Over the weekend, I traveled to Boston to see live something I’ve been enjoying for a while now: A live reading of a Welcome to Night Vale show.
Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast experience. It’s been around since June 2012 and currently has 105 episodes. Night Vale is hard to explain. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is very hard to have it make sense in a way that would make someone want to listen to when discussing its plot. It’s a desert town somewhere in the southwestern United States. It exists outside the realm of our space and time. Time is different there. What we hear is the voice of Cecil, the community radio news host. He tells his listeners of the happenings in their extraordinary little town. The opening of the Dog Park, and how no people or dogs are allowed in the dog park. It is a humor podcast with a little bit of horror, spoken in complete deadpan as if what is happening around Cecil is totally normal; because for Cecil, and Night Vale it is.
I love it.
I stumbled onto this weird little thing on Tumblr after the second episode Glow Cloud (ALL HAIL) which had the very odd song “The Bus is Late” by Satellite High as the weather. I then listened to the first episode about Old Lady Josie and the Angels (which do not exist) and I would occasionally listen to episodes when someone posted them on Tumblr. However, none of my real life friends listened to it, so I had no one to talk about it with so my interest in it moved on to things that I could discuss with other people. For me, liking things involves talking about it and if I can’t talk about it, I tend to lose interest.
About a year ago I made a decision to enjoy things by myself. I felt like I was limiting myself by not just doing it. My friends are, for the most part, in very different times in their lives than I am. If I wanted to do something, travel, see a show, go to a convention, join a book club, I was going to have to do it myself. If I didn’t learn to just do things myself I would probably never do anything. So I rediscovered Welcome to Night Vale, and listened to the backlog of episodes and listened to the audiobook.
When Welcome To Night Vale announced that they were having a new live show tour and they were coming through Boston, I was all over that. I bought a ticket and was ready to go. When I was down in Boston for Nerd Con in February, I scouted out the theater that the show would be so I could find it when I came back so I was ready when I got off the T on Saturday afternoon.
I stood in line with people dressed as Hooded Figures, Cecil and Carlos, the Glow Cloud (Praise the Mighty Glow Cloud), and all sorts of different characters from the radio show. The show was so cool. I didn’t know what to expect, I’d never seen theater like this before. Cecil came out in a yellow plaid suit and read his news broadcast. The visual representation of this wholly auditory experience was, just, I don’t know, neat. It is always fun to be in a room full of people who love the thing you love; even if we don’t know each other, we all have this one thing in common.
The show currently on tour is All Hail, a show about the omnipresent Glow Cloud that is the president of the school board in Night Vale. Occasionally, the great and powerful Glow Cloud will rain down dead animals upon the town which, as you can imagine is slightly inconvenient for the townspeople.
The show is still on tour, and don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is going to see it, so I’m going to leave out the details of the show, but just know that it is a powerful and well worth seeing. The voice actors are amazing, and the weather, Erin McKeown was ah-mazing. I highly recommend that you check her out even if you aren’t interested in Night Vale.
Bringing it back around to Books, as this is a book blog, Night Vale has two novels, Welcome to Night Vale which I listened to. It’s narrated by Cecil Baldwin and is a story that is completely separate from the Podcast, but it is helpful if you are familiar with the characters of Night Vale. There is also a book coming out in October, It Devours! which I am super excited for. They also have two volumes of podcast scripts if you are interested.
Welcome to Night Vale is a weird, fun show that on its surface is just weird but if you listen, really listen, it’s about everything. It’s covered with many layers of horror and strangeness, but it’s about love and acceptance. I can’t say enough about how amazing the story is. A new episode will be posted on Saturday (Episodes are released on the 1st and 15th of every month).
This is a little bit off topic, but learning how to just enjoy things whether or not my friends like it or not has been liberating. I have never been good at making friends, I can kind of do it on the internet, but in real life it’s hard. I’m rather anti-social and get very overwhelmed around strangers, so I real life friends are hard to come by for me. The ones I have are great. I love them, but I don’t have kids and I like weird things. My friends, for the most part, have different priorities. I do feel an overwhelming loneliness a lot, but I’m learning to accept it.
Have you ever listened to Night Vale? Do you have any fun podcast recommendations? I would love to hear them!
Until next time Internet,