The 2015 Worm Show

CL and MM at Worm Show 2015
Curtis Loer and Morris Maduro at the Worm Show, June 27, 2015.
Click here to watch on YouTube. 2000+ hits as of 10/2015!

This was the sixth Worm Show to take place at an International Meeting. Links to all the shows can be found here. Below are other comments and trivia on the 2015 show.

- The 2015 show ended up being one minute longer than the 2013 show at just under 64 minutes.

- The 2014 Devo Show can be watched here. The Nirvana parody was made for that meeting and notes about it and the Devo Show can be found here. The 2014 Devo Show contains a lot of material from past Worm Shows as well as some that was reused for the 2015 Worm Show.

- Some mistakes and gaps were edited out for the YouTube video.

- The opening part of the 'History' refers to the Big Bang because Craig Mello did the same thing during his Keynote talk the night before (explaining why it got a big laugh).

- CL and MM were wearing 'Spock' ear props right after the opening but removed them the next time they went offstage.

- CL and MM switch to fake Craig Mello name tags at some point during the show in honor of the first time a Nobel Laureate was known to be attending a Worm Show. (Subtle, we know.) Mello can be seen in the audience shots at the very bottom left corner. MM recalls that Martin Chalfie had attended the 2007 show before he won the Nobel Prize. The 'mCherry' question is a running gag - we asked it of Chalfie at the 2013 show, and at the 2014 SDB meeting. Footage from the latter, including Chalfie being asked about mCherry, was shown in the 2015 show.

- In 2013 and 2015 the crew at Royce hall removed the podium for us. This made it a lot easier to run the show as it had previously seemed to be in the way. Owen Lewis was the stage manager at Royce Hall for the first 2005 show and he retired two days after the 2015 show. (He was around earlier in the Worm Meeting but did not run the worm show itself.)

- The story of how Monica Driscoll and Tim Schedl did not watch the 2004 show prior to approving its occurrence at the 2005 meeting was told to MM by MD at the 2013 meeting.

- Compiling a 'best-of' video was tough. We originally had something much longer but cut it back to 5.5 minutes in the interests of time.

- Videorecording of the show was done at full HD (1920x1080, 30P, 24 Mbps) using three Canon camcorders. (Similar for the interviews recorded at the meeting.) Two of the the cameras were run by Hailey Choi and Kollan Doan who also appear in the 'Office' parody.

- The original Simon and Garfunkel songs are "I Am A Rock" (1966) and "Cecilia" (1970). The medley originally had a third song, "Feelin' Wormy," a parody of "Feelin' Groovy" (1966). We cut it for time and expanded the "CRISPR" song by adding another verse. These songs were popular around the time that the worm field got its start. The Star Trek original TV series ran from 1966-1969.

- Most (if not all songs) accompanied by MM on guitar (i.e. at the Posters and the Simon & Garfunkel songs) were changed from the original keys to make the chords easier. Most I-IV-V chord progressions used were D-G-A, A-D-E or C-F-G and a capo was not used. The guitar used is the same dreadful cheap model used in the 2013 show. All the songs at the Posters (except for 'G3' and 'It's Chris Link') take pieces of others: 'Artificial Sweeteners' is from 'Crimson and Clover' by Tommy James and the Shondells; 'WormAtlas' and 'Hey Paul' are from 'Hey Jude' by the Beatles; 'The Dauer Sleeps Tonight' is from 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' by the Tokens; 'Nemametrix' and 'It's Kathryn McCormick' are from 'La Bamba' by Ritchie Valens; and 'Barbara Meyer' is from 'Barbara Ann' by Fred Fassert, popularized by The Beach Boys. Recording these songs, all done at the first poster session, was tough. Every time we would start a song a small crowd of people would assemble and some would even take out their phones to record us. The whole idea was loosely inspired by comic Sean Cullen's bit 'Food of Your Choice' and the kinds of gags seen on late night TV talk shows.

