Nathaniel Dalton firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point alumnus and New York Times bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss hosted a Geek Carnival, in Stevens Point featuring beer, brats, and a bouncy house with all proceeds dedicated to support the local non-profit organization, The Farmshed.
Rothfuss was not the only celebrity in attendance. He brought with him the musical comedy duo Paul and Storm, whose music has been featured in “Despicable Me 2.”
Recently, Rothfuss has been touring the country with Paul and Storm, filling in the space between their sets by reading from his renowned body of work, which includes a few articles from his time as a writer for the UWSP student newspaper, The Pointer.
The trio was going to do a show in Madison, but there was bad luck with securing a venue.
“Well, you know, there’s kind of a cool place in Stevens Point if you want do something in central Wisconsin,” Rothfuss said.The show was held downtown at what was formerly the Sorenson’s Garden Center next to Highrise. The Farmshed has been working for the past couple years to restore the facility and turn it into a food production greenhouse, community kitchen and gathering space for the Stevens Point community.
Zest Coffeehouse and Bakery and Central Waters Brewery donated food and beer to the event, with all sales going to aid The Farmshed. The Internet Cafe and the Tech Lounge were also there to set up a gaming area where people could hang out and play “Mario Kart” and other video games.
The performances that night were excellent all around. From Paul and Storm leading the crowd in a fake Irish drinking song complete with improvised beer bottle panflutes, to Rothfuss reading and musing about his wickedly dark children’s book The Adventures of the Princess and Mister Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed.
Halfway through Paul and Storm’s first set, they made an announcement that a fan from the audience had won a raffle to come on stage and say whatever he wanted into the microphone. The fan timidly approached, and, after a pause, looked to his girlfriend in the front row and proposed to her on the spot. She said yes, and the room exploded in applause, followed by some hearty congratulations and light teasing from Paul and Storm.
When it came time to read one of his old Pointer articles, even Rothfuss was surprised at what he’d pulled from his archives. “‘Good Girls Don’t Lick Doorknobs,’ I don’t remember this one,” Rothfuss said, reading aloud the title of one of his advice columns.
The night ended with all three performers on stage together singing The Captain’s Wife’s Lament, a pirate- themed ballad which Paul and Storm have become infamous for dragging out ad nauseum. That night’s rendition lasted over 16 minutes and included much improvisational comedy, crowd participation and seamen jokes.
The night’s livery was certainly worth the price of entry, and doubly so when you realize all the proceeds went to an especially good cause.
“When I asked Paul and Storm ‘hey, are you guys interested in doing something in Stevens Point andsupporting the local food community?’ they were like ‘yeah, that sounds cool,’ and there was no hesitation. And that’s something that I really love about the geek community,” Rothfuss said. “Geeks are smart, and these are smart charities. You get an incredible value for your dollar. Something like Farmshed, it really improves the community, and that continues to develop and grow.”
Though the event is over, there are still ways that students can contribute to Farmshed.
“Can you stud a wall? Can you paint? Are you good at driving nails? Because there’s work to be done to get the facility finished, and after that there’s work for eager hands, that’s part of what Farmshed does. Come on over, learn how to grow some plants while you’re helping the greenhouse grow,” Rothfuss said.
“It’s a true community project, everybody from electricians to plumbers to woodworkers have contributed, even farmers like myself,” said Maria Davis, a board member at the Farmshed and the Director of Rothfuss’ own charity organization, Worldbuilders.