The Vancouver nerd-community seems divided into two halves, if the conversations I have with friends (who identify as nerd) are any indication. There seems to be one group that is completely unaware of the bustling hive of nerd-activity that Vancouver is, and a second half that feels overwhelmed by the amount of options we have for nerdy night outs.
Personally, I’ve fallen into the latter camp for the better part of the last year (maybe two). With Shogun Gamer I had the privilege of being invited to an absolute TRUCKLOAD of nerd-themed bar nights, musicals, burlesque productions, stage shows, and comedy events.
Where there used to be one or two shows a week, over the last two years the scene as absolutely exploded into a sea of shows, often offering the community a few shows PER WEEK rather than the previously (manageable) show a month.
So, having that mentality going in… I’ll admit that I’m a pretty hard sell for anything “new” being offered in the way of nerd community gatherings/shows/themed bar-nights.
Brain Teasers produced their first event this weekend, and planted a flag firmly which stated that “there are never enough options for nerd-entertainment.” While cynics, like myself, might have argued that the creativity well was exhausted, people will continue to disprove the theory by taking the concept of socializing the (traditionally, clichéd, whatever word you want) unsocial.
Club 560 played host to the comedy/variety/burlesque show this last Saturday, and for a first showing it wasn’t half bad.
I wouldn’t be doing my job if I said the show went off without a hitch, but as a first outing it was put together a lot better than a bevy of shows I’ve attended as press previously.
The crowd was a solid one, and everyone (from my perspective) seemed to be having a grand old time (at least once the alcohol had started to flow). The venue is probably the best one I’ve seen used for a show of this type so far, and offers an unprecedented amount of growth (should more people continue to join in the new themed-night moving forwards).
Of course the venue and the guests aren’t really what the group is hoping to sell. There is, after all, a show which is being put on for the price you’re paying for admission, and that’s where I’d happily give the edge to Brain Teasers. Previous shows I’ve been at suggested a theme for the show, but quickly deviated. A “Doctor Who” theme night would allow any number of nerd-inspired burlesque/comedy performances from anything sci-fi related.
Brain Teasers, to their credit, seemed to stay on point with the theme. The only downside being that the pacing of the show felt a little… janky. The switch between comedy live-performance/D&D re-enactment to burlesque dancers left a sort of ‘up and down’ feeling. Not to say that one group performed to a higher level than another, both groups are talented performers in their own rights, but more to say that they didn’t feel connected by anything more than the over-all ‘fantasy’ theme. There could definitely be some work done to make the transitions between segments a lot more fluid and natural-feeling.
Overall the experience was a positive one. There are some bumps that will need to be smoothed out if the show is going to continue down the road, but the venue, atmosphere, theming and general vibe of the event were all on point.
Brain Teasers feels like it could easily become the nerd-themed community night that Vancouver deserves and has been sorely lacking. In a sea of hap-hazard half-attempts at taking coin from nerds under the guise of a social outing, this feels a little more legitimate in its endeavour to unite fandom, rather than make a quick buck off of something that has become (unintentionally) popular.