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Tue, 21 Feb ’12

Speak leet: Kevin Pereira Talks leetUp!

It takes a smart man to plan a nerd party.

Here at Nerdist News, we’re fans of anyone pushing the envelope, whether it be in movies, music, television, podcasting, or even live events. Luckily, Kevin Pereira is on the edge of all of that, so our love is justified. We chatted up the serial entrepre-nerd as he prepares his largest undertaking yet, leetUp. A festival of all things awesome at the Nokia theater in Los Angeles on March 1st.

Nerdist News: leetUP is described as a “carnival of nerdly delights.” What was the inspiration behind creating a traveling showcase like this and what do you hope to achieve with it?

Kevin Pereira: I’m interested in so many different things: gaming, music, technology, cotton-candy, art, communications, RC cars, cartoon tugboats, pop culture, etc. Every year, there are tentpole events that specifically cater to some of those passions, but I wanted to stuff a single night with a handful of ’em, then wrap that in bacon, deep-fry it in alcohol and call it a party! That’s what I hope to create: a festive night of nerd-entertainment that will (fingers, toes and tentacles crossed) one day be replicated across the country for all to enjoy. With that said, if March 1st is just a one-off night of pure awesome sauce, I’ll be more than pleased.

NN: What aspect of leetUP are you most excited for? Is it a secret? C’mon, you can totally trust us.

KP: The current run through of the evening involves a bit of onstage cosplay, by me. It won’t be your typical anime or video-game character. I can’t say what, or who it is just yet, but it may involve a lot of strategic tucking and double-stick tape to pull off properly. Also, there may be a splash zone for the audience due to a bit we have planned. I assure you, the tucking and poncho optional stunts are completely unrelated.

NN What aspect of nerd culture is consuming your free time right now? What are you playing, watching, etc.?

KP: Playing? Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have two level 15s right now, struggling to keep up with my guild-mates who are hovering around 30. Watching? Reddit. Constantly. I did recently fall in love with Party Down, devouring both seasons whole. Listening? Marc Maron. Improv4humans. Various Nerdist Podcasts.

NN: With the success of Attack of the Show and other programming like The Nerdist on BBC America getting increased airtime, where do you see geek culture heading in 2012?

KP: 2012 will be a great time to be a “geek”, regardless of your passion. The media landscape is changing; “airtime” that’s measured by mouse-clicks is becoming just as relevant as airtime measured in minutes. Narrowcasting means that geeks across any cultural pursuit can be catered to. Are you into cars? Guns? Fashion? Ah, fashion, great… What specifically? Shoes? Awesome. What kind of shoe in particular? Sweet, there’s likely a network of people just like you, with its’ own ecosystem, podcasts, web-shows, etc. If not, you can start one, tonight.

NN: We found your Soundcloud and it seems you’re quite the musician too. Will we be seeing an album or at least a mixtape of your electronic jams anytime soon?

KP: Thank you so much. I’m so frustratingly insecure about my music that, admittedly, I read the “quite the musician” part aloud while rolling my eyes dismissively. I like to dabble with music, but I lack the skill necessary to bring that passion to a place I’m comfortable sharing. Usually. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost deleted that SoundCloud account, which is just a dumping ground for the rapid-fire half-baked works I’ve abandoned. With that said, I’m hoping to get back to piano lessons, brush up my percussion chops and release a free “official” something. One of these days… weeks… months… years… lifetimes.

NN: You describe yourself as a “serial entrepreneur” and judging by leetUP, your production company Super Creative, and your endeavors dating back to Pointless Audio, this seems to be an apt description. What big projects are on the docket in 2012?

KP: leetUP is first and foremost. I have a lot of plates spinning this year, mostly of the media variety, on and off camera. There are a few TV projects in the hopper, some sold, some sitting as PDF’ed dreams waiting to be crushed at a later pitch-date. I also hope to complete my Perfect Grade ZCMF-X20A Strike Freedom Gundam Model Kit. Dream big, they told me…

NN: Can you elaborate on what’s in store for guests in leetUP’s “experiential zones?”

KP: We’re cramming as much epic into Club Nokia’s floorplan as we can. The main-stage area will be packed with talent throughout the evening, and the giant bar should be packed with great vibes and a few flamewars. In addition, we’re creating experiential zones to give attendees something to toy around with, literally and figuratively. There will be contests (perhaps of the scavenger variety), tech-displays, an arcade, photography related things and various whatnots. We’ll have a full list of available activities up at leetup.com soon.

NN: What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring entrepre-nerd?

KP: Own you. I’ve heard this basic concept repeated countless times in various ways, but basically, own yourself. Nobody can be “you”, you’ve got the market cornered on “you”, so infuse all your projects and passions with a metric-ton of yourself. At best? You’ll be wildly successful. At worst? You’ll have remained completely authentic and daringly unique.

The first leetUp from Kevin, Charles Hirschhorn and iam8bit takes place on March 1st at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. Get more info from @kpereira and @leetup on Twitter.