Meditations on Welcome to Night Vale After Seeing it Live

“Exit, pursued by a bear.” ― William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale

So I was fortunate enough to go to the Welcome to Night Vale tour while it stopped here in San Antonio. I went with my friend Amber and went in costume as Night Vale Community Radio’s favorite host, Cecil. And as many of you know I’m a big fan of the show and have written about it before at least once and probably will again at least a few times. I had an amazing time and I loved the show so here are a few thoughts on fandoms, waiting in line and headcannons. I’ll do my best to keep this spoiler-free because I respect that many may not have been able to see the show yet but one or two may leak out in my excitement for the show and the fandom so blame the zeitgeist, I suppose. So let’s get started, dear listeners.

  • Body paint is almost never worth the trouble. No amount of tutorials will make it worth it. I do not care. No third eyes, no nothing. Concealer is already too much effort for me.
  • Parking downtown is a nightmare. That’s not even hyperbolic. It was a nightmare.
  • Suspenders are not made for people with busts. They are though, cute as hell. I now need more excuses to brave the discomfort and wear suspenders.
  • People drove from several states away to see this show: while walking out from the parking structure Amber and I met a group of women one from Austin, one from San Antonio and one all the way from Oklahoma.
  • Getting compliments on my costumes is always great but it does sometimes make me a little insecure.
  • Though getting a compliment on my “radio voice” and the fact that I have good enunciation is always fantastic.
  • Hearing that people support my unpopular headcannons is always fun.
  • The Aztec is amazing when it comes to lines and despite the long lines we did not wait long.
  • HOWEVER: Aztec, get your seating together.
  • Also, sitting while short is a problem. Luckily, there was a space between tall between and I had the perfect short person’s window.
    • Please feel free to take “Short person’s window” for your own. SHORT PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE. Just smaller people.
  • Night Vale is if anything an amazingly written podcast and I admire Joseph Fink and Jeffery Crannor as writers.
  • Costuming while having no cannonical descriptions are fun.
  • Sentient patches of haze are pretty intense.
  • Night Vale Community Radio interns are in fact delicate and we should all treasure them a little more.
  • I sometimes forget how big the Night Vale fandom is: it’s a podcast. We don’t all hang out. But this show was PACKED.
  • Always stick around for the Horoscopes.
  • Continue your well-suited disappointment in Steve Carlsburg.
  • The weather was good.
    • Fun fact: this is probably one of my favorite fan artifacts. I wonder how that will be read in the distant future. A bunch of cyber archaeologists going on about “Why is everying commenting about the weather!”
    • Though there are not many artists that get to babble at me incoherently for several minutes.
    • ALSO: my clapping is just fine, lady. You don’t know me or my life.
  • Cecil Baldwin’s kinda hot…
    • Okay, he’s very hot. And well-dressed.
  • But seeing Cecil Baldwin BE Cecil Palmer confirms a few things that were a part of my headcannon including that Cecil is very expressive, gestures a lot and does genuinely love his job. He also is very much not aware of how dangerous Night Vale is making him a precious cinnamon roll who needs to be protected.
  • So this isn’t really a spoiler but I need to say it: I was NOT expecting that ending and it ended up making me really emotional but in the best way. In the way that all writing should. When you connect. When you feel. When you become the story and the story becomes you and suddenly then, only then, it isn’t a story: it is your life.

Night Vale is a sleepy town on the edge of the desert but there are thousands, millions of virtual citizens. We are all citizens of this strange little town with mysterious lights, unsupported oak doors and 6-legged cats that hover in the men’s bathroom of the local radio station. Night Vale is a fandom that is close to my heart. I love Cecil, my radio host. I adore his relationships. I fear greatly The Dog Park and want justice for the literal 5-headed dragon in prison. We as a fandom have a community: we have opinions. Some of us love Carlos. Some don’t think Kevin is so bad. Some hate Desert Bluffs, some hate Desert Bluffs more. I couldn’t imagine that Night Vale would end up meaning so much to me. I never liked it when it first came out: I didn’t understand the love of this strange fictional land but now I listen in regularly. I listen to Cecil as if Night Vale is my hometown and the nightly community radio broadcast is my public radio station. Welcome to Night Vale is TPR for nerds like me. Imagine: people sitting in their cars, sitting at home, doing chores all while listening to Welcome to Night Vale. Just as I’m sure the creators intended. This is our radio. This is our show. Night Vale is our hometown: well at least, it is if you can survive the Glow Cloud and avoid the Shape in Mission Grove Park.  So I highly recommend the Night Vale live show. It’s engaging, funny, dark, twisted and thoughtful. So enjoy the show. Listen. Tune in. You won’t regret it. 

And as always: good night, dear readers. Good night.

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