Geek Speak: Fairlith Harvey, founder of Geeks After Dark
Fairlith Harvey promises that attending a Geeks After Dark event is “the most fun you could possibly have” even if you don’t consider yourself geeky. The 23-year-old West Vancouver resident is the artistic director of the events company, which she founded two and half years ago.
Geeks After Dark stages quarterly events that involve what Harvey calls a “burlesque/comedy/variety show” with a costume contest, trivia, and dance party. She’s hoping to see 250 people come out for Geeks After Dark IV: Bigger on the Inside, set to take place at the Cellar (1006 Granville Street) in Vancouver on January 27.
Harvey’s company is behind The Rocky Horror Picture Show shadowcast at the Rio Theatre. It also plans to put on more smaller events like the A Very Merry Geeks After Dark Holiday Party it hosted on December 16.
The Georgia Straight interviewed Harvey by phone.
Why did you start your company Geeks After Dark?
Well, I was working as promotions coordinator for a local convention that unfortunately never ended up happening, because of money issues. They wanted to really get their names out there, and I said, “Hey, let’s put on a party.” That’s just sort of where it came from. I planned this party, and it was super-duper successful.
It looked like the convention was going to be amazing, and then it just didn’t happen. I thought, “We did this wonderful thing. Why just throw it away now?” I just started building it and trying to find a venue and working on it myself independently. It sort of took off, and people got really excited about it.
What is nerdlesque?
We also call it comic stripping. It’s burlesque, which is sort of a very old form of striptease that is very classy and sophisticated and often funny. It can be anything that people will be able to relate to. For instance, I’m working on a Jigglypuff number for the next one. We’ve had a robot. We’re having a Doctor Who number coming up. We’ve had a Care Bears number. It’s just a lot of fun. It’s not intimidating at all.
Who comes out to the Geeks After Dark events?
Our demographic is anywhere from 19 years old to 45 years old. We’ve had people wander in off the street and just stay because they’re so excited by what’s going on. We’ve had people come in full, insane Mortal Kombat regalia. We have people who are otherwise too shy to come out to a club ever come out.
So, it’s a huge cross-section of geek culture. It’s just not people who would think they’re in geek culture in Vancouver, so it’s a really interesting environment to be in, because it’s all these people discovering other people they wouldn’t otherwise ever really hang out with.
How would you describe Vancouver’s geek culture?
Well, people in Vancouver in geek culture are really passionate about what they love, but they don’t tend to mingle. They tend to stay home and not attend things, I’ve noticed. I’m guilty of that myself.
But that’s the nice thing about Geeks After Dark is at this point people will put aside any fears they have or any awkwardness they have, and just come and see what happens. The nice thing is people are willing to hear you out and accept something they might not otherwise do. But you might have to make a little more of an effort than you would with your normal club crowd.
What can people expect at the upcoming event?
We have a lot of really well-known burlesque dancers in Vancouver appearing at this one. We have amazing prizes from the Connection, from Gamedeals, from Gotham Collectibles. We have a new system of song choice, where people can submit requests to us, so the playlist is going to be bigger and better than ever. We have amazing door prizes. We have amazing hosts. The Doctor from Doctor Who and Arthur Dent from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are going to be hosting for us. It’s just going to be even bigger than anybody has ever seen us do before.
Every Friday, Geek Speak catches up with someone in Vancouver’s technology sector, video-game industry, or social-media scene. Who should we interview next? You can tell Stephen Hui on Facebook and Twitter.