NERD NITE 67: Rock and Bowl Relics


It’s a new year and Nerd Nite is back with three fresh talks for you! We’ll have presentations with an art and design flavor for you this evening, from prehistoric rock art to renaissance reliquaries to design considerations for bowl makers. We will be ready to welcome you and take your dollar at 7 and presentations will start at 8. See you then!

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 10 – Maceli’s 1031 New Hampshire
Doors open at 7, Presentations start at 8
Cost is one US dollar or coin.

Our presentations:

“Buxom Women, Men in Kilts and Dogs with Curly Tails – Arabian Rock Art Captures a Glimpse of Ancient Life,” by Sandra Olson

“Hallowed Bones and Holy Foreskin: Relics and Reliquaries in Early Modern Europe” by Ashley Offill
Relics – pieces of bone, remnants of blood, entire bodies, and other odd objects believed to hold the essence of the holy – possessed religious and cultural power beyond their often unsettling origins. Whether hidden away in glorious golden reliquary statues or proudly displayed behind rock crystal, relics inspired grandiose displays, dastardly deeds, and miraculous happenings. This talk will explore some of the wonderful weirdness of early modern relics and reliquaries.

“Simple as a Bowl: Why Some Bowls Aren’t Ice Cream Bowls,” by Larry Brow
A bowl’s form should reflect its function. Ceramicist Larry Brow will discuss the design challenges of making bowls with emphasis on handmade bowls such as those you (yes you!) could acquire if you attend the upcoming Souper Bowl fundraiser at the Lawrence Arts Center.

About the Presenters:

Dr. Sandra Olsen is a zooarchaeologist who has focused much of her career on the investigation of horse domestication, directing excavations of Copper Age sites and doing research in Kazakhstan. In recent years, she has turned to advanced imaging of petroglyphs in Saudi Arabia, with particular interest in the impact of climate change on the Arabian Peninsula.

Ashley Offill is a Ph.D. candidate in History of Art at KU who is writing her dissertation on the relic cult of St. Andrea Corsini in Florence. Her research interests include issues of early modern art and culture such as commemoration, celebration, viewership, reception, and theatricality, and getting way too excited about how people decorate dead bodies.

Larry Brow is a graduate of Lawrence High School, Grinnell College, the University of Iowa, and KU, with degrees in History, Ceramics, and Museum Studies. He is a lifelong member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and a former Lawrence Arts Center Ceramics Instructor. He currently works at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at KU and is a Certified Archivist.



A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, we learned about an epic struggle between a ragtag rebellion and an evil empire. We marveled at twin suns, navigable asteroid fields, and habitable moons. We were inspired by the familiar and the fantastic and celebrated the world of Star Wars and other science fiction realms by creating conventions. Do join us for an evening of stars, wars, and Star Wars. There is no try.

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 13 – Maceli’s 1031 New Hampshire
Doors open at 7, Presentations start at 8
Cost is one US dollar or coin. Republic Credits are no good here. COSPLAY WELCOME


Our presentations:

“Horton Hears a Heil! The Anti-Fascist Political Cartoons of Dr. Seuss,” by Michael Pope
Theodore “Doctor” Seuss Geisel is best known for his children’s tales cautioning against patricide in “Hop on Pop” and extolling the importance of a proper diet in “Green Eggs and Ham,” but few fans are aware of his brief career as a political cartoonist during World War II. From 1941-1943, Dr. Seuss published more than 400 editorial cartoons in the liberal New York magazine “PM,” covering topics like fascism, civil rights, and political corruption – issues we find quaint and anachronistic in 21st-century America. Join self-proclaimed expert Michael Pope as he unearths this hidden history and shares a sampling of his favorite cartoons – some amazingly ahead of their time, others suffering from what can charitably be described as “misguided patriotism.”

