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Nerds compete tonight at Metro Denver Promotion of Letters' Adult Spelling Bee

To teach kids how to write, Metro Denver Promotions of Letters is letting adults show off how well they can spell -- or letting them drunkenly embarrass themselves trying to slur through "renaissance." Whatever the case, the MDPL's monthly Adult Spelling Bee is a pretty genius concept, allowing grownup nerds to recapture those old glory days at the bottom of the social hierarchy, while simultaneously drinking away the pain. And nothing goes together like booze and spelling.

As an organization, the MDPL's mission is to get kids involved in the craft of writing. "We're modeled after the 826 Center that Dave Eggers started in San Francisco," says MDPL director Amanda Grell. Right now, that model involves weekend writing workshops where might work on anything from a college entrance essay to journalistic writing to fiction -- but Grell wants to expand to after-school tutoring in writing and general schoolwork. The goal, she explains, is to "create a community where kids can feel comfortable sharing their work with others."

The Adult Spelling Bee, which heats up tonight at the British Bulldog, is a fundraising effort toward that goal, but the cost to participants is modest. A "buy-in," as Grell calls it, will run you $5, and you can keep playing on that until you get eliminated -- which happens after you miss only one word. "It's official spelling bee rules," Grell notes. "We're actually pretty strict."

But fear not, because the MDPL allows you to buy in a total of three times during a single night, so another $5 (and maybe one more $5 after that) is all you'll need to salvage a modicum of your bruised pride. Should you win, first place takes home a $20 gift certificate to the bulldog, while second place takes home one for $10. "They've been very generous," Grell says of the Bulldog's contribution. The other thing you will take home is your personal redemption. You did amount to something!

It happens tonight, and on the third Thursday of every month, at 7 p.m.; registration begins at 6:30.

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