SDCC10: Countdown to San Diego Comic-Con 2010: Q&A With Paul and Storm of W00tstock

Last week in ‘Countdown to …’ The Flickcast talked with Melody Severns, a veteran skater with the L.A. Derby Dolls who has worked on ‘King of the Hill,’ both ’The Simpsons’ TV show and ‘Simpsons Movie’ as well as being the founder of GirlsDrawinGirls, a group of over 90 active female artists.

This week, we change things up a bit as we talk all things ‘W00tstock,’ the definitive geek variety show, with both Paul and Storm (The Internet, Da Vinci’s Notebook).

For decades, geeks were ostracized, picked on, laughed at and punished by the sun’s harmful UV rays. But there is only so long that a people can be kept down before they rise up against their oppressors; and, indeed, the dawn of the 21st century has seen the ascendancy of geeks and geek culture.

W00tstock celebrates nerds, with 3 hours of geek and music, and features television host/special-effects artist Adam Savage (MythBusters), actor/author/blogger Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stand By Me) and of course, music-comedy duo Paul and Storm. W00tstock 2.4 is set to storm San Diego Comic-Con, with a special off-site show Thursday the 22nd at the Gaslamp’s 4th and B.

We wanted to find out what the Con is like from Paul and Storm’s perspective, what are some of their likes and dislikes regarding the Con itself and what sort of surprises w00tstock has in store at this year’s SDCC 2010.

The Flickcast: It sure sounds as if you guys have an amazing line-up for w00tstock 2.4 on Thursday July 22nd at Downtown San Diego’s 4th & B. Can you talk a little bit about your line-up, and additionally some of the cool stuff you have planned for that evening?

Storm: One if the big reasons we wanted to do a w00tstock at SDCC is that there will be so many brilliant people there to do panels over the weekend, and w00tstock is a chance to showcase them in a setting that has the energy of a rock show.We try to put things together in a way that gives the audience a nice mix of music, comedy, and representation from across the geek/nerd/science worlds.

Attendees might not know who all of the guests are, but every one of them was chosen in great part because of how engaging they are. A number of the guests have absolutely killed at previous w00tstocks–like Matt Fraction, Molly Lewis, and Rifftrax–and we’re also looking forward to first-time appearances by Bad Astronomer Phil Plait and up-and-coming singer-songwriter Marian Call.

There are also the names that just about every Comic-Con attendee will know–like Chris Hardwick, host of “Web Soup” and the Nerdist podcast and website; and Adam and Wil, who both present content that’s tailor-made for w00tstock.

FC: What are you and your performers doing to get prepared? Is there anything special you plan to spring on the Comic-Con attendees that’s perhaps a bit different from previous w00tstocks?

S: We always try to have content that’s unique to each w00tstock, and SDCC will be no different. Of course we can’t give away our surprises, but there are a couple of things planned that aren’t on the publicized schedule. And of course the audience is a big part of what makes each w00tstock unique.

For example, our artist friend Len Peralta will be taking ideas from the audience in order to conceive of and draw a special poster right on stage as the show goes along, which will be unveiled and available for sale at the end of the show.

FC: With regards to Comic-Con specifically, what is something you really look forward to every year? Anything in particular for 2010 you find especially compelling?

Paul: Actually, neither Storm nor I have ever been to SDCC; we did a panel at New York Comic Con a couple years ago, but we understand that’s really not truly on the same scale as San Diego. So it’s all going to be new to us.

There’s already a number of panels we’re very much looking forward to (Rifftrax, Mythbusters, The Guild and Big Bang Theory, among others), and a number of friends will be in town we’re hoping to meet up with; and I personally am looking forward to taking a full afternoon to just wander the floor and soak up the geek atmosphere.

FC: As much as we all love Comic-Con, it’s sometimes tough to also love the crowds, the hectic schedule, and some of the logistical nightmares that can arise. What’s the one thing that really gets on your nerves every year?

P: There always appears to be at least one Devil’s Bargain, wherein you must miss the One Thing You Really Didn’t Want to Miss in order to see the Other Thing You Really Didn’t Want to Miss, because they’re both scheduled at the same time. They really should consult us personally in the future to avoid such conflicts…

FC: Other than w00tstock, what sort of artistic projects are you guys currently involved with lately?

S: We always keep a number of irons in the fire, musical and otherwise. In addition to our “regular” songwriting, we’ve been writing music and collaborating on a project we’re hoping to launch early next year, even as we plan out our fall/winter tour schedule. We also do a mostly-weekly podcast, “Paul and Storm Talk About Some Stuff for Five to Ten Minutes (on Average)”, and we’ve been helping out with our friend Len Peralta’s Geek-A-Week project, in which he interviews and creates trading cards for some of the biggest names in geekdom.

FC: A ton of artists, both famous in the industry, and some obscure, come to SDCC each year. Anyone in particular you’re interested in meeting this year?

P: I am making it my personal mission to get to know more about comics in general this year; because truth told, I’m still very much a comics newbie. So I’ll be soliciting advice from everyone I can as to what will be other good series and people to meet for a dilettante such as myself.

Also, I will totally geek out if I get to meet Nathan Fillion.

S: I’m in the exact same boat as Paul when it comes to comics, but in general I love to learn about new creative worlds and to talk to the people who build them. And as a science fiction lover and reader of his since childhood, it would be mighty terrific (if surreal) to meet Ray Bradbury.

FC: While Comic-Con has morphed over the years to really cover all sorts of geek-related interests, the core of the show is still all about comics and the comics industry. Do you read comics? And if so, what are you into right now? Any faves?

P: As described above, I’m really not very comics-knowledgeable. We’ve read a few things–Sandman, Watchmen, etc.–and I’ve been supporting our friend Felicia Day by buying issues of The Guild comic as they’ve been coming out; but really, I’m still personally quite wet behind the ears.

FC: And finally, while w00tstock is officially an off-site event, do you guys plan to have a presence at the Con proper? A booth? Signings? Anything along those lines?

S: Nothing formal planned, but we expect to be ubiquitous as the weekend goes along!

And there you have it. The W00tstock 2.4 SDCC Edition features:

Ukulele-wielding favorite Molly Lewis (sweetafton23)
The NERDIST himself, Chris Hardwick
Comic book legend Matt Fraction (Uncanny X-Men and Invincible Iron Man)
Real Rock Star Jason Finn (Presidents of the United States)
Len Peralta, who will once again dream up and draw a custom poster LIVE on-stage
Singer-songwriter Marian Call
Bad Astronomer Phil Plait
Rifftrax–Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, and Mike Nelson

And of course Wil, Adam, and Paul and Storm will all be performing, and there will be a meet and greet after the show.

Thanks go out to Paul and Storm for taking the time to answer our questions and good luck at the Con this year!

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