Cosplay (noun): the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game
Burlesque (noun): a humorous and provocative stage show featuring slapstick humor, comic skits, bawdy songs, striptease acts and a scantily clad female chorus
Drag queen (noun): a performer who dresses as a woman to entertain the public
Geek (noun): a peculiar person, especially one who is perceived to be overly intellectual, unfashionable or socially awkward
Dictionary.com helped me straighten out all of these terms, but there’s still no saying what March 18 will bring when the cosplay group All Geeks comes to the Metro (3730 N. Clark St.). Combining all of the aforementioned elements, geeks from far and wide will gather for a five-hour performance / dance party / fashion show that will feature themes such as Harry Potter, Star Trek and everything in between.
To get a sense of what this ultra geeky night will bring, The PHOENIX chatted with the creator of All Geeks, Adam Guerino.
“Imagine a dance party where every half hour or so there will be a pop-up performance,” Guerino said.
I asked Guerino questions to not only get good quotes for this interview, but to also ease my mind for when I attend the event later this month. Unfamiliar with cosplay, burlesque and drag queen shows, I’m still a little apprehensive of what I’ll find at the All Geeks performance (and if I’ll be able to stay up until 4 a.m.). But Guerino assured me that all are welcome and encouraged to take part and bring out one’s inner geek.
Including geeks of all kinds has been Guerino’s goal since founding All Geeks in 2014.
“The term All Geeks is explicitly un-exclusive,” Guerino said. “So everyone is welcome here and we try to weave that throughout everything.”
Since its inception, the geeky variety show has quickly risen to fame. The group performs monthly at the Berlin Nightclub (954 W. Belmont Ave.) and has toured the states, traveling to locations such as New York for the LGBTQ festival Flame Con, according to Guerino.
“And now, after eight years, I have a show at the Metro,” Guerino said. “It’s incredibly exciting.”
What perhaps is the most exciting is that a show— a show that includes not only cosplay, but drag and burlesque as well — has gained so much attention. There are an unlimited amount of themes that can appeal to participants and/or inspire them to dress up for the All Geeks performance.
As someone who agonizes over her outfit choices each day and for every occasion, I couldn’t help but ask Guerino what someone who doesn’t know much about these shindigs (e.g. me) should wear to the performance. Photos of men and women decked out in drag makeup and super hero costumes may be off-putting for someone whose favorite color is gray.
“Maybe there’s something you watched as a kid that you really love or maybe there’s a show that you watch now that you’re really excited about … just kind of your passion will be what guides you through the different cosplay looks,” Guerino said.
He assured me that attire can be as simple as a T-shirt that says “Winter is Coming,” which is a common Game of Thrones reference, or as elaborate as a prosthetic mask. But $2,000 in prizes on the line may serve as more of an incentive to dress up. The night will feature mini competitions and fashion shows — so more extravagant outfits could serve you well.
In addition to the fashion, the night will also host some special guests. Famous drag performer Dax Martin (better known as her stage name Dax Exclamation Point) will perform a special number with All Geeks, and according to Guerino, she’ll “bring the house down.”
Guerino also mentioned that having Martin at the performance is a huge deal for the cosplay queer community. Having a group that combines the love of cosplay and LGBTQ into one performance isn’t as typical as merely having one or the other. Martin, fortunately, exemplifies both of those characteristics – being a fierce drag queen and cosplay-lover.
Guerino said he’s excited that Martin will enjoy the geeky fun with other people in Chicago.
“It’s a fun surprise to do a geeky variety show and have it so well-received,” Guerino said. “I’m excited and surprised that other people like it, too.”