Final w00tstock Notes

When I mentioned to some folks I know that I would be participating in w00tstock in Minneapolis, I got a few strange looks followed by the question of “what is w00tstock, anyway?” I could have gone the “Morpheus in the Matrix” route and say something along the line of “no one can be… told what w00tstock is,” followed by the choice of rolling a red or blue twenty-sided die. But instead I said that it was basically a vaudeville show for geeks.

And as it turns out, that’s exactly what w00tstock really was, or at least was the night I was part of it. The show featured music, it featured comedy, it featured semi-serious lectures on physics, it featured video and it feature art being made live (the poster above, which was made during the show). It was a hybrid of a 100-year-old theatrical form and cutting edge nerd enthusiasms, and it probably shouldn’t work, but it did, if the reaction of the sold out(!) theater was any indication.

YouTube is filled with audience video from the show, so I won’t bother to recount the evening act by act (except to say — hey! Audience! Why haven’t you posted my bit yet? Huh? Huh? Huh? Update: It’s here.). I will say that if I hadn’t have been a performer, I would have been busy laughing my ass off in the audience, and I know this because we were basically laughing our asses off backstage — the four principals of the show (Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage and Paul & Storm) basically pick as their guest stars the people whose work they really enjoy, which means that backstage we were all pretty much fans of each others work. Which meant we were all crowded up behind the stage craning our necks to watch everyone else.

My bit came up early, both as a matter of scheduling and as personal preference; I was playing the part of the assistant principal of the Lucas School for Interspecies Troubled Youth doing the school morning announcements, so that seemed better closer to the beginning than not. I’m happy to say the piece seemed to go over well: Everyone laughed when they were supposed to, and I had fun doing a little bit of acting, and since the character I was playing was meant to be the nervous, edgy type, it hid my own nervousness spectacularly well. And of course it was fun debuting a new piece of writing, specially created for the event, to the crowd. Thank you, Minneapolis, for enjoying it.

By other “big” moment for the night came at the end of the show, when during the legendarily long closing song “The Sea Captain’s Wife’s Lament” Paul and Storm were eliciting pirate-y “Arrrrs” from the audience and then asked for a very specific kind of “Arrrr,” that being “authorial… and science fictional and fantasyish… and Hugo award winning…” at which point I flounced on stage, triumphantly, “… and British!” At which point I stomped off stage, dejected, and Neil Gaiman came onstage instead. Yes, indeed, I was the set-up for a Neil Gaiman joke. And it went off perfectly, which is to say the audience was mildly disappointed when I went on the stage (because they were hoping for Neil), and then lost their minds when Neil actually showed up. Now, now, I feel fine, give the audience what they want, I always say. It’s not that they didn’t like me, they’d just already seen me. Yes, yes, that’s it. Also, Neil was lovely and it was great to be able to spend a little time with him backstage.

Likewise it was great to meet all the other w00ters. Wil, of course, I am friends with, as I am with Paul and Storm and with Len Peralta, but I had a great time meeting Adam Savage, who is as amusing and enthusiastic about the world in real life as he is on Mythbusters, as well as Trace Beaulieu, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy (also deeply, deeply amusing), Tim Bedore and James Kakalios (amusing? Why yes! Of course!), and also Molly Lewis and Jason Finn (by this time you should sense the theme of general amusement). I liked and geeked out about every single person who performed, basically.

In short: What a great time. If you were there, you know what I mean, and if you weren’t there, well, at least you have YouTube. The next w00tstock will be in San Diego in July; you want to be there if you can.

24 Comments on “Final w00tstock Notes”

  1. It was an incredible show. I enjoyed your piece tremendously, as I enjoyed the whole show as well. I also geeked out in the signing line…you may have picked me out as the guy nervously babbling as I shuffled through.

    Are you planning on posting up the text of your performance at some point?

  2. I may, although I suspect it’s funnier performed than read (or at least, I’ll need to revise it to make it funny to be read).

