Category Archives: w00tstock

“In a lot of ways, for me, W00tstock felt like finally finding a home base.”

When Paul and Storm and Adam Savage and I had our first conversations about what would become w00tstock, we knew that we wanted to put on an entertaining show for our fellow nerds that would be successful enough to warrant more than the three shows we originally planned.

Sunday and Monday, we're coming to Chicago and Minneapolis for our sixth and seventh shows in less than a year (Minneapolis is sold out, but there are about 100 tickets left for our Chicago show), and that just blows my mind. I mean, I thought we'd do maybe two or three cities in a whole year, and by Monday, we'll have done six in six months. 

Storm wrote a nifty thing at the w00tstock website to let people know what w00stock is, and why we think you'll dig it, but you don't have to take our word for it! Here's a blog entry from a wootstock attendee in Portland who wasn't sure she was going to enjoy the show:

I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to relate to a lot of things.

And then we got there.

For what is possibly the first time in my entire life, I was surrounded by people who GET IT.  They understand blogging.  They got my cultural references.  They tweet.  We joked about being “I play a bunch of 3 letter words on Words with Friends because I don’t care about strategy, I just want to make words” players.  We lamented people who throw sheep at each other and ask for help growing their livestock on Facebook.  We compared our various levels of geek for different things.  I could use the word “Dooce” in a sentence with someone I had never met before and it wasn’t followed by “Whuh….? Is that an internet thing?”   I told people that I write content for websites and didn’t have to explain that it is too a real job. Will talked with people who appreciated his “Gamer” shirt and compared gaming stories. I admitted to one person that I know jack crap about science and was told “but you blog! That’s so cool!”

There were fans and geeks of every stripe there and it was just fun.  Nobody was trying to “out-geek” anybody else.  Nobody was trying to explain how their form of geekiness was better than someone else’s because of x, y, z.  Instead of “really? You don’t like that?”  it was “Have you ever tried [this]? I didn’t like that either but then I [insert suggestion here] and was amazed that I liked it after all!”

For the first time since we’ve met, my husband and I had the exact same level of fun at something we chose to do together.

In a lot of ways, for me, W00tstock felt like finally finding a home base.  I was in a space with a few hundred other people who just…understand. It didn’t matter what particular brand of geekiness you subscribe to or if, like me, you don’t really subscribe to any particular subset.  We were there to have fun.  We were there to learn about cool stuff and hear awesome songs and listen to awesome stories and be introduced to new cool people to follow on Twitter and online. We were there to get our respective geek on. We were there to take part in the kind of thing we had always wanted to take part in but hadn’t because we’d had a bunch of people telling us that it wasn’t cool/serious/arty/enough.  It was amazing.

The best part about being a nerd right now, at this moment in time, is how easy it is to find other people like us, so we don't feel so goddamn alone and weird. My favorite part of being at certain conventions, like PAX, is that feeling of being surrounded by people who "get" me; it's that feeling of being home. I don't think any of us thought that we'd be able to recreate that sensation at w00tstock, but I keep hearing from people who come to the shows that that is exactly what happens. I don't want to overthink it or anything, but I'm overjoyed to learn that.

I don't know how long w00tstock will last, or if enough people will remain interested in it to do a full-on tour sometime in the near future, but no matter what that future brings, these shows we've done so far have been incredibly special to me, and I'm so grateful that I've been able to be part of making them happen.

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.

w00tstock 2.x is this weekend

let it woot at Wootstock with adam savage, paul and storm, and wil wheaton 

Okay, how awesome is that poster? Rich Stevens designed it for us. A T-shirt version will be available at all the 2.x shows, until we sell out of them.
 

So it turns out that w00tstock 2.x kicks off tomorrow with 2.0 in Seattle, and 2.1 on Saturday in Portland.

I've been so busy with so many different projects, it really snuck up on me. I can't believe I get to visit two of my favorite cities, hang out with some of my favorite people, and perform some stories I love for houses that are nearly sold out, all in the same weekend.

I'm hoping to get official bootleg recordings from the sound boards at both shows, because that's something I really wish I'd done during our 1.x shows, and the idea of bootlegging my own show delights me. If I am able to make it happen, I'll find a way to share it with everyone who couldn't make it to the shows.

