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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Rialto Theatre welcomes ‘Night Vale’ to Tucson

    Welcome to Night Vale

    Welcome to Night Vale

    For one night only, downtown Tucson’s Rialto Theatre will be transformed into a small desert community where all things supernatural are a part of everyday life, normality is heavily frowned upon and a radio announcer will welcome you to a little town called Night Vale.

    “Welcome to Night Vale” is a fictional, humorous podcast written and created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. The program tells the story of the town of Night Vale through resident radio host Cecil Gershwin Palmer’s bi-monthly broadcast. For 20-30 minutes every first and 15th of the month, listeners can hear about the typical goings-on in the strange community.  

    Episodes include everything from updates on the mayoral race, in which a five-headed dragon is facing off against the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home, to advice on how to survive a librarian attack during the “Summer Reading Program.”

    There are advertisements for businesses such as Whole Foods, ensuring you that they definitely don’t poison their frozen dinners, and, of course, warnings on the dangers of the new dog park that is off limits to both dogs and humans due to it being inhabited by hooded figures.

    “‘Welcome to Night Vale’ is a unique fusion of classic community radio, [H.P.] Lovecraftian weirdness and ‘X-Files’-like intrigue,” said Jennifer McStotts, an assistant professor for the Honors College.

    McStotts is a member of the UA Honors Book Club and suggested the club take a trip to the live show. McStotts has been listening to the show on and off for the last couple of years, and said she thought it would be an interesting, one-of-a-kind experience for the students involved.

    The show begins at 8 p.m., and there are still a number of seats available selling for $28. While the typical episode usually only features Cecil, voiced by New York City actor and performer Cecil Baldwin, the live performances include a host of characters that are often discussed but not heard.

    Characters like Carlos the scientist, Dana the former intern and John Peters the farmer have been featured in past live shows and are likely to return for tonight’s performance. Live music will also be provided by Disparition and Mary Epworth.

    “It’s just such a different kind of humor,” said Rebecca Reiter, a pre-education major and a regular “Welcome to Night Vale” listener. “It’s obviously kind of dark, but it’s presented so normally that it feels ridiculous, but it also makes sense.”

    The podcast is known as being comedic, fun and age-appropriate for all kinds of listeners, but it also quietly tackles social issues. For example, from the very beginning, Cecil makes no secret of his gigantic crush on Night Vale’s newest resident, Carlos the scientist. Cecil’s attraction to Carlos implies that he is gay or bisexual, but throughout the show, his crush is never mentioned as being different from any other sort of romantic attraction.

    None of the residents in town ever question his feelings and — spoilers ahead for those who have yet to listen to the podcast or have not listened past the episode “One Year Later” — when Cecil and Carlos do finally start dating, other residents never see their  same-sex relationship as out of the ordinary.

    “Welcome to Night Vale” has been known as something special since it first premiered almost three years ago and has caught the attention of the masses. Tonight’s live show is sure to live up to that legacy.

    “I really enjoy fiction, and I think this is an interesting way to grab somebody’s attention,” Reiter said. “It’s not a book; it’s not a movie. It’s something you listen to, and that makes it different from the ways most people consume media.”

    So, dare to venture into a strange desert community, experience all that it has to offer and allow Cecil’s melodious voice to welcome you to Night Vale.


    Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter.

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