Filk music for nerd people

In today's Wired News, a report I filed on "filk" — scifi-themed folk music performed by science fiction / fantasy fans and tech-heads.

At a suburban hotel here, in a windowless conference room called the "Hollywood" suite, a rapt circle of geeks sings songs about spaceships.

Accompanied by acoustic guitars, clarinets and the quacking of kazoos, the group sounds much like a traditional folk ensemble. But the lyrics and rituals set the music far apart. With its heavy sci-fi themes, this isn't folk — it's "filk," a distinctive genre that took root on folk's fringes about two decades ago and is now gaining broader attention thanks to internet radio and web downloads.

"You want minors on the moon who need a labor union? We got songs about that. You want asteroid truckers with broken-down ships? We got songs about that. If you want cats in space we got that too," explains Mary Creasey, an organizer, producer, vendor and performer of filk music with her son Richard and her husband, John.

"We write about all the great fantasy topics … dragons, unicorns, vampires, castles, wizards, witches, what have you," she continues in a soft voice with a hint of Appalachian drawl. "All the great contemporary hard science topics, too — computers, space, time travel, nanotechnology, you know — this 'n' that. And then, hybrids. Vampire computers. Vampire kittens. The computer necromancer who raises your PC from the dead."

FWIW: the filk enthusiasts I met at this event last weekend — including John Creasey, shown here in space-pig costume — were some of the nicest people I've ever met. I'm proud to call them nerd kin. Link