Third Annual Philadelphia Geek Awards

Local geeks assembled to celebrate the best in tech, science, innovation and fun.

The Third Annual Philadelphia Geek Awards took place Saturday night at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University honoring geeks in the greater Philadelphia region. Hosted by Geekadelphia, guests ranging from local game developers to comic book artists, social media marketers to the arts & culture community enjoyed a pre-awards cocktail party with delights from 12th Street Catering, Photobot3000, as well as displays of living and skeletal animals.

Below, Geekadelphia and The Geek Awards Co-Founders Tim Quirino (left) and Eric Smith are feted at the VIP cocktail party. Being a true geek is no longer about being awkward, smart or wearing the wrong clothes. It is about being someone who is obsessed with one or more things, usually of an intellectual, electronic or collecting nature. More than once on Saturday night I heard the phrase I collect, or I obsess over blank “more than anyone in society should ever have or care about.”

One such person who uttered those words was CBS3 reporter Nicole Brewer, here with her husband Kellen Economy (below). Nicole tells me that she realized she was a geek when she was in her teens, and that she has a record-breaking collection of troll dolls.

Melissa Reilly (left) with Jessica Lawlor, who says she realized she was a geek when she started her blog, which is about getting gutsy. Being gutsy is more about being yourself and not getting permission from another on how to act. That really defines what a geek is to me.

Below, Shannon Caulfield, associate editor at Elauwit Media and Doug Gausepohl, publication manager at hibu. A sports nerd by profession and hobby, Shannon knows to expect Doug to check his favorite geek gadget, the iPhone, several times during the evening’s ceremony to get all the stats from his favorite games.

Below, from left: Monetate’s Luke Walker and Britt Miller, and Ian Kelly. Luke and Britt co-presented the award for “Startup of the Year” later in the evening. The award went to Autism Expressed. the first and only online learning platform for teaching adolescents with autism to use digital and social media. Accepting the award was facilitator Michele McKeone, who said someday we’d see someone with autism accept a Geek Award.

Below, glam gals Nena Boling and Whitney Nelson. Nena is wearing an 8-bit bowtie from Smak Parlour with matching earrings. Smak Parlour has a pop-up store in the old Skin Palette space at 126 S. 19th St. Phila through September.

Scott focuses on Beth Kellner as she does an interview with last years Comic Book Writer of the Year Brad Guigar for Knerd Knews. Guigar presented the 2013 award to Andrew Goletz, publisher and editor at Grayhaven Comics.

Philadelphia Daily News Sexy Single Albert Lee geeks out over Philadelphia. Ask him anything about our town and he’ll have a frank answer for you.

Below, and contributor Mary Brickthrower, had a geekalicious weekend (she ended it on Sunday as Lady Darth Maul for Dr. Sketchy’s “Seize the Cape” session). She’s standing next to Philly librarian Kate Eckert, Eric “DJ Kiltboy” Carter and a Triceratops.

Below, Karen Verderame, Outside In supervisor at The Academy of Natural Sciences holds a giant katydid macrolyristes corporalis. Naturally working at the Academy makes her a geek, and she told a few funny antedotes about her life with husband Andrew, who doesn’t share her love of insects, including how when their daughter brings him hissing roaches, he has to hold them without flinching so she isn’t aware that insects are not his favorite creature. In return Karen enjoys outings at the pool with the family, even though she’s not particularly fond of water.

Below, Russel Collins with Jennifer Rodgers, who was nominated for Indie Game of the Year for Velociraptor! Cannibalism!

Below, Penny Bach (left) and Susan Myers (right) of the Association for Public Art won a Geek Award for “Event of the Year” for Open Air Philadelphia. Open Air was interactive artwork with light that allowed participants’ voices to transform the sky over Philadelphia during the fall of 2012. Between Bach and Myers are Carolyn Huckabay, Rose Mineo, Megan Wendell, all of Canary Promotion.

Below, bloggers Cecily Kellogg, Dresden and Tristin, who was the 2012 Geek of the Year.

