Et. al – The Ultimate Bar Science Night

Anecdotal Evidence + Cafe Scientifique + Curiosity Collider + Nerd Nite

You like science? You like drinking while sciencing? In Vancouver there are many options to get educated and inspired through science, art, and culture in a casual bar setting outside of universities. There’s Nerd Nite which focuses on nerdy lectures in the Fox Cabaret,  Anecdotal Evidence a science based storytelling show, Curiosity Collider which creates events that bring together artists and scientists, as well as Cafe Scientifique the long running  series which focuses on one single speaker to engage in discussions while at the bar.

September 20th at the Fox Cabaret, all four institutions will team for the ultimate bar science night, Et al. This show is one night only, and not to be missed, and plus it’s Science Literacy Week to boot!

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: September 20th, 2016

Tickets: $10 online


Jennifer Gardy:  Senior Scientist at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and occasional host of CBC’s The Nature of Things.

Cheryl Wellington: Professor, Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia; Bellydancer. Performer for Neural Constellations – Exploring Connectivity.

Sarah Louadi: Graduate Student, Experimental Medicine at the University of British Columbia; Dancer. Performer for Neural Constellations – Exploring Connectivity.

Stacey Hrushowey: Graduate Student at Simon Fraser University, Salmon Researcher.

More speakers soon to be announced!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (PDT) Add to Calendar
Fox Cabaret – 2321 Main Street, Vancouver, BC V5T – View Map

Nerd Nite v. 21

This is our last Nerd Nite before we take time off for the summer to have fun in the sun and enjoy all of the other amazing events in our city. Check out a sneak peak below.

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: June 21st 2016; Doors @ 7:00, Talks @ 7:30

Tickets: $7 online

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#1 Brains Beware: The Ethics of Online Resources About Neuroscience

Julie M. Robillard, PhD

Did you know that eating cheese triggers the same part of your brain as heroin does? That’s just one of the many fascinating brain-related “facts” you might come across online. As more and more nerds people turn to the Internet and social media for science and health information, the accurate reporting of scientific findings is increasingly important but often compromised. Join us as we explore how brain research is both hilariously and tragically represented on online platforms and how online brain health resources can be helpful but also harmful. We will also discuss whether you should eat that piece of cheese.

Bio: Dr. Julie Robillard is Assistant Professor of Neurology at UBC and faculty at the National Core for Neuroethics and the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. She did a PhD in neuroscience during which she poked at the brains of old mice to study memory and aging. She now probes the minds of older adults in the context of dementia research. Julie is an avid science communicator and advocates for fact over fiction when it comes to brain health.


#2  Seeing Helen: Imagining the Face that Launched 1000 Ships

Courtney Ewan

Today’s Hollywood effects make the portrayal of Helen of Troy – known as the most beautiful woman in the world for nearly 3000 years – seem simple. Throw together a skimpy outfit and tanned skin, and suddenly the fact that one woman’s beauty caused a decade long war seems plausible. But how did the Greeks see Helen? How did tragedians in the Golden Age of Athens depict the most beautiful woman in the world while sticking to rigid theatrical convention, including the use of tragic masks and a strict adherence to a male-only cast?  This talk will examine the use and clever manipulation of Athenian dramatic convention in envisioning “The Face that Launched 1000 Ships” in effort to puzzle out what it means to look at the most beautiful woman in the world – both for the ancient Greeks, and for a contemporary audience.

Bio: Courtney Ewan is a Classicist by day, and a musician by night – or perhaps it’s the other way around… Since graduating from McGill University with a Masters of Art degree in Classics in the spring of 2016, you can find Courtney accidentally borrowing lines from Euripidean tragedy as lyrics for her band, Twin River. In September, Courtney will be moving to New York to pursue a PhD at NYU.

