It's all well and good being a geek these days. It's easy for you young folk. See, nerd is now the new cool, so it's hip to be into all kinds of genre stuff, and know your Boushh from your Bossk.
But it was not always so.
No, there was a time when being a geek meant leading a solitary, shunned existence on the periphery of adolescent society. When roleplaying and quoting Dr. Who episodes made you a social pariah. In those days, it was something to rejoice about whenever you came across others who shared your interests, people you could commune with and debate the weighty issues, like who was the coolest X-Man and whether or not Ricardo Montalban wore a fake rubber chest in Wrath of Khan. These things were important to you, and if you met the rare other person to whom they were also important...well, then that person was cool in your book.
Those days are gone now, and yet I couldn't help but be reminded of them thanks to the experience of discovering and taking part in an amazing phenomenon known as Kevin Geeks Out. The brainchild of writer/comedian Kevin Maher, co-produced by Meg Sweeney Lawless and Jay Stern, Kevin Geeks Out was a nearly monthly multimedia extravaganza paying tribute to all sorts of themes in genre entertainment. Held at Manhattan's 92YTribeca, the comedy-variety clip show devoted whole evenings to Vincent Price, werewolves, sharks, robots, monkeys, Frankenstein, superheroes, the post-apocalypse, and so much more. And now it's over.
Last Friday night marked the final edition of Kevin Geeks Out, with a special show that was all about aliens. And just as I had the other times I got to experience it, I felt right at home. It was that same feeling from back in high school, meeting the kid in the cafeteria with a bootleg VHS of Slime City tucked under his arm. As my wife looked around the darkened theater at her first and final KGO, she said it best: "Yep, these are definitely your people!" And they were.
It saddens me to have discovered KGO so late in the game, only having the opportunity to catch three of the 23 events presented since the whole thing started in January 2008. And yet I'm glad I got to enjoy it before it disappeared. I'm especially glad I got to enjoy it with other very cool people, some of whom I previously knew only as a name on a computer screen, others whom I didn't know at all: folks like Tenebrous Kate, Emily Intravia, Dylan Santurri & Christine Makepeace, Matt Glasson, Heather Buckley and others.
Being a fellow family man, similarly forced to balance home life and a real-life job with a hungry compulsion to discuss the career of Gil Gerard, I completely relate to Kevin's tough decision to bring the curtain down on the Geek-Outs. But it doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. At least I got one last night full of Mac & Me clips and green cupcakes, got to introduce the Mrs. to the KGO phenom, and also got to close out the show by impersonating an FBI agent and escorting Kevin from the theater for the unlawful exhibition of copyrighted material...
So here's to cherishing the opportunity to get together with like-minded fans and have so much fun with the stuff we all love. It might be cool to like all this stuff now, but for all those who remember when it wasn't, thank you Kevin, for giving us a place to geek out among friends.