Doomed…The Tour.


I went to the pajama party with very cool bedtime stories and everyone was tossing around balls and pussy like it was nothing.

(I wish I could take credit for the quote, but it was all Ruth Jordan.) We were, however, in our pajamas at UW-Milwaukee with several hundred other people, the majority also in their pjs. Mine were Nancy Drew—it’s okay to be jealous. Why were we wandering about in public with our slippers on, you might ask? Well, it was to see the Doomed tour, starring Chuck Palahniuk, Monica Drake and Chelsea Cain. And they asked us to.

Palahniuk was sporting a red smoking jacket complete with cravat, Drake had her hair up in curlers and Cain had us all beat with her sassy black lingerie and trademark red devil horns. They told us bedtime stories…although more the type to keep you up at night, wondering about monsters under your bed. Palahniuk told two stories; one that twists the guts out—quite literally—and the other a macabre yet touching story involving defibrillators and lobotomies. Drake’s short story was wonderful—an expository type letter to a loved one with tones of Tim Dorsey and plenty of drugs, booze and motorcycle accidents. Cain had hands down the best props—a bloodied baby doll complete with spiders and bloody drool and a noise machine for the appropriate screams. Without a doubt it was brilliant, captivating storytelling by all authors, holding the attention of each and every audience member hostage.

Chelsea with Ruth and Erica.

But what about the balls and pussy, you wonder? Audience members were given a blow-up beach ball to fill with their own hot air and glow sticks. These were tossed about in the dark several times during the evening, filling the darkened auditorium—and a few light fixtures—with lights and fun. The balls were also used later to do a mad-lib, creating a story using words from the audience. The authors also carried in a sack full of stuffed kitties, which were cheerfully thrown into the crowd between stories.

This was by far the most fun and creative book event that I have been to thus far. If you ever have the chance to see these authors—together or separately—I suggest you drop what you’re doing and make time for the show.

Erica Ruth Neubauer