Written by Cheryl Cottrell-Smith
Nerd culture in Edmonton—it’s all over the map. We’ve seen it firsthand here at The Pulp; we often struggle to cover countless comic conventions, lightsaber training classes, tabletop tournaments, video game exhibitions…and the list continues. There’s always a lot going on if you’re interested in pop culture, comics, video games, and generally everything in the realm of nerd.
It can be difficult to keep track of everything. Thankfully, there’s a website for that.
The Edmonton Nerd List is your local nerd encyclopedia. If it’s even remotely geeky, it’s on the list, from events and activities, to local comic creators and artists, to cosplayers, escape rooms, LARPing, tabletop resources, and more. Headed up by local Edmontonian Kelly Froese, the Edmonton Nerd List makes use of its website and social media accounts to help spread the word about everything nerdy in Edmonton. We met with Kelly to discuss his reasons for starting the Nerd List, why he thinks it’s an important initiative for Edmonton, and how people can support his cause.
What is the Edmonton Nerd List? Who are the people behind it?
It’s basically a nerdy “Phone Book” for Edmonton. It started out as a Facebook page listing all the comic stores for my friends and then I just kept adding to it every time I found something else [that was] interesting. I like to joke that it’s also a list of all the things I never really have time to do since I’m usually going to work at 5am.
At the moment, the Nerd List team is made up of myself, my wife Kaylie, and our toddler daughter.
What are your goals with this project?
They keep changing. At first, it was just to keep a list of stores in Edmonton to go to since there’s so many of them. Once I started adding more, I decided to keep going until I had everything. It’s turned into a platform that people go to in order to find everything in one place and to hear about exclusively local nerdy things. Hopefully it’s filling a niche and helping others realize that there’s more people out there close by who have the same interests.
Are there any other initiatives the Edmonton Nerd List is involved with?
We’ve got a Patreon set up and we’re starting to plan out a presence at shows in the near future. We’re trying to get to at least one event per week and get the word out that we’re here and available to help. We’re also especially big fans of nerdy charitable causes and non-profits (for example, Extra Life) and are planning to give them as much support as we can.
Lastly, we also teamed up with a local board game stream (TabletopTrials.com) and one of the organizers behind local board game convention KEFCon to run a regular D&D campaign online. “Edmonton Tales & Ales” broadcasts bi-weekly on Wednesday nights at 7:30pm.
Why do you think it’s important to spread word of local pop culture and nerd news?
People have a way of feeling isolated online. It’s comforting to know just how many other people there are close to home that share your interests. I love hearing that someone found a group or activity due to the Nerd List. On a selfish note, I also want to see all of these things thrive so that it’s all still there when I finally do have time to enjoy it or when our daughter is old enough to enjoy it with us.
How would you describe Edmonton’s nerd community?
“Diverse” and “thriving” would be the two words that jump right into my head. I see something new start up almost every other day and the things that are already there are not going away. It’s been an almost full-time job just trying to document it all. I keep thinking I’ve seen it all and then someone else starts a webcomic or online store doing something I’d never seen. I’m a bit biased, but I’d bet Edmonton is nerdier than any other city in Canada. There’s just never been a comprehensive means of proving it before.
How can people help support your project?
The easy way is just to like and share our Facebook page and help get the word out to fellow nerds in Edmonton. If anyone wants to help contribute financially and help us expand, they can donate on our Patreon page or through PayPal. We’re also offering advertising to nerdy businesses, artists, and designers in Edmonton as a way to raise money, as well.
How can people contact you?
Visit the Edmonton Nerd List website.
View the Edmonton Nerd List Facebook page.
Follow the Edmonton Nerd List on Twitter.