Category ArchiveTalent Show

Events &Talent Show 24 Apr 2011 10:17 pm by David !

The Talent Show! April 26, 8pm Pacific

This is the livestream window for the first-ever Machine of Death Half-Birthday Party and Talent Show. (If you’re reading this in a feed, click through to the post to see the window.) Right now it’s dark, because it’s not showtime! But I wanted to embed it here on the site in advance. It’ll light up when it’s time for the show. Update: Now it’s the recorded show! It’s almost the whole thing, it cuts out near the end due to Ustream recording limits. But we’ll be posting videos online soon!

The show will be on Tuesday, April 26, 2011, beginning at 8pm Pacific time. We’ll probably have the stream running a little in advance, so pop in a bit early in case Ustream makes you watch an ad first.

During the show, please tweet your thoughts using #MachineofDeath — you can also search for #MachineofDeath to see what other folks are saying! As I host the show, I’ll periodically check in on Twitter and read some of my favorite tweets aloud. You’re part of the show too! Tweeting is your talent.

Or, if you’re near Los Angeles, we’d absolutely love to have you attend the show in person. Admission is free! Here’s the details.


The Fake Gallery, 4319 Melrose Ave, Hollywood

View Larger Map

I have been told that street parking is free after 6pm, and fairly abundant. If you have ever been to Hollywood before, I know this is hard to believe.


April 26, 2011
8pm showtime
Doors open at 7:30. Come early to grab free birthday cake and snacks!
Here is a Facebook invite, if you want to RSVP.


I’ve been working very hard on making this a cool show, and while certain things will remain under wraps until showtime, here are a few things you can expect:

• the aforementioned birthday cake
• the opportunity to get your copy of the book signed by at least three contributors
• free death readings (prediction cards you can take home with you)
• first looks at a prototype new product not available anywhere else
• the opportunity to win free stuff by participating in the show
• mass enjoyment, of course!!


The show will feature many performers and performances, among them:

• A live performance of “Boom! And a Bear Comes Out”, by me. I’m perfectly willing to humiliate myself onstage before I ask anyone else to take that plunge.

• A death-prediction-based longform improv set by the famous Mission IMPROVable troupe “The Grind.” I’ve been watching these guys play every week at Westside Comedy Theater for several months now, and they’re just phenomenal.

• A live reading of Jeffrey Wells’ MoD story “TORN APART AND DEVOURED BY LIONS,” by public-radio and comedy-podcast superstar/magnate Jesse Thorn.

• A drawing game that shares everything with Pictionary® except the trademarked name, featuring audience members playing along with L.A. cartoonists Kevin McShane and Keith Knight!

• And of course: the amazing talents of MoD readers. Music, monologues, animation, comedy and more, from performers including Carla Barton, Zachary Bernstein, Matt Bixler, Brett Donnelly, Tim Karplus, Christina Major, Sam McLean, and Cory O’Brien.

• After all that, you’ll be free to go home. IF YOU CAN.


I hope you’ll tune in and watch the show live! But if you’re at all able to, I’d really love for you to come out in person. I know it’s a lot to ask on a weeknight. But a live show is a living thing — it absolutely gets better with a good audience. The energy in the room gets charged in a wonderful way.

I’m super-excited to put on the show, and it’ll be fun for me no matter who shows up, but I want to make it an extra-special time for our performers too, one of whom is coming all the way from Phoenix to attend. Please join me in providing these great folks — who took the time to create something new and special simply because I asked them to! — with the friendly, supportive audience they deserve. I want our stage to be a magical place, a place where someone who took the initiative to make something gets rewarded.

See you at the show!

Events &Talent Show 14 Apr 2011 02:54 pm by David !

More about the MOD Talent Show!

Wow, what an incredible response we’ve had to the hardcover MOD collector’s edition! We sold through the collector’s sets in just a few days. Thanks so much — we really hope you enjoy them! So far you seem to be, as evidenced by:

• this beautiful picture from drmath
this incredibly dramatic version from HootieD
and this chilling glimpse of the future from maxelman

We’ve also had a great response to the free death card offer. Here are just a few of the letters we’ve received:

And don’t worry, we will absolutely be sharing all the cool stuff we’ve received with you. But first, a word about the upcoming…

Talent Show

The Machine of Death Half-Birthday Party and Talent Show will be held April 26, at The Fake Gallery in Hollywood, CA. Doors open at 7:30 and the show starts at 8. We’d absolutely love for you to come to the show! But if you can’t, we’ll also be livestreaming the event right here on the blog.

Also here is a Facebook thing! Let us know if you’re coming!

Due to taxes and stuff, we have decided to extend the deadline for submitting auditions until April 20. So you’ve got just under a week left to submit an act for the show.

What are we looking for?

It could be a song, a dance number, a reading, a poem, a video or animation or slideshow…anything you can do in under five minutes that’s somehow MOD-related. We’ll be putting the best acts on stage (or playing them on video), and we’re even going to award a prize to the audience’s favorite act!

There are a couple of bedrock, fundamental ideas behind Machine of Death. One is the most obvious: together, we can do great things. MOD-Day proved that.

There are also the questions about mortality raised by the premise of the book, which we all find pretty compelling.

But another is the notion of the value of the individual — the dozens of non-celebrities, non-famous people who wrote the great stories that we got to discover and share with the world. This is the basic promise of the Internet: the level playing field, the crumbling of barriers to entry, the chance for the little person to make a big impact.

In practice it doesn’t always work out that way, of course. Most amateur work is pretty bad, and even a lot of professional work can be kind of stinky.

There’s no shortcut to success — the only thing that gets you close is a persistent pursuit of fearless self-improvement. But, fine. What then?

What happens when there is something good?

There are a lot of answers to that question, but ours personally is “we give it a chance.” The Talent Show is one of those chances. Make something cool, and we’ll do whatever we can to show it to as many people as possible and reward you for it. That’s all there is to it.

And if you can’t make something cool — if you make something and it sucks to high heaven — for God’s sake make it anyway. That is how you learn how to make something cool! By making sucky things long enough that you get all the suck out of your system. So don’t worry about that. You’ll get there. Do it anyway.

Like me:

Boom! And a Bear Comes Out from David Malki ! on Vimeo.

(Download the MP3)

It just has to be better than this. THAT SHOULD NOT BE HARD.

…Seriously, anyone who’s shared a table with me at a convention for the past year knows that the hook to this song has been running through my mind for a while now. But it’s very rare that silly things like this ever crawl up the priority list to “DROP EVERYTHING AND DO THIS.” This blog post was my excuse to finally finish the song.

I am hereby giving you the Talent Show as an excuse to do the awesome thing you’ve been waiting for a reason to do!

To submit an act for the Talent Show:

Email submit at machineofdeath dot net with a link (audio or video) of your act. If you are local to Los Angeles and would like to perform on stage if chosen, please specify that. If you would rather we play the video you send, please specify that!

The deadline to email is midnight Pacific time, April 20.

That is not much time! Get on it!

If you need inspiration, you can send away for a free Death Card, download our free PDF, buy our newly-discounted ebooks, or just go outside for a walk! Look at the trees. Try to find people in them. What are they saying to each other? To you?

The one outside my window is gently sighing in the wind: “piiizzzzzaaaaa”

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