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. Glad to hear that you had such fun. One of these days I will make it to a W00tstock event, because it will be one of those “bucket list” events that must be experienced once before you “kick the bucket”. Screw the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup, W00tstock is the event to be at :)
    Ashes to ashes,
    DJ Pheonyx
    The Cape Radio

  2. PDX can haz moar w00tstock quarterly, please?
    Again, awesome show. Thanks so very much for coming and for going for the full 4.5 hours. I’m sure the peeps at the Aladdin will get over it eventually. ^_^

  3. Hey Wil!
    Despite being a poor college student and arguing with myself whether or not i should have gone to w00tstock i’m so glad that i did. It was an amazing experience of nerd pride i wish i could live it all over again. While I am working on a bigger email to write to you, i just wanted to drop this quite note.
    Aeofel forever.

  4. Seriously the PDX show was awesome. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone involved. If you guys do this again, I may have to make this my new reason to road trip.
    And I totally agree about the train ride! I just took the train from PDX to VanBC the weekend before and love it.

  5. I was in the audience in SEA. Also noted the painted sign on the back of the Moore and took a photo. :) My group traveled from MSN (me); ATL (my bff & her boyfriend); and DFW (my bff’s sister). We were in the second row balcony. Great seats for an even greater show. The whole thing rocked – from the first moment that Ceiling Cat took the stage until the last moment when you all took the final bow. Thank you for doing what you do and for making us nerds feel like the coolest people on earth. xoxo

  6. The best 4.5 three-hours that could be! We didn’t mind at all. Sixth row aisle seat, great view, and everyone was so into it!
    Thanks again for signing my “Aeofel Lives” t-shirt. Should have asked for an oath on there too but the people in line behind me may not have appreciated it 😉
    Get excited and make things!

  7. Wootstock Portland was SO AWESOME, and I think I speak for everyone (that I talked to) when I say that we would happily have sat there for another several hours. I have never been prouder to be a nerd, or felt more enveloped by warm cuddly nerd love and acceptance. It was MAGICAL. Also, thank you for giving such a great shout-out to “Rocky Horror,” which, in a desolate pre-wootstock world, was one of the few other places where I ever felt that same feeling of being in a room packed full of people just like me.
    Portland loves you! Come back ANYTIME.

  8. Seattle was a solid four hours of sheer awesomeness. I think I scared the people behind me by having a baby with me, but she fell asleep at 7, and stayed asleep until we were at the bus stop after autographs. Not a peep out of her, which rocked.
    Ok, I admit I’ve been to the theatre twice now, and until you posted a picture of us all with our lighter apps going (I let my daughter hold my phone. There was much confusion from her) I had no idea there was a second balcony. LOL I may have to get us seats up there for something in the future.
    How cool that your parents and Anne were there in Portland! That is awesome.
    I haven’t taken the train down yet (nor up to Vancouver), but I’d like to. I just have no reason to go to Portland. Wish I did. It’s a pretty city to drive through.

  9. My guess is that your dad has been proud of you for a very long time. Thanks for bringing w00tstock to Portland. It was an amazing night for my wife Cathy and I. Our only regret was that we had to leave before we could get some goods and meet you and the others. Can’t wait for the next w00tstock. We’ve already decided that we need to go to PAX in September.

  10. I brought my pro camera to the PDX show to take some photos, but honestly, I didn’t take anywhere near as many as I’d expected… I was just way too busy enjoying the show, and laughing until my sides hurt.
    Thank you for an amazing show, Wil. (and everyone involved!)

  11. I don't think Ceiling Cat was even planned. It just made us laugh so much during sound check that we ended up leaving it out for the whole show.
    I love those happy accidents.

  12. I can only find decent video for about half the show. And what I saw makes me angry that I can’t find the rest of it. Seriously, great job.

