew being chief among them, and I found them even more relaxed, conversational, and congenial than previously anticipated. I never saw Front – who is, let’s not forget, a big fish in our pond – turn away an eager fan, interview request, or idle exchange. Both he and Blak Lotus were particularly friendly to me at the pre-event show at A Comic Shop, and keyboardist G Minor 7 talked to me for a delightful stretch before their set at Taste. (As an aside, Gaby has written some really interesting musicals that you totally need to check out.)

And the headliners on the other side were just as engaging. It was a thrill to finally hang out with Dan and Marty from Uncle Monsterface, as well as Monsterface himself, and I got the honest impression that they were just excited to talk to me. Justine from Math the Band has got to be one of the most instantly endearing people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet, and the fact that frontman Kevin was still able (and willing) to speak after a set that can be understatedly described as intense is a credit to his agreeability and urge to reach out. Sadly, I didn’t get much chance to talk to the Potters, but Paul thanked me for promoting the band via my blogging efforts and signed my Ravenclaw prefect badge. (Don’t you fuckin’ judge me!)

Artists across the board were simply amazing to talk to. I spent literal hours of my weekend palling around with int eighty, DJ Snyder, and Myf, three cats whose music is as engaging as their personalities. Maja and ZeaLouS1, who arrived at the venue together Friday afternoon and spent their first 15 minutes there greeting a crowd of onlookers with smiles, hugs, and well wishes. Schaffer the Darklord, in an obvious attempt to slacken his reigns on the powers of ultimate darkness, took a personal photograph with what may well have been every person in attendance. Wordburglar, when not busy simple being a wholly debonair motherfucker, convinced the guys from A Comic Shop to give a copy of Watchmen to a lucky pair of fans. funky49 handed out party favors during his set; Whore Moans bopped up to perfect strangers to chat; Bootyrage Samurai offered to come on and hang out with me on a future ep. of RFH; MC Cool Whip took some great pictures on behalf of Ant and me (who had neglected to bring our own); the list goes on and on.

Some of my favorite times were had hanging out with the local FLA talent. I’d heard stories about how it was impossible to understand the power of the Florida nerdcore scene without experiencing it live, but that’s only partially true. Just as important as seeing them on-stage is interacting with them off. The Magitek family – and I call them a family because that’s exactly how they carry themselves - is a veritable fountain of positivity. Spork (who, along with EPP’s Sir-Up, was an unsung hero of the festival’s logistical burden) and the RPG crew were as much fun to watch as to hang out with. Masu from Krondor Krew treated me like a lifelong friend after all of about 2 minutes of talking to me, as did the group’s chief cheerleader Sangriaa. In fact, the upbeat energy of Sanny and ColonP (of Bushido Stylus) was the only thing keeping an exhausted Z. going during the event’s longest hours.

I could go on, but I believe you get the picture. Whether it was Hex and mCRT doting over each individual attendant like a hyper-nurturing pair of neighbors from some wacky sitcom or watching Dennis and Denika spread some design love to needy artists, Nerdapalooza was very much about making that personal connection with your fellow geeks. In the absence of that we attendees are left with what Anthony has termed Post-Nerdapalooza Depression. PND is a disorder marked by malaise, listlessness, and the feeling that you’ve just left your 300 closest friends behind. I’m just afraid it will take them a year to find a cure.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Nerdapalooza Wrap-up 1: All Apologies

I spent a good chunk of yesterday pouring over my notes from Nerdapalooza. There were a lot of them. As such, there was a large amount of, um, pouring.

I’ve got my write-up for GeekDad pretty well polished (it should go up sometime tomorrow), but it’s more about the big picture than a study of the tiny building blocks of nerdiness that made the event, at least in my humble opinion, such a total blast -- which is exactly the kind of stuff I’d like to get into here at Hipster, please! That being said, it’s gonna be a multi-post affair, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 separate entries, and it could take me a couple of weeks to get all my thoughts sorted out.

