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The Geek Prom

By Russ Ringsak with Denise Remick
December 10, 2002 | Minnesota Curiosities

Let’s face it: It had to happen. Once the computer began its takeover, geeks would become gods as surely as worms become butterflies. This prom was held April 13, 2002, and turned out to be a huge success in its first year. In 2003 it will only be bigger, and by 2004 it will be really cool to go to the Geek Prom. It’ll be national, and people like Britney Spears and Mariano Rivera will be there, and then geeks will rule, like we know they always wanted to.

Of course no one can be turned away from a Geek Prom, no matter how cool or how beautiful or how big a jock you are, because to be rejected admission to any prom at all is to become a geek right there, and then of course instantly eligible. But once inside if you don’t truly let out your inner nerd and if you don’t look geeky enough and act weird enough you might be shunned. And then you’ll try to act cool about it but the word will get out that you went to the prom and even the geeks wouldn’t have anything to do with you and … well, you get the drift. The other contradiction is that when it becomes way cool to go to the Geek Prom then being cool wins again, despite the triumph of the geeks.

It was organized by Paul Lundgren as a celebration of clumsy social skills and obsessive-compulsive behavior, for people who were too geeky to attned their high school prom and also for those who did go but who were too cool to properly enjoy it. They expected, and got, a "night filled with awkward romance, cheesy music and spastic fits of clumsy dancing." Paul says we’re all susceptible to geekiness: he himself was jock enough to play high school football but geek enough to also be on the audiovisual squad. He told a writer of his latest geek moment, which had happened that very day as he exited his car, walked behind a pickup, saw a lovely woman, and simultaneously banged his shin on the trailer hitch. He could have acted cool but he took the Geek Choice, as he called it, and let out a loud and uncool shriek of pain.

His partner in the prom endeavor is Scott Lunt, who says a bartender named Lefty developed special geek drinks for the ball, with names like the Pocket Protector and the Leonard Nimoy. He said the Pocket Protector "actually tastes like a Pocket Protector."

The bands were Duluth’s own Super D & the Double Chucks and Vinnie and the Stardüsters from Minneapolis. The former are known for their blending of 1940s country music, 1960s acid rock, and Lake Superior surf rock into an "erratic and flamboyant three-piece nerdfest"; the latter are best known for catering to the social misfit crowd in Minneapolis with "power rhumba parody" and "Husker Doo Doo," and for their publicity stunts. They’ve called the police on themselves to shut down their concerts, threatened to leave town unless a 100,000-seat stadium was built for them, and recorded an "XXXMas Song" so dirty that Howard Stern wouldn’t play it. They live in the "Hub of Hell" neighborhood in Minneapolis.

A panel of Celebrity Geeks selected the King and Queen Geeks, there were limos shuttling back and forth from restaurants, they had an after-hours party (Minnesota’s 1:00 a.m. closing time being geeky in itself), and they were celebrated in print and television (like CNN, dude). The prom is expected to peak in 2003; after that it could be too cool.