#3 INKIN’ Identity: Traditional to Modern

Mayo Landicho

After reaching the village of Kalinga, I assumed the role of protege and learned the ways of tattoo skin tapping and poking techniques used by the last Kalinga tattoo artist in the world. These methods are deeply steeped in history and are passed down through the generations. Through this experience I internalized a deeper and profound understanding of the significance and meaning conferred upon the patterns that were particular to tribal tattooing in that region. In my talk I will give a brief history of Tattoo, my journey to reconnect to my roots, and the role of Tattoo in cultural identity and preserving tradition.

Bio: Mayo Landicho is the owner of Birthmark Tattoos where he works and specialized in modern and traditional tattoos styles. Mayo is known for his use of the hand-tapping technique still used in some areas of the Philippines. Mayo has won a number of awards for his work, including the top prize at the Westcoast Tattoo Show in 2012 and 1st and 2nd Place awards for “Best Tribal” tattoos at the 2015 Urban Tattoo Convention in New York.



Nerd Nite Vancouver at the Vancouver Aquarium

The Blob – Sci-fi or Sci-fact?

This month we’re teaming up with the Vancouver Aquarium to bring you special “themed” Nerd Nite! Our talks are all about “The Blob”, both in cinema and in the ocean. Our last Nerd Nite at the Vancouver Aquarium sold out quick so be sure to get your tickets ASAP!

Where: The Vancouver Aquarium

When: May 24th 2016; Doors @ 6:00, Talks @ 7:00

Tickets: $8 for Aquarium Members, $10 for non-members – tickets here

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FILM SCREENING! On Sunday, May 22 at 1:00pm, we are partnering with The Cinematheque for an all-ages screening of THE BLOB (1958) in conjunction with the Vancouver Aquarium. The Cinematheque is located at 1131 Howe St. Information and tickets available here.


About our Speakers:

Dr. Philippe Tortell

Dr. Philippe Tortell is a biological/chemical oceanographer with broad interests in ocean-climate interactions. He received his B.Sc. in biology from McGill University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University.  He has been a faculty member at UBC since 2002, with a cross appointment in the departments of Botany and Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences.  His research employs a variety of laboratory and field-based measurements to examine the interactions between marine micro-organisms and ‘climate-active’ trace gases including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and dimethylsulfide.

Dr. Richard Dewey

Dr. Richard Dewey holds a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Victoria and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of British Columbia. His research interests are coastal and ocean dynamics, mixing processes, turbulence, waves, and tides. Richard has conducted research throughout the Pacific from Japan to California, and along the B.C., Alaskan, and Arctic coastal margins. He is the Associate Director, Science Services with Ocean Networks Canada at the University of Victoria.

Michael van den Bos

Michael van den Bos is a Vancouver-based film scholar, film history teacher and critic.  For 17 years, Michael taught film theory at the Vancouver Film School.  For five years, Michael taught motion picture history at the Pacific Audio Visual Institute, including a course in the history of 20th Century pop music.  Michael currently teaches animation history at Capilano University in North Vancouver.  Through the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, Michael worked in the Vancouver animation industry as a producer of animated films and TV programming.  Michael is a popular live speaker and commentator about classic movies, appearing frequently at a variety of special film events and festivals.  He is the Program Consultant and host of the Cinema Sunday series at The Cinematheque, Vancouver’s home of essential cinema, where he introduces classic family films.  For the Vancity Theatre, Michael has introduced and lectured about classic cinema, moderated film panels, and curates-hosts special movie clip show presentations, such as his popular Dancing in the Dark series, Reel Jazz, Frank Sinatra Centennial Celebration and Singin’ in the Dark programs.

The Warm Blob

The Warm Blob itself will also be joining us this evening, follow@TheWarmBlob on twitter for live tweets! Please use hashtag #TheBlobVA to engage with this event on social media.

Nerd Nite Vancouver v.19

On April 19th, join us for a drink or three while we delve into the worlds of food Japafication, the bizarre mating rituals of animals, and the who’s, what’s, and where’s of photography and love. Our last Nerd Nite was a full house so be sure to grab your tickets early.

