Web Writers. From left to right: Alison Dorfman, Austin Bunn, Tom Standage, Leslie Harpold, Timothy Jones, Brett Leveridge, Todd Levin, Debbie Stoller. In front: Xander Mellish, falling out of her dress.

The Monday, May 4th episode of Web Writers In The Flesh drew more than 150 people to the Manhattan Internet Lounge.

Publicity for the reading had been heavy, including a mention in WIRED and two mentions on Page Six, the New York Post's popular gossip section.

The first said the reading was an "obvious attempt to detract from the shortcomings of web 'literature,'" that the group was "a cabal of cyberhacks bitter over their lack of book contracts" and took exception to a plan to burn in effigy the mediocre print writer and insufferable snob George Plimpton. It failed, however, to mention the date or location of the reading. In order to get that information in the paper, Web writers organizer Xander Mellish explained to the audience Monday, she was forced to call back again and threaten to burn someone else.

In this case, it was Norman Mailer, who hasn't written a decent book in fifty years. Miss Mellish told the audience that it was only on the morning of the reading that she realized she had no effigies lying around the house. She compromised by drawing Mr. Mailer's face on a kitchen match, promising to burn it later in the show.

Then, after a slight technical delay, the reading was off to a roaring start.

Debbie Stoller, co-editor of BUST magazine and the aspiring "Pundit Spice," started it off with an essay on singer Courtney Love's changing image. Backed by a slide show of Courtney GIFs, Debbie asked how a fiery role model for women could have morphed into a shill for the fashion industry.

Second reader Timothy Jones is a relative unknown, but won't be for long. A screenwriter as well as a web writer - therefore, a screen writer and also a screen writer - he read three short pieces about tragic, mysterious neighbors in his apartment house.

Next up was Todd Levin with a story about young boys in a state of excitement - considerable excitement. The guys in the audience, in particular, could identify with this one.

We let Tom Standage from London into the reading, despite the fact he has a print book coming out, because his work is about the Internet - specifically, comparing it to the telegraph, "The Victorian Internet." Tom read a chapter called "Wired Love" about dating via the telegraph, donning a fake handlebar moustache whenever he was quoting an eminent Victorian.

Then, poet Alison Dorfman took the stage. She read several pieces, some about growing up in suburbia in the 1980s, and one about the recent schoolyard massacre in Arkansas. As at the last Web Writers reading, Alison was one of the audience favorites.

Things wrapped up with a very short piece by Xander Mellish who read parts of Amy Beauty Rose while wearing a rose-covered dress. Miss Mellish had scanned her dress fabric into a JPEG file, which was displayed on the screen behind her.

By then it was 9 o'clock, time to end the evening, and to set the small Norman Mailer on fire. Mr. Mailer was a safety match, and did not burn long. The reading was over.