April 3, 2003 | UMD
The mention of the word "prom" may conjure up memories
of popularity-rigged royalty, worry over not having a date,
and yet another time for the cool high school students to
be celebrated in all their trendy glory. At the second-annual
Geek Prom at the NorShor Theater April 12, however, the nerds
get their chance to shine.
"They say that the geek
shall inherit the earth," said Paul Lundgren, one of
the prom's organizers, who came up with the original idea
five years ago. He enlisted the help of Scott "Starfire"
Lunt, whom he had seen promoting and organizing many successful
shows, such as HomeGrown Music Festival. Together, they created
an all-nerd committee.
The Geek Prom is aimed toward
"Einsteins, pizza faces ... braniacs, space cadets, mathletes
... Trekkies, [and] marching-band members," to name just
a few, according to the prom's prospectus. Rather than blow
hundreds of dollars on puffy dresses to be worn only once
or rented suits with stuffy cummerbunds and the essence of
the previous wearer embedded in the fibers, attendees are
required to wear only clothes that are out of style or associated
with being uncool. Some examples include band uniforms, dental
headgear or futuristic costumes. The music to do the African
anteater ritual to will be provided by Manplanet and the Hospital
People. There is even a crowning of King and Queen Geek, which
is said to have a very complicated judging process by six
According to Lunt, the Hospital
People's song "We'll be Philosophers" was chosen
as last year's spotlight dance, so he and Lundgren thought
it would be nice to have it played live at the coronation
this year. It has been renamed "Love Theme from Geek
"It's perfect for a spotlight
dance because it's so uncomfortable to dance to," said
Lundgren. "It makes for a wonderfully awkward moment.
The song is also a real anthem for misfits. It has only two
lines, but those two lines say so much. ‘Fear is gone.
We'll be philosophers.'"
Lundgren and Lunt chose Manplanet
because they thought they had nerd appeal.
"The guys in Manplanet
all dress up in primary colors," said Lunt. "They
are geek heros."
"And they were singing
about robots years before the Flaming Lips were," added
Last year's Geek Prom went
over so well that it called for an encore. There were many
creative costumes and outrageous activities. One bandleader
rode in on a scooter with his wife right up the red carpet,
and the entire audience witnessed a "geek streak"
consisting of seven naked losers running across the room.
The king was said to have won by a landslide, and the queen
by one vote. The event was even picked up by well-known media
sources, as CNN, the Associated Press, National Public Radio
and CBS Radio Network all had features on the prom.
Not much will be different
this year. Lunt said they don't want to change much because
of how well it went last year. The only major difference will
be the new bands and celebrity geek judges.
"The most fun part of
this show are the people who come to it and geek out in ways
our committees could never plan," said Lundgren. He said
he likes the spontaneity best.
"That's why we just try
to provide an atmosphere for craziness," said Lunt. "Whatever
activities we might try to force would just get in the way
of letting all the geeks be themselves." Which is the
whole purpose of this postmodern prom.
The Geek Prom's Grand March
begins at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $12 and can be purchased
at the Norshor, Electric Fetus, Robin Goodfellow or Ragstock.
Tickets are $15 at the door. Geek fashions can be purchased
at Ragstock. Manplanet will play at 10 p.m., followed by the
Hospital People. The coronation is at 11 p.m., followed by
another set from Manplanet. There is an after-party at Pizza
Lucé at 1 a.m. Attendees of both the prom and the party
must be at least 21 years old.
There will be a "short
bus" shuttle from sponsoring restaurants to the prom
from 8-10 p.m. and from midnight until 2 a.m. The Norshor
Theater is located at 211 E. Superior St., downtown Duluth.