“Dwarf Planets: Small and Forgotten (Until Now),” by Lucas Hemmer
On August 24, 2006 the International Astronomical Union passed a resolution to define what is and is not a planet. Practically overnight, Pluto was demoted from its planetary status and is now officially classified as a dwarf planet to the dismay of school children and nostalgic adults everywhere. However, much of the story has been glossed over in the discovery of other “minor” planets and our never-ending argument about what defines a planet that led to Pluto’s demise. Besides Pluto, there are four official dwarf planets and six unofficial dwarf planets and all are just as weird and unique as the eight official planets in our solar system. The best part is that there could be many more out there to endlessly study and explore to better understand our celestial neighborhood.

“Revenge of the Scruffy-Looking Nerf Herders,” by Ruth Lichtwardt
Who hasn’t heard of the San Diego Comicon? Cosplay? Star Wars and Star Trek conventions? Science fiction and fantasy permeate pop culture these days, reflected in books, TV shows and movies. Conventions both huge and tiny abound, celebrating all aspects of science fiction fandom, and some draw national media attention. What were the beginnings of this phenomenon, and how did science fiction conventions change from being viewed as gatherings for nerds and dweebs, to something for the whole family to attend dressed as The Incredibles?

Our presenters:

Michael Pope is a writer, editor, sometimes-podcaster, and proud member of the Nerd Nite Twitterati. He is married to the newest and most beautiful co-boss (sorry Adrian), but it’s not a conflict of interest because apparently nepotism isn’t a big deal anymore. He used to draw political cartoons for his high school newspaper and shares a birthday with Dr. Seuss, which is all the qualification he believes is necessary to speak on this subject. Also, he apparently doesn’t know what a “slow clap” means. Please be patient with him.

Lucas Hemmer is a graduate student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas. As a kid living in the ‘90s, he first became interested in learning about space and specifically the planets after playing the Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System computer game for Microsoft Windows. Lucas grew up reading about space and planets relentlessly and thought about becoming an astronomer before realizing he would have to take physics. He settled for a career as a biologist but still get’ unreasonably excited about new NASA findings and their color-enhanced space images while waiting for the next Star Wars movie.

Ruth Lichtwardt’s gateway drugs into the world of science fiction were Ray Bradbury and Star Trek. Since attending her first Starfleet convention as a wide-eyed noob in 1992 she has volunteered at SF conventions, and was Chair of the 74th World Science Fiction Convention in 2016. She is a longtime member of the Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Society, a crew member of the Starfleet ship USS Dark Phoenix, is administrator for the annual Campbell Conference at KU, and is co-chairing ConQuesT 49 in Kansas City. Her day job has nothing to do with science fiction but helps to support the habit.




Nerd Nite 65: NERDISTAN


On one night only, join us to learn about the cities and leaders of Central Asia and an infamous spot in Eastern Europe.

In former Soviet Union, Nerd Nites You!

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 8 – Maceli’s 1031 New Hampshire
Doors open at 7, Presentations start at 8
Cost is one US dollar or coin.  No rubles.

“Presentation for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Tajikistan,” by Gloria Funcheon.
One man has ruled this tiny Post-Soviet country since 1992, but who is he and what is he doing to keep power? Come learn about Emomalii Rakhmon, whose antics would surely give Borat a run for his rubles.

“Strange and Sparkling: A Closer Look at Kazakhstan’s Capital City,” by Mandy Frank.
Located in northern Kazakhstan, Astana has been called one of the weirdest capital cities on Earth. The futuristic city is full of eccentric architecture that features shiny gold towers, buildings shaped like spaceships and dollar signs, the world’s largest tent, and a giant pyramid made of glass. This presentation will showcase Astana’s most unusual architectural assets and explore how a Soviet past, traditional nomadic culture, and the President’s vision for the future have literally shaped the skyline. Astana may seem like something from a science fiction novel, but a closer look at the past and present reveals a rational explanation for the strange and sparkling structures that rise up from the icy steppe.

Nate Pickett’s presentation title and description are coming soon!


Gloria Funcheon has spent four years living in the former Soviet Union but has never been to Russia. She hopes to change this by attending the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Mandy Frank is currently earning her Masters degree in Higher Education Administration at KU. Before relocating to Kansas, she lived in Astana, Kazakhstan for two years working as a Communication Studies Instructor and debate coach at Nazarbayev University. Mandy’s interests include travel, mac & cheese, treasure hunting, quantum physics, Tim Curry, and maple syrup. She is passionate about learning and is excited to share her experiences in Central Asia.