Where: Fox Cabaret

When: Tuesday April 19th, Doors @ 7:00, Talks @ 7:30

Tickets: $6 online

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#1 What Is Love – Tales of How Comparative Photography Can Unite

Angela Fama

What do micro expressions, eye contact between mothers and babies and a travelling photo studio ’77 RV named “Debbie” have in common? Come find out and at the same time, cohesively learn how asking simple questions using modern technology as a creative tool can help to unite communities rather than separate. The concept of love has been the driving force behind the creation of some of our greatest works of art, our philosophies, and our most severe behaviours. While Webster’s dictionary defines love as “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person”, this uniform definition precludes our understanding that the human experience of love is varied. Fama drove across North America asking over 300 people what the word “love” meant to them and learned a lot more about how interconnected everything can be from the journey than expected.

Bio: A multidisciplinary photographic artist, Fama is interested in exploring the tension inherent in our collective desire for both the temporal and timeless. She is often found burrowing through the endless excess, finding substance and beauty in the overlooked or forgotten. Born in Tennessee, raised in Ontario and Zimbabwe, Fama currently lives and works out of Vancouver, BC.


#2 Dating and Mating in the Animal Kingdom

Lyndsay Fraser

Penis fencing? Choreographed dances? Traumatic insemination? And you thought dating as a human was tough! This talk delves into the wild world of animal sex, covering a wide range of weird ways that animals are doing it all over the world. Sexual selection has created the most diverse and amazing courtships, mating behaviours, and anatomy that seem like they come right out of science fiction (chances are, it’s even weirder in real life). If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering, how big would my penis be if I were a barnacle? or thinking, man I wish I could learn how to dance like a Blue-footed booby, this is going to be right up your alley.

Bio: Lyndsay Fraser is a Program Specialist at Science World, where she curates their two sustainability galleries, creates environmental education content and programs, and involves herself in all things ‘green’. Most people know her as the resident chicken whisperer, under the false impression that the majority of her job revolves around the care of Science World’s four spoiled hens (although sometimes that does seem to be largely true…). Unfortunately, she rarely ever gets to talk about weird sex at work. In her ‘free’ time, Lyndsay is working on her Master’s of Environmental Education and Communication. Her living room has a framed Turkey Vulture poster that mentions projectile vomiting, so yeah, she’s pretty rad.


#3 Japafied: Using History and Data to Invent New and Dericious Foods

Hana Etsuko Dethlefsen

From sushi to tempura to ramen, Japan has a history of importing foods from other countries and passing them off as their own. By the end of this talk, you too will be able to take any dish and make it Japanese, using a Japafication method based on data, history, and three basic culinary prompts.

Bio: If Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain had a slightly Japanese-looking love-child, Hana Etsuko Dethlefsen would be it. After convincing her Master’s thesis advisor that writing a Japanese cookbook called “Let’s Cooking” was scholarly, she fell into a gig as the Japanese co-host of “One World Kitchen” on Gusto TV.  Now she spends days in the Science World exhibit design studio and nights at the pub, analyzing global influences on Japanese food.


Nerd Nite Vancouver v.18

We’ve just celebrated our 2nd Nerdaversary at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. We had a fantastic turnout and a tonne of fun – but were sad that we didn’t get any cotton (customary of a 2nd anniversary). We’re kicking off our third year of Nerdery with some great talks on VFX, Beer, and Evolution. If you missed our Anniversary event, we’re back at the Fox Cabaret for March.

Where: Fox Cabaret

When: Tuesday March 22nd, Doors @ 7:00, Talks @ 7:30

Tickets: $6 online

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#1 Rejected Princesses: The Unsung Women too Badass for Hollywood

Jason Porath

There is a list in your head. It is safe, it is censored, it is short. It is the list of the women that you learn about in history class – the ones that are “appropriate for kids.”. But what of the unsung ones? The uncompromised, the uncompromising, the unconventional? This talk explores the Disneyfication of girlhood and the alternatives you never knew about.

