Philadelphia Geek Awards
in All About Brad by Guigar
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 12:00 AM
Geekadelphia's Second Annual Philadelphia Geek Awards were held last Friday, and I was nominated for Best Comic Artist. It was a black-tie event, with a red carpet and everything. Unfortunately Joan Rivers was not on hand to ask me who I was wearing (Men's Wearhouse) and share her biting wit, but an attendant from Philadelphia's Museum of Natural History was working the line with a small alligator for anyone who needed biting.
The event was being held at the Natural History Museum -- an excellent choice for a gathering of geekery. And refreshments were being offered by Victory Brewing Company (makers of my beloved Hops Devil IPA), National Mechanics (who put on a formidable spread, including some delicious chicken empañadas and pulled pork), and Whipped Bakery who brought awesome cookies with memes printed on them.
And all this after my wife and I had been whisked to the event by the luxurious (and surprisingly affordable) black-car service, Uber. All I had to do was download the Uber appp, enter a credit card for paying fares (Uber spotted me more than enough to cover getting to and from the event), and tap my iPhone when I wanted to get picked up. I could track my driver's arrival with a GPS, receive texts when he was near, and got a phone call when he was at my front door.
But best of all, it was a rare opportunity for my wife and I to drop the boys off with friends, get dressed up, and have a super-enjoyable night on the town. My wife was absolutely beautiful, and I was the proudest geek in the room, walking in with her on my arm.
Geekadelphia had done an amazing job of gathering Philadelphian geeks from a surprisingly broad spectrum. There were mathematics profs rubbing elbow with hackers... game developers yakking it up with bloggers... there were start-up businesspeople... indie film creators... and comic book folks.
And, given the degree of young and the preponderance of hip in the room, my wife and I agreed that those National Mechanics empañadas were probably going to be the sole highlights for Team Guigar. After all, the Comic Artist of the Year category had some serious depth. Dan O'Connor, Ace Killroy co-creator, had received a well-deserved nod, as did Nick Filardi, who so adeptly colors Powers and Takio. And me.
Photographer / videographer Kyle Cassidy presented the awards for both Comic Writer and Comic Artist of the Year. And, as you can tell below, he did a fantastic job.
And, to no one's shock more than my own, he called my name. I made my way to the dais, and made a few impromtu remarks, and then found my seat.
The award itself is perhaps the coolest trophy I've ever received -- so cool, in fact, that it was downright difficult to photograph. Luckily, Jackie Sauer knows her way around a lens much better than me (that's her photos, to the right and bottom right). And check out her Flickr account for a ton of great Philadelphia Geek Awards photos
The thing you have to understand... the thing that makes these things so awesome was that they light up! These little babies were manufactured by Ross Kessler at Next Fab Studio, and he did an amazing job bringing this design to life. The robot is clear plexiglass with small LED lights underneath. when you turn on the base, the entire trophy becomes a powerful beacon.
And that was particularly helpful at the end of the evening when the black-tie crowd headed for the exit, only to be met with a torrential downpour outside the door. Everyone turned around and headed back inside and mingled -- which was kinda nice. I got a chance to meet Johnny Zito and had a brief chat with the delightful Juliana Reyes -- who, too, was a Philadelphia Daily News alum. But it wasn't long before a kind voice came over the loudspeaker explaining that they needed to close the museum rather soon. We didn't have to go home, but we couldn't sleep in the dioramas.
And this is where I realized that I had married the Right Woman. As we surveyed the crowd in front of the museum, vying for Uber cars and taxi cabs, my wife said, "Y'know... all we gotta do is walk one block away, and we'll be able to get a cab easily."
And she kicked off her stiletto heels and walked, barefoot, hand-in-hand with a soaked Comic Artist of the Year, in the pouring-down rain. Sure enough, between her cunning and my trophy/beacon, I was inside a Philly cab in no time at all.
Me and both of my trophies.
On the way home, it was hard not to reflect a little. (I mean with all that LED light in the back seat of the taxi... ) See... I'm enough of a geezer to remember when "geek" wasn't cool. It wasn't ironic. And it wasn't nice. I remember having my feelings hurt in high school by people who used that word on me. And, when other people my age heard that I was getting fitted for a tux because I had been nominated in a category at the Geek of the Year awards, more than one asked if I was sure it was an honor. It took a night like Friday night to gather all of us square pegs together and remind us we never did need to fit that round hole. Heck, we never really needed a square hole, either. Geekadelphia showed us, in a really cool way, what we really need... are other square pegs.
This discussion has been locked. Feel free to start a new one to share your wisdom with us.