  3. That’s you in the poster, isn’t it? Aren’t you there on the left near the Christmas tree, between Molly and Neil?

  4. I had an awesome time. That semi-serious physics lecture was actually one of my favorite bits. Same with your’s and Wil’s stories. Wil and Adam were very cool to meet in person.

    My wife, despite her tired appearance, really enjoyed the school announcements and Wil’s bits a lot (and she made it to Chicago just fine).

    Thanks for saying Hi in the signing line and posing for the pic. My wife said I might have been a wee bit happy after that. She gave me w00stock as an anniversary present. I’d call it an success.

  5. Having been to 2.3, all I can say is that anyone who can go to 2.4 in San Diego should go, even if you’re not going to Comic-Con.

    Also, the stage was set for a modern version of Dollhouse, which explains the Christmas tree. The poster for the Chicago show is a bit different.

  6. Aw, man, some of these bits weren’t in the Seattle show I attended, and I am full of the jealous, now. :(

  7. It was an awesome show, We especially(spelling?) liked your morning announcements and the physics proffessor, although me and the wife had to leave at 11:45 to pick up the kids from the babysitter. We missed the whole Neil Gaiman thing!!!!!! :( Would have loved to have seen that and met you guys after the show. In case you could see up to the first balcony I was the guy in the Green Latern shirt explaining the jokes to my wife…

  8. I got to see the initial (for 2.0, at least) one in Seattle which, although lacking your illustrious self, was pretty darn awesome. If the MN one was anything like the Seattle one, then it was amazing.

  9. Still no sign of your bit on youtube. Arrrg. I would still like to see some better quality recordings of this. Maybe you could pass that wish along.
    Oh crap they’re doing a San Diego show? Hope they haven’t sold out. Not much chance of that though. Comic Con sells out fast. Time to go find out.

  10. Huh, I didn’t mean to embed. Just cut and pasted the links and the second one embeded itself.

  11. John,

    It was great to get a chance to meet you in the autograph line, even though I was just one of the zillion people with which you got to do the

    “I’m a big fan. Loved the show!”

    “Thanks very much!”


    It was good for me :-)

    If anyone is on the fence about attending a w00tstock in the future – don’t dither. Just go!

  12. It was an exceedingly wonderful evening. I enjoyed every bit that was done, from the opening desktop slideshow to the closing Arrrr’s. The show gave the impression of being very impromptu and also very well-planned, simultaneously. Everyone really seized the spirit of the show and ran with it. Your piece was fun – I’ve always enjoyed the pieces you do in that style (the superhero bits, the aliens in the supermarket, etc) so it was nice to hear a new one.

    Thanks for hanging around afterward and signing for us, as I brought a few books in the hope that there would be a chance afterward. Next time you’re up our way I’ll definitely have to get you to sign your foreword to the Bradbury ‘Martian Chronicles’ book….

  13. Man, I am so jealous of the fun had by all of you Wootstockers that I can barely see to type. I even live by Seattle and had to miss that one due to being on call at the Hospital that week.

    Oh well, I can at least live vicariously through others experiences and view all of the bits on You Tube.

    not even close to the same though… 8^(

  14. Arthur at 7: Dollhouse or A Doll’s House?

    Scalzi, I have been petitioning Wil to bring it to DC, if it does will you be doing that one (assuming it fits your schedule)?

  15. Mel@20

    I, too, have been campaigning for w00tstock DC. We need to combine our powers on this. Like, for serious.

    Right after I finish watching the video, that is.

  16. I know I commented in one of your previous w00tstock posts but I shall do so again. It was awesome and wonderful and I don’t think I’ve ever had 5 hours go by faster in my life.

    I am so very thankful that my vacation week happened to coincide with it or I’d still be waiting for a New England/East Coast one! Of course if there is one closer to where I actually live I am so very much intending on going again.

    (I was the sock picture taker who cried during Zoe’s Tale)

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