Bio: In a past life, Jason Porath used to work at DreamWorks Animation on films such as How to Train Your Dragon 2, Megamind, and The Croods. In 2014, he left the animation industry to start Rejected Princesses: a blog celebrating women of history and myth who were too awesome, awful, or offbeat for the animated princess treatment. Part art project, part history lesson, part humor column, it quickly went viral and has been featured in Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, NPR, and newspapers around the world. Later this year, 100 of the entries will be published as a book by Dey Street, a division of Harper Collins.

#2 Thousands of years of evolution to behave like yeast!

Mauricio Lozano
Humanity has been brewing and drinking  beer since the Egyptians (they were also making bread and other foods involving the help of microbes). However, it wasn’t until Louis Pasteur discovered yeast in 1876 that we started to study beer! Yes – the same Pasteur that invented the vaccine for rabies and found a way of drinking milk safely (Pasteurization). The guy was a rockstar. The nice twist here is that yeast behave like humans: they will reproduce unstoppably, consume all of their resources and pollute their environment with ethanol until all of them die.
Bio: Mauricio Lozano is a Food Engineer specialized in optimization of food manufacturing processes. He moved to Vancouver in 2009 for his Master Degree in Food Science at UBC. He has worked for Hain Celestial, Molson-Coors,  Zag Global and Nectar Juicery. His job has always been in relation to using good bugs, minimizing bad bugs, and killing ugly bugs. Currently he is an instructor at BCIT and the Founder of “Faculty Brewing Co” a Micro Brewery in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver.

#3 Alfred Russel Wallace: a Victorian Journey into Adventure! Discovery! and Evolution!

Dr. Greg Bole
Lecture To-Night including THRILLING DETAILS and TERRIFYING MOMENTS! You may have heard of Charles Darwin and know a thing or two about EVOLUTION, but do you know about the gentleman named ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE? (OM FRS)  He was not only the co-discoverer of EVOLUTION BY NATURAL SELECTION, but also led an AMAZING life! From the deepest, darkest jungles of the Amazon to the volcanos and headhunters of Melanesia and the Malay Archipelago, Wallace explored the natural world and collected over ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND natural history specimens. Find out about his thoughts on FLAT EARTHERS, the CANALS OF MARS, VACCINATION and SPIRITUALISM!! A most suitable lecture for young and old, one night only at the FOX CABARET.
Bio: Dr. Greg Bole received his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Stony Brook University. For the past thirteen years he has been teaching with the Biology Program at UBC and was awarded the 2007/08 Faculty of Science Killam Prize for Excellence in Teaching. He is now a Senior Instructor teaching Evolution, Ecology and Genetics in the departments of Zoology and Botany. Greg started acting when he was 12 years old and continues it as a hobby. He has been portraying and speaking about Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace for the past eleven years on the radio, to public groups, classes and conferences in a wide variety of locations.

Nerd Nite Vancouver v17

On February 12th, 1809 Charles R Darwin was born in a place just called “The Mount”. Mr. Darwin is most famous for having stinky feet, being a huge backgammon nerd, and being very interested in nipples. He wrote a few books, some that were read more than others, but since Mr. Darwin was such a huge nerd, and museum nerd we will celebrate his life at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC! All the talks will be held underneath the large blue whale, and admission will include access to the awesome Beaty Museusm exhibits! There will be a Darwin Cake contest as well if you get there early. Check out the photos from last year!

