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.

Nerd Nite 57: In the Time of Read Across Lawrence

This month we’re partnering with Lawrence Public Library for NEA Big Read/Read Across Lawrence. Our book this year is “In the Time of Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez. On February 8th, we offer you three presentations related to the book that will hopefully inspire you to get reading! We’ll open the doors at 7 so you can get a drink and make a friend. Presentations will begin at 8. $1 cover. No hundies.

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

The presentations:

“Hispaniola: Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Complex Neighbors” by Cécile Accilien
This talk will briefly highlight the complex history of Hispaniola, the island occupies by two countries, Haiti (in the western one third) and the Dominican Republic (in the eastern two thirds). It will provide an overview of the colonial history (Spanish and French) and how it continues to affect current relations between the two countries.
“Women Revolutionaries in the Caribbean” by Jennifer Abercrombie Foster
This presentation will provide you with a brief overview of the evolving role of women revolutionaries in the Latin American Left from mid 20th century. Focusing primarily on Cuban women’s experiences, we will talk about how women had to negotiate traditional gendered norms (whether by breaking with or conforming to those norms) in order to participate in overthrowing an intolerable status quo.

Our third presentation will be from Monarch Watch, a nonprofit education, conservation, and research program based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its spectacular fall migration. Spoiler alert: “In the Time of Butterflies” is not literally about butterflies. But this presentation will be!

The presenters:

Cécile Accilien is Associate professor in the Department of African and African-American Studies. She is also director of the Institute of Haitian Studies and Associate Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Her primary areas of interest are French-speaking Caribbean and Africa, Film Studies and Women’s Studies. She is originally from Haiti and grew up in Newark, New Jersey.

While traveling abroad, Jennifer Abercrombie Foster tells people that she is from Lawrence, KS. After 7 years of graduate school, she now has a diploma that says she’s a doctor of philosophy, which sounds a wee bit silly, but she’s okay with that. She first got involved in Latin American culture when she moved to Honduras to live for one year as a volunteer among 500 kids. Since then, her research, travels, and interests have taken her to exciting places like the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Des Moines and she is thrilled to get to participate in Lawrence’s Nerd Nite!

Nerd Nite 56: Coups, Canoes, and Pooches


It’s a new year and everything is changing. Here’s one thing you can count on: Nerd Nite. We’re still here, still nerdy, and still cost one wee dollar. See you soon. Doors at 7. Presentations start at 8.

Wednesday JAN 11 at 8 PM Doors open at 7 PM
Maceli’s Banquet Hall & Catering
1031 New Hampshire St, Lawrence, Kansas 66044

The presentations:

“The 1933-34 Plot to Oust FDR and Install a Fascist Dictator” by Earl Schweppe
In 1933-34, General Smedley Butler was involved in an attempted fascist putsch known as the ‘Business Plot’, which he went along with to collect evidence and then exposed to the press and a congressional commitee. The group of wealthy financiers and industrialists were planning a military coup to overthrow Franklin D. Roosevelt, with Butler selected to lead a march of veterans to become a dictator, similar to other fascist regimes at that time. The individuals involved all denied the existence of a plot and some related media also ridiculed the allegations. A final report by a special House of Representatives Committee confirmed Butler’s testimony and the plot failed.

“Change Your Life While Sitting On Your Butt and Going Backwards. (AKA the Sport of Rowing)” by Heather Moore.
A brief introduction to the sport of rowing – a quick history, features of the modern sport, terminology and a how-to demonstration on a rowing machine.
“Baby, I Was Born To Run…and Sleep” by Erin Schramm.
One of the original dog breeds and the only one mentioned in the Bible, greyhounds have long been revered for their speed, grace, loyal companionship, and lovable personalities by both royalty and commoners alike. Hear about the history of this extremely unique animal and their incredible speed, what makes them so different from most other breeds of dogs, and why they are such amazing companions. Also, get ready to have one of the biggest myths about greyhounds dispelled (hint: there’s a reason they make good apartment dogs).

The presenters:

Heather Moore: Nineteen years ago, Heather Moore happened to be walking by the Scioto River in Columbus, Ohio, as a rowing regatta was being held. Intrigued, she soon joined her local rowing club and not only learned to row, but also raced competitively and eventually coached juniors teams in Ohio and Texas. When she’s not on the river rowing, Heather can often be found walking alongside it with her three beagles.

Erin Schramm:  Erin Schramm has been a lifelong bibliophile, pickle fiend, and dog lover. She currently works as the school librarian at Prairie Park Elementary School, where her favorite thing is cracking up her elementary school kids. Erin has a soft spot in her heart for rescue/shelter dogs, which led her to adopting her retired racing greyhound Atticus in 2015. When not competing with Atticus for the title of Best Napper, Erin enjoys reading (of course), playing Settlers of Catan, seeing tons of movies, and trying to find the best pickle in LFK (right now it’s between Limestone and Merchants).

Earl Schweppe:

At 12 Vacuum Tubes, Radio, and Morris Code
At 14 Started taking math courses by mail
At 16 Graduated HS to MO Valley College
At 17 Joined the Navy V5 Program. In 16 mo
At 20 Earned BS in Math. Wed Mary Woolston.
At 21 Was Plumbing and Heating Salesman
At 22 To Illinois for Math + much on computers.
Joined USNR Security Group (NSA)
At 26 Programmed Illiac during last graduate year
At 27 PhD in Math. Taught Math 10 years total
At > MVC, Illinois, Nebraska, ISU, Maryland
At 31 In charge of Programming ISU Cyclone
At 33 Moved to Maryland to work at NSA
At 35 To U. MD to discern what Computer Science would be
At 40 To KU to create CS Department
At 60 Retired USNR. 18 with Security Group
At 73 Retired from KU EECS after 32 years.
*At 89 Became oldest presenter in Nerd Nite Lawrence history!
Lost wife in 2013. One daughter and two sons.
Three grandsons.
(*editors note)