You’re invited to a ‘sexy nerd party’

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Brainy people are all over the D.C. region, and they like to go out and have fun.

If you’re one of them, you might check out ThirstDC. It’s a series of events organizers call “sexy nerd house parties”.

“ThirstDC was born out of, if you’ve heard of TED talks, which is the idea that amazing speakers are put on stage and they present amazing ideas in a short timeframe,” says Eric Schulze, ThirstDC’s creative director and self-described “chief nerd”. “What we decided to do was take that and mix it with a nightlife, add a lounge element, shorten the talks even further and present extremely new ideas. Even ideas that TED hasn’t even presented yet.”

At ThirstDC’s one-year anniversary party Thursday night, held at U Street Music Hall in Northwest, about 200 people enjoyed food and drink, a DJ and listened to a presentation about professional wrestling.

Two speakers argued that pro-wrestling is “interactive art,” totally dependent on its audience and a phenomenon from which everyone can learn.

A fun fact gleaned from the evening: In the WWE world, a “babyface” is a good guy, and a bad guy is called a “heel.”

Previous ThirstDC events have featured presentations about private space flight, the science of the political brain and how cats are the kings and queens of the Internet.

“I’m pretty much your stereotypical D.C. technical nerd, and I like going to bars so this is pretty much the perfect combination for me,” says Karen Flage, who attended the event.

Another attendee, Lee Heyman, called ThirstDC “fascinating.”

“It’s about learning something you might not have known along the way, but not just sort of in a classroom lecture sort of style … everyone seems really engaged and excited to be here,” Heyman says.

The next ThirstDC event is being planned for October. Schulze says it may feature experts from the Smithsonian or NASA, or even both.

“The one question you’re not allowed to ask is, ‘What do you do for a living?’ at Thirst,” Schulze says. “We forgo that and instead ask, ‘What’s your passion?'”

Check out ThirstDC and watch ThirstDC’s Eric Schulze give a TEDx talk about the philosophy behind the events.

Follow Michelle Basch and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)