Pop Culture Happy Hour Live

Last night was NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast’s second live taping. You may recall that about this same time last year they held their first live taping in conjunction with the NPR Sale-a-bration, in which they were selling a bunch of NPR swag at a discount before vacating their old building. My husband and I went down for that one and if you remember my comments on it from last year, though it was super fun the logistics of it were not great. Now that NPR has moved in to their new headquarters there is an actual space in the building for events such as this, so last night’s experience was approximately one million times better than last year’s.

This time I attended with my friends Heather and Karen. Luckily for me Heather was right on top of finding out if I wanted to go when they announced that they were doing this and that tickets were on sale. I was away at a conference at the time and since the tickets sold out in about 10 hours I probably would have missed out on it if Heather hadn’t alerted me to the fact that it was happening and prompted me to get tickets right away. I’m glad it all worked out because I would have been super sad to not get to go.

Luckily the weather cooperated for us too. It seemed for awhile like bad weather might impact plans for the podcast taping, but remember how I was saying the other day that meteorologists in Maryland have no idea how to forecast winter weather? Well that was the case yesterday as well. Instead of getting way more snow than predicted as we did on Sunday, yesterday they were predicting 4-6 inches and we maybe got 1 inch. Mostly it was just melting or turning into a slushy mess so I’m not really sure how much actually fell. The roads at any rate stayed completely fine. Since people in these parts panic over even the forecast of a tiny amount of snow most schools were closed as was the federal government, which was super great for us because it meant the drive from Baltimore to DC close to rush hour was a breeze. So thanks horrible weather forecasters and panicy government for shutting down for the day. You improved my evening immensely.

We made it down to DC in plenty of time to grab dinner before heading over to the NPR headquarters for the podcast taping. They have a very nice lobby area where they were selling food and drink, and they had little tables set up for people to stand around. The NPR shop was open as well for all your NPR swag needs including new Pop Culture Happy Hour swag. I got say hi to my friends Ed and Kate, who were there as well, while we were waiting for the taping to start.

The new studio area for recording events is great. There were just chairs on the floor in the front and then some tiered seating the back. I’m horrible at things like this, but my guess would be it holds a couple hundred people. There was also a stage area in the front where the participants were seated so that we could actually see them this time. They actually wound up taping two separate podcasts last night, so that was a treat. The first one was one designed in their typical format with two topical segments followed by what’s making them happy this week. The second podcast was split into two segments. The first was a series of quizzes featuring a lot of special guests that you will recognize if you have listened to the podcast in the past. I won’t say who here so as not to ruin it for anyone who has to wait to listen to the podcast when it comes out in a few weeks. During the second segment they did a Q&A with the audience allowing people to get up and ask them questions.

Both episodes were great fun. I laugh a decent amount at the podcast even when I’m listening to it on my own at the gym, which I sometimes feel like makes other people at the gym think I’m slightly crazy, but adding in lots of other people laughing with you and the energy of a live event made things even more hilarious last night. It was also fun to be able to actually see everyone instead of just hear them and see all their faces and gestures that you obviously don’t know are going on when you’re just listening at home. It makes me wonder how much we’re missing out on every week with only an audio track and no video track. Not that I’m advocating turning it into a vidcast as I would have no time to consume that.

After the show Linda, Trey, Glen, and Stephen stuck around to sign things and meet people who wanted to meet them. Heather and Karen stood in line to get some stuff signed and say hi to everyone. I chose to spend that time perusing the NPR shop because I am no good at things like that. I would definitely fail at attending any kind of con. I sometimes feel like I barely know what to say to people I’m friends with let alone trying to strike up a conversation with people I only know from podcasts or whatever. I totally side with Glen Weldon on this one. I am showing my support by buying tickets to your thing or buying your book, album, or whatever. I have no idea what I would say to you in actual person other than dumbly saying I like your thing. I did once strike up a horribly awkward (on my part) conversation with Trey Graham at a wedding we were both at, which strengthened my resolve that I am super lousy at being a fan of people. I suspect he was super happy that they started the toasts and he could walk away without seeming like he was trying to escape from talking to me. I’m sure he would graciously say that isn’t the case, but I wouldn’t hold it against him if it was true because I know I’m no good at things like that. This is also why I have never despite his encouragements to do so gone up to Stephen Thompson and said hi at the Newport Folk Festival. I’ll be the happy introvert over here in the corner enjoying your thing at a distance.

Anyway, it was a super fun night and I look forward to going again in the future assuming they hold more live tapings.

Picture of 3 women in front of a Pop Culture Happy Hour sign
Karen, Heather, and I. They make me look like a midget.

2 thoughts on “Pop Culture Happy Hour Live

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