  13. I can’t speak for the rest of the PDX audience, but I can tell you that I would have stayed in my seat for another hour, the show was so awesome. And on behalf of myself, my fiancé, and our friend, thank you for staying and signing our stuff. My fiancé’s hard drive is now the single most awesome thing in the house, but my phone is a darn close second. You all looked exhausted, but still smiled, laughed, and were all *so* nice to all of us. And we are very grateful for it.
    Please come back and do another one as soon as you can!

  14. I was at the Portland show, it was AMAZING! You totally rocked my socks off… And even though I had to take off before I could deliver them myself (sadface) I got my friend (hot girl with the awesome hair and P&S VIP pass) to pass you a bunch of my buttons…
    Best show I’ve seen in… possibly ever… :)

  15. Wow a what a quick reply! While I should be studying for my final that’s at 4…
    I’m sl glad that you loved the shirts!!!! I’d be willing to make your very own that says “Aeofel Forever” on the front and the wings in the back if you’re willing to wear a shirt that has shiny silver wings. Also, expect my nerdy email to come this weekend after my college finals are done.
    Thanks again!!!!

  16. “I was relieved to hear from lots of people in the audience that they didn’t mind.”
    didn’t mind“?!?!? We would have paid extra to make it run to 5.5 hours!
    “We won’t let that happen again”
    You better! Three hours seems *WAAAAAAY* too short. I can’t imagine any part of that show being shorter!
    I just wish we hadn’t had to leave immediately after to relieve the babysitter. I didn’t even get to buy any of the merchandise. Now I’m going to have to find all the participants and buy their stuff online separately. And not get them signed. :-(
    P.S., my non-geek wife was laughing hysterically the entire show, minus one or two of the ultra-obscure references. (She didn’t get “Farpoint”, although I think our five year old daughter would have, had she been there.) She said that this show was an excellent explanation of my personality. (Hrm, I took it as a compliment, but now that I write it, I’m not entirely sure if it was meant that way.)

  17. I was at the Seattle show with my husband, teenage boy child of mine, and a friend of ours. I haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time, your first Rocky experience had me in tears.
    And thank you for making the teenager see the light, he’s given me a hard time for years about my love of Star Trek. After meeting you he’s changed his mind. Loved the dead MeeMaw answer too, dorky kid of mine! 😉

  18. Wil – it was such a blast having you and the gang in PDX. I hope you’ll all come back soon. We were privileged to share that 4.5 hours with you. I’d do it all over again.

  19. I asked to go to W00stock PDX for Mother’s Day! We drove up from Humboldt County, CA to visit friends & go to W00stock, it was awesome. I am geek-adjacent, and we took our 12.5 year old proto-nerd too. I would have loved to stay & get something signed, but we were paying our babysitter a ton & we were super tired. You all rocked it. Thanks for a great show & now we want to move to Portland!

  20. While I was not watching all of the shows even though I was there both days. I was and still am extremely honored and happy to have been such a part of this most awesome event. It saddens me that I do not have the funds to fly/room for the last 2 w00tstocks. I am so privileged to have been able to be a part of that. I hope to continue to be a part of this wonderful event in the future.
    I thank Paul and Storm as well as you Wil for giving me that opportunity.
    I look forward to helping out again at PAX Prime. ^_^

  21. Great pics! We tried to record audio on our new Droid Incredibles after listening to the LA show and learning that it was recorded on an iPhone…either the phone or the software wasn’t up to the job, so it didn’t turn out. Glad people took videos and pictures!

  22. Wil, thank you so much for a great show in Seattle. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but you and the rest blew us all away! Many great moments and memorable scenes! Yes, my friend and I are still driving our wives nuts with pirate talk and yelling “FOUR LIGHTS!”… all the better as we aren’t letting them in on the joke… that’s just between the w00t’ers!