Below, expectant parents Johnny Goodtimes (Philly’s king of quizo) and his wife Colby check out kids books in the museum’s gift store. Another thing Goodtimes is checking off his bucket list: a chance to participate in the 2013 Fringe Festival Sept. 5 – 22. Catch his show High Cheese with his friends Chip and Carl, Sept. 14 – 20. Goodtimes was on hand to present the Social Media Campaign of the Year to #GunCrisis

Greg Lobanov, below, won a Geek Award for his Indie Game of the Year: Perfection. He tells me he was born a geek, so there was no realizing it. Kat Angeloni is working with Lobanov, creating the music for his next video game.

Leah Kauffman, executive producer at was nominated last year for the Viral Project of the Year Award for her Firewall. This year she presented the award for Geek Story of the Year, which went to Pong at the Cira Center and Drexel University College of Engineering’s Dr. Frank Lee. Lee said the project was more than five years in the making, most of it spent trying to convince the Cira Center folks that it was a brilliant idea and for them to let him hack their system. Dr. Lee was a two-time winner Saturday night, taking home a glowing robot for Hacker of the Year, too.

#GunCrisis picked up the Philly Geek Award for The Social Media Campaign of the Year. Co-founded by Jim MacMillan (left), Joe Kaczmarek (right), Tara Murtha and Tom Kelly, the group covers incidents of gun violence, but also reports on those working to stop them. The organization gets these stories out through their website, and via Twitter, using the hastag #GunCrisis. During his acceptance speech, MacMillan asked for a moment of silence for the victims of gun violence.

Austin Seraphin and Sonia Petruse created Braille Street Art after they met at an Indy Hall art show in February. After their win, I followed them into the hall to get their reaction, and Austin was in the midst of doing a text-to-type message to his mom: “text to mom ‘we won.'” They were both in a state of euphoria that their Braille Street Art won a Philly Geek Award, as they both admire fellow nominees Sean Martorana and Hawk Krawl’s work so much. There’s a great article on Braille Street Art at City Paper this week

Below, Scientist of the Year Kimberlee Sue Moran.

Below, Michaelangelo Ilagan and Rob Perdue laugh a bit at the podium. I wasn’t sure if it was because they accidentally read the winner’s name before reading the nominations for Web Project of the Year (Winner: AxisPhilly) or if these guys were just having a blast as they do whenever they get together. This is one of my favorite photos of the night and really captures the good natured attitude of all the geeks.

At least three people mentioned Christopher Wink in their acceptance speeches as someone who had helped them along the way. Wink is the co-founder and editor of Technically Media, the leader organizer of Philly Tech Week, Baltimore Innovation Week and BarCamp NewsInnovation. He presented Mobile App of the Year to BizVizz, whose tagline is: “You pay your taxes. Shouldn’t corporations?” BizVizz is the corporate accountability app that tells you if they did.

Below, Amanda Danziger (director of Backyard Philly and founder/filmmaker at Ferasha Films) accepts an award for Feature Length Indie Film of the Year.The Backyard Philly Project tells the stories of four teenagers from the same public housing complex, Penn Town, at Seventh and Spring Garden streets. Their next screening will be during the First Glance Film Festival at The Franklin Institute on Sept. 21 at 5 p.m.

Joel Hodgson from Mystery Science Theater 3000, presenting Geek of the Year.

Below, Viral Project of the Year: We Are Never Ever Going to Win with Andy Produced and directed by Shawn Caple of From Start to Film and performed by Casey Conklin, was a music parody depicting the disgust of Philadelphia Eagles fans with the way Andy Reid had been coaching the team. Pretty hysterical too. I wonder if Taylor Swift saw it. Caple captured the moment in a Vine as his girlfriend, Alessandra Ameen, who also participated in the project, looks on.

Below, Geek of the Year: Dan Ueda, the robotics coach at Central High School is on a mission for more funding for the Philadelphia School System. Check out this letter he wrote recently to The Washington Post. Also, check out 6 Awesome Moments From the 2013 Philadelphia Geek Awards by Brian Howard.

Below, the coveted awards (the Geekies?) made by Next Fab Studio.