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SLCNerd, this Saturday, will allow Utahns to geek out

Published March 19, 2012 4:06 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

To be considered for admittance to Saturday's first SLCNerd, you must first answer these questions at the door:

1. Do you speak the languages Sarati, Tengwar, or Klingon?2. Recite Roy Batty's speech at the end of "Blade Runner."3. What DVD imports by Takashi Miike do you own?

Of course, I am only kidding. You don't have to be a nerd to attend Salt Lake's version of Comic-con at The Complex on Saturday, March 24. But you might improve your chances of winning the "Magic: The Gathering" card game if you are one.

SLCNerd is the first-of-its-kind gathering for nerds, geeks and the people who love (or tolerate) them, with the event produced by Gangrene Productions and sponsored by Kaysville software-development and digital media service company mediaRif, the people behind the independent Gangrene Film Festival and other unique enterprises.

"It's a big prom for nerds," said Ben Fuller of mediaRif.

The idea for this one-day festival came when Fuller, company mate Craig Nybo and others felt that those who believe that George Lucas never should have let Greedo shoot first needed a fun event to congregate and celebrate a culture that has evolved from an underground subculture of Table Top Miniature Wargames into the mainstream. Along with being a family-friendly event, the producers wanted a place for geeks and nerds to engage in their own day-long versions of the Geek Show Podcast, with live geek bands performing amid comic books, tournaments and a Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Benefit silent auction, among other activities. "It's a day for Ben to be happy," said event emcee and "Monty Python" buff Jon Clark (a music-playing comedian whose guitar is stickered with the battle cry "Real Ewoks Don't Blink")

Fuller, Nybo and Clark seem to be the perfect people to put on the show because they are self-proclaimed geeks who know that "table-top gaming" isn't another term for ping-pong, and who can distinguish between geeks and nerds.

"Geeks revel in things they are passionate about," said Fuller, an aficionado of obscure comic books. "Nerds are trapped by it."

"A geek would haze the nerds," added Nybo, a zombie fanatic whose favorite current TV show is "The Walking Dead." He was quick to say that both geeks and nerds are invited, as well as those who don't consider themselves nerds or geeks.

The organizers are excited about those booked to appear at the event, including The Utah Improv All-Stars, the Utah Rocket Club, The Hello! Sweetie Podcast hosts, and Larry Correia, New York Times-bestselling author of the Monster Hunter International Series, the Grimnoir Chronicles, and the fantasy thriller "Dead Six." Correria will play an exhibition game of "Legend of Five Rings" with the Writer Nerd Game Night Group.

"Security" for the event will be provided by Real Life Superhero Red Voltage and his allies in the Black Monday Society, and attendees are encouraged to dress up as their favorite anime characters or anything else that strikes their fancy. For example, your Steampunk outfit might only be socially acceptable at Halloween parties, but feel free to dust if off and wear it Saturday.

The only question left concerns the estimated ending time of about 11 p.m., since doors open at 2 p.m. Doesn't that seem excessive?

"For a lot of these people, nine hours of Dungeons & Dragons is nothing," said Clark, who knows. His wife and daughter are addicts of the game, which isn't as bad as it appears, he said. Clark hasn't had to see a chick flick in years.

SLC NerdWhen • Saturday, March 24. Doors open at 2 p.m. with games and "CosPlay"; Live music begins at 6 p.m.Where • Rockwell Room, The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake CityTickets • $10 at the door; all-ages