Brain Jam at the Bell House

Super friends! Nerdy bar nights combine forces for a big brainy bash

The Brooklyn Paper
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When their powers combine, they are Brooklyn Brain Jam!

Four nerdy local bar events are teaming up for a six-hour geek-a-thon at the Bell House on Sept. 7, and organizers expect the non-stop poindexter action will be a big hit among their combined fanbases.

“I’ve thought for a while that New York City needs a festival for the kinds of things we do,” said Noah Tarnow, who runs the Big Quiz Thing, a long-running New York City multimedia trivia night. “We all do very different things, but we all

appeal to a pretty similar audience.”

The Big Quiz Thing is throwing its lot in with like-minded events Nerd Nite, which features presentations on subjects such as the ethics of creating Terminator robots; Story Collider, a science-themed storytelling night; and Kevin Geeks Out, a comedy-variety show where comedian Kevin Maher and his friends share their enthusiasm and expertise on niche pop-culture topics such as the best and worst apes on comic book covers and Turkish knock-off movies.

With so much in common between the four, one host said he was surprised it hasn’t happened before.

“It seemed like an obvious idea,” said Matt Wasowski the host of Nerd Nite. “I can’t believe we hadn’t thought of it.”

Brain Jam is scheduled so attendees will be able to catch some of everything, said the organizers. From noon to 6 pm, performances and presentations by Nerd Nite, Kevin Geeks Out, and Story Collider will be interspersed with Big Quiz Thing trivia rounds. Prizes will be up for grabs in every round, with geeky goodies including tickets to Maker Faire, the invention festival coming to New York Sept. 20 and 21.

In the Kevin Geeks Out portions of the afternoon, Maher said he will bring back highlights from previous editions of his show, including a discussion of the two years he spent playing a masked wrestler on a kids’ TV show, and an interview with the creators of “Star Wars Minute,” a podcast examining the original “Star Wars” trilogy one minute at a time.

“Expect big laughs, weird videos, and fascinating facts which you can share at cocktail parties to seem as smart, weird, and wonderful as the guests from Kevin Geeks Out,” he said.

For egg-heads whose energy levels wane as the day moves on, there will be brain fuel available in the form of food truck fare and free Hawaiian shaved ice.

Brain jammers will have the opportunity to come and go as they please, but Wasowski said he hopes the majority make it their mission to stay for the whole afternoon and into the after-party at the Bell House’s outer bar when things wrap up.

“The whole thing is a party,” he said. “We want to make sure people stick around, drink, and hang out.”

Brooklyn Brain Jam at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643–6510,]. Sept. 7 from noon–6 pm. $12 ($10 advance).

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: Event date corrected.
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