Geeked out Block Party

April 13, 2012, 12:31 a.m.

The first-ever Super Happy Block Party last Saturday brought together hackers, artists and innovators to collaborate on new ideas. The party was hosted in a block off of High Street between University Avenue and Hamilton Avenue. The packed schedule had an ambitious run time of 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., so we decided to arrive fashionably late at 8 p.m., where we found things winding down after a hard day of nerd partying.


What is a day of nerd partying like? Well, for the Super Happy Block Partiers, who were dispersed among five venues, it seemed like a mix of work (coding, gaming and pitching for the entrepreneurial-minded), socializing and a dash of silent disco.


We dropped by the Talent House first, where enthusiastic volunteers welcomed us with headphones for a silent disco. The headphones had two channels; the Talent House volunteers eagerly assured us that their DJ was obviously much better. As we walked around the room, we saw quite a few people moving along to their own music.


In the Talent House, there were some people socializing, happy-hour style. Many worked on laptops, a few showed off their apps (including a group that made a jumping jack-counting app) and others painted on easels dispersed throughout the room. Talent House was the location of the Lightning Talks—five-minute talks by anyone on their areas of expertise. The topics ranged from new products including a guitar iPhone app demo to indie development. A live band made an appearance later on in the evening, further livening up the area.


We then decided to visit the Institute of the Future, which was in a cozy office building and hosted a 3-D printer conference. Groups like MakerBot had machines printing plates and glasses; more hackers lurked in the corners, typing furiously on computers.


Finally, we stopped by the garage, where we found remnants of a petting zoo, delicious Oaxacan food and Innovation Endeavours, which housed venture capital pitching rooms as well as another silent DJ.


Near the end of our stay at the party, Palo Alto Mayor Yiaway Yeh dropped by to cut the official Happy Hacker Block Party ribbon. Yeh and the volunteers promptly celebrated by initiating a silent disco party in the streets.

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