by Ed Malin · August 23, 2015
Shyaporn Theerakulstit | Shyaporn Theerakulstit
For a good time in the world of superheroes, galactic empires and savage costumed beasts (“kaiju”), look no further than Shyaporn Theerakulstit’s clever performance lecture The Absolutely True Science of Nerds. It’s so good, so scientific, it’s just plain hilarious.
The show analyzes three cultural phenomena: Batman, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, and Godzilla. During the thorough evaluation of each topic, many tools such as PowerPoint and rap are used to boldly prove what has never been proved. But in case you’re a real nerd, you’ll appreciate the reminder that many Bothans died to bring us this information (see: Return of the Jedi) and the stirring tribute to those peripheral characters which is accompanied by Sarah McLachlan’s song “I Will Remember You”. It’s nerdy and yet when I was there seemed enjoyable for anyone, even those born this century.
Batman is a hyper-educated superhero out to avenge the murder of his parents in Gotham City’s Crime Alley (a crime that was unsolved for many years despite the wealth of crime scene footage). Shyaporn shows us how he trained for one week to simulate Batman’s workouts, caloric intake, sleeping habits, etc. 1960s chic such as Adam West dancing and the music of Mingus abounds.
Next comes a loving comparison of the technology in the Star Wars (a long time ago) and Star Trek (near future) universes. If you don’t know already, you will find out which is better, hyperdrive or warp drive. You will speculate on which is bigger, the Federation or the Galactic Empire. You will imagine which story has better robots and more humane distribution of wealth. The results may shock you.
After an interlude from a guest burlesque dancer (I got to see Zelma Zelma as Ensign Redshirt), we wax nostalgic over the many times Godzilla has almost destroyed our civilization. We of course review how nuclear testing awakened the dormant kaiju, and speculate what type of dinosaur Godzilla and his ilk are. There are also thoughtful tips on how to survive a Godzilla attack, e.g. “run” and “don’t live in Japan”.
It is always a pleasure to see a funny, mind-altering show like this. If you have ever used the Force (whether in physics class or for the betterment of the world) you will have a great time. You may even try to stump Shyaporn during the Q&A, but his comic timing and authoritative style are most admirable.