Nate Pickett’s bio is coming soon but in the meantime rest assured that he’s great.

Nerd Nite 64: G R A V E H O R R O R


WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 11  – MACELI’S 1031 New Hampshire 

Doors open at 7. Presentations start at 8.
The cost is one US dollar bill or coin.

The Grave Topics:

“Giallo Horror: Unmasking the Masked Killer” by Sarah Thomas and Kelly Nightengale.
From the yellow pages of pulp crime novels emerged GIALLO, the Italian horror film genre of the 1960s-1980s. Characterized by virtuosic camera work, stylized violence, and lurid color, Giallo left a bloody fingerprint on the horror genre that is still seen today!

“Oak Hill Cemetery: A History and its Symbolism,” by Lori Strecker.
An introduction about the rural cemetery movement and what characteristics make Lawrence’s Oak Hill primarily a rural cemetery. Digging deeper, we’ll next look at gravestone symbolism with several of examples from Oak Hill. Finally, time allowing, a brief exploration how later portions of it evolved into a lawn cemetery in the 1940s and what makes that different than the rural cemetery.

“Gifford Pinchot’s Ghost Wife,” by Rachel McCarthy James.
Gifford Pinchot worked with Teddy Roosevelt to protect the land we know as our national parks. But while he was one of the most prominent Republicans in the Roosevelt administration, his status as a handsome bachelor was a curiosity to the DC political scene.
The reason: his secret heteromortal marriage to Laura Houghteling, who died of tuberculosis in 1904. Though he would eventually marry an alive woman, he felt Laura as a spiritual and metaphysical presence, his source of support for nearly two decades. This is a deeply romantic story about nature, death, and love.



A passionate horror devotee, Sarah Thomas studied film and anthropology at the University of Kansas. She watched Mario Bava’s horror classic, Black Sunday, as a little girl, which sparked a lifetime appreciation of Italian horror.

Kelly Nightengale’s longtime admiration of giallo movies influenced her co-production, lighting, and set design of a feature length giallo-inspired horror melodrama called “It Starts With Murder,” and other dark experimental projects.
As founding members of the Black Light Jello Ectoplasm Film Society (aka Blood Church), Kelly and Sarah have collaborated on several short films which screened in the 2015 Illuminati Cult Dress Film Festival.

Cemeteries reveal much about the culture and history of a community and are a must-see whenever vacationing or visiting a new area; at least, this is what Lori Strecker tells her family whenever she schlepps them yet again on another cemetery field trip. Lori is happy to have a coven of fellow nerds who she hopes will come to love and appreciate Oak Hill cemetery as much as she does.

Rachel McCarthy James has written for Broadly, Bitch Magazine, LitHub, The New Inquiry, and Robot Butt. Her first book, titled The Man from the Train, co-authored with her father Bill James, has just been published and solves the mystery of the serial killer behind the Villisca axe murders of 1912.


Nerd Nite 63: Eine Kleine NerdMusik


When the night has come / And the land is dark / And the moon is the only light we’ll see / No I won’t be afraid, no I won’t be afraid / Just as long, as you nerd, nerd with me.

Nerd Nite is back with the start of a new season. We’re ready to get down, get down with presentations related to music composition and composers.

Doors open at 7. Presentations start at 8.
The cost is one US dollar bill or coin.


“Writing Music In Service to the Community” by Frank Nawrot.
Frank will be sharing his music-writing process and how it reflects the belief that all artists should be servants to the community in which they live. After sharing this process, the musical trio Nebular Blue will perform a recently written piece by Frank.

“Expectation and Deception: It’s all in the Key” by Stuart O’Neil.
In music, what exactly does it mean to be in the key of C? How about G minor? What does it mean to change keys? Does it matter what instrument you play? How about if you are a vocalist? The term “key” is used regularly in music, but we are sometimes unclear as to what it really means. In this presentation, teacher and composer Stuart will discuss ideas about tonality, musical tension and resolution, and the definition of a tonal center.

