San Francisco

Mythbuster Adam Savage Brings Evening Of Journeys, Virtual Reality To Castro Theatre

Not feeling this year’s Halloween festivities? Looking to avoid the weekend rain showers? Why not stop by the Castro Theatre on Saturday night to see mythbuster Adam Savage and the team in action.

For the third consecutive year, Tested the Show is coming to the Castro for a night of talks, presentations, and demonstrations about science and technology. This year is themed “Journeys” and will highlight’s favorite projects over the past year, from Australia to Greenland, the edge of space to the realms of virtual reality.

Tested’s Norman Chan was born and raised here in San Francisco. If you don’t know him from’s podcasts or YouTube channel, you might recognize him as the guy who cruises around the Mission on a mini-Segway. He's excited about Saturday’s show.

Tested's Norman Chan on a mini-Segway at Golden Gate Park's Polo Fields. Photo: Peter Bartelme/Bay Area Science Festival

“It’s a great way for us to see and connect with our audience face-to-face,” said Chan, speaking of the show’s online audience of subscribers. “The show is kind of a reunion for us." Adam Savage echoed Chan’s remarks in a podcast earlier this week. “It’s fun to get up on the stage and hear direct response from the audience,” said Savage. “There’s just nothing quite like it.”

Chan and Savage aren’t stage performers, but the presenters will take full advantage of everything the Castro Theatre has to offer. “It was made as a film theater,” said Chan. “That’s why a lot of our content will be projected. We’re going to take advantage of that big beautiful screen and still give our presenters the stage space to move around.”

Tested the Show's presenters.

The show itself will run 90-minutes and will be broken down into five- to eight-minute presentations, some with videos and others that are slideshow driven. The Ten Thousand Ways will be providing musical accompaniment for some of the show’s segments, and one presenter, the “queen of crappy robotics” Simone Giertz, will be appearing via telepresence robot from Sweden. “It’s a different way for us to think about telling a story,” said Chan.

Part of that story will include a new virtual reality component. Chan’s co-founding editor in 2010, Will Smith, left last year to start FOO VR, a virtual reality company. At Tested the Show, Smith will be showing off the product that he’s been developing over the past 12 months.

On Saturday night, Chan, Savage, and Smith will be hooked up to motion sensors, and as they record part of their weekly podcast on stage, their avatars will be depicted on screen in a virtual reality environment. “We’ll be in the virtual space,” said Chan, “so we won’t be able to see the audience. We’ll only be able to see things inside the matrix.” According to him, this is only the second time that this technology will appear publicly, following a demonstration at Portland’s XOXO Festival.

Tested the Show: Journeys' DeLorean

Other presentations at Tested the Show will include footage from a test ride in a self-drifting, high-speed Back to the Future DeLorean, footage from an Arctic expedition aboard a Russian icebreaker, and footage from a high-altitude weather balloon night launch. “We launched that into space,” said Chan, “It was a perfect melding of our fascination with NASA and space culture and photography and the ability to take off-the-shelf parts and launch a weather balloon up into space.”

“Our audience is the maker community: people who build stuff and make things and who are curious,” said Chan. “We’re at the place where technology and art intersect, and that's what we’re hoping to do with this show.”

Tested the Show is one of 35 Bay Area Science Festival events. The festival, which began on Thursday, will conclude with Discover Day at AT&T Park on November 5th. General admission and balcony seating tickets for Tested the Show are still available.

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