The Chicago nerd community descended upon the Public House Theatre on May 4th to celebrate a holiday manufactured purely from sheer fandom and a love of wordplay. There, nerds from all over the city gathered for a potluck and a viewing of the original Star Wars trilogy.
Greetings of “May the Fourth be with you” were exchanged as representatives from Geek Bar, The Nerdologues, Chicago Nerd Social Club, and the general public filtered in.
The event was coordinated by Kevin Reader, a founding member of the Nerdologues, as well as a producer at the Public House Theatre.
“I wanted it to be a low-pressure place [where] everyone could hang out, eat some food, and celebrate,” said Reader of the inaugural event.
“There will be some fun trivia throughout the day – some guys through Versus the Universe, a video group here in Chicago, are doing trivia stuff,” Reader said. “Elliott Serrano, the Redeye Geek, is going to be here to give away some prizes. The dudes from Geek Bar are here with food from their tasting menu.”
Serrano was prepared for the occasion, lightsaber in hand.
“Kevin asked if I wanted to help,” said Serrano. “It was either this, or sit alone at home in my Star Wars pajamies, so, you know. I might as well sit here, with a bunch of people, in my Star Wars pajamies.”
The popular, free event sold out on Eventbrite quickly, with all 100 spots being claimed well before the event start time, said Serrano.
“I was on the board of directors for Chicago Nerd Social Club for several years and I saw them post about this,” said Phil Kalata, an attendee. “I was one of those lucky 100 people on Eventbrite.”
Others came by hoping to network within Chicago’s nerd community.
“I’ve been kind of a passive member [of CNSC], and this event was a no-brainer way to get more involved,” said Matt Hayes, and early arrival to the event.
The films showed Sunday at noon, 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. with trivia and prizes in between viewings. While few showed up in full-on costume, many showed their geek pride on their T-shirts or by bringing along memorabilia.
“I definitely wanted to be part of something and Nerdologues gave us the perfect venue for it,” said Aaron Amendola, a board member of the Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival.
All were welcome, said Reader.
“We’re just trying to be a community-driven thing,” he said. “Anyone who wanted to be included could be included. That’s just sort of what I believe in.”
Listen to Meryl and Travis’s brief conversation backstage with Kevin Reader to hear his thoughts on fan ownership of the Star Wars franchise.