Justine Joli’mdash;one of her pictorials has her passed out in the hands of a robot circa ‘Lost in Space”mdash;is shirtless using Nerdcore emblazoned stickers to cover her nipples, somewhere near 10 p.m. after my two drinks of Johnny Walker Red, and schmoozing with Members Only-clad hipsters and autographing pictures with silver Sharpies.
By day, the back ally of Golden Apple Comics on Melrose Avenue is strewn with sprouting weeds, rats nestling through crannies, and a pair of shoes tangled on telephone wire. Tonight, it’s the same, still, but there’s an open bar.
‘I think people are passing through and seeing free drinks,’ says Chris Carle, co-creator of Nerdcore. And maybe he’s right, or perhaps it’s the hottie models inside signing nude pictures of themselves.
The Nerdcore calendar is celebrating its third year of geek-fueled glory, releasing its sci-fi-inspired 2009 pictorials at (no duh!) a comic book store near Hollywood. Each year has an ongoing theme throughout the months: The ’07 calendar, plugged in an issue of Playboy Magazine, featured everything vintage from arcade machines, like Q*Bert, to Nintendo’s Power Glove to knee-high, ’70s-style stripped socks.
‘We were originally going to have a girl blowing dust out of a game cartridge for the cover,’ Carle says, an IGN.com reporter that was worried of the stigma behind nude calendars. ‘But I think the Karlie Montana shot with the Power Glove is an iconic image.’
Impressively, the first calendar, which Carle and co-creator Jon Gibson dumped their life savings into, took only two days to shoot. When it came to the 2008 ‘Heroes/Villains’ calendar, their semi-lucrative turnout from ’07 enabled longer production time and broader locations.
For example, in the July pictorial model Carli Banks studies the L.A. night and city skyscrapers, caped in red with her busty bosom puffed-out. This and many other props and special effects would’ve been financially impossible before, but it doesn’t necessarily help the calendar, aesthetically.
‘The second calendar blew the first one out of the water,’ Carle hails. But I, kindly, would have to stop him after the word ‘blew.’
It kills me to say it, but many of the ’08 poses get repetitive and feel uninvolved. Yet if one picture stuck out the most, it was their take on Marvel’s Phoenix. Engulfed in flames and bursts of fire surrounding her, Justine Joli erupted as a major force not to be messed with. Carle steers me towards a girl with puce lipstick that’s jittery from, as I’ll find out, six cups of China tea. It’s the Nerdcore Phoenix herself, Justine Joli.
‘I need the caffeine cause I’m tired from humping my boyfriend non-stop for the past three months,’ Joli opens up to me. She’s not entirely a social butterfly as she is celebratory wallflower. A guy with pube-like facial hair dressed in jeans and a blazer approaches Joli. He puts on the self-important act and asks her if she’d like to star in a music video. For most of these women here, it must happen all the time.
So I asked her if she considered herself a nerd. ‘Well, I think so. I like cheesy stuff, and I loved ‘Spawn’ as a teen’mdash;the comics were dark, and it’s a great, crappy sci-fi movie.’
She goes on tell me about Cheri Roberts, the now quasi-famous photographer behind Nerdcore’s’hellip; core. Like many accomplished photographers, Roberts knows how to get what she wants without being overbearing. That, and she used to model nude for Playboy
‘Experience helps in these things,’ says Joli. ‘Each pose takes like 15 minutes. She’s constantly moving, and takes the reins through the whole process.’
Confidence is a staple to any photo shoot, and the 2009 calendar is a huge pay off. Each image hits its mark.
January portrays Karlie Montana decked out like a ‘Tron’ circuit board; for June, Sara Brinsfield (former girlfriend of Cherie Roberts) emerges from a green pool with ‘Species’-like seductiveness; September mimics the original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ poster with a topless Jana Cova and Georgia Jones (‘So, you have a sister.’ ‘- Darth Vader); and Bobbi Starr styles a nice little android gunslinger ode to ‘Westworld’ in November.
‘It’s like a baby,’ says Carle, of the 10-month shooting period. ‘It’s gooey, it’s smutty, and I love it, love it, love it!’ Tonight is also the first night anyone sees the finished product.
Besides the images, Nerdcore prides itself in listing regular and ‘nerd’ holidays. For instance, April 12 is Easter Day as well as being the day Mad Max was released (1979) and when the Monolith was discovered on the Moon (‘2001: Space Odyssey’).
Next to me are three guys commenting on this year’s improvements. ‘The dates and events are organized so much better,’ says one of them.
‘Dude,’ says another, ‘I Googled the girls here tonight, and half of them are in porn.’
ooking around, the girls are fun and outgoing. The type you could be yourself with and joke around. But these guys perceive it otherwise.
‘Dude, is it really no wonder?’
So, I tell them they’re fucking douche bags, and make my way to have my picture taken with Zoli Suicide and Georgia Jones. There’s a green screen, laptop, strobe flashes, and steroid-pumped guns against the back wall of Golden Comics.
The photographer had a drag of my cigarette earlier, so she puts me to the front of the line. I’m not sure what the background will eventually be, but I pose with Suicide and Jones, cautioning them on my sweaty armpits. As it turns out, the entire calendar was shot in front of green screen.
Later on, I sidestep to the front of the store and buy my calendar. And the cover image is my personal favorite with a simplicity ringing back to the videogame-themed 2007. Crystal Klein drapes herself on top of a soft white blanket like a sex vixen akin to ‘Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy.’ She wields a futuristic revolver and reveals nothing but curves with a warm, despondent stare.
Jon Gibson is a leap away from me standing with 3-D artist Erik Van Pelt, dressed like an East Coast kid with a scarf wrapped thickly around his neck. (Later on he’ll be pants-ed in front of the green screen, taking a picture with Cherie Roberts.)
‘So,’ I begin (and I know he’s been asked this over again), ‘What is next year’s theme?’ And, of course, he gives me a smile’mdash;equal parts totally affable and rock star obnoxiousness. ‘Hrm,’ he eggs me on. ‘Guess.’