But there are a few things I need to say before we get into the real meat of my ruminations on Nerdapalooza. You see, like any man I have a selfish need to be liked and accepted by my peers. You’d think being a huge dork for three decades would have dulled this silly reflex, but no such luck. Case in point: when I got home Sunday night, the first thing I did was prepare a mental list of all the people I had harassed and/or annoyed over the weekend. It’s true.

Like Kid in the Hall Bruce McCulloch, I am a shame-based man. Therefore it is in the interest of clearing my conscience that I would like to apologize to:
  • The fine folks at A Comic Shop for not buying anything. By the same token, I didn’t steal anything either (although that plush Doop was tempting), so I reckon it’s not as bad as it could’ve been.
  • Anyone who found themselves on the receiving end of an unwelcomed hug. I’m sort of a hugger.
  • Anyone who wanted a hug but didn’t get one. I imagine you’re in the minority, but I will snuggle the hell out of you when next we meet.
  • Anyone whose set I missed.
  • Anyone whose set I partially missed because I was taking notes or fucking with that damn Flip camera.
  • Ant and MisterB for never making it to the EPP house to do that tag team podcast. I am both an old man and a lightweight.
  • Justin for this picture. Man, even this one is pretty bad. I’ll try to be more handsome next time.
  • That handful of you that asked me to sign something and had to cope with that totally horrified look I gave you. I didn’t mean to offend; I was just sort of taken aback.
  • Those poor headliners who had to sit through my wholly inept introductions. I don’t do well addressing crowds.
  • Those who had to sit through my wholly inept second introduction of YTCracker after he’d already been properly introduced simply because there was some confusion re: the master set list earlier that day, and by the time it got cleared up YT and I both obviously didn’t want to seem disrespectful to each other by going back on our previous agreement.
  • Anyone whose drink got spilled because of me. (I am looking at you, funky49.)
  • Wordburglar, The Potters, and everyone else that I neglected to buy merch from even though I kept reminding myself to do so. I am sore ashamed.
  • Anyone who was nice enough to introduce themselves to me only to have me turn around and ask them again who they were a scant 5 minutes later.
  • Anyone who got locked into a laborious conversation with me at the bar with nowhere to run. (I am looking at you, G minor 7.)
  • Anyone who had to put up with me running off in the middle of a very nice conversation because I needed to check out what was going on on-stage. (I am looking at you, pretty much everyone at the merch table.)
  • My friends Uncle Monsterface for singing along with all the songs in their set. Generally bands eat that shit up, but the way I sing it’s better if I don’t participate.
  • mCRT for sitting down for the whole of his “set.” It was only one closer song, but I was so exhausted that I could barely make it back to the stage 1 area before collapsing in a heap. (I blame Math the Band; they sapped what was left of my strength.)
  • Anyone else who I annoyed, ignored, passed over, bumped into, trod on, or otherwise inconvenienced.
  • But most importantly I have to apologize to Dennis and Denika for being a slothful and utterly useless houseguest.(Please buy lots of cool zombie crafts and amigurumi from them so they can afford to let me come down and mooch off of them next year too!)
And with that, I am absolved!

Right, guys?



Monday, July 07, 2008


I've been back home for approximately 24 hours, and most of that has been spent in blissful convalescence. Sleep is obviously a rare and valuable commodity in Orlando.

I can only describe the Nerdapalooza experience as amazing. I saw dozens of my favorite acts and found almost as many more to add to the list. I met Wordburglar, a man who treats every fan and fellow performer like his new best friend. I hung out extensively with Myf, DJ Snyder, and int eighty, three cast who are as friendly, genuine, and engaging as they are talented. I talked community with Quartz Relic of Magitek, a crew that knows a thing or two about family and made me feel like a new addition. I drank with MisterB, a man who always roles high on Constitution checks. I could go on, but there'll be time for more elucidation later.

Rather than a "lost weekend," this may very well have been my found weekend. What I found were friends, comrades in arms. And fortunately I also found my way back to SC. Nerdapalooza was the place I fit in, but this is where I belong. I'll be writing much more about my experiences over the coming days, but right now I'm just enjoying the simple pleasures of my family life. I reckon I missed them even more than I realized.

The life of the roving nerd is rewarding, but not without its drawbacks.