Where: Beaty Biodiversity Museum

When: Friday February 12th, Darwin Cake Competition 4:30; Doors and Drinks @ 6:30; Talks @ 7:30

Tickets: $9 online


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#1 The hidden lives of galaxies

Dr. Laura Ferrarese

When peering into the cosmos, astronomers can only gather instantaneous snapshots of celestial objects whose evolution — with rare exceptions — unfolds on timescales far too long to be probed within a human lifetime. To complicate things further, what our instruments can actually “see” adds up to less than 5% of the matter/energy content of the Universe. Take galaxies, for instance: with their evolution controlled by black holes and dark matter, neither of which our instruments can probe directly, there is much more than meets the eye! This lecture will focus on how galaxies are transformed throughout cosmic times, how they interact with each other and with the environment in which they live, and how the 5% we can see can tell us about the 95% we cannot see.

Bio: Dr. Ferrarese is an internationally recognised leader in galaxy dynamics and scaling relations, supermassive black holes, active galactic nuclei, and the  extragalactic distance scale. Her seminal work on the relationship between the masses of supermassive black holes and the stellar velocity dispersions of the bulges in their host galaxies has led to the realization that black holes play a very important role in the evolution of galaxies. Dr. Ferrarese works for the National Research Council of Canada, Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophisics Program, in Victoria, BC.

#2 Seductive Spiders

Dr. Wayne Maddison

Bio: After discovering the charms of spiders as a teenager, Dr. Wayne Maddison pursued them through studies at the University of Toronto and then Harvard University.  He has discovered many species new to science in field work around the world, and brought them back to the lab to reconstruct their evolutionary relationships.  He is widely known for his work on computational methods to interpret evolutionary history.  He is Professor and Canada Research Chair at UBC, Director of the Spencer Entomological Collection of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.”

#3 Can Darwin Help Us Save the Planet

Dr. Arne Mooers

Darwinian evolution has produced a lot of oddities through the ages.  And here’s a conundrum: conservation biologists tell us we need to save biodiversity in order to save ourselves – but all of it? Even the boring bits?  Even the weird stuff?  How do we prioritize?  How do we get anyone to care about any of it, really?  These are actually pretty serious questions, and perhaps Darwinian evolution offers a partial answer.  If we are serious about conserving biodiversity, then we are serious about conserving Darwin’s Tree of Life.  I will explain the reasoning behind this, introduce folks to bits of biodiversity that contribute a lot to this Tree (some of it pretty odd, for sure), and see if you agree or disagree with a call to arms to save the Fuglies.

Bio: Arne Mooers is a pretty strait-laced biology professor at Simon Fraser University.  An Azimov-loving Sci Fi child nerd whose aspiration at age 10 was to win the Nobel prize, Arne tried very hard to be cool in high school, and so pretended he was a jock – which was ridiculous, because he was about 5 feet 6 inches tall, and badminton doesn’t count.  So he went to McGill, and then to Oxford, and eventually  got a job here in Vancouver, where he teaches evolution to undergraduates and cross country skiing to the very young.


Nerd Nite Vancouver v16

2016 is looking bright for nerds and we’re here to kick it off with some amazing speakers and our favourite beverage – beer! Join us or a pint and a New Year of Nerdery at our local haunt.

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Tuesday January 19th, Doors @ 7; Talks @ 7:30

Tickets: as low as $5 online; $9 at the door

#1 The Examination of Bill Murray’s Meatball and the Evolution of Nerds: SummerCamp 101

Jeff Willis

What does Bill Murray, Meatballs and Nerd Evolution have in common? Summer Camp! Buckle your seat belt, open your cranium and roll up your sleeves as we take an introspective and hilarious indepth journey of relating Bill Murray’s movies to the design and flavor of a meatball wrapped up with the birthing of nerds. How can it be? Nerds, camp and Bill Murray…WTF…what the fun!  Jeff Willis is a giant camp geek and ready to share his thesis of the evolution of a nerd through the lens of summer camp. Geeking about camp at Nerd Nite.

Bio: Since 1991, Jeff (aka Willy), has been developing and leading various camps, expeditions and outdoor programs throughout Canada, Japan, Germany and the Arctic. His love of outdoor education coupled with formal training and years of experience in youth and family work led him to create and work at numerous camps such as Camp Fircom, Camp Suzuki and Fireside Avdentures. He is the quintessential camp director – an energetic leader, creating meaningful experiences for campers and having a load of fun along the way!

