Kevin Maher is a busy man. In addition to his professional duties as a producer for Comedy Central and freelance writer for IFC, Maher is a full-time husband and father of two boys. Even still, he manages to eek out just enough time to “geek out” on pop culture topics at Nitehawk Cinema once a month. His event, “Kevin Geeks Out“, offers a deep dive into a particular topic by inviting guest speakers, sharing film and TV clips, and producing multimedia presentations.
This coming Thursday, September 17 at 9:30 pm he’s taking on the light-hearted topic of the end of the world: the Apocalypse. It will be his fourth show at Nitehawk (136 Metropolitan Ave.) in as many months.
“Kevin Geeks Out came out of a web-series I did for AMC called ‘The Sci Fi Department,’” Maher explains. “The Under St. Marks Theater invited me to host a monthly screening of science-fiction movies, but I told them people could see movies anywhere (even in their own homes). I offered to curate a theme night with lots of video clips, guest speakers, and comedy. That appealed to me, and here we are 34 theme nights later.”
The show has appeared at several New York venues including the late 92Y Tribeca theater and Webster Hall. In addition, it’s traveled to the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, “Geek Week” in Boston and, in 2012, to Martha’s Vineyard for JAWSFEST when Maher geeked out about shark movies (and no, not just the big one by Spielberg).
Like many of us kids of the ’80s, Maher grew up in a house with the television always on. “As an adult, I’ve worked for TV shows and websites about pop culture,” Maher says, “so I’ve absorbed all kinds of odd facts and random connections. The show is an outlet to share those weird theories and observations.”
When you’re presenting on topics and tropes that fall a little off the pop culture radar, the show attracts a mix of different people. “It’s mostly good-looking, intelligent weirdos,” Maher offers. “Some people come because they’re interested in a specific theme night, like werewolves or Vincent Price or wrestling. But the audience members are curious and adventurous. They’ll go with the show even if the show goes to a strange place. They’re willing to be challenged. I’m grateful for that.”
Starting in May of this year, Maher brought his show to Brooklyn when Nitehawk Cinema’s Max Cavanaugh offered him a slot to help cross-promote a series of “Animal Attacks” movies they were running. The show was a natural fit and immediately drew sell-out crowds to the Williamsburg staple. Maher and his friends have geeked out about Zombies, Supervillains and Lady Robots, and have plans for even more unusual theme nights on the horizon.
“Nitehawk attracts an audience that gets my show. The “Kevin Geeks Out” show is like Private Joker’s helmet in Full Metal Jacket: a peace symbol alongside ‘Born to Kill.’ We all have conflicting feelings about any given topic in pop culture,” Maher says, “and apparently the Nitehawk crowd shares those mixed emotions about Zombies or Robots. A two-hour show is a great way to unpack some of those thoughts and feelings, while looking at weird film clips and seeing how each movie reflects different attitudes.”
“Kevin Geeks Out About The Apocalypse is part of the Brooklyn Book Festival, so it might get a bit literary,” Maher explains, “but we’re applying that literary mindedness to movies like Warriors of the Wasteland and Hell Comes to Frogtown. And besides having excellent guests, including a writer from Tor.com and the founder of the Post-Apocalyptic Book Club, there’s a Post-Apocalyptic costume contest. I’m hoping people will come in leather vests and shoulder pads. Come dressed-up, you might win a prize.”
As for the hopefully non-apocalyptic future, Maher also has an evening of Stephen King adaptations scheduled for October 29 at Nitehawk – just in time for Halloween. When asked about what other topics he may explore, his “inner geek” comes to the fore as he bounces a few ideas around.
“I might do a Batman Vs. Superman night. Maybe a Space Opera show to compliment the new Star Wars film. During the Animal Attacks show I was obsessing over the use of wigs in a Tobe Hooper alligator movie and I half-jokingly said I’d do a show about ‘Wigs and Toupees’ and the audience cheered, so I might have to do that show. The more I think about it, the better it sounds.”
Check out Maher’s blog where he posts about a variety of pop-culture topics and upcoming shows. Kevin Geeks Out About The Apocalypse at Nitehawk Cinema
Thursday, September 17 at 9:30 pm. Tickets are $15. Follow Kevin Maher on Twitter.