Welcome to Night Vale Entrances Boise Audience 

click to enlarge Cecil Gershwin Palmer (Cecil Baldwin, left) chatted with Deb (Meg Bashwiner, right), a "patch of haze" that delivered a Hilton commercial.

Lex Nelson

Cecil Gershwin Palmer (Cecil Baldwin, left) chatted with Deb (Meg Bashwiner, right), a "patch of haze" that delivered a Hilton commercial.

Though the live performance of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast didn't start until 8 p.m., by 6:45 p.m. a line already extended down Main Street from the doors of The Egyptian Theatre, curling back on itself to accommodate the chattering crowd. The arrival of the spooky sci-fi podcast had been highly anticipated for weeks by the Millennials and Gen Zers (age 23 and under) who made up the majority of waiting mass, some dressed in character with third eyes painted on their foreheads, dark velvet hoods pulled up around their faces, dresses glowing psychedelic colors and white lab coats brushing the ground.

The bi-monthly podcast, which began airing in 2012, is delivered in the form of a radio show for the small, fictional desert town of Night Vale—a spot accosted by the paranormal, from a mind-controlling glow cloud that drops dead animals to a cohort of flesh-eating librarians. Cecil Gershwin Palmer (voiced by Cecil Baldwin) hosts the show, delivering a series of scheduled programs and conducting interviews with both human and non-human guests.

click to enlarge - For one segment of Welcome to Night Vale, Cecil Gershwin Palmer (Cecil Baldwin, left) interviewed teenage militia leader Tamika Flynn (Symphony Sanders, right). -  - LEX NELSON
  • Lex Nelson
  • For one segment of Welcome to Night Vale, Cecil Gershwin Palmer (Cecil Baldwin, left) interviewed teenage militia leader Tamika Flynn (Symphony Sanders, right).
Corbett Rubert, who attended the performance with friends, said it was the mystery of the production that got him hooked on the podcast and kept him listening. He pointed to characters like Khoshekh, the floating cat that lives in the men's bathroom of the fictional radio station, as example of the show's warped reality.

"[Cecil] starts talking about toxic ridges and chemicals, and you're like—wait, do I know what a cat is?" Rubert said.

The show at The Egyptian on April 17 kicked off with announcements from Meg Bashwiner, who voices the proverbs and announcements for the program. She took the stage in a leopard print dress, with a red flower tucked into her blonde bouffant—her theatricality, personality and dry humor set the tone for the rest of the night.

"No vaping in the theater. Not because it's not allowed, but because it's not 2014," she said. When the crowd burst into laughter, she added, "Just like a millennial podcast audience to throw shade on something that happened four years ago."

Soon, New York-based singer-songwriter Mal Blum replaced her on stage, cracking jokes about being openly transgender and performing original songs alongside a a passive-agressive, self-deprecating poem about Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans.

"We're gonna die and it's gonna be alone," they sang, "and maybe no one will find the things we left behind / because we never thought to leave a fucking archive."

That sentiment of "we're all screwed, so why not have some fun?" carried when Baldwin finally appeared to a thundering round of applause. He was backed by haunting music from one-man electronic band Disparition, who stayed on stage throughout. Between updates on the glow cloud, Baldwin oversaw an advertisement from a "patch of haze" with a Jersey accent, interviewed a bubbly teenage militia leader whose fighters were using weapon from Roxane Gay and Salman Rushdie books to battle the paranormal, and led the crowd in a theatrical "Oath to the Glow Cloud" involving a good deal of hand waving and ritualistic chanting.

Though plenty of the imagery was creepy—during the horoscope section, Leos were advised to lend a hand because "you already have plenty in your trunk, don't be selfish"—the laughter never stopped, and the ultimate message, delivered for the first time directly from the glow cloud, was an uplifting one.

"Risk everything," Baldwin told the young crowd in closing. "And face the world."
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