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.