making a note here: HUGE W00TSTOCK SUCCESS

Friday afternoon, Anne, Storm, and I walked up the street in Seattle toward a towering red brick building. Next to the kind of ancient metal fire escape that inspires poets to write about life in the city, a sign was painted on the side of the building. It identified the building as a theater, that was available for, among other things, Legitimate shows.

"Also, you guys can do a show here," I said, in reference to us, using a voice I'd made up a second earlier and assigned as The Voice Of The Building.

We walked through a backstage door, and entered a twisty maze of passages, all alike. It took us a few minutes, but we eventually found our way to the stage. I was entirely unprepared for what I saw: a towering space with two balconies, epic ceilings, and magnificent lights everywhere.

"I can't believe I get to perform on this stage," I said.

A few hours later, the house was almost full (I think we got just over 1000 people through the doors, and capacity is around 1400) and w00tstock 2.0 began. 

For my contribution to the show, I read When You Dressed Up Sharp and You Looked Alright from The Happiest Days of Our Lives. Paul and Storm joined me for musical accompaniment, and I had an insanely good time performing it. I guess I should have expected audience participation, on account of it being a Rocky Horror piece, but I wasn't prepared for how enthusiastic the response was. When I left the stage, I wished I'd written more opportunities for audience call outs. There is a chance I may release a patch to the story before I do it live again, just for that purpose.

Our special guests were amazing. Stepto read from the Big Book of Enforcement while Paul and Storm chanted the Halo theme, Molly played an unfinished song about how she wants to have Stephen Fry's babies, Hank Green put the whole theater in his hug bucket, and Loading Ready Run killed me with the funny. MC Frontalot rattled our bones with bass, Jason Finn added so much more than "just" drum beats, and that Adam Savage guy some of you may have heard of played some unreleased footage from a future episode of Mythbusters that was as hilarious as it was jaw-dropping.

Over and over again throughout the show, I kept thinking to myself, "I can't believe that I get to be part of making this happen."

It was, as advertised, just over three hours of geeks and music. I'm pretty sure everyone who came to the show had a great time, and I know all of us who were in the show loved every second of it. 

The following morning, Anne and I rode the train from Seattle to Portland (seriously, guys, if you live in either of those cities, it is so worth forty bucks to make the trip) and discovered that it was MOTHERFRAKKING NATIONAL TRAIN DAY when we arrived. I mention this because it was awesome, but also because it provided these adorable paper conductor hats that Molly collected and gave to all of us who sang the Schoolhouse Rock classic "Conjunction Junction" with her in the show. It was one of the highlights of my life to do the part that starts out, "In the morning when I'm usually wide awake…" twice this weekend.

We didn't have Frontalot in PDX, but we did have my friend Matt Fraction, who gave an amazing presentation about comics, why he writes them, why we read them, and why they matter. He did for comics what I've tried to do for gaming in both of my PAX keynotes, and it was just wonderful to watch.

We've done w00tstock five times now, and while I've loved every show, the show we did in Portland was especially meaningful to me, because it's the first time in years that my parents have been able to see me perform. After the show, my dad told me how proud he was when the whole theater went bananas as I walked out on stage … so if you were in the audience at the Aladdin, thank you for that; it meant a lot to both of us.

The PDX show went really, really long and ended up being closer to 4.5 hours. We won't let that happen again, but I was relieved to hear from lots of people in the audience that they didn't mind.

When the show was over, I was ready to fall down and sleep for 14 hours, but there was this plan to go to Ground Kontrol for an unofficial after party. I seriously had to drag myself there, but once we walked inside, I was really glad that I did.

I collapsed into bed around 4am, slept until noon, and spent the rest of the day with Anne and my family, which was awesome. We flew home yesterday afternoon, which I presented to Twitter thusly:

wheatonix$> mv /usr/portland/wil /usr/losangeles

@dragoncontv replied: 

airlinex$> sudo mv /usr/luggage/wil /dev/random 

When I landed, I said:

wheatonix$> file transfer complete

and there was much rejoicing. Well, by me, anyway. And a big high-five to Alaska Airlines for not dropping any packets the whole way back.