  23. The PDX show was incredible, Wil! Even my nerd-adjacent wife had an awesome time. In fact, I heard her laughing harder than me throughout some of it. All of the guests you got worked so hard to make it a memorable and fun evening and each of them added something uniquely their own.
    I was particularly impressed with Adam. I’ve been a casual fan of Mythbusters but had no idea how great of an entertainer he really is! I’m definitely putting that show on my tivo schedule!
    And frankly, I could have lasted another hour at least. Loved the fact that it went so long. There was no way I was ready for it too be over at the 3 hour mark.
    Finally, thank you for taking the extra effort to hang around after the show and allow us fans a chance to say thank you. That was a very special moment for me and one that I will probably never forget. The art you create (be it written, spoken or performed) means so much to a lot of us out there. It’s nice to be able to let you know that in person once in a while.
    Oh, and tell Ryan that if he leans the spinner down it won’t be weighted so heavily towards the top. I tried it out with my version at home and it worked way better.

  24. I’m going to join the chorus of people going: Thaaaank yoouuu for a great show. Your parents SHOULD be proud.
    It was an absolutely incredible experience documenting the Seattle show from behind the scenes, and my only regret was that I was unable to follow you all to Portland.
    I can’t wait to hear what the future of w00tstock might be…

  25. Best Mothers Day gift ever!!! Thanks so much for coming. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make Portland a yearly stop. I laughed so much I almost lost my voice! You guys were great staying after and signing when the show had already gone way over and I am sure you were exhausted! I hope Paul was not truly upset that we would not stop interupting the Pirate song! We were all having just waaaayyy to good a time!
    Thanks again!
    Matt Fraction was a fantastic guest by the way.

  26. The 4.5 hours was certainly not a problem. (Despite the fact that the seats at the Aladdin were designed for the tiny, tiny people that lived in the area in the 1920’s).
    No, the only problem was that I had to get home and couldn’t stand in line to get a T-shirt afterwards. Any chance they’ll be available online?
    I’ll even sign a sworn affidavit stating I really was at the show and am not just a lurker/poser trying to be cool.

  27. Oh… And the comic book guy (I’m blanking on his name) did a great presentation. You Seattleites missed out.
    P.S.: See what I did there?

  28. Two questions:
    1) Please please please will there be an official w00tstock DVD?
    2) When does the next D&D podcast come out? I remember hearing about you guys recording one, and I think we’re all dying to know what happens to Aeofel, or if you created a new character for us.

  29. 1.) I'm not sure if/when there will be an official w00tstock DVD. We're certainly open to it, but producing it right now would be a distraction from what the show is about, I think.
    2.) We have not gotten together for a podcast since Aeofel … fell. I know that we'd all like to do more, and my understanding is that if people want to hear more, they should probably let WotC know that, as convincing may be required.

  30. I can truly and honestly say that if you ever do this again in Portland, I will definitely be there. Like I said in a comment to your last entry, I haven’t laughed that hard in I don’t know how long. I blogged about it (DISCLAIMER, also reiterated many times in said blog entry: I wrote NOTHING down and it’s all out of order and I skipped A LOT of stuff) in my LJ as well,
    I am slightly miffed, however, that I took like 60+ pics before my camera’s batteries died, and of those 60+ pics, around FIVE came out not blurry. >:/

  31. The PDX show went really, really long and ended up being closer to 4.5 hours.
    Seriously, that was a feature, not a bug for us. Though I normally find it difficult to sit in my wheelchair for that long, I didn’t mind it one bit on Sat.
    We won’t let that happen again
    Is there any way that we can demand that it happen again? It was awesome! There was a reason we made you guys stretch out the YAAAR!!! song for half-an-hour…we didn’t want the show to end!
    Also, thanks for sticking around to the bitter end to sign autographs. I know that it must of been exhausting to sign for an hour after doing a 4.5 hour show, but those of us at the end of the line really appreciated it.

  32. Wil,
    I was at the Portland show. I gave a small shout-out from the balcony of the Aladdin (along with someone from the front, whose shout-out PWND mine) when you mentioned La Crescenta. I have family there, and I immediately texted them “OMG, Wil Wheaton is FROM THE LOC.” Excitement ensued.
    Thanks to you (and EVERYONE) for an amazing show. Your reading, especially, was truly a joy to listen to; what a gem.

