I went to Sixth & I last night to see Linda Holmes interview Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the creators of the podcast and new novel, Welcome to Night Vale. Night Vale is a small southwestern town where every conspiracy theory is true. There’s much you can read about the podcast – how it was started by two theater artists in a Brooklyn apartment, that there were only 52 downloads in the first month, and that the creators are flat-out shocked by the success of this off-beat, quirky, and confounding story that’s filled with equal amounts of tenderness and weirdness.
What you haven’t heard, because it has to be experienced, is the overwhelming joy that the loyal fans feel toward this story, these characters, this town, and its creators. The cheers and applause never stopped at the event last night. The laughter literally rang through the rafters of Sixth & I, the warmth between the audience and the authors was palpable, and I’ll never forget it. This is what story told with authenticity and love can do. This is what happens when we build from the heart and not for the wallet. (Night Vale refuses to take money from advertising and instead relies on donations, merchandise sales, and revenue from live shows.) It’s an example of how art done right has a powerful impact on the soul. All of it makes me happy.