Paul and Storm are in LA for the Nerdist podcast tonight, so we were able to meet up at Lucky Baldwin's last night to discuss our future w00tstock plans. I can't reveal any of the things we talked about, but I think it's safe to say that we have only just begun.

Before I try to get caught up on all the e-mail and stuff I missed while I was gone, I wanted to take a moment to sincerely thank everyone who came out to watch the shows this weekend, and to everyone who was in the shows this weekend. I am incredibly grateful that I get to be part of making something like this happen, but it's nothing without all of you guys.

97 thoughts on “making a note here: HUGE W00TSTOCK SUCCESS”

  1. My hubby and I were at 2.0 as well. I have to say we were both extremely entertained and delighted, and would have been happy had the show gone on hours and hours more! Hubby Facebooked:
    “Wootstock (http://www.wootstock.net) is great! It only took about 10 minutes into the show before I knew I had to come back next year–and bring friends!”
    Oh, and we will. We definitely will. Thank you and Paul and Storm and Adam Savage for helping us celebrate the nerd and nerdette in all of us.

  2. W00tstock 2.1 wasn’t a show. It wasn’t an event. it was an experience. We loved the whole thing, and hey, if anybody’s to blame for it running long, we are. Hell, I was the one who told you to FOLLOW THE SHOE. (And “Winnarrr” among others)
    We wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. That was the most fun I’ve had in one place in years. I so hope that we can make this a tradition.

  3. w00tstock 2.0
    Boardgame night was canceled early Friday. Checked to see if tickets were available. Yes! They were. Got directions to The Moore. Waited for work to end. Went home for a while. Headed to Seattle from Bellevue. Sat in traffic. Sat in more traffic. Found a parking spot right across the streen from The Moore. Got my ticket, which was a balcony seat. Waited for the show to begin. My seat was in a great location. Great view of the stage and the sound was no problem. Took a fair amount of video and pictures. Almost killed the battery and maxed out the memory in my camera. Got some great shots.
    See my pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/heathbar/sets/72157623894528639/
    And my videos here: http://www.youtube.com/user/White425
    Great show! It was last minute and fun as hell (well, if hell can be fun, if it snowed maybe.)
    -Heath
    http://twitter.com/Heath_Bar

  4. Thanks for the vids Heath!! Thank you for thinking of those who weren’t lucky enough to attend, and the international audience.
    Thanks for sharing
    H Niyazi

  5. I really hope it does not get really big. I like the idea of sending wootstock out to anyone that might want to tune in. But I would not like to see it move to enormodome venues. Another SXSW or ComiCon that I stop going to because it gets too crazy I don’t need.
    What I would go to again and again is the little Wootstock 1.1 in the over sized living room in San Francisco that I was at last year.
    Yeah, I know. I sound like an elitist asshat… and I don’t mean it that way. It just seems nicer to be kind of home made. You know?

  6. Awesome. I am so envious of everyone who could go. I have gone onto Demand & demanded w00tstock come to the ATL. East Coast cat can has w00tstock? PLEEEEEZ?

  7. OMG that was so awesome. Thank you.
    I am a SAHM mom of four little kids (my ex generously watched them for me–because I found w00tstock first ;)! ). Friday night a friend was asking how I ever relaxed (since I refuse to do it with alcohol) … w00tstock kept me laughing so hard I cried, and seemed to do the job. I’m *still* more relaxed, 4 days later …
    Audience participation: it’s not just Rocky Horror, y’gotta watch out on the songs, too … I doubt I was the only person trying to sing along with Conjunction Junction (which I own on CD and video “for my kids”) …
    If you guys wanted to lessen your total workload (4+ hours two nights in a row, ouch! for you!) by splitting the tour or making it more local-talent focused or something, I have a possible in on Lego geeks (I’m softening him up right now) and I know another very funny Microsoft geek. (I was a little surprised Lego got only one brief–but funny–mention all night long, is why I started thinking outside the box you guys so beautifully filled to overflowing already.) Dr. Demento might also have some contacts that could expand your sets in various locales (Yes, I do like novelty songs, why do you ask?) … and I won’t try to impinge on you-all’s process any more than that unless asked. ‘Promise :).

