Nerd Nite SF #123: Fishing, Literary Culture, & Carnivores!

Hello again nerds of SF and beyond!

Thanks to everyone who attended our February event. With your support, we were able to donate over $100 to Public Glass! A portion of this month’s proceeds will go to funding aid in Ukraine. Also, if you are an Odd Salon member, please email us for the discount code for this month’s tickets!

On the menu this month we have vitamin sea and vitamin C as in Carnivores, with a side of literary culture. Join us for a healthy diet of nerdy topics!

Wednesday, March 16, 2021
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$10 online, $15 at the door. Vaccine proof and masks required.
Tickets here

Unforgettable Fishing with Captain Virginia Salvador
Calling all fishing enthusiasts and non-fishing enthusiasts alike! Climb aboard and get your vitamin sea with Captain Virginia of Gatecrasher Fishing as she takes us on a journey through the Bay via her fishing adventures, especially those of promoting the conservation of white sturgeon (the Bay’s friendly neighborhood prehistoric fish) during the winter/brackish season. During the saltwater season, you can find her and her team fishing for King Salmon, Halibut, Rockfish and Ling Cod.

Virginia is a biologist, scientist, freelance writer, and co-captain of the Gatecrasher on the prestigious front row of Fisherman’s Wharf. She is passionate about sharing catch and release fishing of white sturgeon, traveling to compete in fishing competitions, and her motto is “I don’t go fishing to escape my life. I go fishing to live my life!”

The Carnivores in Your Backyard and Abroad with Dr. Christine Wilkinson
Seen a coyote roaming the streets of SF lately? Read all the Nextdoor posts about foxes in yards and parks? Then this is for you! Dr. Wilkinson will delve more into the area of human-wildlife conflict both in our backyard urban areas and abroad. She studies the movement ecology and human-wildlife risk of spotted hyenas in Kenya, and also the socioecological drivers of urban carnivore movement here at home. Come hear about her exciting field work, and the multi-disciplinary solutions informed by it to meet the needs of humans and their carnivore neighbors.

Dr. Wilkinson is an ecologist and post-doc at UC Berkeley. When she’s not in the field tracking down hyenas or in the office offering holistic solutions to human-wildlife conflict, she can be found performing with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo and working on her science communication skills through speaking events, workshops, and acting.

Outwrite: The Speeches that Shaped LGBT Literary Culture with Elena Gross
Join curator and culture critic Elena Gross as she shares her work on editing Outwrite, a collection of speeches from the Outwrite conference. This annual meeting, held throughout the 90s, played a pivotal role in shaping LGBTQ literary culture in the United States and its emerging canon. She’ll take us behind the scenes of her work in the literary archives and describe how producing the book has inspired a connection to the past as a means of constructing or creating new futures, while also fostering the responsibility of survivors to tell the stories and carry on the legacies of those who did not.

Elena Gross is the Director of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs at the Museum of the African Diaspora, and an independent writer and culture critic living in Oakland, CA. She received an MA in Visual & Critical Studies from the California College of the Arts in 2016, and her BA in Art History and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2012. She specializes in representations of identity in fine art, photography, and popular media.

Our friends at SF Public Library will also be on deck with book lists, library card signups, and swag!

Nerd Nite SF #122 + Our Global Kickstarter!

Announcing our 2022 return on 2/16/22 + launch of our Kickstarter campaign to bring nerdy goodness to everyone!


Nerd Nite SF is one of many Nerd Nites around the globe, and this month we are fundraising for a new web series and professional video editing. If you have a couple of extra bucks to spare for our nerdy cause, please consider donating to our Kickstarter by February 8. The pandemic hit all of us at Nerd Nite, but you can help us come back better, stronger, and nerdier than ever!

Nerd Nite SF #122: Glass, Ecology, Identity!

Wednesday, February 16 , 2022
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$10 advance, $15 at the door. Vaccine proof and masks required.
Tickets here

(ps Odd Salon members now get 50% off Nerd Nite admission all year!)