“Hidin’ Haydn” by Adrian Jacobs.
A brief presentation by our own co-boss Adrian. Like a nightgown, it promises to be long enough to cover the subject but short enough to be interesting.



Frank Nawrot is a composer from Grand Rapids, MI and is currently a doctoral music composition student at the University of Kansas.

Stuart O’Neil has taught vocal and instrumental music for Kansas public schools since 1993. He received a bachelor of music education degree from the University of Nebraska and a master of music theory degree from the University of Kansas. His published catalogue includes works for concert band, jazz ensemble, concert choir, percussion ensemble, and various brass ensembles. In addition to his work as a teacher and composer, Stuart also serves as an arranger, accompanist, adjudicator, and conductor. He currently lives in Lawrence, KS, with his family.

Adrian Jacobs is one of the intrepid co-bosses who help bring you NNLFK. Who can forget his most famous composition, the timeless classic, “Indigobird,” performed at Summer Shorts in 2016.




It’s the end of the Nerd Nite Lawrence 2016-2017 series. Join us for our annual Summer Shorts event!

Instead of three twenty-minute presentations we will have fifteen* three-minute* presentations.

Get ready for some fast-paced nerdery. We’ll let you in starting at 7 so you can grab a chair and an icy beverage before presentations start at 8. Dollar cover.

*approximately 😛


Wednesday JULY 12 at 8 PM Doors open at 7 PM
Maceli’s Banquet Hall & Catering
1031 New Hampshire St, Lawrence, Kansas 66044

Nerd Nite 61: Man Stuff

Nerd Nite 61

Bog men. Men wearing skirts. Men fighting wars of roses. What could be more manly? Let’s find out together on June 14th. The doors open at 7. Presentations begin at 8. The cost is a dollar. Kilts are optional.



Wednesday JUNE 14 at 8 PM Doors open at 7 PM
Maceli’s Banquet Hall & Catering
1031 New Hampshire St, Lawrence, Kansas 66044


“Game of Roses: How the Yorkists Kicked Ass and Stole Crowns Before it was Cool,” by Will Averill

Real life Westeros happened all over England in the 15th century, and culminated in a battle with the largest loss of English life in any battle up until the Somme. The Wars of the Roses were an epic period of British history that while largely untaught in schools have battles, betrayal, strong women, and really awful men. Learn how the Lannisters and Starks may have borrowed some history from the Yorkists and Lancastrians, why it’s so important to whack your enemy’s bastard children, and marvel at the chaos that can ensue when Good Kings Gone Mad.


“For Peat’s Sake! Unintentional Mummies (and Intentional Human Sacrifices) From the European Iron Age,” by Lisa Baker
Mummified bodies are amazing because they are like opening a present from the past – they are humans in time capsules. The mummified bodies found in the peat bogs of Northern Europe are especially fascinating, as the unique environment of the marshes preserved their tissues with incredible detail. Many hailing from the Iron Age look as though they died recently, their fingerprints and eyelashes perfectly preserved. The preservation is so remarkable that the specific details of their deaths are almost meticulous – lending a voice to their fates. Did their violent delights have violent ends? How and why they wound up in the swamp is subject to interpretation, and not every body is what it seems!

“Men in Skirts,” by Carla Tilghman
Every semester, when my college classes are delving into issues of gender, we talk about skirts. The young males in class often squirm at the thought of wearing them. Yet skirts have often been male garments in cultures around the world. It seems as if the only skirt ‘manly’ enough for American men is the kilt (thank you Sean Connery). Skirts, ‘men’, comfort, virility, the utilikilt, dancing in skirts all crammed into 20 minutes.

Our speakers:

Will Averill is a writer, actor, producer, and a Director of Community Engagement at the Willow Domestic Violence Center in order to pay for all of that. A fan of both history and fantasy, Will learned about the Wars of the Roses from a friend with whom he co-wrote a series bible for a Wars of the Roses based series, Kingmaker. Will is also Artistic Director of Card Table Theatre, a Lawrence-based independent theatre company, admin at the Kansas based Facebook page F*ck You I’m From Kansas, and a moderator of the really depressing Sad Lunch Club. Will is married to Jaq, and has a son, Oliver, both of whom are cooler than he.

