The Manhattan Internet Lounge, before the show.

The crowd at the Monday, May 11th episode of Web Writers In The Flesh was smaller than at the previous two readings: no more than sixty people braved the fifteenth day of a rainstorm to reach the Manhattan Internet Lounge.

It wasn't a bad thing.

Gallery technical director Sean Gibbons turned down the lights, and there was an intimate feel in the dark loft on Broadway.

First up was Xander Mellish, who read an excerpt from her comic revenge fantasy Matchmaking Creeps. It was set to the music from the Bouronville ballet "La Sylphide."

Next was Victoria Ludwin, delivering a funny urban essay about a hairdresser who promised to transform her - and didn't.

Tyler Thoreson, a last-minute addition to the schedule, was a real hit with the audience. He read a piece about the humiliations of a New York fact-checker, as seen through a haze of anti-depressants.

Web Writers. Back, from left: Ayelet Sela, Tyler Thoreson, Brett Leveridge, Terry Baker. Front: Victoria Ludwin, Xander Mellish.

If the first three readers performed traditional pieces merely transmitted on the web, Ayelet Sela showed how to take advantage of the new medium. Her excerpts from the online version of NBC's "Homicide" made use of RealAudio, RealVideo, and a changing palette of colorful images.

Long ago, the Manhattan Internet Lounge was a leather warehouse, and Terry Baker used to work there. Whatever leather spirits remained must have been on Terry's side: on Monday, he was the highlight of the show. Reading an essay about life with HIV, he was intensely emotional but never maudlin.

The show ended on a cheerful note, with Brett Leveridge reading from his pioneering website, "Men My Mother Dated." Brett's mother had a heck of a lot of fun.

The evening wrapped up with a quick round of applause for Sean Gibbons, who managed the sound, lighting, and all the technical hookups.

Before next week's reading, Sean has promised to do something about the weather.