We’re back folks! Hope you can join us for our return to 2022 after taking a small holiday/covid break. Our speakers will be:

Nate Watson, Executive Director of Public Glass, San Francisco’s only public glass studio and school. He will be getting nerdy about glass art with us, and sharing how he’s improved access to glass making.

Dr. Suzanne Pierre, Principal Investigator of the Critical Ecology Lab. She will be nerding out about developing the lab’s interdisciplinary framework that considers the social dimensions of global environmental change.

Jason Smith – Founder of Mixed Googlers, one of the first Fortune 100 employee resource groups for multiracial employees. Previously a Nerd Nite Austin fan, he will be taking the SF stage to share his nerdy insights into multiracial identities and rethinking identity paradigms.

DJ Alpha Bravo will provide our topical soundtrack for the evening.

Nerd Nite SF #121: Jazz, Psychological Mythbusting, & a Rotten City

Wednesday, October 20 , 2021
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$10 online, $15 at the door. Vaccine proof and masks required.
Tickets here

Join us as we think and drink together for our last show of 2021. Thanks to all who have come out and supported us through this especially weird time in event planning. Special thanks to the SF Public Library for supplementing each of our shows this year with library swag and reading lists based on speaker topics, and very special thanks to all of our speakers. We <3 the Rickshaw Stop and our nerdy community.

We are having a pumpkin decorating contest because ~why not~. Let’s go out with a bang in the spooky spirit. Theme is “famous pumpkins in literature.” Literature nerds, Halloween nerds, art nerds, and everyone in between unite! Show us what you’ve got in the realm of pumpkin decorating inspired by books: give me your best Frankenpumpkin, your best Cinderella’s carriage pumpkin, your best creative concoction of literary gourds! Get the kids involved! Winner gets an actually useful prize (cash), unlike our other useless (so far as I can tell) gag prizes. Submit your photo here before October 18 to put yourself in the running for $, Nerd Nite tickets for the rest of next year, and the title of reigning pumpkin decorating champ!


Cakewalk: Unsung Creators of Jazz Music by John William Templeton

A decorated historian, author, and businessman, John Templeton is also recognized as the authority on San Francisco’s rich Black history, which is often obscured and little known. He’s set out to tell the stories of how African Americans have contributed to the city’s culture and economic development, going back to the late 19th century. His book Cakewalk explores the key roles African Americans played during the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake and through 1921, the beginning of the jazz age. You can purchase it in advance here and receive the signed copy at the show.

John Templeton has set out to uncover and preserve a key piece of San Francisco (and California) history that is often overlooked: the formative contributions of African Americans. He’s written books, led walking and bay cruise tours, and established the African American Freedom Trail that documents thousands of historical sites, with hundreds of them here in San Francisco.

The Rottenest City on the Whole Pacific Coast by John Bauters

Emeryville is the Bay Area’s original city of vice. Now known as a city of arts and innovation, Emeryville’s history is replete with gambling, brothels, corruption, scandal, and bootlegging. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren once labeled Emeryville “The Rottenest City on the whole Pacific Coast.” Come peek behind Emeryville’s modern facade as the home of Pixar Animation Studios and IKEA to learn about it’s grittier days from one of her former mayors and current council members.

John Bauters is the former mayor of and a current council member for the City of Emeryville. When he is not representing the Rottenest City on the Pacific Coast on regional and state transportation, housing and environmental quality boards, he can be found bicycling or hiking the Bay Trail, usually with his dog, Miss Reyna Roo.

Psychological Mythbusting with Dr. Emily Anhalt

Revisit Psych 101 with Dr. Emily. Learn some popular psych concepts and bust some common psych myths, without having to take a test at the end!

Emily is a clinical psychologist and cofounder of Coa, which is a groundbreaking gym for mental health. She’s given many talks to TED audiences and at conferences, but her Nerd Nite appearance will be the most fun and engaging one yet!

Rounding out the evening will be DJ Alpha Bravo, serving us a topical selection of tunes.

Nerd Nite SF #120: LSD Art, Redwoods, and Fish-Mediated Epilepsy Research!

