Saturday, July 28, 2012

Geeks take over the it-est street in Beirut!


Yes, I know, I'm a little late to follow up on my first GeekFest post as I had initially intended and promised. But in my defense, my life has been hijacked by the cutest yet loudest and a little-lot demanding terrorists. They may be tiny, squeezably adorable and a blessing; and as much as I adore them, I need to say it loudly: I am allowed a quarter of a personal life now. The rest is theirs. And gladly so. It is my choice and I love it and I am thankful for it. But that also means I am left with only that quarter of a life to pile up whatever it is I need to for myself like, I don't know, eat, sleep and sometimes (thank God) shower. But I digress. If you're interested in more mommy-madness, this is the place to go. Because until further notice, this space here is going Geeky, and Geeky only, all the way! 

Ok, let's Nerd it up, people!

It is no surprise Rue Gouraud in Gemmayze is where Online Collaborative decided to celebrate this year's theme for their annual GeekFest in Beirut: Music and Fashion. According to WikipediaRue Gouraud is the street to hit if you are a fashionista or an art and music lover. And our cool nerdy crowd felt right at home, hanging at The Alleyway to celebrate Geek, Fashion and Music.

Image by GeekFest Beirut

The program looked quite interesting:

Maya Metni kicked off the night with a fun and informative presentation on how geeks turned from geeky-losers to popular idols. And because Maya is an image consultant, she also revealed a few interesting fashion tips on how to master the ultimate Geek-Chic look. 

Photo Credit: R. Abouzeid

  • Toni Yammine | Crowdsourcing Music Videos – Meen the Band | Toni is a Lebanese musician/director @toniyammine
Now that presentation, I was actually looking forward to because I had followed that crowdsourcing video project by Meen and I found it really interesting at the time. Toni Yammine revealed how fans of the band grabbed the opportunity to get involved in Meen's creative work by showcasing their personal talents and producing low/no-budget videos for their favorite songs. That was actually a brilliant idea because who would be better than hardcore fans to come up with authentic music videos produced with heart and passion? Everything was structured within a competition frame which gave an additional incentive and entertaining side to the whole project. That is also probably why so many others, fans of the band or not, took the time to watch those video entries. Crowdsourcing is gaining popularity in the Arab world and it's always intriguing to see how professionals will use this technique and how their audiences will respond. This one I believe, was quite successful in achieving the goals at stake (despite the expected negative critiques of some). 

Photo Credit: R. Abouzeid

  • Hind Hobeika | Smart/tech clothing and where that’s all heading? | Hind is an engineer, swimmer and a self-tracking geek 
When they first introduced Hind, I could not help but be intrigued by her presence and the product she came to present. A swimmer and numbers addict, she developed her very own swimming self-tracking device which is pretty awesome to say the least and super impressive! Especially for someone her age. Then again, when it comes to geeks, you can always expect the most creative ones to impress you at an early age. 

Photo Credit: R. Abouzeid
I already knew about and I was actually excited to see their new interface. This is such a smart site and Beshr gave an interesting insight on the positive outcomes and potential it brings to the music industry in the Arab world. When the mainstream artists look like they are all coming out from the same "kheshik beshik" factory and as it clearly appears the only way to make it is to become a clone of those existing performers, it is always a breath of fresh air to get to know people who are actually working on bringing a different breed of talent into the light.

Photo Credit: R. Abouzeid

Now this guy brought it! His presentation was by far the geekiest and although I did not understand one word of his Do It Yourself demo (yes, I know, I have a long way to go) the result of what he literally built in front of our eyes was outstanding! He actually made sounds, turned them into some sort of musical composition, using no instrument but his nerdy equipment and hands! Geek power at its best!

Photo Credit: R. Abouzeid

  • Elie Habib | Tools that allow developers to build Social features on top of Music | Elie is the co-founder of Anghami  
Another interesting Geek-up for the music industry: Elie presented Anghami and how it proposes to revolutionize the way we listen to music by making it possible to have access to top sounds, legally, on the move. Basically, with Anghami, it will be possible to listen to the latest music, with excellent sound quality, on our mobile phones, wherever we go. The real added value is that it does not require an internet connection to work. 

Photo Credit: R. Abouzeid

This is probably the reason why I made the effort to find a way to leave the kids at home and make it to GeekFest! I knew Loryne but I did not really know Loryne. We had met online and although we regularly communicate since Bras For A Cause Middle East, we have never had the chance to actually meet in person. Finally, I can proudly say: we now know each other! I will not go into the details of Loryne's presentation as she covered Bras For A Cause Middle East which you can read all about in my coverage of the event. I was also very happy to find a stand where I could buy another special edition t-shirt by the super talented Rana Al-Basri Mouawad.

Photo Credit: R. Abouzeid

The presentations were followed by the now famous Fashion Show which featured:
  • Fashion for fundraising – Bras for a Cause by One Wig Stand 
  • Up and Coming Lebanese and Middle Eastern Geeky/Urban fashion Designers stages by Fishy Nation
  • An Online Collaborative line designed by our own Joseph Maalouf
  • Geeky Tshirts by Maya Zankoul
  • Looks from top Lebanese Fashion Bloggers 
  • Geeky Tshirts by NOBRAND
  • DJing the show is DJ Beats

I am sure the third part of the evening dedicated to Music was equally fun but unfortunately, I could not stay long enough to enjoy it as I had to return to my tyrant baby-bosses ;) So I will keep this focused on what I personally saw and I hope I could convey a little of the impressive discoveries I made that night.

Looking forward to the sixth edition of GeekFest! ;)


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