#2 Ever Wonder about Science Blogging?

Dr. Raymond Nakamura

In this experimental presentation, we are going to develop an outline for a science blog and a cartoon to go with it. At the beginning, I will exploit the curiosity of the audience to develop a topic. In the middle, I will mine the knowledge and perhaps smart phones of the audience to flesh out an outline. And in the end, I will tap into the imagination and humour of the audience to create a related science cartoon. Come see if this experiment blows up in my face and perhaps learn a little about science communication in the process.

Bio: Raymond Nakamura spends most of his time walking the dog, washing dishes, and helping his daughter with homework. As Head of Raymond’s Brain, he creates blog posts for Science World, co-hosts a podcast for the Nikkei National Museum, writes exhibit text and develops educational programs. He is an editor and cartoonist for the Science Borealis Canadian science blog site, an executive for the Lower Mainland Museum Educators group, and author of a picture book called Peach Girl. Twitter stalk him @raymondsbrain.


#3 The Seas Have Eyes

Dr. Greg Gavelis

Gaze into the algae and the algae gaze back into you. Discover why this bizarre statement is true as we learn about the scientific pursuit of a single cell said to have a human-like eye. In this process, we will explore the controversy and lurid details behind a lost branch of evolutionary theory, and perhaps find an answer to the question “Just how did eyes evolve, anyway?”

Bio: Greg Gavelis works at UBC, researching evolutionary cell biology. His findings have been featured in the journals Nature and National Geographic online.  In the past, Greg has accrued further nerd points through his Harry Potter themed wedding, collection of magic cards, inhalers and orthodontia, and was once hospitalized by a squirrel.

Nerd Nite Vancouver v15

November – the time of amazing moustaches and the slow, mercilessly merry crescendo to Christmas. Take a break from the madness with a night all about aquariums, wine, and a talk about Game of Thrones – a show which features lots of wine, but not nearly enough aquariums.

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Tuesday November 24th, Doors @ 7; Talks @ 7:30

Tickets: as low as $5 online; $9 at the door

#1. Going down without getting wet

Melanie Knight

Unless you are Aquaman, a merperson, or Captain Nemo, it is likely that your undersea experiences have been limited to that one time you went snorkelling in Mexico or visited the aquarium.

Learn about a new approach to marine science education and the business of public aquariums: the catch and release mini aquarium model. A number of public aquariums in Canada have been built over the past decade that incorporate a sustainable exhibit model, operating seasonally and releasing the entire live animal collection back to the wild. This scalable and customized approach allows coastal communities worldwide to showcase the local biodiversity of their nearshore waters and teaches us a lot about life in the deep.

Bio: For the past 11 years, Melanie Knight has been working with the largest and the smallest aquariums in Canada. Three years ago, she founded the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium in Newfoundland which just wrapped up its third successful season. She even did a TEDx talk about it. Melanie is now Co-Founder and CEO of Ocean to Eye Level, a consulting company which helps open catch-and-release aquariums around the world.



#2. It Shouldn’t Be This Difficult: Adventures in getting wine from grape to glass, with just a few detours in between

Isaac Hampson-Thorpe

Ever wondered why your favourite wine store is always out of your favourite product, but the store a few blocks away has it? Or how about the proper dress code for liquor inspectors in Newfoundland? Maybe you have been to a massive liquor store in America, found a delightful bottle of wine for three dollars, only to return to Her Majesty’s realm and pay four times the price?  Together, we shall explore the minutiae of wine law and liquor regulations in this fair land of ours, with some history of the wine trade in our province thrown in.  Enjoy a glass of your finest tipple, sit back, and listen to a tall bearded man rant about the wine business.

