A food fight broke out at Brooklyn Brewery last night. Lots of them, actually.
Immersed in the thick scent of brewing beer, people in olive green jackets and cable-knit sweaters showed up to watch Leyla Acaroglu’s Verbal Fight Club and Drew Weigel’s Presentation Party Night NYC join forces. The result: a series of five-minute presentations on the “food fight ethics of what we choose to put in our bodies.”
Verbal Fight Club is a bimonthly event hosted by the “Un-School of Disruptive Design” that usually takes place at Muchmore’s in Williamsburg. It’s billed as a forum for people to test their convictions about “current issues of great (or little) importance.” Combined with the educational element of Bushwick’s Presentation Party Night — which describes itself as “sort of like TED, but drunker and better” — it made for a… one-of-a-kind experience.
The night started off with four presenters from varying sides of the “food ethics” spectrum. Brian Kateman introduced us to “reducetarianism” (eat less meat, and encourage others to do the same), Wendy Wiseman from Sustainable Seafood Week NYC talked about the importance of responsible fish farming, chef Emily Peterson waxed poetic on killing your own chickens, and a guy who introduced himself as simply Andy started his presentation with, “I don’t eat meat and neither should you!”
After the presentations, audience members were given battle cards upon which to write their conviction-based provocations. Then they were all collected and the first card picked at random. “All vegans should be killed!” it read. And so the games began. Contestants picked the side of the argument they agreed with and went to the front of the room to argue their beliefs into the microphone.
The audience bristled in waves of revelry and indignation as more cards were pulled out of the pile.
“A deer falls dead from a heart attack. Is it ethical to eat it?” somebody had written.
“Ethical or not, it’s a terrible fucking idea!” snorted Andy.
“Guys, guys,” said a man in a turtleneck. “I’m not saying anyone has to eat roadkill. I’m just saying if you want to you should be able to.”
As the night went on, the fights evolved into more essential subject matter. “You say meat is completely unnecessary, which I agree with, but–” said Emily Paterson, glaring accusingly at Andy, “so is beer!” Truth is, for a night like Presentation Fight Night, beer is extremely necessary. As the word warriors got drunker, their combat grew more heated for the final lightning tap-out rounds.
“I would eat my dog before eating an insect!” shouted one.
“Cannibalism is bad for you!” chanted another.
“We’ve gone off the rails!” shouted Drew Weigel.
Amidst last calls for beers, the fight devolved into arguing the metric system. “Who… has got… what it takes?” demanded a contestant as he staggered around on stage. “How can you… argue logic?!”
Even though it seemed like things were just starting to get delightfully out of control, the event came to an end at 10:30 p.m. sharp. Battlers had to be escorted off the stage, the microphones wrestled out of their hands.
The good news is, the next one will be held on Wednesday, February 11 at Muchmore’s. And you should be there for it. After all, what better thing to do on a weeknight than to get blind drunk and loudly profess your convictions?