Thursday night (28 May 2015) I had the extreme pleasure of attending “An Evening with Chuck Palahniuk,” presented by the Politics & Prose bookstore at Sixth & I in Washington, D. C. Palahniuk is one of my favorite authors—most famous for Fight Club, though my favorite book is Rant. The event included a signed first edition of his new collection of short stories, Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread (Doubleday, 2015) and a signed copy of the new comic book sequel, Fight Club 2 no. 1 (Dark Horse Comics), which was released on 27 May.
Palahniuk is a natural-born storyteller. His stories just happen to tend to be pretty f***ed up. Throughout the evening he read a few short stories from Make Something Up, but even his responses to audience questions evolved into the same type of twisted stories that he writes. Like the French veterinary student who was drugged with animal tranquilizers and stuffed into a hollowed-out horse carcass (true story). The event was scheduled to run until 9pm, but we didn’t get out until 10!
In between the stories and the questions were several other giveaways. Everyone who asked a question received copies of various of Chuck’s books. Several times throughout the evening he tossed bags of candy into the audience. At other times he asked the audience if anyone had a dog and tossed large stuffed animals into the crowd.
The grand finale/giveaway was an amazing spectacle, however. In our bags with our signed book & comic was a clear blow-up beach ball and two glow sticks. We were instructed to blow up the ball, put the glow sticks in the center, and write our names on the ball with the Sharpies that were floating around the room. During the finale, the lights were turned off, and everyone threw their balls into the center of the room—and there were a few hundred people there. As the balls were popped up into the air, it was a pretty amazing sight! Seven of the balls were selected to receive signed, hardcover, gilted-edged first editions of Fight Club or Beautiful You (reported retail value $150). Of course, I did not win. No big surprise there—I rarely win anything that relies on “luck of the draw.”
The final part of the night was a big thank you to the hosts of the evening—the staff of Politics & Prose and Sixth & I. After giving them a huge ovation, they tossed signed rubber or plastic severed arms out into the crowd. Again, didn’t catch one. Sadly they are now selling on eBay for $70-$150.
The night was awesome—it was definitely not your typical book event, but what would you expect from an author like Chuck Palahniuk?