Wednesday, September 15 , 2021
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$15. Vaccine proof and masks required.
Tickets here

The lineup for all you nerds this month is a doozy! We’ll take a rollercoaster ride through the twists and turns of Mark McCloud’s mind as he tells us stories of his in-home museum of blotter art comprised of over 33,000 LSD sheets collected over the decades. If that’s not fishy enough for you, don’t worry. There will be actual fish featured in a talk about how zebrafish are helping neuroscientists study rare epilepsies. Also, no one knows fog as well as San Francisco in August, unless you’re a redwood tree. We’ll bond over fog and learn how redwoods rely on it.

Also, come partake in the first 2021 Boozy Bee! Sign up here. Pick a number, take a shot of your choice, and spell some words to win a prize! The audience will participate as well to help our contestants out if needed. Think, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire except with less money on the line. (way less).


Finding Danio: Can transparent zebrafish help us see through diseases? by Dr. Prahatha Venkatraman

Small freshwater fish called zebrafish (Danio rerio) help researchers across the world study human diseases and develop treatments for disease. Why is the zebrafish such a powerful research model for human disease? Is it actually more closely related to humans or zebras? Come find out in this talk that will guide you through “Finding Danio”

Dr. Venkatraman is a research scholar at UCSF and currently uses zebrafish as a model system to study rare pediatric epilepsies. Through her research she hopes to advance our understanding of these rare epilepsies and help discover a treatment. 

The Institute of Illegal Images by Mark McCloud

Artist and San Francisco staple Mark McCloud will take us on a trip through his personal collection of LSD blotter housed, well, in his house. Born in Detroit, raised in Buenos Aires, but a resident of the Mission since the 80s, he has dedicated his life to making and preserving blotter art in order to pay homage to the substance that he says saved his life.

The California Redwood: Way cooler than you thought (& also cooler than you!by Ryan Kenneally

Redwoods are cool in both senses of the word. Chilling quietly in cold foggy forests but also unique and interesting, these spectacular trees define a rare and endangered ecosystem that contributes to the amazing biodiversity found in California. Redwoods harness the fog to transform coastal habitats into the most lush forests in the state, working collectively to reach larger sizes than any other tree on Earth. Clear your brain fog with a beer and let’s learn about what makes these trees so special and fascinating! 

Ryan Kenneally is a PhD student in Plant Biology at UC Berkeley, and previously worked as a Sustainable Agricultural Systems volunteer with the Peace Corps. He is passionate about all things plants, but especially the California Redwood.

As always, follow DJ Alpha Bravo’s set list of songs chosen to complement our evening’s talks @djalphabravo

No food vendor this month, so get your dinner beforehand and come have a drink for dessert with us!

Nerd Nite SF #119: A clock, some milk, and a dash of fungal affliction!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
$15. Vaccine proof and masks required.
Tickets here

Hello friends. Ever wonder what it’s like to get suffocated by your own skin? Well then do we have the talk for you! Gordon Lau will explain chytrid fungus and make you feel better about not being an amphibian. We’ll also be learning about another animal phenomenon perhaps a bit closer to home: mammal lactation! Rounding out the evening will be a presentation on a clock that will tick independently for 10,000 years in a Texas desert, and never repeat a chime melody, not even once. If that all sounds fun, join us on August 18!

The 10,000 Year Clock by Alexander Rose

Industrial designer Alexander Rose will discuss the design process of building the monument scale 10,000 Year Clock now under construction in Western Texas, as well as some of the precedence from the past that help give us clues as to how artifacts can last for millennia.

Alexander is the executive director of the Long Now Foundation, builds combat and bartending robots, and enjoys mountain biking and mountaineering.

Chytrid-99: The Amphibians’ Covid-19 by Gordon Lau

Humans aren’t the only animals currently going through a global pandemic! Since it was first described in 1999, the deadly pathogen within the chytrid group of fungi called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd for short (wouldn’t want to get tongue-tied from that scientific name!) has been implicated in precipitous amphibian die-offs across the world. Learn about what makes this fungus so deadly to our slimy friends of the undergrowth, along with tales of its spread right here in California!