I don't want to give anything away, but since I'm one of the producers of this show, I know pretty much everything that our guest performers have planned, and I am so frakking excited, I could put a toaster in an airlock. Here's the Seattle guest list:

And here's what's up in Portland:

There are a couple of FAQs that I keep seeing on the Twitters and elsewhere, so I'd like to answer those right now:

Q: Can I record/photograph/transcribe the show?

A: Yes. w00tstock is released under Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 license. We want you to record the show, use your recordings to get excited and make things, and share them with the world.

However! We ask that you don't use flash photography, and that you're respectful of the people around you. If your recording is somehow interfering with your fellow w00ster's enjoyment of the show, that's a problem. Basically, if you follow Wheaton's Law, you'll be fine.

Q: Are you guys signing autographs while you're in town?

A: After the show, most of us will be in the lobby to sign books, CDs, DVDs, boobs, posters, and other stuff. 

Q: I can't come to the show. Will you be appearing anywhere else in town while you're here?

A: Sorry, no. In an effort to make ourselves feel like real touring rockstars, we pretty much get into town, do a soundcheck, eat dinner, do the show, go to sleep, and leave the next morning to start the whole thing over again.

Q: Can I bring my kids to the show?

A: While w00tstock is technically an all-ages show, it's at least 3 hours long, andspends a lot of time in PG-13 territory. You know your kids better than I do, but I'd say that kids as young as 12 will enjoy it, provided they can sit through a show this long.

Q: Will you come to NAME OF MY CITY for another w00tstock?

A: If you can get 300 of your friends together, we'll probably come do a show for you.

Okay, I think that covers most of it. Did I mention how excited I am to do the shows this weekend? Did I mention that we have awesome special guests? Did I make a mysterious reference to some puzzling things? Yeah, I think I did, so I'm going to go pack my suitcase and my Gabe Bag now. See you soon, Seattle and Portland!

in which w00tstock 2.0 and 2.0.1 are announced

When we did w00tstock 1.x last year, we all hoped it would be successful enough to warrant taking the show on the road to some of our favorite cities.

Well, w00tstock 1.x was so much fun for us and the audiences who saw it, it didn't just warrant it, it WINGER'd it. Hell, it may even have Damn Yankees'd it or Skid Row'd it … or Whitesnake'd it.

Whatever gloriously awful 80s hair band reference amuses you the most, the point is this: w00tstock 2.x is coming to Seattle and Portland in May:

This is the dawning of the Age of Geekdom–and its voices will ring true at w00tstock.

w00tstock v2.0: Friday, May 7 – Moore Theater, Seattle, WA (tickets available soon)
Special Guests: TBA

w00tstock v2.0.1: Saturday, May 8 – The Alladin, Portland, OR (tickets available soon)
Special Guests: TBA

So if you live in Seattle or Portland areas, go get your tickets now. If you don’t, then tell all your friends who do live there to go; because if these do well enough, we hope to do more of them! Go forth, geeks, and spread the good word!

Here's everything you ever wanted to know about w00tstock. Here's my recollection of the awesome w00tstock 1.x experience (a post so filled with awesome, it required an addendum. AN ADDENDUM, PAUL!) Finally, if you need to convince your non-geek boyfriend that you guys really will have fun at the show, you can show him a whole big mess of w00tstock videos.

Please note that all spelling and version-numbering errors are copied from the original source, my good friends Paul and Storm, who I have just thrown under the geekbus. Nyahh. Nyahh. Nyahh.

the obligatory addendum to the obligatory w00tstock post

When I wrote my w00tstock post, I totally forgot to mention that we put some video interludes into the show, to make sure that we were giving the maximum A/V Club experience to the audience.

There were some very funny shorts, including Mister Bungle getting the Riff Trax treatment, the credits for Jonathan Coulton's television series, Monkey Shines, (that was cancelled after the first commercial break), and this parody commercial for Trader Joe's, which is exceptionally hilarious if you've ever shopped there:

I also neglected to mention that Kid Beyond wrote a book of puzzles he created called BOGGLE Crossdoku, and Molly Lewis has a CD of her kickass music … you know, because it's getting to be that time of year when people typically give gifts to other people. 

