A sold-out crowd of several hundred Whedonites gathered on Monday to view and sing-along to a screening of the Emmy Award-winning Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Symphony Space on the upper west side of Manhattan. People were lined up outside the theater to guarantee themselves good seats well ahead of the show’s 8PM start time—when I walked by at quarter ’til 6, there was already a line of probably 100 people, and some of them looked like they had been there quite a long time. The line was already moving into the theater by the time I got into the queue (having gone to eat dinner first), and in line ahead of me was a guy wearing a Captain Hammer sweater-vest with a dry cleaning stub clipped to it. (A reference from the film, for those who haven’t seen it. And if you haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for?)
Author/humorist Sarah Vowell (who you might actually know best for her role as the voice of Violet in The Incredibles) came on stage to introduce the event, which was a benefit for 826NYC, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping students aged 6-18 develop creative writing skills. [826NYC Mission Statement]
After Vowell’s fundraising pitch, the audience was treated to a few brief words from Joss Whedon, who came onstage to give a brief introduction to the screening. After explaining how important he thinks the 826NYC charity—and creative writing—is, he gave the order to roll the film.
I was a big fan of Dr. Horrible when it first aired (streamed?), and I was surprised to discover that I enjoyed it even more watching it this time around. Now, I really like mad scientists anyway—I like them so much I’m editing an anthology about them (The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, due out from Tor Books in the distant future)—but I wouldn’t say I’m a huge musical fan, yet I really enjoyed even that aspect of the show. And seeing it live with hundreds of other adoring fans made the experience even more enjoyable; there’s just something about getting together with nearly a thousand nerds who all love the same thing you love and just reveling in pure geekery.
After the screening ended and the crowd erupted in thunderous applause, the movie screen disappeared into the ceiling, revealing NPR and This American Life correspondent Ira Glass and the man everyone was there to see, Joss Whedon, sitting on the stage.
After a few more moments of fangasming, Glass began the interview. Among other things, Glass asked Joss about being influenced by composer Stephen Sondheim, about the viability of internet-only films like Dr. Horrible being a new entertainment paradigm, the similarity of Dollhouse’s actives to prostitutes, and why all of Joss’s strong women characters have some older dude who controls them. Joss was witty and informative throughout, always giving real answers to Glass’s questions, and never dodging.
Well, except when Glass asked him about the in-the-works Dr. Horrible sequel, about which, Joss would only say:
- It’s called Dr. Horrible 2: Penny’s Still Dead
- It’s 28 seconds long
- It’s a book
All of which is obviously false. Joss and the crew had decided before the event that he would “Tell them nothing!” (as Joss explained in a hammy stage whisper), and so he did. Don't despair, though; while you're waiting for the sequel, check out the Captain Hammer comic written by Zack Whedon, which is available via Dark Horse presents at MySpace.com.
And that’s all I’m going to tell you guys about Joss’s responses, because if you weren’t able to attend the event, but you’d like to help support 826NYC, and you’d like to listen to Ira Glass’s interview with Joss, you can download an mp3 of the interview via 826NYC’s website. (There’s no direct URL available, unfortunately, so just check the first story on the charity’s homepage.) All you have to donate is one dollar, but you can donate as much as you like.
If, however, you’re cheap and you hate supporting writers, but you really really love Joss, you could probably find the URL somewhere online. I could give it to you, because I donated some extra money to the cause and I have the file sitting on my hard drive right now. I could, but I won’t because it would make Joss cry, or to paraphrase him, it would make you “the true villains.”
John Joseph Adams (www.johnjosephadams.com) is an anthologist, a writer, and a geek. He is the editor of the anthologies By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Living Dead (a World Fantasy Award finalist), Seeds of Change, and Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. He is currently assembling several other anthologies, including Brave New Worlds, The Living Dead 2, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, and The Way of the Wizard. He is also the assistant editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.