First, I want to say that I wasn't all that scared. I was surprised, because it seemed like a situation that ought to have been really scary. But getting there went very smoothly, and there wasn't really anything to be particularly terrified of. The show, by the way, was awesome.
This isn't going to be a bery directly informative post, because I don't really know how to report on something like this. It's kind of a blur. A big, extraordinary blur.
I really hope the opening bit was unplanned. Or, rather, because it couldn't possibly have been totally unplanned, I hope Hank really hadn't told John he was doing it. (John came out to give an opening speech, and Hank started singing a jingle-like routine about Carnegie Hall. Then he kept cutting in over John's narration, and John seemed genuinely surprised, and a little annoyed, by it. It was very funny.)
John's speech after that, which was obviously planned and fairly serious, was also incredibly moving. More than Hank's goofy singing, I think John's speech set the tone for the night. (Hank's singing seriously contributed to the tone, though, which is a very good thing.)
Here's a link directly to the right part of the video. Unfortunately, apparently YouTube no longer makes it easy to link directly to partway through a youTube video, so if you're watching this at the embed below, it's at 46:00.
A recurring theme throughout the night is the idea that art isn't about convincing people who disagree with it that they're wrong, it's about letting people who are already in the kind of place that the book is about, that they're not alone. John talks about it in that segment, listening to the Mountain Goats reminded me of that idea over and over again, and Neil Gaiman (who, holy crap, was there) talked about it when he talked about the sense of security he gets around the writing that makes him feel most exposed, because the response he gets, from thousands of people, is "I thought I was the only one."
By the way, the musical guests were all awesome. (I nearly wrote "Apart from Hank," but that's not fair. Hank is awesome. I just didn't think of him as a musical guest.) I had heard the Mountain Goats a bit before, not a whole bunch, but seeing them live is really amazing, and makes me want to look into more of their work. One of their songs, "Love, Love, Love," has kept me thinking for a while now about that idea of art meeting you where you're at -- all their songs, but this one in particular, seem like the kinds of songs that would be perfect for someone who's at a place where it's what they need to hear. They pull this off, it seems, by being near-completely inscrutible to people who don't necessarily need them. Personally, I keep feeling like I'm on the edge of knowing what that particular song is talking about, which is weirdly annoying.
I had never heard the other musical guest, Kimya Dawson, before. Well, that's not entirely true. Looking into it today I discovered that she's the singer from the Mouldy Peaches, who I have heard before. But I'd never heard any of her solo stuff, and it's really incredibly amazing. She performed "I Like Giants" and "Same Shit/Complicated," and in doing so convinced me that I need to listen to way more of her music.
Did I mention, by the way, that Neil Gaiman was there? It was crazy. He actually tweeted that he wished he could have been there during the show, while he was backstage in order to secure the secrecy of his appearance. He was on stage with Hannah Hart and John and Hank Green for Question Tuesday, where Hannah asked Hank questions and Neil asked John questions, and mysterious voices from back stage gave warnings about time running out.
Below this paragraph is an embed of the show -- the show part doesn't start for like a half an hour, but it's okay, you can skip the static screen that's part of the first huge chunk of the livestream video. Nothing important happens then.
Don't forget to be awesome.