Oh boy. Here we are. The end of 2016, which means it’s time for another of my annual wrap-up posts. (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011). These are fun for me to remember the things I’ve done and to mark the passage of time, otherwise it can feel like nothing has happened. At this moment, as 2016 ends and the world seems to have already hit the metaphorical iceberg, everything short of major social change can feel like wasted time and flailing, but I’m doing this anyway, because I want to. Let’s get into it.
What Did The Doubleclicks Do In 2016?
By the numbers:
2 (very large) tours and one minitour — planned and produced by us
20 podcast episodes released
9 online shows
12 new music videos on our youtube channel (7 originals, 5 covers)
6 variety shows in portland
1 move of the office
lots of therapy
We’ve toured in the past, but this year we put together our biggest, baddest tour yet. We took on almost the whole country in one 10,000-mile trek, which meant we could hit the “in between” places that we had never been before (Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana), and visit some places we hadn’t seen in a while (Wisconsin, Toronto, Norfolk). In addition to doing nearly 30 shows in just as many days (include two shows in a day two different places), we set ourselves the challenge of doing an all-ages concert in every city where we played, which limited our venue options quite a bit. Planning the tour took a few months, and being on the road took a couple months, and the tour itself took a toll—that’s a LOT of van time. But it was amazing.
Doing a show every night for a month in sequence meant that we developed a really tight, really fun show. We got to A/B test a setlist and shine it up, we got to try new things (like including a new President Snakes duet), and we got to meet all kinds of amazing people. Kids. Grown-ups. Nerds. Moms of nerds. So many folks who sang along to so many obscure songs. People who gave us bracelets and hugs. People who gave us time and attention. It was all so so so good. We also got into enough of a groove with the tour and spent enough time planning ahead, that we actually did some sightseeing in a couple cities (mostly dinosaur skeletons in various locations), which was rad.
What else… oh yeah… LIBRARIES. We were able to play a handful of really fun library shows across the country this year, and all of those have been amazing. Free shows for all ages of people in a building full of books… well, it’s a no-brainer when you think about it. We have really enjoyed the library gig and I hope we can do more in 2017! (If you are a librarian or know one, check out our information and get in touch!)
Other highlights in the shows department included our triumphant return to Ohio for three incredible packed shows, a wonderful convention in Colorado called “MALcon,” a packed trip to DragonCon, two PAXes, and opening for Sam Maggs on her book tour stop in Portland. Our online shows were also incredibly fun this year, with wonderful chat rooms full of friendly folks and lots of costumes and guests.
Making things! It’s great! We did a lot of expansion in the “kinds of things we make” this year, which was a lot of fun.
LIVE: The Variety Show was one of our big projects for 2016 and it went extremely well. The goal of this monthly live show in Portland was to be an outlet for new material—songs, of course, but also sketches, comedy, and scenes from the President Snakes musical. This definitely got us to write more, it helped me develop the comedy writing and performing skills I’ve been working on and developing with classes, and one of the best, unexpected parts of that experience is that we got together a completely rad writers room bursting with local Portland talent. We got to book Portland comics on the show who were all delightful, and every show went super well, even the one where I had head lice, and the one where my phone got stolen right before, and the ones where my ex showed up unexpectedly, and the ones where we only had 20 minutes to set up while doors were open. Live theater—nothing like it! We got some amazing material out of this show, and I’m hoping that we can somehow combine all this new stuff with our online show format to get the great new stuff out to more than just the 30 people we can fit in the theater in Portland.
PODCAST: I launched a podcast called “Gosh Darn Fiasco,” in which we play the game Fiasco with our friends from the comedy and gaming comedian, and in each episode we improvise a brand-new story. Guests this year included Chelsea Cain, Hal Lublin, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Jim Butcher, and a ton more of super funny and delightful humans. We released 20 episodes this year and we’re hoping to keep making this podcast in the future!
