WRITERS WITH DRINKS: a rare use of language

(Nicole McFeely)

I want to see Charlie Jane‘s pages.

I’ve never gone to a reading where I’ve enjoyed the host’s introductions to the performers as much as the performers themselves. It would be a pretty unusual thing to expect, I believe. However, there are a lot of unusual things about the Writers With Drinks series hosted by Charlie Jane Anders.

For one, the audience that packs the house every month at the Makeout Room to enjoy the show is much more lively and interactive than many of the crowds I’ve been a part of at literary events. This has a lot to do with not only the caliber of performers who have stepped up to the mic at the series for the past ten years but by the uncharacteristically wide range of genres by which they might be categorized: poetry, smut, science fiction, stand-up comedy, erotica—the list continues. By including such a wide array of genres, many of which have struggled in the past or still struggle today to gain the credit they deserve from “serious” literature critics, Charlie has found a way to bring these unsung communities together to experience and appreciate one another’s work.

And nowhere are the results of this unique collaborative phenomenon documented more tangibly than Charlie Jane’s pages. For they also serve as the notes Charlie occasionally references during her brilliant and hilarious introductions to the readers. These introductions, which are smart performances in themselves, are half of the enjoyment of the show for me, and I don’t imagine I am alone; Charlie bears a very rare talent—a sharp intellect coupled with the ability to wield it properly. Like some of my favorite satirists and Science Fiction authors—Vonnegut, Twain, Swift—she is adept at stirring us to laughter while covertly coaxing us to realize that we are laughing mostly at ourselves.

For a comedic dose of reality and to find out more about the impassioned and inspiring artists March 19th’s show featured, check out the videos and links below (Charlie’s intros included for your enjoyment). Cheers!


“You have such an unusual accent Mr. Kruger, where are you from?” And you should like to know! Charles Kruger met the often difficult task of starting off a show perfectly, charming the crowd from the start with his poem about this interesting query and following it with a captivating and cathartic performance.


Melissa Stein‘s poetry is composed of delicate threads, laced together so intricately and with such artistry that they become  like “a silk carpet woven so finely you can’t push a needle through.” Her words resound like a song that vibrates past the skin, displaying an intimacy with language that is quite rare.


“Um. So, how many of you have ever been in a relationship before?” Chris Baty, creator of National Novel Writing Month, had the audience alternating between sympathetic “awes” and hysterics with his hilarious “short story” (quotation marks his), a semi-transparent tale about how he met his now recent ex-girlfriend.


Deborah Santana, who is not only author, philanthropist, activist, non-profit founder, producer, mentor, and all around inspirational human being, had the crowd laughing with her relatable letter to Tom, the guy who never called back. Ah, Tom—what a fool! I think you’ll all agree that he missed out big time.


Jiz Lee, a genderqueer porn star who is known for working towards fostering a positive and open attitude about sex, read from some insightful blog entries which you should check out in their entirety @ JizLee.com.