On a slightly drenched, but jubilant Thursday night, Gramps in Wynwood had a variety of clientele. The sound systems could be heard loud and clear through the still sprinkling waters that were drenching the outside patio area. The DJ was celebrating the premiere of “Straight Outta Compton” that weekend, so he decided to put some well known favorites from NWA on the projection video (some of the more upbeat hits, like “Express yourself” to keep the mood lively). It would seem that this would be a typical night in Wynwood, except for the fact that Gramps had just finished hosting Nerd Nite, where deep topics in geek culture were thoroughly and passionately explained a mere twenty minutes ago.
Gramps specialty nights are meant to attract a large combination of various but likeminded personalities. They occur once a month but are pretty fun and well meaning; the topics can be thought of as esoteric, but that’s only in relation to the tropical, vacation spot imagery that is usually placed on South Florida. Gramps is changing this up by recognizing that many of patrons are not simply there for the bar scene (which it also has, but resembles more humble surroundings than South Beach extravagance), but they also want something to have in common to bring them together besides liquor and possible hook ups. Gramps’ solution is cunning as it is simple: don’t be afraid to hand over the sound system to someone who will lecture the audience on when they’re supposed to be getting drunk.
The lectures were definitely not lacking in presentation or uniqueness. The first one was analyzing the concept of “the uncanny valley” (a phenomenon that occurs when people feel anxious when presented with digital imagery or creations that are meant to resemble human features), followed by a swift presentation on the importance of board games. If anyone was hoping to witness the image of Wynwood in person as being an exciting art district that only attracts the most suave of cultured minds, they found the right place; just change the word “suave” for “geek”.
But there is nothing wrong with such adjustments; it’s simply these differentiating ideals that make Wynwood so unique. Each of the men presenting didn’t leave the stage to pity or sympathetic applause, they were lauded and appreciated, personally thanked afterwards for the amount of time they put in their lecture. Consider that many of these thankful fans were likely college students taking a break before the wave of assignments and work they were facing going back to school a few weeks later, it’s admirable to think that students are still very eager to learn more about topics that may not be covered in any academic course.
Gramps in Wynwood is promoting what the real and upcoming culture in the neighborhood should be in which more than just occasional visitors can brag about their experience. Wynwood should not be shunned aside awaiting for the arrival of celebrities on it’s exalted art festival, but one that takes in mind all forms of art be it paintings, designs, concepts, speeches, and even literary ones. This is an art district after all, so it should have the opportunities to express that artistic/genius talents in more than just the sprayed walls of the city, but in the hearts and minds of those coming out to enjoy being surrounded by their fellow geeks.