- In the music CD ad, MM sang the Nate Ruess and Maroon 5 parodies; MM's daughter sang the three others. There was no karaoke file available for the Nate Ruess song as it had only just been released at the time of recording. MM played the accompaniment on a keyboard in its original key of D-flat (it's just a few chords). However, it was easier for him to sing that song in a lower pitch, so the recordings of the accompaniments were pitch-adjusted down. 'Using CRISPR/Cas" in the Katy Perry song was also MM's voice but pitched down even more. In the Maroon 5 parody of the song 'Sugar' (hence 'glucose') there wasn't enough time to include pyruvate oxidation which would occur before Krebs cycle and during mitochondrial import.

- "Magic Worm Blower" is a squeeze-bottle of air with a syringe needle in the tip, used for injecting bubbles of air into earthworms used as bait for fishing. In the water, the air bubbles make the worms float (instead of droop) so the fish will bite the worm and the hook.

- We did not intend to offend with the 'Golden Gate TALEN kits - $5' parody ad. But obviously methods for CRISPR seem to be superseding those that use TALENs and recombinant Zinc Finger nucleases.

- Most of the submitted videos were edited by adding subtitles, shortening sequences or improving audio.


- The storyline is obviously inspired by causality parodox plotlines in the Back to the Future (BTTF) series of films. The video references the film directly in parts: The story starts with several timers and a clock (like the first BTTF film). MM's car is used as a time machine (with novelty OUTATIME license plate), a photograph is used as a plot device, a character makes a past change for personal gain, Adler Dillman says "Let's go back to the future," MM calls AD "Biff," music cues are used from the original film, and so on. There is also a TARDIS and a clip from the movie Interstellar (2014) shown in the beginning, both of which are references to time travel.

- MM really did reconfigure his office but not during his sabbatical. Most shelves and file cabinets were removed in favor of a big whiteboard on one wall and an LCD display on the other, and his computer is on a 'standing desk' setup inspired by this arrangement.

- Recorded entirely in native 24P to simulate 'the film look'.

- The Citrus Experiment Station was one of the few buildings on the UCR campus in 1955. Today it houses the Anderson Graduate School of Management, but the front of the building looks the same. The street used during the 'time travel' leads right to this building. The video changes to grayscale during the 1955 sequences.

- Besides the plot holes and paradoxes, the challenge with trying to 'start' the worm field is that Brenner would have likely been in Cambridge and nowhere close to Riverside, CA in 1955. (Unfortunately the DeLorean can travel in time but it's just a car otherwise, not a TARDIS.) The idea of sending a letter was an easy solution. (In BTTF Marty McFly gives Doc Brown a letter in 1955 that hints about events in 1985.) Reproductions of U.S. stamps from 1955 appear on the letter though it is difficult to see.

- Unfortunately, having the characters explain the time-travel plot consumes a lot of time itself.

- The WormBase flyswatter makes a couple of cameo appearances post-time travel.

- 2015 is the 30th anniversary of the first BTTF film, and is also the year to which the characters travel to in the second BTTF film. The 'time circuit' shows the same date (November 12, 1955) as used in the first film.

- The 'lie detector' setup is from Blade Runner (1982) and is called a Voight-Kampff machine, and it is not really a lie detector. The V-K logo is used briefly in the simulated 'TV' view. Behind the characters is a video of a vital signs monitor taken from YouTube. Nearly all the questions that MM asks are taken directly from Blade Runner (1982) and Meet the Parents (2000), and in the style used in the TV series Orphan Black (2013-).

- During the 'wrong' timeline a fly lab in the same building was used for many shots. The appearance of windows and lab benches is the same as in MM's lab. Some care was taken to avoid worm references until the timeline is 'restored.'

- A lot of the dialogue had to be replaced because of the ambient noise in the original shots. Sound effects had to be added back as well.

- The 'mole crickets' segment with the graphics and narration is a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981 miniseries).

- Get back to work now.

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last updated 10-27-2015

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