Tonight Christina and I went to see a live simulcast of the public radio show "This American Life" being shown at the Union Square Regal theater, along with 143 other movie theaters around the country. It was rather strange knowing that the show was being taped live just a few blocks south at the NYU Skirball Theater, and yet being collectively experienced by thousands of others around the country.
It was a great program, featuring stories told live by Dan Savage, Starlee Kine,
Mike Birbiglia and host Ira Glass, animated shorts, and pre-recorded video segments. Joss Whedon even came out and sang a song, which pleased the geeks in the audience to no end.
Going into it, I had a doubt about how "live" the event would feel, watching it from a movie theater. But I have to say that the experience did give me a feeling of "being there." Different from simply watching it online or on television, I was in a packed theater space with hundreds of other TAL fans, along with thousands of other fans around the country gathered in similar spaces.
The highlight for me was when Dan Savage told the story of his mother passing away not long ago. At a certain point, Dan started to choke up on stage, struggling to keep reading his story. I, along with thousands of others around the country, felt very moved and touched that he was sharing this with us. It was a beautiful moment.
Altogether experiencing "This American Life" in this way was a fascinating collective story-telling experience. Certainly well worth my $20.