September 13, 2013

All ages turn out for Waterville Library’s first Cirque du Geek convention

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — Lest you think a geek is someone who is bespectacled, nerdy and wears his pants too high on his waist, think again.

click image to enlarge

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

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Harley Raymond, 4, gets wide eyes as he waits for a piece cake during the opening night festivities of the first Cirque du Geek convention at the Waterville Public Library on Friday. Cirque du Geek will run through Sunday and includes cosplays, making misters and plashes, watching movies along with a geek parade and a geek picnic.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

Cirque du Geek convention

Saturday: Activities kick off at 8 a.m. with breakfast and cartoons in the Waterville Public Library’s Colby Program Room, followed by a panel discussion at 9:30 p.m. by science fiction writers  Steve Miller and Sharon Lee, who donated dozens of books for the convention.

At 11 a.m., build-a-creature workshop will be held in the teen room. Participants will make monsters and plushies, or stuff pocket animals.

At 12:30 p.m., a presentation on the history of cosplay is in store. At noon and throughout the day, Spellbound on The Concourse will host games. At 1:45 p.m., parade participants will line up.

The masquerade will start at 3:45 p.m. in the REM room at The Center at 93 Main St., with judging of costumes at 6 p.m.  A movie will be shown at 6:45 p.m. in the teen room, followed by a dance from 8 p.m. to midnight at The Center.

Sunday’s events include movies, games at Spellbound, plushie picnic at 11:30 a.m. on the library’s former entrance off Elm Street, art contest judging at 2:30 p.m., karaoke contest at 3:45 p.m. at Silver Street Tavern, movie at the library at 5:30 p.m. and a closing ceremony at 8:30 p.m. at the library.

The geeks who gathered Friday night at Waterville Public Library for the first Cirque du Geek convention were colorful, animated and focused — on enjoying three days of free movies, a costume parade, plushie picnic, creature creation, masquerade, games and a dance, among other events.

“I’m a huge geek,” said Sakara Pullen, 12, of Waterville. “Some people think they’re people who are just really involved in school, but there are anime geeks. It’s people who love anime” — Japanese animated character movies and video.

Pullen likes the anime character Karin, a girl who attends a vampire high school.

She plans to dress up like Karin for today’s 2:30 p.m. costume parade, which will start at the library and continue to the Two Cent Bridge at Head of Falls, turn around and go back to the library.
Pullen said Karin “generates blood.”

“She increases her blood. She’s all bubbly and stuff. She wears her school uniform.”

The three-day geek convention, free and open to everyone, was the brainstorm of library assistant Sarah Taylor, 23, who spent about a year planning it, with help from other library employees, including Alex Raymond.

“It’s not just one thing that makes a person a geek,” Raymond said. “It’s about having a strong love for the things that you enjoy, and you’re not really afraid to express that.”

The dozen or so geeks who turned out for the opening ceremony Friday included Katherine Dall, 70, of Waterville.

Dall, wearing a pink headband with flowers and feathers, said a geek is a wonderful person.

“I think a geek is a purely imaginative creature who loves fantasy, art, nature and that other realm of creativity that lives within the soul of every human being,” Dall said.

She was in the geek art exhibit on the library’s third floor, introducing her piece, “Daphne the Darling Divine Dragon,” a multicolored work made with paper, feathers and flowers.

“I used some Martha Stewart paint chips and Martha Stewart paint and I mixed colors and then I moved in some white and I took a plastic fork to put grooves on her fins,” Dall said. “Daphne is a strong woman of society who stands up to people who try to overtake others.”

Geeks of all ages milled about in the fireplace room at the library, nibbling on cake with ornate blue and purple frosting and drinking pink punch.

Sam Doughty, 12, of  Waterville, said he heard about the convention because he is at the library all the time.

“I’m a gamer,” he said. “I’m an anime geek ... There’s this game called ‘Slender Man.’ He’s from a horror game. He doesn’t have a face and he dresses up in a tuxedo.”

Doughty said he will dress up like Slender Man for today’s parade and plans to take part in other convention events over the weekend.

“It’s a fun experience to get to know other people who are geeks, whether it’s on the inside or the outside,” he said.

He explained that a person who is a geek on the outside is openly a geek.

“If you are a geek on the inside, you kind of hide it and it’s your inner passion.”

After the opening ceremony Friday, the geeks planned to have dinner at Selah Tea on Main Street and then don their pajamas to watch the movies, “Thor” and Marvel’s “The Avengers,” in the library’s teen room. Popcorn was to be served.

Pullen’s friends, Laura Eldon, 13, and Jasmine Pease, 10, of Waterville, said they are looking forward to all the weekend’s activities.

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