Welcome to Part 2 of Who. The. F*** Are. You. In which we get to know co-founders of GeekCLE, Angela and Rashad, discover why William Slater is a jerk and find out what happens when you realize you’re a geek (hint: you grow up to create a website totally devoted to geek culture).
Was it comic books that first drew you to geek culture? Well, let me rephrase this, when did you realize you were a geek? Was it an epiphany or a slow burn?
A: I don’t think I realized it and then I was like, oh, wait… it took my friends to point it out.
R: You start to realize you enjoy stuff that not all the other kids like and it gets to that point that other people have to point it out to you. When I really started to realize I was a geek was when I was in middle school. We had to do presentations in front of the class and the two I did were on comic book and Muppets. And at that point in school that’s when kids are trying to act older so you’re too old to like some of that stuff. But I think that’s a part of geek culture liking what you like and not being ashamed of it.
You don’t do these things on purpose, these are just things you like In high school and my early twenties I would be hanging out with people older than me and it would come up in conversation that Lost in Space was my favorite show as a kid, and I watched all the Planet of the Apes and Godzilla movies and it wasn’t something I felt I should do but just something I did as a kid.
What about that specific genre drew you in? What elements are in comics or Lost in Space reruns that appeal to you?
R: With comics, or with any good fiction I guess, it’s able to hold that mirror up. I’m a huge X-Men fan and I think part of that is because the racial allegories; the X-Men are the ultimate outsiders. I can relate to that. What about you Ms. Angela?
A: I was always into sci-fi stuff. Growing up I would always watch the Twilight Zone marathons on New Year’s Day and in school I did all these book reports on William Sleater novels. He wrote all this sci-fi stuff and I was so into the books that I wrote him a letter and that asshole never wrote me back!
But you stuck with it! You didn’t turn away from the sci-fi!
A: Yeah, no thanks to you, Mr. Sleater. I think most of the things I got into as a kid were more sci-fi and then Doctor Who happened.
R: Yeah, sci-fi: they just had cool ideas it was always what are they going to come up with next? You start to think how much of this is plausible and you’re being entertained and even going back to realizing you were a geek, I remember being in school spouting off random science facts and teachers would be like how did you know that? And I was like I learned it from TV! You can actually learn these things from the TV! For instance, I learned about symbiotic relationships from Spiderman.
A: I had a 7-ft cardboard cut-out of Spiderman in my bedroom during high school.
R: Now you’re just bragging.
A: I know, I know.
What comic books are you reading right now that you love?
R: I’m really enjoying what Brian Michael Bendis is doing with the X-Men. The Avengers but I’m a huge Marvel fan, you already know that. There’s a book that Dark Horse puts out called Mind Management that’s really cool. It’s about a government organization set up in the 60’s or 70’s where they try and train psychics.
Which leads me to my next question which I think is obvious but if you had to choose any superpower, what would it be?
R: Well, we’re already psychic.
A: But only with each other.
A: Oh there you go, obviously. I hate driving.
Let’s pretend for a minute that I’m someone who does not write for the site, and has never met you and has no idea what you guys are doing, how would you explain to me? In 3 sentences or less what is GeekCLE?
A: I think our official tagline a dedicated organization to geek culture in Cleveland is a good start, even though I know it sounds vague. But it’s hard to describe everything we do in 3 sentences all the things we do, there’s the website and we have events and the forums and then we’re also promoting things we have nothing to do with.
R: We want to make people aware that there are all these things in Cleveland, where the shops are, when cons are happening, oh this movie is playing, really we just want to be a resource for all your geek needs. We would love it if people came to depend on the weeklies, they could check it every Tuesday to know what to do in Cleveland for the week.
I see. So, you are providing a much needed social service. GeekCLE: Where awesome lives. That should be our new tagline. And then the Cleveland Board of Tourism (is that a thing?) will have to start paying us to market for them.
A: We also really want to start promoting these local creators, artists and writers, showcasing local talent…
R: Yeah, there are so many creative people in Cleveland.
What is it, and this is completely speculative, but what is it about Cleveland that makes these awesome creative people? Is it something they put in the water? The awesome culture that pushes people? The shitty winters?
A: it’s the indoor hours
R: It’s the perpetual underdog thing.
A: If you go anywhere and meet someone from Cleveland you’re probably going to be friends with them. It’s the sarcastic humor that we can all get in on. I don’t know it is about Cleveland but I do feel like it breeds similar people.
R: We’re a place that has been made fun of for so long, for no real reason…
A: Yeah, but we can laugh at ourselves… but at the same time we’re like no,
R: Cleveland is the nerd of major mid-size cities…we get picked on, on the playground of America
A: It’s so meta!!
R: But like the Huffington Post article we were talking about earlier, Cleveland is like the nerd that finally came into his or her own.
And there you have it kids. Stay tuned to GeekCLE as we continue to grow and make Cleveland a mecca of geek culture.
Miss the first part of the interview? Check it out here http://geekcle.com/2013/09/13/who-the-f-are-you-part-one/