You thought geeks just dressed up like Cyclops from the X-Men and stood in long lines at conventions to get an autograph from the guy who played Cyclops in the X-Men movies. Okay, they do. But some geeks make music about their obsessions, too—some of it pretty good. And a couple hundred of them will travel to Seattle for the last weekend of January by steed or star cruiser to play at the second annual Conflikt convention in Renton.
This branch of the geek tree is called “filk,” which has a lot of definitions but is basically folk music that draws some inspiration from science fiction and fantasy culture (think Cat Stevens rhapsodizing about Captain Kirk), and we can lay claim to one of its most popular duos. That’s right, Seattle—our own Tony Fabris and Michelle “Vixy” Dockrey are the Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia of filkdom. After taking home the national filk award for best performer last October, they’ll be rocking at the convention with tunes about everything from Doctor Who to the short-lived but much-loved sci-fi TV show Firefly.
James “You’re So Vain” Taylor may not identify himself as a filker, but musicians in the community love his hit “The Frozen Man,” about a man who freezes to death and is revived in the future.
The pair met and mind melded at a Portland sci-fi con in 2003 and has since crafted the recently completed album Thirteen. Along the way they picked up a dedicated following of “Browncoats” (those would be fans of Firefly ) who come to hear them play at the Wayward Coffeehouse in Greenwood. But they won’t be performing for their fanboys and fangirls at the convention. The get-together is about jamming with fellow filkers (usually in a big circle called—wait for it—a filk circle). “There are all of these songs out there that people are writing and singing that nobody knows about,” Fabris says. “And some of them are just heart-stoppingly beautiful or brain-breakingly funny.”