Get your Geek on! 

The first ever Geekend Conference kicks off in Savannah next week.

Welcome an interesting new member to the pantheon of festivals and cultural events hosted by our fair city: Geekend. Although the name might connote a gathering of Trekkies or some similarly notorious nerdy subculture, there will be a noticeable absence of pocket protectors, glasses held together with tape, and painful memories of wedgies.

What the event will have is loads of guests from the frontlines of technology and social media, including presentations from influential graphic designer David Carson (Pepsi, Nike, Nine Inch Nails) to gamer guru Major Nelson aka Larry Hryb (Xbox) alongside folks from Disney, Atlantic Records, and a bevy of local and regional innovators.

Whether you consider yourself a geek or not, chances are you're involved in something geeky - particularly with the proliferation of social media - Facebook, Twitter, Myspace - big budget video games, hi-tech cell phones, etc. The point of the 3-day event isn't to see who has the biggest brain, but to swap ideas, share perspectives and continue to push cutting edge technology in Savannah.

We sat down with two of the masterminds behind Geekend, Jake Hodesh from New Moon of Savannah and Rob Oldham, from BFG Communications, to find out how to get in touch with our inner geek.

Why put on an event like this in Savannah?

Rob Oldham: Savannah is the perfect place for an event like this. It's a beautiful city. They let you walk the street with a cocktail. It has a great sense of one foot in the past but one foot in the future. Geekend is a classic example of something that takes us into a new age.

Jake Hodesh: We dreamed something like this up a while back because there's a good deal of creative folks here in Savannah. Every now and then there's a speaker or something, and we're able to get a glimpse of innovation or creativity. We wanted to try and do a weekend of that - bring other crazy, weird, innovative, creative people into town and let local business people and small business people, or anybody, come and enjoy

Why is it cool to be a geek in the 21st century?

Rob Oldham: Because geeks run everything. Geeks are passionate. I love this new library campaign with ‘I geek art' or ‘I geek worms,' I geek all that. It's the idea that you're embracing something. You're not just a computer nerd, you're geeky about things you love. Geek is now a badge of honor. It's something where you can walk around and proudly say I'm a geek. That's what Geekend is.

Jake Hodesh: We've gone to talk to some high school classes, to include some juniors and seniors in the conference, and the first two questions we have are: who is an entrepreneur? And, is it OK to be a geek? And everybody kind of comes up with the same answer. Yeah, it's OK to be a geek because 10 years ago not everybody had technology on their hip. There wasn't an iPhone or a laptop easily accessible. Everybody is a geek in their own way. If Shaquille O'Neal is twittering, then he's kind of a geek, and that dude has never been a geek.

What's one of the geekiest things you've ever done?

Jake Hodesh: I got in trouble in 8th grade for pushing up my glasses with my middle finger. I got sent to the principal's office and suspended. Then my mom had to write a note letting everyone know that I usually use my middle finger to push up my glasses and I wasn't flicking off the teacher. That's pretty geeky. I got in trouble for pushing up my glasses.

Rob Oldham: I've done a lot of geeky things, but I tried to do my own remake version of Raiders of the Lost Ark when I was about 13 or 14 years old with a super 8 movie camera. My version is about three minutes long and it's really bad. I'd say that's probably one of the geekiest things.

What part of Geekend are you most looking forward to?

Rob Oldham: I'm looking forward to all of it, but probably the opening night because it's the first year for this, it's sort of like that will set the stage for Geekend. We have David Carson, this awesome graphic design guru and then that night, MK2 and Hula Hoop. It's about having fun. Geekend is a big fun thing. It's not a boring conference.

Jake Hodesh: I'm pretty interested in what's gonna go down on Sunday. Saturday will be cool, with all the speakers presenting, but I think Sunday is gonna be really interesting. Participants and presenters will all get together, and we're hoping that some creative, interesting ideas will come from the brainstorming sessions and debates. We're gonna moderate Sunday's whole un-conference experience. That's gonna be exciting and weird to see college kids, high school kids, professionals, designers, tech folks, everybody all mashed up, and just see what happens

If I don't think I'm a geek, what could I get from Geekend?

Jake Hodesh: There's gonna be an awesome party Friday night and an awesome party Saturday night, for one. The social scene will be super interesting. If you don't think you're a geek, it might be interesting to come and see what you're missing out on. If you're entrepreneurial or business savvy or have a reason to move forward in your profession, maybe some of these tricks, ideas, thoughts, and presentations will help you in whatever your arena is.

Rob Oldham: There's probably something you're geeky about. You probably have a Facebook page or a MySpace page. You're interacting with the world in a very modern way now, so that's what this conference is about, coming and learning what that stuff is about and how it can help you and how you can utilize it. You're doing something that could put you in the geek column, so you are invited. Come and get your geek on!

Geekend 2009

Where: Hyatt Regency, 2 W. Bay St.

When: Nov. 6-8

Schedule and tickets: www.geekend2009.com



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