Gordon Lau is a lifelong nature nerd and now a literal master of disease ecology and herpetology, having received his MS degree from SF State studying the relative role of salamander life history traits in Bd infection risk. He currently works as a wildlife biologist surveying protected species and sensitive habitats in the Santa Cruz Mountains and other areas in Northern California affected by the 2020 wildfires. When not working, he can be found posting cool wildlife findings on his IG @accordiongordon and sporadically uploading videos to his ever-nascent Youtube wildlife channel, “Gordon Gone Wild”.

Seeing Milk Through Rose Colored Glasses? by Maddie McNelis

On Wednesdays we… talk about pink milk. More specifically, does it actually exist in the natural world? Join for a highly tangential mythbusting journey through alleged strawberry milk producers and learn about the wonders of lactation on the way!

Maddie is a research specialist at UC Berkeley who studies lactation and mammary glands in a wide variety of mammal species, with a particular emphasis in the evolution of unique strategies and physiologies.

As always, follow DJ Alpha Bravo’s set list of songs chosen to complement our evening’s talks @djalphabravo

Nerd Nite SF #118: Plants, Signs, and Tokens of the Non-Fungible Variety!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Doors at 7pm, show at 8pm
Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St @Van Ness
Tickets here

We are back and ready for action, which means presentations and pints for all!
There may or may not be a battle of the puns. Come early and get cozy with a drink or two and find out!

ps this may give it away, but submit your puns here to be voted on by an audience of your nerd peers the night of the show.

See you all four Wednesdays from now!


“Crime Pays But Botany Doesn’t” with Joey Santore

Botanist Joey Santore will give a short introduction on growing trees and native plants from seed and planting them in neglected spaces in cities in hopes of making them a little less bleak. Topics covered will include seed collecting, mixing soil, installing plants and maintaining neglected urban spaces.

Joey is the creator and producer of the Crime Pays But Botany Doesn’t YouTube channel which aims to open people’s eyes to the plants around them and inspire them to learn about the evolutionary and ecological roles of plant life outside of human centered ideals around aesthetic and human-centered use. He enjoys fine taquerias with numerous health code violations, crass humor, an understanding of the geologic time scale and very brief walks on the beach.


“(Ghost) Sign of the Times” with Kasey Smith

Ten years ago, artist and ghost sign extraordinaire Kasey Smith started a project to identify, document, research, and map San Francisco’s remaining historical hand painted signs – colloquially known as “ghost signs.” 430+ ghost signs later, the map has reached maturity, and can help provide a unique lens on the continuing saga of San Francisco’s redevelopment. Where are these old signs found? Where are they being revealed? Where are they being destroyed? Where are they being restored? And what larger trends are driving all this flux on the ghost sign map? 

When Kasey is not mapping ghost signs or working on her upcoming book about them, she is creating site specific installations, performances, and art events with a focus on the ephemerality of the cityscape. She lives in Oakland, CA.


“NFTs: Trash or Treasure Chests” with Neranjan Bissoon

Why would people spend so much computer money on a JPEG or a GIF?

You may say probably money laundering or a crypto flex from some Lambo owning tres comma tech founder. The answer is sometimes yes but the potential of NFTs to shape the landscape of art, video games, sex positive communities and more could be immense. Let us journey through the world of blockchain collectibles and discuss some of the current confusion as well as the potential utility behind them. Less how it helps Beeple and more of how things like Play To Earn NFT based games can help people.

Neranjan is a talent agent in the video game industry as well as a blockchain gaming enthusiast, NFT artist, and founder of the blog CatsAndVR. In the past he has been a video game journalist, VR developer, and sex positive filmmaker.


We are also ecstatic that DJ Alpha Bravo will continue to curate and spin tunes specially selected to match our presenters’ themes. Follow the set list on Twitter @djalphabravo

No food offering for this nite, so get your dinner beforehand!