LABEL: After years of releasing albums, producing tours and running kickstarters for ourselves, in 2016 we indulged our “wanting to rule the world” urges a little and started Doubleclicks Records, a crowdfunding-assistance Record Label to help other weirdo bands Make The Thing and Do The Thing. We released our first album on this label this summer—Radio Silence by Lucia Fasano, and brought her on tour with us through California! The album is great and we are honored to have been a part in bringing it to the world. We’re working on a couple more projects for the new year (folks interested in finding out about the label can contact firstname.lastname@example.org). One of the cool things about expanding the work we do has been that we can delegate some of the stuff we don’t want to do, so we have our first regular long-term helper on team Doubleclicks, our new media manager Elisabeth who is taking some of the PR workload. That’s right, we’re hiring people! We’re officially an empire now, right?
VIDEO: This year we put out a few great episodes of my comedy show Catty B’s and helped produce the wonderful Rich Malena’s games and math show Atomic Game Theory. Making things and helping people make things are the absolute best.
GAMES: Speaking of making things, one of the coolest bits of this year was being asked to contribute some writing to the new edition of Betrayal At The House On The Hill. You can walk into a game store and see my name on a game box! You can also see our faces in the game “Get Lucky.” We’re all over the game store these days.
The Scoring Department
Aubrey has been doing wonderful work writing instrumental music for podcasts, and we’ve both had the honor to work on jingles for a few projects this year, including: Feminist Frequency, Future Girl, Tabletop Day, Big Data, Women at Warp and Roderick On The Line. It’s fun to have little bite-size challenges like these to split up the big shows, tour, and album work.
Let’s talk about this for just a moment. Our country just elected a President who is openly racist and scary about sexual assault and seems to lack empathy and respect for the way our country has tried to keep some peace and love for the world for the last few decades. This came about because his views meshed more with a lot of Americans than the opposite. For some reason, folks were able accept racism along with the promise of small government and other strange platforms.
There are a lot of things that need to be done about this: we need to protect our friends and neighbors who are under attack. We need to speak truth to power and advocate for folks to listen to truth instead of propaganda. Those are some of our goals. But one of mine for next year will also be trying to understand the voters, the regular folks, who brought us to this point, who are hurting so much that This Man seemed like the right choice.
Empathy doesn’t mean forgiving the problem or the hate, but I’m in a position of privilege and freedom and I’d like to use it to try to listen and help and make this country a tiny bit better through the people who vote for the people who set the policy. Maybe that’s idealistic and silly, and you can say that about me on twitter, but I think probably I don’t care, and I’ve been reading and thinking and I’m gonna do that anyway. We’ll try to speak truth in our music, we’ll work on donating to and raising attention of causes that need it, and we’ll try to do this in a way that creates more love than hate. Gosh, I hope we can make things get better.
You Should Write A Song About That is our new project where we’re trying to expand the voices in our music by talking to other folks and writing songs about the new things we learn. I’m very excited to continue these interviews and share more from this project, in whatever direction it takes us.
Love Problems is (probably) the name of our next album. It’s not done yet, but it’s very close. We went all of last year without releasing a new CD, so we are long-overdue in Doubleclicks standards, and I’m very excited about the honest, personal stuff we’ve written for this album so far.
Online Shows have been such a treat for the last few years, and I’m hoping this new year will bring a new focus to them on sharing new, more polished conversations, more costumes, more surprises, and cool ways to integrate guests.
Everyone who backs us on Patreon, comments on our videos or posts, follows us across the web, comes to our shows, buys our music and shirts, says hi or shows support in a countless number of other ways, has really stepped up this year. We really appreciate it. These past two years have been a big transition time for us, and you have made it all real and made the art keep happening. You have supported us creating the art we’re proud of, and it’s just so dang awesome.
Love to you all and best of new years to those who celebrate. Hope we can keep doing rad stuff together in the new year. You are powerful and strong, sensitive and badass, empathetic and warm and capable of greatness. I’m so honored to know you.
and Aubrey (in spirit)