Also, whenever I say "…forgot to mention," I have to say "BEWARE OF HITCHHIKING GHOSTS!!1"

the obligatory w00tstock post

Everything I could possibly say about w00tstock has already been said by Paul and Storm, who made a lovely list, and Molly, who made a comic that captures exactly how I felt the whole time we did our shows.

I loved feeling the terror and exhilaration of trying something totally new (The Trade, with music) that was raw and unrehearsed enough to allow for surprises every night.

I loved how totally geeked out we all were to be working with each other, too. I mean, I knew it would be cool to meet Adam Savage – the guy's a freakin' genius, after all – but I was unprepared for how completely and utterly cool, kind, and enthusiastic he was. And his 100 wishes are wonderful, especially that he, like I, wishes for his children to have careers that they love.

I loved feeling like we were creating something unique and special, that people would be talking about long after it was finished.

I loved how much fun we had every night, even though I was exhausted down to my bones by the time we finished our last show Wednesday night (actually, Thursday morning).

I loved how wonderful the audiences were at all the shows. Geeks truly are the best crowd, because even when they heckle us (I'm looking at you, Los Angeles front row) it was done with enthusiasm and love. Yes, even the hecklers were, in their own way, supportive.

I loved that we released the entire show under a Creative Commons license, so anyone who wanted to could record and share the show online. There are tons of videos at YouTube and pictures at Flickr, as a result. 

I love that I can blockquote myself right now:

someone recorded all of w00tstock 1.1 from Los Angeles, and uploaded it. It's an audience recording, so you can pretend you are actually sitting at Largo next to the guy who recorded it! If it's the guy I think it was, he had a magnificent pimp hat on. If it's not … well, now you know that there was a guy at w00tstock in LA with a magnificent pimp hat, and you have yet another reason to wish you were there, sukka.

>I love that that recording was done on a freakin' iPhone, and it sounds fantastic.

I saw a post this morning that pretty faithfully recreates the show in Los Angeles from YouTube videos, so rather than try to duplicate that for all three shows, I thought I'd share a couple of my personal highlights, in video form:

First up, a wonderful compilation … almost a montage … from the LA show:

Here I am, recreating the moment when Luke Skywalker saw the smoking hulks of his aunt and uncle. This probably isn't as funny out of context, but if you were at the show, you'll know why I was so amused by this. By the way, the flapping hair in the wind was all Molly's idea, and it killed at all three shows.

Kid Beyond absolutely blew my mind when he performed Wandering Star by Portishead … using only his voice to create loops. If you think this is incredible on video (and it is) you should see him perform live, especially if he brings his video mashups.

Finally, everything Molly did was simply brilliant, and her cover of Toxic is sensational, but I just adore her song about breaking up with Wikipedia:

There's more, of course. Paul and Storm got a lovely pair of, um, undergarments thrown at them in Los Angeles. The acoustic Date My Avatar was great. Jeff Lewis did comedy as Vork, and completely killed. Kasper Hauser made me laugh so hard at the 1.0 show I bruised my medulla oblongata. I've known Chris and Mike forever, but I'd never actually seen them perform as Hard 'n Phirm in person until the Los Angeles show, and I wish I hadn't waited so long to enjoy the majestic wonder of El Corazon live. Josh Cagan seemed a little bemused that we'd added him to the show, but after seeing what he did to just 30 seconds of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four craptacular, I hope he'll come with us for 2.0. And, oh yes, three different versions of The Captain's Wife's Lament, each longer and more ARRRRRRRRRtful than the last. Those two videos (I can't find a video from 1.0 at the moment), do a great job of capturing how much fun we all had together.

When Paul and I talked about w00tstock a million years (or a couple months) ago, we hoped that it would be successful enough to justify the time we would need to put into creating it, we hoped we'd have fun working together, and we really hoped we'd draw enough people to make it worth doing future w00tstocks.

I don't think we ever seriously worried about having fun together, but I was very worried about actually drawing an audience. When we sold out two shows in San Franciso, and only had 20 or so seats left vacant in Los Angeles – where it is notoriously difficult to get people to come out to see shows – we knew that in the future, there will be w00tstock v2.x.

