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Geek Out with Nerd Nite Founder Matt Wasowski

One of the world’s proudest nerds takes us behind the scenes of his popular event series

It’s not Revenge of the Nerds. It’s a celebration of the nerds at the wildly popular Nerd Nite, run by “big boss” Matt Wasowski. The lively monthly event features experts in their field giving short, “fun-yet-informative” presentations, while everyone merrily drinks along. Yes, drinking isn’t just allowed — it’s encouraged. That’s because, as Wasowski puts it, “learning is more fun while you’re drinking.”

Nerd Nite, an event whose motto is “be there and be square,” was originally launched in a Boston bar in 2003. It then spread to the East Village in New York City in 2006, where Wasowki was responsible for introducing it to the city and the rest of the world. It’s a feat he has accomplished to great success — Nerd Nite is now held in more than 60 cities around the globe, from Amsterdam to Atlanta. In New York, Nerd Nite is hosted throughout the city, including at Brooklyn Winery and Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO, where it regularly sells out.

Nerd Nite topics are as varied as the nerdy fans themselves and have included everything from anatomic pathology to honest sex ed for grown-ups to the wonders of Geckskin (a crazy-strong gecko-inspired adhesive). And Nerd Nite continues to grow: In 2012, it launched Nerd Nite: The Magazine, and in 2013, Nerd Nite had its first global festival — three days of geeky fun in Brooklyn, with lectures, music by an all-female accordion band and an event called Drunk Science, led by the editorial staff of Popular Science and the producers of WNYC’s Radiolab. If that’s not enough, Wasowski, who works in the education technology field, wrote his own book, It’s Okay to Like Sports: How Women, Intellectuals, and Artists Can Find Cultural Value in Athletics.

In this New York Moment, Wasowski takes us behind the scenes of Nerd Nite, which he describes as “the Discovery Channel — with beer!”

Our New York Moment series is a film journey that explores the unexpected moments that add up to the world’s greatest city. From the first man to illustrate a New Yorker magazine cover on an iPad to a musician who turns Times Square into his stage every day, see what makes the city tick through the eyes of the fascinating folks who live here. Click to see more.

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