While driving home from a performance of Man of La Mancha on a mild December evening, I checked my Twitter feed. I noticed that John Green tweeted about an event at Carnegie Hall. I had no idea what the event was, but he had me at John Green in the tri-state area. I tired to order tickets on my phone, knowing that every nerdfighter in the area would be vying for a seat. Technology, however, had other plans (sigh). As soon as I got home, I slammed myself in my computer chair determined to secure tickets. Fortune was on my side that evening, because I got two tickets: one for Emily and the other for me.
Later on more information trickled out. This event was actually going to be a celebration of the one-year anniversary of the publication of The Fault in Our Stars. Clearly, this was an evening destined for perfection. In fact, the event was officially called an Evening of Awesome! Talk about creating high expectations.
The morning of January 15th I slipped into my hot pink, special edition John Green Pizza shirt. I had already showered using my Rosemary and Lime DFTBA soap (courtesy of Emily Griffith’s nerdfighter Christmas spirit). My students even commented on my abnormally chipper mood. Thus is the power of John Green = I hadn’t even attended the event, but the mere thought of being in his infectiously positive presence is the equivalent of drinking sunshine (straight up).
Emily and I arrived in New York City and hopped in a taxi. In true Jersey girl fashion, we grabbed dinner at a diner a block from Carnegie Hall, the venue of the Evening of Awesome. We immediately saw other nerdfighters in their gear, whether it was their own John Green Pizza shirt or another like Holden Caulfield thinks you’re a phony. When others saw us, they threw their hands up in nerdfighter salutations. We were buzzing with anticipation. After we finished our delicious chocolate shakes and gourmet burgers, we left for the show, still not knowing what to expect.
The front poster displayed that John Green had in fact sold out Carnegie Hall. How awesome is that?!?!?
The event opened with John and Hank in tuxedos. I have not been following the vlogbrothers since 2007 and so Hank’s songs were new to me. We were also treated to a TFIOS reading by the two stars of the Lizzie Bennett Diaries (based on the crowds response this is clearly something I should check out). They read an excerpt from the Anne Frank House chapter. The Mountain Goats were also in attendance. I have to admit that when John has posted their music, I wasn’t interested in spending more time with them. However, they kind of grew on me. I enjoyed their performances more than I thought I would. Kimya Dawson also performed (this is when I received a text from my friend Cindy who checked in to watch the event’s live stream on YouTube). One of the biggest surprises of the night was NEIL freakin’ GAIMAN. He took part in a reading from Paper Towns (the only JG book-to-date that I still have to read – don’t worry, I’m on it). John spent a lot of time talking about his relationship with reading and writing books. I was ever so slightly offended that NONE of my awesome Twitter questions were answered (I am not so easily deterred – one day . . . ). John and Hank Green are so badass that they were called back to the Carnegie Hall stage for an encore.
One of my favorite sights in Carnegie Hall tonight was the father and daughter that sat near us. How cool is it that this dad brought his daughter to see her favorite writer?
After the show, I waited in an obscenely long, and unorganized line. I was hoping to get the official event t-shirt (I did) and maybe the official signed poster (I did).
The next day I wore my Evening of Awesome t-shirt to school. And I’m not going to lie, but wearing the shirt helped me retain a little bit of leftover nerdfighter awesome from the previous evening.
Emily and I often talk about this nerdfighter “movement” the Green brothers have started and wonder how it feels to have that kind of awesome influence in the world. It was a natural high to be gathered into Carnegie Hall, surrounded by people who love the same things that you love. The reality is that whatever John and Hank Green are selling . . . I’m buying.