  8. Hi Wil, I’ve been lurking here over a year but the awesomeness that was the Seattle show has prompted me to comment. My nerd-adjacent wife and I were fairly far back (row R) but even she had a really good time. Thanks to you and all for a wonderful night. Robert

  9. Hey, I’ve been reading your blogs for a while and I just wanted to tell you that I’m a huge fan, and your blogs are hilarious. I love your acting and I think its cool that you stay updated on everything. I don’t know why, but the fact of the show being in Seattle struck me as funny, mostly because I used to live there and now I wish I could have seen the show. Im glad you had fun. :)
    Oh and one question:
    Are you planning to act in anymore movies any time soon?

  10. This
    wheatonix$> mv /usr/portland/wil /usr/losangeles
    should really read
    wheatonix$> mv /usr/wil/portland /usr/wil/losangeles
    Mashing up an earlier poster’s response to this,
    the geek version of “Don’t be a dick” would be
    wheatonix$> sudo mv /usr/dick /dev/null

  11. Man, W00TSTOCK 2.1 was SO FULL OF WIN! Everyone was just on fire Saturday night. Big thanks to you for coming out and sharing you’re awesome with us in PDX!

  12. I had such a geeky great time at the Aladdin on Saturday. The “event” was EPIC. Thanks for signing my boob!! (I’m sad the shower washed it away….)

  13. Were you the one in Seattle, fairly early in the lineup that Wil nerdsqeed all over? He got you to turn around so he could see all your shirt… I only ask because I think I saw angel wings on the back.

  14. We are from Portland but were at the Seattle show, in the balcony. The show was absolutely amazing. We loved every minute of it and can not wait till 3.0. Wherever it is, we won’t miss it. btw… did you know that the Clinton St Theater does the midnight showing of Rocky in Portland?

  15. Wil!
    I was at the Seattle show, and I had a security guard tell me that I had to put away my camera (Canon 5D mkII) because I was only allowed to shoot with “little non professional cameras”.
    twa?
    I thought about referencing your blog post, but I think it would have fallen on deaf ears. I instead took to Twitter, and some friends also did.
    THEN, you stepped out on stage and mentioned Creative Commons and how it was encouraged to photo and video the show.
    Huzzah!
    The “big” camera came back out and didn’t go back into the bag until it was all over :)
    I got a GREAT video of Molly, Kristen and you doing Conjunction Junction. It’s here: http://vimeo.com/11588705
    I also was able to capture what I think is *THE* most epic Wil Wheaton face EVAR. That’s here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeltelling/4588055827/
    Lastly, thanks again man. Seriously. It felt nice to be around people who laugh at the same things I do.

  16. Wow, I would love to make one of these at some point, but they’re a bit too far for me so far. Any chance for one in Phoenix anytime? =D
    At least I get to see you again for Phx Comicon! Been registered for that for months and now it’s almost here! Now I can get all nerd nervous and say more dumb things to you. Haha! (I apologize ahead of time, because I know there’s no real stopping it, sorry!)
    Oh, and it’s extremely awesome that your parents got to see you… there’s no way they couldn’t be proud of all the amazing things you do.

  17. include rocky horror;
    Ref that and music, I just spent this weekend listening to Meatloaf after many ages. Awesome voice. Insert ‘Bat out of Hell’ and turn it up loud O.K. The anthem for young men (who are old now!) ;-) I’ll never get to see a live show like that w00tstock out here, but there’s always the imagination. I was internally happy to hear your Dad was there; curious that we still seek their approval, always.

  18. Your reaction certainly made it seem epic, indeed. I even snapped a couple of pics and ended up with a fairly clear one of you with that “OMG!” look on your face as you were semi-covering your mouth, and pointing (iirc) at the shirt.
    Unfortunately I have to try and recall, because, due to karma or just plain bad luck (explained here: http://bit.ly/dtkeSt) the camera ate the pic.
    If I’m able to get the camera to regurgitate it I’ll post it.

