Friday at the 2010 Phoenix Comicon – the awesome hour and rock band

Since I didn't write about it while I was there, I'm recapping some highlights of the 2010 Phoenix Comicon in the next couple posts, starting with Friday.


I have felt creatively stagnant for months, and unable to write much of anything. I suspect it's because the creative part of my brain has been busy with various acting gigs, so it's not something to complain about, but the end result is that I just don't have any new narrative stories that I feel are worthy of performance.

I didn't want to read something I've done a bunch of times before (I joked that I felt like I was just playing Freebird over and over again) so I looked at some columns I'd written for LA Daily last year, and ended up telling two stories about classic gaming on the Atari 2600. I was nervous about it, because I'd never performed them in public, but I figured that it was worth taking a risk to give the audience something they'd never heard before.

I thought the reading portion of the Awesome Hour went very well. I had a good time telling the stories, and as far as I could tell, the audience enjoyed it as well. I was particularly happy that I only used up half of the hour when I was done, so I had time for more than just one or two questions during the Q&A, which ended up lasting almost an hour, because the audience demanded it. Awesome.

The entire presentation was streamed live, and is available as a podcast from Versus The World Productions.

Friday night, we did our second annual Rockband party, which was a HUGE SUCCESS. Like I said last year, it didn't make a difference if we looked cool or not, because just having fun was all that mattered to us. 

I want everyone to take a moment and applaud the fearless people who got up on stage and played with me. This era of ubiquitous internet videos and the inevitable internet dickwads they attract makes me think twice about doing anything that could look silly, and I'm a professional performer. All of the people who played with me were very brave, and as far as I can tell, we all had a great time.

Here are three highlights:

That was as fun as it looked, and I think it was my best performance of the night. I especially love that the guitarist threw caution to the wind, embraced the cheese, and elevated Livin' On A Prayer from "didn't suck" to "was awesome."

As I pointed out to the audience, this was the first time I had ever heard Poker Face in its entirety, so I didn't really have the freedom to … perform … this the way I did Livin' On A Prayer, so I was really grateful that John and Felicia grabbed the Cheat's glowsticks and threw a lightswitch rave on stage to back me up. 

I'm a little disturbed by how much fun it was to sing this song, once I figured out the pattern.


I thought I liked Journey a quite lot … until I found out how much John likes Journey, and realized that my scale was in desperate need of recalibration. Note that we did this song at 2am, after we'd been playing Rock Band for 4 hours, after we'd been at a con for 10 hours.

Up next: Saturday.

69 thoughts on “Friday at the 2010 Phoenix Comicon – the awesome hour and rock band”

  1. my boyfriend got mad at me for meeting you friday he said how dare you be mettin will wheaton when youve only seen one season of star trek he got even more mad when i told him the only thing i could blurt out was that you were funny on TBBT and i said shut up or ill crush you then he just glared but its the only time i ever won :)

  2. Had the privilege to listen live to the streaming, so it was as if I was actually there…in a way…sorta. BUT my son and I rocked a Rock Band challenge in your honor with a little Pinball Wizard and Any Way You Want. He played expert while i tooled on easy.

  3. Had such and awesome time even though we were performing “Girl U Want” and neither John nor I really knew anything but the refrain. Getting him to run down the stage and have fun and be crazy with both of you was great. Perhaps next time, I’ll get to choose a song I kinda know and get even more performance out of it. If you can do Gaga, I can try Devo…

  4. So did all the screaming fangirls make you feel like a real rock star?
    You attempting to sing to Lady Gaga was fucking epic. You rocking Bon Jovi was…epicer…?
    If I am ever lucky enough to play rockband with you, my life will be complete. <3

  5. Since D*C is out because the scheduling makes me sad panda, do you ever come to the Southeast at all? There is an entire contingent of Atlanta geeks that is sorely missing out.

  6. Yes! It would, in fact, and I have gone on Demand and Demanded just that. Hopefully all of my geek brothers & sisters will follow suit & get you guys down here in the near future. I guarantee it would be an awesome crowd!

  7. LauraL, sorry for making you sing Girl U Want, but after putting the Rock Band event together last year, not having actually ever played the game before, and regretting that I didn’t get up on stage for the first one, I figured if I was going to get on stage and play ths year, I should do it with my Devo flower pot hat on. Just be glad I didn’t decide to do Unontrollable Urge instead. Next time, you get to pick the song.
    The whole night was a lot of fun. Having the development system provided by Harmonix (thanks Aaron T!) made it a lot of fun because we could play pretty much any Rock Band song available. It was definitely a cool moment when John and Felicia starting dancing to Lady Gaga behind the stage and then jumped up onto the stage to join in with Wil and the other players.
    Our backstage crew of Sam, Dave, Wendy, Scott, and me did our best to make it a fun experience for everyone who was there. Thanks to all the people who posted their videos on youtube. I do have the whole thing on tape from a side view, but having the audience videos of a lot of the songs is much better to watch.
    As the person who pretty much did all the scheduling for Wil, I really want to express how much we appreciated him doing all the different things he did at the con (and the same goes for John Scalzi). I was really glad to see this edition of Super Happy Fun Time with John and Wil be a special event, which is what I had in mind when I decided to invite John to be our main author guest.
    Lee Whiteside
    Scifi Director, Phoenix ComiCon

  8. What are the chances of a Rock Band Party at PAX this year? Because that would be awesome. All kinds of awesome.

  9. Love the videos. I still haven’t had the chance to play Rock Band in public, but just love the game soooo much.
    It not only gives folks of all ages a chance to cut loose, not many games can have a 45 year old woman as a top player! LOL
    It also brings my family together. My 17 year old son recently wanted me to play through the endless setlist with him so I could help him get his hard guitar medal. How cool is that?
    Also, I had never heard the Gaga songs before the DLC either, but fell in love with singing ‘Bad Romance’.
    Keep on Rockin’, Wil! :)

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