From Vegas...

FIGHT CLUB’S CHUCK PALAHNIUK VISITS LAS VEGAS

By • Feb 3rd, 2001 •

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February 13, 2004

People started lining up four hours before the reading. The mob had overflowed to capacity forcing fans to watch the reading on a closed-circuit monitor in the library’s basement. You were given a ticket if you wanted something signed. Even with a pre-reading signing, Palahniuk stayed for hours (my friends left at 11:30 PM and there were still one hundred people behind them on line) signing copies of his books, Fight Club DVD’s, and posters. The reading had ended at 8:30 PM.

Palahniuk’s fans adore him.

Average age of fan: 21 years old. Pre-teens were there. Two pre-teens had 6-inch high shades of green mohawks. Someone was wearing a gas mask. Kids had copies of Playboy magazine (that I had just gotten in the mail that morning).

I was forewarned that Palahniuk was going to read one of his most disgusting, vile stories, the one that has already caused 39 people to faint. It is called “Guts.” You can read it in the latest issue of Playboy magazine. Better yet, go to the official Palahniuk fansite and hunt down a reading by him.

It is vile. It is pure agony to sit through. It is deliciously vulgar. Number 40 fainted.

Even though my husband has often condemned the movie FIGHT CLUB as having “no socially redeeming values,” he begrudgingly came along. Unfortunately for him, the Las Vegas-Clark County Public Library was closed. He had to listen to the reading held in the library’s large auditorium. He was furious every time I shouted and clapped.
He was appalled: “That guy is very disturbed, but entertaining. I hope Portland is keeping a file on him.”

Palahniuk gained notoriety in 1996 with the publication of his book “Fight Club.” He has since written six novels including best-sellers “Choke,” “Lullaby,” and “Diary.” Palahniuk read Chapter Six from “Fight Club,” which was the first thing he wrote. He then read a “postcard” he wrote for a travelogue on Portland. Then came “Guts.”

For the Q&A, Palahniuk came out with two huge boxes filled with rubber hacked-off legs dripping blood and exposing bone. Each questioner got one. A young fan asked Palahniuk when he was agreeing to accept fan mail. Apparently, Palahniuk has placed a moratorium on fan mail. He said he didn’t know when, but for a few days he will accept, read and answer fan mail. He checks postmarks. The mail is so daunting, Palahniuk must be in a certain state of mind. There is an underground network waiting for the slim-days period to be announced. There is not much notice given.

I’ve started my letter to Palahniuk. I want to be ready when the alarm sounds.

Palahniuk is a very seductive personality and this was an opportunity to see how a young speaker enthralls his audience. He has tapped in, like Eminem, to the masturbatory dread of his young male audience. He reveals secrets. He proudly flaunts a necklace of obsessed horrors.

Palahniuk was having a great time. A friend, sitting next to me, hoped Palahniuk would sign his copy of “Fight Club” with his signature salute: “To the best cellmate ever!”

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