Having been a registered nurse for over 10 years, Lisa Baker is passionate about her work in caring for the living. In her spare time, she focuses on the dead. Anthropology and archaeology make her mouth water. In addition, Lisa enjoys being a sci-fi geek with a penchant for Star Wars and secretly wants to go Comic Con. While she loves and admires Princess Leia, she admits she is more Ripley – sweaty and badass. Finally, she is trying to overcome her fear of public speaking, so please be gentle.

Carla Tilghman learned to spin and weave when she was 12 and has been fascinated with textiles in general and weaving in particular ever since. After a career as a paramedic (you never know where life will lead you), she earned my MFA in Studio Arts from Kent State University and is working on a PhD in American Studies from KU. In her copious spare time, she chases after her child, hangs with her husband, plays with the cats and watches “Chicken TV” in her backyard. Oh, and she weaves like mad, because weaving is amazing.



This month we’ve got presentations on the inner workings of the brain, the inner workings of the body, and the ways in which we learn about and construct identity. Mind, body, self – sounds like humans to us! Come learn all about what makes humans so gosh darn fascinating. As ever, doors are at 7 and we will begin at 8. One US dollar is the price of admission.

Wednesday MAY 10 at 8 PM Doors open at 7 PM
Maceli’s Banquet Hall & Catering
1031 New Hampshire St, Lawrence, Kansas 66044


“Neural Networks” by Jon Lane
One of the biggest challenges for AI has been mimicking the way the human brain learns. Everyday that gap seems to shrink. From learning how to beat experts at complex games to diagnosing cancer, neural networks are being used to model the human brain and use powerful computing processing to solve complex problems.

“The Biochemistry of Love and Herbal Aphrodisiacs” by Shannon Ryan
Part of the human experience involves feelings of love, lust, romance, arousal, orgasm, connection, trust, and bonding. What is going on chemically in our brains during these various human experiences? And how can we enhance it with herbal medicine?

“Culture Vulture” by Sydney Pursel
Sydney will discuss Culture Vulture, a one night only, performative event that occurred at TeePee Junction in Lawrence, Kansas on Earth Day, April 22, 2017. Culture Vulture mirrored Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and explored personal identity and factors, which contribute to identity construction including history, geography, biology, collective memory and personal fantasy.

Our speakers:

Jon Lane has a degree in Mathematics from KU and teaches high school math and computer science. He has 3 cats and can hold his breath for 45 seconds.

Shannon L. Ryan holds a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and has extensive training in Western and Chinese Herbalism. Her passion is bridging the gap between Eastern and Western approaches to mind-body medicine.

Sydney Jane Brooke Campbell Maybrier Pursel is an interdisciplinary artist specializing in socially engaged, activist, performance, video and new media arts. Through art she explores contemporary Indigenous issues and personal identity. Her work has been shown at public parks, universities and alternative spaces in Santa Fe, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Lawrence, Kansas City, Columbia, MO and White Cloud, KS. She is an enrolled member of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas & Nebraska.



This month’s theme emphasizes design and planning – what makes a design successful and what happens when a good plan has unexpected negative consequences. Nerd Nite is here again – we’ve built it. Will you come? Doors open at 7 and presentations begin at 8. Dollar cover. Tool belts and hard hats optional

Wednesday APRIL 12 at 8 PM Doors open at 7 PM
Maceli’s Banquet Hall & Catering
1031 New Hampshire St, Lawrence, Kansas 66044

The presentations:
“Medieval Heraldry and Good Signage Design,” by Larry Brow
In medieval warfare people needed to be able to identify each other through visual symbols and the field of heraldry was developed to create and regulate those symbols. Coats of arms had to be very distinctive visually so that only the enemy archers would shoot at you. The same rules inform good sign design today, whether for a business sign or a protest march sign. Come learn how to design a good sign.

“Asbestos: A Better Building Material,” by Allison Puderbaugh
A look at what makes/made asbestiform great for building materials, rules and regulations surrounding using it, and some pesky health concerns.