Bio: Isaac Hampson-Thorpe works at Broadway International Wine Shop where he is in charge of bringing in all the nerdy wine products. He has also worked in wineries, VQA retail stores, and as a wine agent. He holds his WSET Advanced Certification, and is currently working through his French Wine Scholar.  Before deciding to spend his entire life devoted to getting other people intoxicated, he went to UBC for a BA in Religion, Literature, and the Arts.  This, combined with his willingness to bring alcohol, and a vast eating capacity makes him an ideal dinner guest.


#3. ‘Cripples and bastards and broken things’: The imperfect bodies of Martin’s Game of Thrones’

Dr. Robert Rouse

The world of The Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones is one of broken humanity. In contrast with the heroes and villains of the High Fantasy genre, Martin’s characters are morally and physically flawed, exisiting and operating in shades of grey. This talk will ask why we find these figures so alluring: what do they say about us? And about the modern society which they – as does all fantasy – darkly reflect? I’ll be talking about Jamie and Tyrion Lannister, Sansa and Arya Stark, and – of course – the brothers Clegane, amongst others.

Bio: Robert Rouse is a Professor in the English Department at UBC. He teaches medieval literature for a living, which is a rare and – quite frankly – weird job. And yes, he does own a sword or two.

Nerd Nite v.14

Nerd Nite is back at the Fox Cabaret just in time for Hallowe’en. We’re getting our festive “nerd on” with a talk about witches and their persecution (not quite “Hocus Pocus”). We’ll also be featuring talks about miniatures and sexual armor.

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Thursday October 15th, Doors @ 7; Talks @ 7:30

Tickets: $5 online; $8 at the door

#1. If it’s Visible, it’s Probably Not Small Enough

Maarten Meerman

When you think of woodturning, does an image of a large lump of tree being made into a bowl on a lathe come to mind?

Maarten has been exploring the other end of the spectrum, where the diameter of the turnings is measured in micrometers rather than inches, and you need a decent magnifier to even confirm that there’s a tiny turned item on the display stand, and not just empty space. With precision grounded in years of engineering spacecraft, combined with a supply of ebony, lignum-vitae and other exotic woods, Maarten makes goblets that you could fill 80 billion times with one regular glass of wine. Or beer, but he has not tried that yet.

He makes anything that is small: when recently commissioned to create a 1/288-scale model of the International Space Station for Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, he added a similarly-scaled hand-turned guitar as a private joke.

During this talk we will delve into the world of miniatures – the process and passion that goes into each piece.

Bio: Maarten is a rocket scientist and space engineer by day, designing satellites, space missions, and rocket trajectories, and editing space textbooks. He is a member of the Greater Vancouver Woodturners Guild, and he has published articles about innovative woodworking and nanoturning: his work has been covered on CTV News and CBC radio, and in the Surrey Now, Ottawa Citizen and Vancouver Sun newspapers. He is a regular exhibitor at the annual Positively Petite art show in Coquitlam, BC, and he is in demand to demonstrate and teach microminiature skills on his nanolathe in the US and Canada.



#2. The Short End of the Broomstick: Sex, Gender, and European Witch Persecution

Dr. Kyle Frackman

Magic was once an accepted and understandable part of life. The wise woman and the knowledgeable herbalist were important in ancient society. In 14th– to 17th-century Europe, though, these and other common figures received an inordinate amount of attention, as persecution of the “witch” became an acute social preoccupation. In this presentation we will examine a brief overview of the history of this period, including a focus on the visual and symbolic language used to create and perpetuate the idea of the dangerous witch figure and how women became one of the biggest threats to social stability—the legacy of which we still see today.

Bio: Dr. Kyle Frackman is Assistant Professor of Germanic Studies at The University of British Columbia. His teaching and research focus on historical images of gender and sexuality; the film, history, and culture of the former East Germany; and Scandinavian literature and film.


#3 I Was Made For Loving You, Baby: Broaching the Language of Loving Yourself With More Than Words.

