According to the Oxford English Dictionary, one definition of the word “nerd” is “a person who pursues an unfashionable or highly technical interest with obsessive or exclusive dedication.”
Nerds’ Night Out is a series of events celebrating Akron’s nerdy heritage (think Devo, David Giffels, etc.) and targeted at the city’s nerd demographic. The first Nerds’ Night Out, a free event put on by the Summit County Historical Society of Akron and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, was held June 1 at Thirsty Dog brewery.
“It’s about putting on your nerd glasses,” said Leianne Neff Heppner, president of the Summit County Historical Society of Akron.
Basically, a group comprised mostly of 20-somethings gathered at a long table and learned about the works of Akron artists Raphael Gleitsmann and William Sommer before each being given a canvas and led in a group painting session. Todd V., an Akron-based filmmaker and artist known for speed-painting, instructed the group in recreating Sommer’s Landscape with Yellow Clouds.
Although there was food catered by Old Carolina Barbecue, the biggest draw was the free beer. Each participant was given a glass at the start of the event and a ticket for one beer of choice from the bar.
“I thought this was something different to do on a Wednesday night. Plus there’s free beer,” said participant Paige Patton, who doesn’t consider herself a nerd, but made plans to attend the event after a friend discovered it on Facebook.
The participants focused attentively on their paintings, giggling more over tiny goof-ups as they came closer to finishing their drinks. Todd V., dressed in jeans and a tight-fitting t-shirt splattered in dry paint, said, in all earnestness, things like: “It’s just a reference of a flower, not stems and petals and pistils; just a splash of color.” If that sounds like something that would get you laughed at in your favorite lackluster sports bar, then the inaugural Nerds’ Night Out was deserving of its name.
The next Nerds’ Night Out will take place Aug. 3 at the Perkins Stone Mansion. In celebration of the life of Judith Resnik, an astronaut from Akron who was tragically killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, participants will be given free model rockets to construct and launch on the mansion’s lawn.
Sound cool? It’s not supposed to; that’s the point.
To purchase nerd glasses, go to http://www.partycity.com/product/class+nerd+glasses.do.
To register for “Nerds’ Night Out: Round 2,” go to http://www.eventbrite.com/e/nerds-night-out-round-2-tickets-25701660358.