Dork-topia: Cities that are constantly overrun by nerdy fans
Nerds. You gotta love ’em. When they love something, they don’t half ass it. They are ALL IN. They live and learn the minutia of whatever aspect of pop culture they relate to. Be it comics, costumes, card games, TV shows, movies…whatever. And whenever they get the chance, they will make the pilgrimage to whatever place on Earth is the focal point for their obsessions. A Geek Roatrip, if you will (and I will, thank you). “So, Pax, where are the nerdiest places on Earth?” Other than the San Diego Comic Con or DragonCon in Atlanta, here is a list of the nerdiest vacation destinations in the world. And this is only a few of them. There are more, trust me.
Forks, Washington – Home of Twilight — This one is the most recent addition to the list. Forks, Washington is the real life city where the fictional Twilight novels are based. Constantly inundated by Twilight nerds (called Twerds…no, I’m not kidding) this town has finally thrown it’s collective hands in the air and said, “FINE! You dorks win. We’ll sell you Team Edward shirts, let you eat at Bella Italia (OMFG…at the EXACT table Bella and Edward had their first date!!! You must order the Mushroom Ravioli!!) and even tailor entire tours of the city around a fictional book about vampires that sparkle in the sun. Hell, visit Forks High School and buy a t-shirt as if you actually attended there with Bella and Edward. It’s all nerdy fun. I’m sure my friend Marlene will be there. Tell her “Hi”, and that I think she’s a dork.
Metropolis, Illinois – Home of Superman — Metropolis, IL is an interesting example because, technically, it has nothing to do with Superman. It’s just a random city with the same name as the fictional city in the Superman comics. This town made the national news recently when Barrack Obama got his picture in front of the Superman statue in the town square. Anyway, despite the fact that the fictional Metropolis is more akin to real life New York City, this backwater farming town in Illinois was named “Home of Superman” by DC Comics in 1972. Which, again, technically, Superman’s Earth “home” was in Smallville, Kansas, not Metropolis, but let’s not get caught up in “the details”. Every year the town holds The Superman Celebration which draws thousands of comic book nerds like moths to the flame. My friend and self-proclaimed Superman nerd, Himal, is going to Illinois this year and I actually can’t wait to hear what it was like.
Vulcan, Alberta, Canada – Star Trek town — In much the same way Metropolis is suckling its fame off the teat of Superman, so too is the small town of Vulcan in Alberta, Canada. Originally named after the Roman god of fire, the town now takes its name from the planet of Mr Spock’s birth. Many of the local businesses have molded themselves to better fit in with the Star Trek theme; check out the Enterprise Family Restaurant or the local pharmacy with a side mural of all the Star Trek doctors. Hell, the tourist center was redesigned to look like a spaceship, including a van that has the Enterprise ship markings. All of this culminates in the annual Star Trek Day where overweight, middle-aged nerds can parade around wearing Klingon battle armor and not look like an idiot. Well, not a COMPLETE idiot.
Tunisia, Africa – Star Wars Tatooine tours — Gus Lopez was the original gangster of trips to Tunisia. He was one of the first to go out to find and map all the old filming locations for the Star Wars Tatooine scenes. He even went out there right after Episode I filmed and found a bunch of old props. Now, every Star Wars nerd on Earth makes like Allan Quartermain and heads to the Dark Continent to stay in the Hotel Sidi-Driss (Owen and Beru’s moisture farm) or visit the site of the Mos Eisley Cantina or Ben Kenobi’s house in Ajim. Can you imagine what the simple, African people of Tunisia think when all these chubby, American dudes show up in heavy wool robes in the DESERT wielding colored sticks like swords? It’s classic, my friends. From what I hear, the locals try to sell to everyone they can “props” that were left behind from filming.
Liberal, Kansas – Home of Dorothy Gale — The Kansas city in which Dorothy lives in the book and the movie, The Wizard of Oz, is never explicitly stated. So Liberal, KS thought this was as good an opportunity as any to grab the reins of destiny and hold on for dear life. As far as I know, this whole situation has not been approved by anyone other than city officials. It’s not like Metropolis up there that received DC Comics’ blessing, this city is going “rogue” with all this Oz imagery. There’s a replica of Dorothy’s farmhouse, a “yellow brick” road with donated bricks bearing the names of several celebrities as well as a museum called “The Land of Oz” featuring artwork, props and the model used in the filming of the 1939 movie. Oz-philes from all over the world visit this place to get pictures at Dorothy’s house and stick their head in a painted wooden cutout in order to look like Munchkins.
And those are five of the nerdiest places on Earth. Have you been there? Then you are a dork, my friend. Own it.