  33. Attended Wootstock in Seattle. I flew up from Dallas for this and it was well worth the trip. My brother lives in Seattle so it was a great excuse to visit him as well. I brought him and although he’s not the Geek we all are he had a blast as well.
    Thanks for putting on a great show. And for the record, Seattle went 4+ hours as well. And I, too, would have paid extra for it.
    If you come to Dallas to perform I know I can get a large group to come out. (Please oh please oh please….)

  34. i was at the PDX show and it was the greatest day of my life!
    thank you and everyone else for an amazing experience! we hope that in future w00tstocks you join us in Portland again!
    ~again, thank you [all] so much!

  35. Wil, the PDX w00tstock was the most AMAZING SHOW I HAVE EVER BEEN TO. My best friend broke the underwire of her bra laughing. I am SO not kidding.
    I wish I could have stayed for my traditional bookstalk, but I had just enough energy to kick myself back up the hill on my bike. Laughing for five hours straight turns out to be exhausting, and apparently fatal to brassieres. You signed it for my brother-in-law, who was “in it to win it,” as he said, and I just got it in the mail today. Thanks for signing it. :)
    If you do not come back with w00tstock, we will be very, very sad pandas indeed.

  36. The PDX show was the best night I have ever had in a theatre. My husband and I both walked/floated out of there with enormous grins on our faces and declared it the best. night. ever! I know how lucky I am to live in this wonderful place. w00tstock made it 10 times better. Please always come back to us!

  37. Think I need to let you know that when I saw a rumor that a film production of Neuromancer was in the pipeline, I voiced my wish that you be cast as Case. Unless, of course, you think you’d have more fun playing Riviera or Lonny Zone or… :)

  38. I was sitting right behind your family, so sorry if I temporarily deafened them with my insane fangirl screeching when you came on out on stage.
    Thank you so much for coming to Portland. Of course, now that I have seen you live, met you, and talked to you (after this term is over, I will watch Doctor Who) my absolute adoration of you has grown. Once I got home I ordered Dancing Barefoot, Sunken Treasure, and The Happiest Days of Our Lives. I plan to read them many times (I’ve read Just A Geek like 3 times and listened to the audio version twice).
    It was an amazing experience. I went to w00tstock specifically because I wanted to see you and was enthralled with all of the performances. Paul and Storm were ridiculously funny, Molly Lewis was ADORABLE and amazing, and the rest of the performers were amazing as well. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time. I was in tears through most of the show I was laughing so hard.
    Adam Savage gives a good handshake. Really nice. He has soft hands.
    So thank you for an amazing show. I hope you enjoyed Portland, and I hope you come again soon because I would LOVE to see you again and have you sign something “To Stephani…” and maybe get a picture of you WITH me (My BF got a pic of just you, he was the one who asked if he could take a flash photograph).
    /fangirl rambling <3
    I wanna have your babies!
    but not literally. 😛
    ETA: AND OMG WHY DID I NOT GO TO GROUND KONTROL!? Because I had to work at 11 am and I had to get my ass to bed. But OMG WHY didn’t I go tot Ground Kontrol!?

  39. Wil,
    Don’t know why you chose the “w00tstock” name exactly, as in if you thought it might be a Woodstockish cornerstone event in geek/nerd history, or what, but I think it’s coming together more like a Lilith Fair or Ozzfest – an annual celebration of the world the acts represent.
    I can see already a legacy aspect to this. This is something I’d like to take my son and daughter to some day. I think you’ve rolled a nat20 in this regard.
    I can also see this bigger and more geekattuned, that is, having the event more connected with technology, e.g., a simulcast pod/vidcast, an interviewer to tweet interviews backstage pre and post act, lots of ways to buy the merchandise during the show wherever/however you’re watching it.
    It is, indeed, as awesome as you think it is – probably moreso.

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