By Will Ashenmacher
Aug. 2, 2007 | Duluth
You pushed them on the playground in grade school. You made
them your dodgeball targets in high school. Then you wouldn’t let them into your
Now, geeks from the Twin Ports are hoping you’ll
burn off some of that bad karma by coming to their Friday
benefit concert at Pizza Luce.
Three area geeks, you see, need your help.
At the last Geek Prom, officers from the St.
Paul Police Department stung six Geeks with pepper spray and
a total of $2,640 in fines and fees, not counting the $1,000
they paid for an attorney.
Their offense? A surprise display of, uh, Geekcake.
Six male geeks streaked to honor a tradition
begun at the first Geek Prom at Duluth’s NorShor Theatre
in 2002. In this case, that meant sprinting through the Science
Museum of Minnesota on May 12 without so much as a strategically
placed pocket protector to preserve their modesty.
“This is something that has sort of repeated
itself each year,” said Geek Prom organizer Paul Lundgren,
adding that the annual parade of geek flesh isn’t planned.
At last year’s event, also held at the
Science Museum, Geek Prom-goers said St. Paul Police officers
didn’t seem to find anything wrong with the geek-o-licious
exhibition, even though it was held in the lobby, which had
windows that passers-by ostensibly could’ve seen through.
This year’s event was held in a windowless
private room displaying, ironically, anatomical drawings.
“Everything went fine,” Lundgren
said. “There were Geek Streakers again, but they weren’t
concerned. The police officers probably didn't want to chase
and tackle naked people.”
“In fact, they were laughing about it,”
recalled streaker Ben Fisher-Merritt, the organizer of the
Geek Streak, which included Chris Nordlund of Duluth, Irv
Mossberger of Superior, two other geeks from St. Paul and
one from Cyrus, Minn.
The police officers’ response confounded
“The event is 18-plus only, so it’s
not like we’re running down the street in front of school
buses full of children,” he said. “In my opinion,
it gets a lot more dirty when you do it in public or where
there might be minors present.”
While no one disputes that the geeks were, in fact, completely
naked — a violation of Minnesota Statute 617.23, which
establishes that one who “willfully and lewdly exposes
the person’s body, or the private parts thereof”
is guilty of a misdemeanor — Geek Prom-goers felt the
consequences were harsh.
“There’s nothing very threatening
about naked people, unless they try to hug you or something,”
The pepper spray in particular is seen as unwarranted.
Fisher-Merritt said the pepper spray was aimed
close to, ahem, waist level and caused neck-to-knees agony
for a good 12 hours.
“You don’t want six naked men screaming
and writhing on the floor,” Fisher-Merritt said. “That’s
a mess you don’t want to clean up.”
“That’s not what pepper spray is
for,” Lundgren said.
Messages left for a St. Paul Police spokesman
regarding this incident were not returned.
Lundgren said streaking didn’t ruffle
Science Museum officials enough to not let them have the Geek
Prom again there in 2008.
Fisher-Meritt said he probably won’t streak
again. It’s his understanding a second indecent exposure
offense would get him on the list of registered sex offenders,
and that’s too high a price to pay.
Too high even to keep tradition
What: “Geeks Gone Wild:
A Benefit for Six Streakers Who Met Officer Killjoy.”
Who: Trailer Park Queen, Haus Meeting, The Gallows
and the Lake Superior Cacophonic Choir.
When: 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, 2007
Where: Pizza Luce, 11 E. Superior St.
Suggested donation: $6.
Wait a minute — these Geeks got in trouble
in St. Paul, and then they come running back to Duluth for
our help? Why should we help them if they took our Geek Prom
Don’t be a spaz, said organizer Paul Lundgren.
First, three of the six Geek
Streakers are from the Twin Ports.
And secondly, all the
Geek Prom Committee members are here, so staging the
benefit here makes sense.
And maybe, just maybe, the prom might be making
its way back to our fair city.
“I can’t say for sure, but we are
certainly looking into that,” Lundgren said. “We
want to [bring the prom back], but we don’t know where
it would be yet.”