John James 
Sex. A topic of deep interest for almost everyone, even when the topic is swept under the table, hidden under a rug, or tied up until after dinner and sitting in the closet. John James interest lies in the spaces between what attracts and repels us to one another, what encourages us to touch and discourages us to touch, and how building armour for the exploration of pleasure has brought a deeper understanding and alternative view on how to approach the subject of intimacy. This tête-à-tête is a conversation about personal experiences with the (not so) subtleties of sex, empathy, barriers and how, at times, it takes putting up a wall to break the rest of them down.
Questions throughout the conversation are highly encouraged.
Bio: John James is an art director, artist and sexual armorist. Inspired by the unspoken conversations between people and their environments, James work in breaking barriers and bridging gaps has led her to collaborate with people around the word on projects that range from advertising to iBeacons. She also really digs scotch and soul music. Put the three of them together and you have a party.

Nerd Nite Vancouver v13

We’re celebrating one more Nerd Nite before we take a break for July and August. In preparation for the Nerd Nite drought, join us for a draft (or several) while we talk fonts, bad-ass birds and pinball wizards.

Where: The Fox Cabaret

When: Tuesday June 23rd, Doors @ 7; Talks @ 7:30

Tickets: $5 online; $8 at the door


#1 26 Letters = Unlimited Possibilities

Matt Heximer

Johannes Gutenberg changed the course of western society in the mid 1400’s. He developed a system of “movable type” to easily rearrange the 26 different letters of the latin alphabet in order to mass produce the printed word. We’ve come a long way in 600 years… even more so in the last 50. Today, Gutenberg’s invention is wrapped up in nifty little software programs we refer to as “fonts” – tiny packages holding both the promise of communication and personal expression. Witness the wonders of digital type and explore the world of fonts beyond Helvetica and Comic Sans.

Bio: Matt Heximer is a partner at 10four design group, a Vancouver based Graphic Design studio that focuses on branding, exhibit design, and typeface design. Matt’s typefaces have been featured in the books “Faces on the Edge: Digital Typography”, and “IndieFonts; A Compendium of Digital Type from Independent Foundries”. His Type designs have been utilized by BBC Worldwide, Disney, ESPN, Fisher Price, The Gap, Hallmark, Nickelodeon, and Simon & Schuster publishing. Matt likes comic books, apple fritters and obviously, Fonts (lots, and lots of fonts). Despite being colour blind and missing half a finger, he can still cobble together a pretty decent Typeface.


#2 The Bird that Kicked the Wasps’ Nest

Sean McCann

Ever wish you could go back in time and discover how the dinosaurs lived? Well too bad, you can’t! The good news is, dinosaurs are still around, and there are a bunch of them we know almost nothing about. I spent 5 seasons in the rainforest of French Guiana getting to know the Red-throated Caracara, one of the most bad-ass birds in the jungle. The caracaras patrol the forest in screaming gangs, appear to engage in polyamory as they cooperatively rear young, and make war on stinging wasps then eat their babies. I used nest cameras, automated recording, and camera traps to piece together the life history of these awesome birds, which just may be the very worst enemy of social wasps in tropical America.

Bio: Sean McCann is a biologist interested in social insects, birds and the roles they play in the environment.  He uses photography and videography both as a research tool and a means of communication of that research.


#3 A Pinball Life

Eden Stamm

The history of pinball dates all the way back to the 1700’s, it was a derivative of a billiards indoor table game called bagatelle. Over 300 years later you can find these games, using modern technology, and with themes from popular movies, stuck in the corner of bars. Some people may walk past these machines, play them a few times, and think of them as nothing more than trivial casino games that take your money. But to some, these intricate machines are immersive games and works of art in and of themselves. I will tell the story of how these machines are more than just trivial games, and have become an integral part of my life, leading me to pursue pinball internationally.
Bio: Eden Stamm is a semi-professional pinball and poker player. He is currently the #3 ranked pinball player in Canada, and #52 in the world. In 2008 he won the first ever Canadian Pinball Championships.
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