It may be hard to imagine the WOW Hall being transformed into an adult pajama party, where story topics range from burying infants in the backyard or dropping acid at a taping of “The Price Is Right.” But that’s exactly what Chuck Palahniuk, Chelsea Cain, and Lidia Yuknavitch did this Friday.
The floor of the hall was filled with pajama-clad fans clutching stuffed animals and hanging on every word. The three authors were dressed for the part Friday night, each wearing pajamas and sitting on the stage floor. Between readings, the authors tossed beach balls and glow sticks out for the crowd to inflate. When Palahniuk took to the podium for his reading, he asked the crowd to throw the glow stick filled beach balls into the air saying, “That’s what I thought it would look like,” as if it was just some quirky social experiment he had wanted to test.
As for the readings, Cain read a disturbing short story about a deranged mistress taking a man hostage, tying him up and dissecting him in gruesome detail. Yuknavitch took to the podium and explained to the audience how Palahniuk and Cain have helped her realize that life was worth living, just barely shedding a tear. Her reading featured the crowd-pleasing character, Vag-zilla, that involved the audience shouting their interpretation of a monstrous Vag-zilla roar. She also made it a point to display her “50-year-old camel-toe” to everyone in attendance.
Palahniuk closed the night with his immersive, relevant and amusing story about the college life. After Palahniuk’s reading, the authors fielded a few questions from the audience with each answer turning into an impromptu storytelling opportunity.
As the reading came to a close, Palahniuk was swarmed with fans looking to get a book signed, a photograph taken, or just a simple handshake. Although it was an intimate venue with an intimate attendance count, it was very apparent that Palahniuk’s fandom is deeply engrained in Oregon’s creative culture.