If you follow me on Twitter, you’re probably already aware I often wake up with songs stuck in my head. This morning was only different in that the song lodged in my noggin wasn’t one that started to drive me crazy after a handful of minutes. No indeed, today I got lucky because I started it off with “w00tstock” by Mike Phirman* (featuring Chris Hardwick and Paul and Storm). I love this song. It can hang around for as long as it likes.
In case you’re not familiar with it (if you’re not, I urge you to check it out now!), it’s a parody of Joni Mitchell’s song “Woodstock” as performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Did you follow that? Anyway, as Phirman puts it, The name is a reference to the traveling geek-themed variety show “w00tstock“, created by Paul and Storm, Wil Wheaton, and Adam Savage. (It’s like a little Woodstock, minus the mud and with more “On” buttons.)
The lyrics detail a journey to this traveling mecca-of-geekdom, including encounters with cloaked role-players and hardcore comic-film fans. Allusions abound–to beloved genre properties like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, LEGO, Nintendo, and of course, my very most beloved: Doctor Who!** (Plus ton more. One gets the impression Phirman could go on and on. I wonder if there’s an extended live version out there somewhere that mentions a dozen other staples of nerddom. Someone point me the way to YouTube!)
I’ve never been to w00tstock, but of all the reasons I want to go someday (and I DO want to go someday), this song is right at the top of the list. It’s a paean to nerd culture that hits me right in the geek-spot. One of my favorite things about the work of Mike Phirman, Chris Hardwick, and Paul and Storm is that they are 100% unabashed in their appreciation of what they love. I talk a lot about that idea–embracing your inner geek and flying your fan-flag high. And just as importantly, being cool with it when other people do so. There’s enough geek to go around! The song repeatedly uses the pronoun “we.” That warms my fangirl heart. We really are “we.” And we’re at our best as a community when we recognize that.
Plus of course, the tune is catchy-as-hell, and the realization of this version is jubilant, entertaining, and laced with the kinds of harmonies you’d expect from a CSN&Y cover. Heck, there’s even a mouth solo! For real.
It’s also worth pointing out how the lyrics are gratifyingly gender-balanced. The fans sitting outside the movie theater (many months early) waiting for the Avengers film*** are girls. That floats my fangirl boat like you wouldn’t believe.° (And please don’t start in on the use of the word “girls” rather than “women” or the like. He refers to the males in the song as “dudes,” which I think achieves parity.) There are lots of kickass women in the comics industry (and, indeed, in comic books themselves), and there are LOTS of female fans of the genre. Sadly, all three groups are often forgotten, ignored, cold-shouldered, underestimated, or treated damn shabbily. I love that Phirman doesn’t make a big deal of it; they’re simply part of the fabric of the nerd journey. Big old internet-fistbump to you, Mr. Phirman.
This song is a perfect anthem for proud nerds like myself who not only want to get their geek on, but want to congregate and celebrate it together. With Gally coming up in just a few weeks°°, I suspect this’ll make its way onto my playlist more than a few times. If you’re headed there, or to any gathering of geeks, I can’t think of a better soundtrack for your own fan journey.
*Can we take a moment to marvel at the fact that when I voiced “Hard and Phirm” into my phone, the VR got “Phirm” right? That’s just 6 kinds of geektastic.
**I punch the air every time I hear the sonic screwdriver in the background.
***Yes, that does date this song. But hey, “Woodstock” is pretty dated and it’s still a great song, so who the hell cares? Shush now.
°Dirty joke retroactively intended.
°°OHMIGOD OHMIGOD OHMIGOD