Photo courtesy of Mike, as we forgot our camera (like dumbasses.)
It was packed at Don't Tell Mama's last night and my ears were already ringing from all the excitement before the show even began. There were a lot of familiar faces around; people we'd met at CSTS, people from DWNY, and fans of a certain blog I like to call home. A few minutes after eight the lights dimmed, the crowd hushed and yes, my fellow Buffyfesters, Tom Lenk was in the house.
Neither Tara nor I had any idea what to expect. How surprised I was when Tom started singing! I guess I should have figured that would happen, given that the joint was a piano bar and all but, well, it had been a "fire bad, tree pretty" kind of a day so the obvious may have been escaping me at the time. At the risk of sounding like someone's grandmother: quite a set of pipes on that boy! I had no idea our young Mister Lenk was so multi-talented.
So he sang a little song about how he kind of threw this show together while on a five hour flight. He's in New York auditioning for the Broadway production of "Rock of Ages" (which would explain said golden singing voice). More on that in a bitsy bit.
The bulk of the evening was spent talking about Tom's nerdy youth. He was a marching band geek and a fan of Cher (and Andrew Lloyd Weber). He suffered many the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that I and so many other geeks did. For the record I was a theater nerd whose favorite musicals were Les Mis and My Fair Lady. Don't judge me. [Tara's note: Hey, look, I wasn't a youth nerd but I still cracked the hell up at those geek stories...right down to the prom photo Tom showed complete with pubescent "crustache".]
In order to explain where his mind was at back in the late 80's and early 90's, Tom broke out some of the songs he'd written to describe his own personal trauma. Some were homages to Cher ballads while others were destined to be B-52's number one hits on the top 40. What really impressed most though was that, in the midst of all this funny, Tom really brought a deeply personal story. He talked about his friend, the one who got him through it all, who he went to homecoming with, who he wrote his songs for, who he visited in the hospital whenever she was sick. The friend that made him feel like he was worth something. The friend he lost. Tom, you broke my heart with that one, sir. I just lost a close friend so the moment felt especially personal for me. It was really poignant and beautiful.
Then Tom dressed like a German Star Trek fan, complete with mustache and hilarious accent. No kidding. It was amazing.
What else, what else. Oh! He read a bunch of actual internet forum posts written by teenage girls on Alloy.com back in the Buffy days, when he was hoping to be a teen heartthrob. We have a bunch of low quality clips from that so I'll let Tom fuzzily speak for himself there.
One last thing from the performance that we found hilarious was Tom banging a 23 year old Buffy fan and having to look at an "Andrew" era photo of himself during sex. Oh my god, seriously? Seriously! I would die. But honestly he's super hot right now. Is it alright for me to say that? Tom, you wanted to be a teen heartthrob well I may not be a teen but, if I weren't an old coot I would have totally swooned for you like a 14-year old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert. I'm just saying.
Tara and I got to speak with Tom briefly after the show and he is honestly the nicest. He was kind enough to sign a comic to be donated to the CBLDF (I'll post a link whenever it gets auctioned off). He actually talked to pretty much everyone there. The line was epic and we were about in the middle of it. When we spoke to him he hadn't even broken a sweat. Really, this boy is so good to his fans. I can't say enough good things.
So Tom is here auditioning for "Rock of Ages". Tom, if you're reading this, everyone here at Buffyfest is hoping you get it so that you will be in NYC. Everyone reading this should comment here or on Twitter hoping he breaks a leg because, for real and for sure, Tom is awesome.
Tom Lenk with most of Buffyfest. Thanks to Maria for this pic.