Welcome to Lawrence, Night Vale.

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[Featured Image: Commonplace Books]

Imagine, if you will, having worked at a convention in your hometown for three days only to have ended on Sunday to drive an hour away from home to sit in a theatre and enjoy a radio show. Welcome to Night Vale, readers.

Annaleigh Josephs and Brie Clemens in Lawrence, Kansas
Annaleigh Josephs and Brie Clemens in Lawrence, Kansas

For the uninitiated, Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast set to hit its second anniversary this June. It is a production of Commonplace Books and was created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. You can listen to it on RSS Feed, iTunes, or Stitcher, or it can be downloaded as mp3s from Soundcloud. You should choose one of those options. I’ll wait.

Did you listen? No? Then you’ve failed not only me, but the greater community. Congratulations.

In all seriousness, the podcast is delightful and this review of the live show will do you little to no good unless you’ve had your life changed by the Glow Cloud Cecil (Gershwin) Palmer. However, if you have been impacted by his smooth velvety voice, I would like to take this moment to congratulate you on your survival of another day. Way to go, you!

Some of us did not fair as well...
Some of us did not fair as well…

So, I present to you a tale of a tiring Sunday. After closing up shop at Planet Comicon, your intrepid reporter ventured over into Jayhawks territory to attend the closest live show on their Midwest tour (seriously, guys, Lawrence? Kansas City is about as Midwest as it gets!). With two friends in tow, we made it to Abe and Jake’s along the Kaw River to be greeted by an interesting little event space and an interesting not-so-little crowd. I spotted cosplayed Cecils (despite any real canon description of the Night Vale Community Radio host, he is instantly recognizable), a member of the Sheriff’s Secret Police, and various interns (in differing degrees of having survived the position). It was quite the varied crowd! And, upon further inspection, it came to be known there were many who drove farther than my companions and I that evening.

Musical Guest Eliza Rickman
Musical Guest Eliza Rickman

At the risk of spoiling too much, I won’t go into detail about the show itself. However, one would be remiss not to start with discussion about the whimsy and wonder of the musical guest: Eliza Rickman (who told you to remember her name using Eliza Doolittle and Alan Rickman, so, she won me there). She stuck with, mostly, songs from her album and her haunting voice threatened to lull me into a peaceful, dreamless sleep (especially considering the weekend I’d had so far). Her stage presence was not immense, but rather creeped into your soul much like the autoharp she used for much of her set. I think there was a special fondness in each of our hearts when she concluded with a stellar rendition of “Over the Rainbow” (“only for Kansas”).

The show itself is billed as “The Librarian,” and I’ll let you draw many of your own conclusions from that. Cecil Baldwin worked the magic only he is known for and was joined by a few guest stars. Who joined him?, you may ask. And, as to that, I will leave you in wonder per the requests of the creators of the show. After all, there are more cities yet to enjoy the delights of this episode and I would hate to spoil it. However, I WILL insist that the entire crowd was, at one point, on its feet. We also got know our neighbors, visited a place, saw things, felt feelings, and so much more. There was even a point in which I believe many were screaming, but that can be expected in any live broadcast of a community radio show, right?

So, in conclusion, if Welcome to Night Vale is rolling into your city and you are lucky enough to secure a ticket: DO SO. After all, you wouldn’t want to disappoint the several government agencies secretly hoping you’ll leave your home on that particular night.

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