Wednesday, 5/18
Doors at 7:30, show at 8
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness

Facebook event

Wait — we’ve been nerding it up in San Francisco for a year now? My, how time flies when you’re having fun! Come help us celebrate the first birthday of the best booze-addled, 3rd-Wednesday lecture series around, and get ready to have your mind blown, bent, and otherwise overhauled by a trio of presentationists holding forth on: the history and future of every nerd’s favorite museum companion, the audio guide; how sleight of brain makes for sleight of hand; and memory’s irksome tendency to obfuscate. Be there and be square!


“This Audio Guide Goes to 11: How Audio Guides are Getting Cool — No, Really” by Michael Epstein

The history of audio guides is rife with stories of Dutch hearing-impaired headset hijackers, teaching Tut to talk 3,300 years after his death, and brave experiments in isolation chambers. But the best in audio guide history is happening right now. Smartphones are unleashing increasingly vast, interactive, and narratively sophisticated projects. See, hear, touch, and taste the history and future of audio guides.

Michael is fascinated by the storytelling potential of mobile devices. At MIT he got his Master’s in Comparative Media Studies, specializing in prototypes of new literary forms on mobile devices. He now runs Untravel Media (, a software and production studio specializing in mobile narrative apps for museums, broadcast, and educational institutions.


“The Science of Magic” by Luigi Anzivino

From ancient conjurers to quick-handed con artists, to big-ticket Las Vegas illusionists, magicians throughout the ages have been expertly manipulating attention and perception to dazzle and delight us. Of course you know that the phenomena of cognitive and sensory illusions are responsible for the “magic” of a magic trick—so why does it still work? Luigi Anzivino will explain how magicians exploit our brains’ loopholes as their accomplices in effecting the impossible and what scientists can learn about the brain by studying the methods and techniques of magic.

In a previous life, Luigi earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience, researching the brain’s reward and attentional mechanisms. Currently, he designs hands-on, “playful and inventive explorations” at the Exploratorium, San Francisco’s museum of art, science and human perception. The infamous “magic bug” bit him when he started working at the Exploratorium and, in addition to compelling him to spend hours fiddling with cards in his spare time, it has provided him with an excuse to apply his hard-earned scientific knowledge to a subject he loves.


“Beyond Belief: How Memory Obscures the Truth” by Indre Viskontas

The Truth Is Out There. But how can we find it and what limits our ability to understand it? We are all still hunters-gatherers, though now of information instead of meat and berries (think of all those Tweets and RSS feeds). Yet the brain constrains how we process and use information to understand the world around us; it turns out that our personal experience trumps most other data. Dr. Indre Viskontas, cognitive neuroscientist and host of the TV show Miracle Detectives, draws upon her research and experiences investigating mysterious incidents across the country to highlight common traps in evaluating evidence for extraordinary claims.

Taking up space on her home office wall, Indre’s degree and award collection includes rare specimens from UCLA, the University of Toronto, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the OperaBuffs and others. She is a bachelor of science, a master of both music and arts, and a doctor of philosophy. She is best known for her role as “Scully” on Miracle Detectives, which airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Amongst neuroscientists, she is respected for her work on memory and creativity, having published more than 30 papers and chapters before turning into a TV personality. Classical musicians say they respect her creation of several roles in obscure contemporary operas and atonal experimental chamber music. Almost no one else does.


DJ Alpha Bravo will be at the decks of spinning vinyl, juggling LP sleeves and live-tweeting his set-list. Alpha Bravo is VP of left-field pop label, Radio Khartoum, and was one of the forces behind legendary SF pop-club nights, Anisette and Schokolade.