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Geeks set to converge on Orlando for Nerdapalooza '09


If there's a single song that defines nerdcore hip-hop, it might be Nerdcore Rising by MC Frontalot, above, which references (among other things), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Stephen Hawking, Lincoln Logs, Dr. Seuss, Egon Spengler, ascii, the word "cromulent" and .mus files. And it ends with the lyrics:

I think the same thought with great regularity:
that I’m the best MC that I can bear to be
and I’m scared to be either doper or dorkier.
Bound for the high road even if it looks forkier...

Yep. that's nerdcore in a nutshell.

Something like folk music for the gangsta Linux crowd, nerdcore in all its forms will be celebrated this weekend at Nerdapalooza, the third annual weekend dubbed "the World's Geekiest Music Festival," in Orlando. Some 30 rappers -- including nerdcore heroes MC Frontalot, MC Lars, MC Chris and YTCracker -- will be performing. Organizers expect as many as 500 fans to show up.

Nerdcore has gone a bit mainstream in recent years, thanks to articles in Wired and Spin, and documentaries like Nerdcore Rising and Nerdcore For Life. Nerdcore artists have even popped up at Bonnaroo and on the Warped Tour. In May, MC Chris packed the Orpheum for a concert.

"It's a bunch of people that are incredibly fascinated with one form of pop culture to the point of obsssion," said organizer John "hex" Carter, "and putting it up on a pedestal, celebrating intellectualism and creativity in all its forms."

Indeed, Carter said the festival will feature more than just nerdcore hip-hop. Genres ranging from wizard rock to parody music to rock operas about Mega Man will be representin'. (Okay, maybe those genres aren't really that far apart, stylistically, but still.)

You might not know it, but Tampa Bay even has its own nerdcore all-star: funky49, a.k.a. Steve Rush of Temple Terrace, who has, among other things, rhymed about dinosaurs (“Wait a sec, let your eyes focus / you’re face to face with a diplodocus!”) on an EP to promote the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry. (Download the album, Rapbassador, for free here.)

Nerdapalooza runs noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday at the Holiday Inn Conention Center, 6515 International Drive, Orlando. Tickets are $20 per day, or $30 for the weekend. The event raises money for Child's Play, a charity that puts video games in hospitals nationwide. Last year's Nerdapalooza raised about $2,000.

And check out the pre-party, with free pizza, free beer and music from funky49, Schaffer the Darklord and others from 8 to 11:30 p.m. Friday at A Comic Shop, 114 S Semoran Blvd., Winter Park.

As with all things Nerdic, you can follow the Nerdapalooza festivities on Twitter via @nerdapalooza. Or MySpace. Or simply join the Nerdapalooza Facebook group.

Be there. And be square.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photo by Quinn Norton.

[Last modified: Thursday, July 9, 2009 1:00pm]


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