“Meet Me Downtown: Why Downtown Lawrence is a Place You Like to Be,” by Pat Trouba
We all love Downtown Lawrence, but why? This presentation talks about the urban forms that keep Downtown relevant in the age of suburbia.

The presenters:

Larry Brow is a graduate of Lawrence High School, Grinnell College, the University of Iowa, and KU, with degrees in History, Ceramics, and Museum Studies. He is a lifelong member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and a former Lawrence Arts Center Ceramics Instructor. He currently works at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at KU and is a Certified Archivist.

Allison Puderbaugh is a licensed asbestos inspector and supervisor. She is one of the final OG members of PBR Book Club to do a 20-minute presentation, because while she claims to speak in paragraphs in reality it is more like 140 characters. You may recognize this speaker from the internet under the nom de guerre Classy Moonshine.

Pat Trouba is a grad student at KU working toward a Masters of Urban Planning degree. He’s also a Nerd Nite veteran who has presented on flags and U.S. dollar coins. He enjoys swing dancing, beer, and always finding a spot to park his bike when he’s downtown.



This month we’re shifting back to life, but not necessarily back to reality. We’ll be learning about animals both real and fictive. As usual, doors will be at 7 and we’ll start at 8. Dollar cover.

Wednesday MARCH 8 at 8 PM Doors open at 7 PM
Maceli’s Banquet Hall & Catering
1031 New Hampshire St, Lawrence, Kansas 66044

The presentations:
The Biology of the Creatures in Star Wars, by Lucas Hemmer
The Star Wars movies are George Lucas’ vision about a story told over six movies (for better or worse) in another galaxy showing us different worlds, beings, and technology. Many fantastic and strange creatures are also introduced giving us a peak into these strange worlds. However, much about the weird aliens is based on real biology we see here on planet Earth. This talk will introduce these strange creatures from the movies and the biology that inspired their designs and characteristics.

The Circle of Life-Cycles: Parasitic Mind Control and the Weird Sex Lives of Worms, by Kaylee Herzog
Parasitic worms want what anyone wants: to grow up, have sex, and send the next generation out into the world successfully. While these objectives may seem rather unexceptional to us free-living animals, parasites are up against a “host” of unimaginable difficulties that can make getting it on successfully seem almost impossible. From host-switching and mind control to snail snot and bovine bile ducts, in “The Circle of Life-Cycles”, we’ll delve into the life histories of several parasitic worms and learn about what it takes to make it as a parasite.

Madagascar Tortoises by Ashley and Luke Welton

The presenters:

Lucas Hemmer is a graduate student in the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology department at KU specifically researching how genes for reproduction evolve in fruit flies. He grew up in the middle of a cornfield near You-Have-Never-Heard-of-This-Town, Nebraska with a population of 300 and graduated high school with 14 other people, half of whom were related to him. He went to college for a degree in Biology in Lincoln, Nebraska before moving to Lawrence five years ago. When he is not doing research or teaching at the university he is aimlessly reading stuff on the internet or eating too much food.

Kaylee Herzog is a New York native, but a happy Kansas transplant since she moved here to pursue a graduate degree three years ago. She completed her bachelor of science in biology at a State University of New York college in 2014, and is now a doctoral student at the University of Kansas studying the diversity and evolution of the parasites of sharks and stingrays. Outside of parasites, her passions include spending time outdoors, trying out new recipes, and pursuing good coffee and good beer.

Ashley and Luke Welton are life-long lovers of reptiles and amphibians (herps). They have decades of experience with the care and husbandry of captive herps, and have been active participants in a number of conservation initiatives for a variety of species. Prior to recently relocating to Lawrence, Ashley was the primary reptile keeper at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, where she played integral roles in conservation breeding programs for Boreal toads, Siamese crocodiles, and Madagascar tortoises. Ashley is currently a facility supervisor for laboratory animal research at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Luke is the collections manager for the Herpetology Division at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute. His research focuses on reptile and amphibian diversity in Southeast Asia, including the impact of trade in protected species like monitor lizards. Ashley and Luke are passionate about spreading positive conservation messages through education and engagement.