I want to thank everyone who was in the show, and especially everyone who came to watch us, for making the three days of w00tstock so memorable and wonderful. I can't wait to do it again.

everything you ever wanted to know about w00tstock (but were afraid to ask)

I'm not going to lie to you, Marge: I'm pretty damn excited for w00tstock next week. It's one of those things where it simultaneously feels like years and seconds ago that Paul (of Paul and Storm) called me and said something like, "do you want to do a show together?"

"Yes. Yes I do."

"Wouldn't it be awesome if we got Adam Savage to be in the show with us?"

"Yes. Yes it would."

"Well guess what?"

"What?"

"He is."

"Nailed it."

And just like that, w00tstock was born.

The idea was to put on an evening of unique geek-friendly performances from some of your favorite geek-friendly performers, wrap it all up in a nice musical and joke-filled package, and then vanish into the night like leaves on an autumn wind. Because that wasn't cool enough, we went through our oh-so-impressive address books, and invited some truly phenomenal friends to join us as special guests, unique to each performance. I don't want to give everything (and by everything, I mean anything) away, but I've seen the setlist, and HOLY CARP.

Hey, want to see the poster for w00tstock v1.0-v1.1? 

The first w00tstock poster

I know, right? Wouldn't it be great to get those robots on a T-shirt, or get a poster for your very own? Don't worry your pretty little head about it, baby, we're way ahead of you.

Now, onto the part of the post where I go crazy with the bolding, including information about our announced special guests:

w00tstock 1.0 – Monday, October 19. Swedish American Hall in San Francisco. (SOLD OUT!)

Special Guests: sketch comedy group Kasper Hauser; singer/songwriter Molly Lewis; singer/beatboxer/game inventor/all-around creative person Kid Beyond.

wootstock v1.0.1 – Tuesday, October 20. Swedish American Hall in San Francisco. (NOT SOLD OUT!)

Special Guests: singer/songwriter Molly Lewissinger/beatboxer/game inventor/all-around creative person Kid Beyond.

wootstock 1.1 – Wednesday, October 21. Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles. (ALSO NOT SOLD OUT!)

Special Guests: screenwriter Josh A. Cagan (Bandslam); singer/songwriter Molly Lewisactor Jeff Lewis (”Vork” form webseries “The Guild“); several extra-special guests that we are not allowed to name, but we swear are awesome!

Night one in SF is sold out, but there are still seats available for night two. Also, there are seats still open for our show in Los Angeles, which is going to blow your frakking mind. Though I don't want to give anything away, fans of The Guild will not want to miss it. Oh, how I wish I could tell you who else will be dropping in for the Los Angeles show, but we are expressly forbidden from saying or even hinting at who they are for various reasons. However, if you close your eyes and ask yourselves, "Hey, who does Wil know who lives in Los Angeles and would fit right into a geek-friendly show?" you may be able to get some ideas.

I've been asked by fives of people if I'll have books for sale at these shows. Sadly, I wasn't able to get them in time, but if you have your own, and you bring it, I'll be happy to scrawl my name across it.

If you have any further questions that you were afraid to ask, head to the comments and do your thing. I'll answer them as they come up.

Oh, last thing: If you want w00tstock to come to your town (or at least a town that's closer to you than SF or LA) tell your friends who are in LA or SF to come see us, because if these shows do well, it will pretty much guarantee that we take this on the road next year.

coming soon: w00tstock – 3 hours of geeks and music

W00tstock

From Paul and Storm's website:

For decades, geeks were ostracized, picked on, laughed at and punished by the sun’s harmful UV rays. But there is only so long that a people can be kept down before they rise up against their oppressors; and, indeed, the dawn of the 21st century has seen the ascendancy of geeks and geek culture.

We now celebrate that rise to power–and let’s face it, nerds pretty much run everything now–with w00tstock, a special event for geeks of every stripe. Television host/special-effects artist Adam Savage (”MythBusters”), actor/author/blogger Wil Wheaton (”Star Trek: The Next Generation”, “Stand By Me”) and music-comedy duo Paul and Storm (hey; that’s us!) present a night of songs, readings, comedy, demonstrations, short films, special guests, and other clever widgets born from and dedicated to the enthusiasms, obsessions, trials and joys of geek pride.

This is the dawning of the Age of Geekdom–and its voices will ring true at w00tstock.

I can't wait to do this. It is going to kick all kinds of ASCII.

(snort)