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Podcast: John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton live at Coolidge Corner Theatre


Last Wednesday, the Coolidge's upstairs theater was heaving with excitable dorks of all stripes, all giddy with anticipation for a live reading and performance from John Hodgman and his surprise musical guest, Jonathan Coulton. You don't get a bill like this too often, folks. (Impatient peeps, scroll down for the MP3 download.)

Hodgman may have rocketed to minor-television-personality fame as the tweedy, bemused PC in those Apple ads, but he's been making our nerd hearts go pitter-pat for years now -- as a McSweeney's contributor, a Daily Show correspondent, a This American Life darling, and the author of Areas of My Expertise, which spawned the infamous 700 Hoboes Project. Coulton, a college buddy of Hodgman's, is the sensitive geek troubadour who's been tearing up the blogosphere with painfully hysterical Creative Commons-licensed jams like "Code Monkey" and "Skullcrusher Mountain."

Hodgman's Coolidge reading of his new book, More Information Than You Require, was a very special appearance indeed. Brookline is Hodgman's hometown, so we were treated to strange asides like this: John Hodgman describing a childhood visit to Universal Studios in LA, where a Charlie Chaplin impersonator mistook young Hodge for a girl and demanded a kiss (an incident he describes as "a traumatic homosexual silent-comedy date rape"), only to pause the story, look out into the audience, and note: "You will remember this, Dad -- you were the one who took me."

This all-too-brief and face-hurtingly funny reading segued into the musical portion of evening, with a buckskin-shirt-and-coonskin-cap-clad Coulton laying down a few gems. Here's the set list, with helpful time demarcations:

37 min: An ode to Adama, Starbuck, those other wily Capricans, to the tune of the original Battlestar Galactica theme song
39 min: "Tom Cruise Crazy," which is just as awesome as it sounds
43 min: "The Future," a wistful sci-fi epic of adolescent angst
47 min: "Brookline," Coulton's chronicle of getting sucked into the charming-yet-Lovecraftian vortex that is Brookline, thanks to Hodgman's nefarious influence
52 min: "The Presidents," an "88 Lines About 44 Women"-style ditty about all the presidents so far (a song that's about to get a major retooling)
57 min: The evening's grand finale, a moment of musical/literary history that MAY NEVER BE REPEATED, in which Hodgman picks up a ukelele and joins Coulton in an adorably wobbly rendition of "Tonight You Belong to Me." Holy swoon.

After that, we all scooted out of the theater and over to the Booksmith, because the 7 pm screening of Vicky Cristina Barcelona waits for no one. ("The movies must go on!" Hodgman proclaimed, shooing us out. "I know from when I worked here.")

Listen to the full reading and concert here:

DOWNLOAD: John Hodgman reads from "More Information Than You Require" and Jonathan Coulton performs live at Coolidge [MP3] (recorded October 22, 2008) 

If this podcast is in fact less John Hodgman information than you require, we humbly submit to you a few This American Life gems:

-John Hodgman explores the secret inner life of Cuervo Man
-John Hodgman is both delighted and horrified to be professionally entangled with legendary B-film star Bruce Campbell (who is coming to Boston in just one week!)
-John Hodgman investigates the psychological significance behind the age-old question: "Flight or invisibility?"

Also, Bostonist has a great slideshow up from the event -- check it out.

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