  19. I never understood the appeal of being a “Deadhead” and following Jerry Gracia all over creation. Now I think I do. I could be a “W00TH3@d” and follow W00TSTOCK all over. But I’d have to be independently wealthy ’cause I’d have to do it in an bad-assed RV…Yeah…that would be totally cool…
    Loved the Seattle show and wish I could have been at the Portland show too!

  20. Wow, re-reading “Just A Geek” I realized that you referred to William Shatner as WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER after he was a jerk to you.
    Yeah…when I refer to you as WIL FUCKING WHEATOn it’s not the same context. It’s out of fangirl excitement and love. I’m sure you may have figured that out, but I just wanted to clarify. You weren’t a dick to me, you were awesomesauce.

  21. Due to my easily distracted brain, I arrived at w00tstock in Seattle quite late. Since I had not a clue whom the other performers were, I asked if I would still be able to see Wil Wheaton perform. The guy in the booth said that you were “sorta like the MC”. That was good enough for me. I plunked down the cost of the ticket, and the guy says, “oh, here’s a nice seat that just opened up.” We thank each other, and as I turn to enter the theater he adds, “Nice shirt, by the way.” I had owned the shirt I was wearing for little more than 24 hours, and it had been complimented at least a half dozen times. Bright yellow with fire engine red polka dots, the short sleeve dress shirt was so stunning it was overshadowing my lime green suit coat. I handed the guy at the door my ticket-stifling an urge to say something about going to watch the geek-and he says I need to let the other guy direct me to my seat. Fine by me-I don’t see well in the dark. As I followed the usher in, I could see you were on stage, and by the time I got to my seat I recognized the story you were reading as one of my favorites. I was immediately so focused on your performance that I didn’t realize till the intermission how close I was to the stage. I was getting ready to be bummed out that I had arrived so late, but the 2nd half of your reading was worth the admission price. Your readings have become more polished without losing any of their sincerity.
    The rest of the show was great as well-I wonder what you thought of the folk singer who did the song about Wesley.
    Thanks Wil-next time I’ll be on time

  22. I know.
    And frankly, I would want to see this getting uber big either, it’s just that I guess I see this as a beginning, and while it doesn’t have to get huge, it could stand to get some bigger, but more to the point, it could stand to get even more technofriendly than it already is.
    Wil shouldn’t have to “bootleg” the audio off his own gig’s soundboard (he made a reference to this at some point).
    I have a feeling that Wil is resisting this aspect a bit though. I think he’s happy with it being a “you had to be there” moment – like how plays/musicals are.
    That if it were being live-streamed in 1080 HD across the internets, and they had the DVD with extras all packaged and ready to roll/download within a week, the show would lose some of the magic that makes it as enjoyable as it is.

  23. Haha. No worries. WFS and I are cool, now, so when I say WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER, it's in what I think is in a manner similar to yours.\

  24. Ah yes, you are so cool, you’re beyond cool.
    side note: I really need to proofread my comments before hitting “post.” So much typing fail.
    I love how you abbreviate it to WFS. I think if I started saying WFW, my boyfriend might just slap me. :P

  25. To Wil, or anyone who’s been to a W00tstock. We’re going to the June show in Chicago and I’ve never been to one. Any tips? How early do we need to show up? Anything we should/n’t bring? Really looking forward to an awesome show!

  26. I've posted a few w00tstock FAQs on my blog that will probably be helpful. I'm not sure what time to arrive, though. I'd contact the theater about that.

  27. Wil, thank you so much for my technological Mother’s Day gift! I can tell you are a good son, your comments about how much joy it gave you to have your parents in the audience in Portland, how excited they were to be there with you (my son and his girlfriend sat right next to your family and could tell how jazzed they were to be there to see you!) My son knew that I would really appreciate a Mother’s Day greeting from you. He’s a good son too. Geeks tend to be pretty good at those things! Thanks again for giving him a “voice.”

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