Filk is a musical culture, genre, and community tied to science fiction/fantasy fandom and a type of fan labor. The genre has been active since the early 1950s, and played primarily since the mid-1970s. The term (originally a typographical error) predates 1955.
This description of filker Tom Smith is from his own web site http://www.tomsmithonline.com/index.html.
Tom is NOT your ordinary comedy musician. With the lyrical complexity of Ashman and Sondheim, the vocal fireworks of Meat Loaf, the comedic timing of Robin Williams, and the dynamic physique of the Skipper from Gilligan's Island, the only thing he won't do is be boring.
The only recording artist to be featured on both NPR's Sound and Spirit and The Dr. Demento Show, and writer of the official chantey for Talk Like A Pirate Day, Tom has been praised by such diverse folk as singer-songwriter Christine Lavin, author Larry Niven, and web cartoonist Randy Milholland. He has sixteen albums so far, blending comedy, tragedy, science fiction, fantasy, romance, popular culture, technology, politics, religion, and the occasional recipe with virtually every genre of music you can imagine.
Starting out at sf/fantasy conventions, Tom has been branching out to house concerts and regular gigs the past couple of years. He arranges and records at home, using MIDI, loops, and all manner of software gadgetry... but in performance, it's just him and his guitar, in a high-energy, family-friendly show filled with laughter, shtick, and really, really bad puns.
Tom Smith performs his song "Spoiler Alert" live at Windycon 34 on November 10th 2007.