W00TSTOCK! For some reason, in my head, I always hear the word “w00tstock” in Sheldon’s voice when he yells “WHEATON!”
Maybe it’s because I discovered w00tstock by following Wil Wheaton on the Twitters. It was 3 years ago, Wil tweeted that he, Paul and Storm and Adam Savage from Mythbusters were going to try putting on a new kind of concert experience. Well hey, I like Wil Wheaton, I like comedy music duos, and I watch Mythbusters! I think I should check out this show! I dragged my AEH to the Swedish American Music Hall without really knowing just what we were getting ourselves into.
What we experienced was so funny my face was literally sore from laughing by the end of the night. Paul and Storm opened the show singing “We are the Opening Band”; Kaspar Hauser recreated amusing email interactions with Nigerian princes; Wil read an excerpt from his book Just a Geek and the way he performed it had us rolling in the aisles (using his hand to signify his Luke Skywalker bangs blowing in the wind=awesome); Molly Lewis sang sweet, funny songs in her brittle, lilting voice accompanied by her ukelele; and Kid Beyond blew our f*cking minds with his beatbox cover of Portishead’s “Wandering Star”. I have never been so pleasantly surprised after showing up for a performance I knew nothing about. I was a fan from the word “go”.
In my previous post about Comic-Con I confessed that I am not a nerd. I’m not. I spent so much of my high school years fighting to fit in, before I finally gave up and realized that I just don’t. Then I land a job as a radio DJ and the next thing you know, I’m cool. I’ve been pretty cool ever since. (I’m joking. I point that out because text doesn’t carry tone of voice. If you could hear my tone, you’d recognize the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm right off the bat.) Now, it’s really cool to be a nerd. Or to love nerds. Or to be a geeky, sexy, gamer girl. Well, I do love nerds (I married one), but do you know how embarrassing it is that I have to get him to explain half the nerd jokes I come across? While I do share some common interests with the average nerd, I don’t think I’ll ever be as cool as today’s nerd (or as sexy as Team Unicorn). At least at w00tstock I don’t feel so out of place. I get the jokes (okay, my AEH had to explain one or two). I love the Star Wars humor. I love the Pi song. I love the Venn diagrams. When I heard they were coming back to San Francisco for v2.5, I didn’t walk, I ran, to get tickets.
w00tstock v2.5 was held at the Great American Music Hall. Wow, they were moving up in the world! Paul and Storm, Wil, and Adam were all there, and this time they were joined by Bonnie Burton who treated us to an awesome Star Wars-themed crafting show-and-tell. While showing off her mad crafting skillz, Bonnie treated us to the oh-so-memorable quote, “glitter is the herpes of the craft world.” I was introduced to Mike Phirman for the first time and fell immediately in love. We bought his CD that night and it was playing in our car for weeks after the show. Jamais Cascio treated us to his vision of the future, which was surprisingly hopeful and inspiring. Molly Lewis and her ukelele were there, as were Grant Imahara and his Beer Bot. The show “ended” with Paul and Storm singing the Pirate Song and coming up with numerous “___ is my ___ cover band” jokes. It went on forever and yet it still ended too soon. The laughter, the energy, it was so infectious! (Like nerdflu, only better.)
At v2.5, all the on-stage crew could talk about was v2.4 held at Comic-Con a couple months earlier, about how great it was to bring their geek vaudeville to the homeland of geek culture. For a girl who couldn’t get tickets, this was utter torture. I’d followed their exploits on the Twitters. I’d heard the stories. I wanted to be there for M0llystock! This year, it all came together. Comic-Con! w00tstock 3.0! I was going to be a part of it! It was held at the Balboa Theatre (the venues keep getting bigger!), just a short walk up from the San Diego Convention Center. Our friend Kage lives in SD and he’d never been to w00tstock before. He’s a scientist and a giant fan of Batman; I knew this would be right up his alley so we dragged him out to the show.
I don’t even know how to begin describing the awesomeness that was v3.0. Paul and Storm opened the show! Wil recounted his story of WILLIAM F*CKING SHATNER! Molly Lewis was allowed on stage without security! Mike Phirman came out in white pants, a matching white vest, and a shiny blue shirt and sang “Clear the Floor”, one of my absolute fave songs (along with “One for Them & One for Me” and, of course, “Chicken Monkey Duck”) while doing a little dance worthy of Justin Timberlake! Ernie Cline and Patrick Rothfuss regaled us with nerd poetry and advice columns! The Rifftrax guys narrated a video about grass (read into it what you will). There were surprise guests! Chris Hardwick! [Dude, when he and Phirman came out (they call themselves Hard ‘N Phirm) and sang “El Corazón” I could NOT stop laughing, but it was even better because my scientist friend Kage was totally into it until they got to the part about blood going to the lungs for “purification” and then he got all annoyed because it wasn’t scientifically accurate. Hilarious!] Vork! Felicia Day! Omigosh, the Amy Berg/Wil/Felicia Day skit was incredible (don’t f*ck with writers; they have all the power)! And John Roderick! When he sang “The Commander Thinks Aloud” I almost cried, it was so beautiful. While Wil, Adam, and Paul and Storm would tell you the Pirate Song went long, it actually felt a little short and rushed for me, it could have gone longer. But maybe that’s just ’cause I didn’t want the night to end.
Wherever you are, if you’re a geek or not, if you get a chance to experience w00tstock, for the love of the FSM go! You will laugh, you will cheer, you will sing along, you will talk like a pirate, you will be thoroughly entertained. Paul and Storm, Adam, and Wil have created something unique and special and I hope they keep it going! And I hope they remember that while Comic-Con may be the nerd mecca and a second home for w00tstock, this whole thing started in San Francisco. w00t!