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Are we not geeks?
By Chris Julin
Minnesota Public Radio
April 11, 2002


Saturday is prom night in Duluth, and used clothing stores are advertising cheesy sport coats and out-of-date dresses. This is the Geek Prom. It's a chance for adults who don't fit in to have a night out with their own kind.

Paul Lundgren
Paul Lundgren is organizing the Geek Prom Saturday night in Duluth. Here, he's shopping for a tuxedo at a used clothing store.
(MPR Photo/Chris Julin)

Maybe you think that joke was written for you. You know the one. "The world is a tuxedo, and I'm a pair of old, brown shoes."

Well, Paul Lundgren feels your pain. And it gave him the idea for a party - a party for people like you.

"Geeks," he says, will be welcome. "Geeks of all shapes and sizes. Nerds, dweebs, dorks, spazzes. Doofs."

Don't be offended. Paul Lundgren says everyone's a geek - somehow or another.

Take him for example. He doesn't look anything like the textbook geek. He even played on his high school football team. But he was also on the school audio-visual squad. To be human is to be a geek.

"My geek moment, I was going to the post office," Lundgren says. "As I got out of the car I was walking behind a truck, and I saw a rather lovely young woman coming out of Walgreens. I kind of looked at her, and just smashed my leg into a trailer hitch. You're given two choices at that moment then. You can either act cool, or you can go..."

Lundgren lets out a shriek that is definitely not cool.

NorShor Theater in Duluth
The NorShor Theater in Duluth is the site of the Geek Prom. The theme of the prom is, "We are through being cool."
(MPR Photo/Stephanie Hemphill)

"And that's the geek choice," he says. "And that's what we're all about. We're not covering anything up at Geek Prom. It's spastic fits of clumsy dancing."

The Geek Prom is at the NorShor Theater in downtown Duluth. The evening will include the coronation of a King and Queen Geek. There'll be video games where half a dozen techno-geeks can square off against each other. And unlike the high school prom, there'll be a bar.

Scott Lunt is the other promoter of the Geek Prom, and he says a guy named Lefty is concocting some special geek drinks.

"The Pocket Protecter is one drink that will be there," Lunt says. "The Leonard Nimoy. Several drinks along those lines. And actually, the Pocket Protecter tastes like a pocket protecter."

Of course, there's music for the clumsy dancing. Super D and the Double Chucks start off the evening. Then the Twin Cities band Vinnie and the Stardusters will play distorted, garage band versions of classical music.

Paul Lundgren says there's a lot of geek music out there, from Devo to the Talking Heads, to Weird Al Yankovic.

"No matter how much of a geek you are, there will be someone there who is a bigger geek than you. Unless you end up being King or Queen Geek. And to be the best at anything - that can't be bad, can it?"

- Paul Lundgren

"And there's this great boy band," says Lundgren, as he stands. His gestures get bigger, his eyes get wider. He's getting pumped up. "I think they're Japanese. They have this song called "Yatta!" (which means, "I Did It!" in Japanese.) They have a video on the Web. It's awesome. The guys all have their tidy whities on, and they have like a fig leaf on the front of their tidy whities, and they all just kind of dance around like, "Yatta! Yatta! Yatta!"

Lundgren does something like jumping jacks as he sings at the top of his lungs. "It's so easy! Happy go lucky!"

The theme of the Geek Prom is, "We are through being cool." Paul Lundgren says the whole point is to relax and forget trying to be hip.

"No matter how much of a geek you are, there will be someone there who is a bigger geek than you," he says. "Unless you end up being King or Queen Geek. And to be the best at anything - that can't be bad, can it?"

There's plenty of buzz about the Geek Prom in Duluth. People are talking, and Scott Lunt thinks the crowd will be in the hundreds. But he says there are still plenty of tickets left.

"Duluth isn't a get-out-early-buy-the-ticket kind of town," he says.

"We've sold two tickets."

More Information
  • Geek Prom '02 Home page of Geek Prom organizers