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$> mv /usr/portland/wil /usr/losangeles
airlinex$> 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.