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Wednesday
Aug122009

Denver, Ep. 2

August 12, 2009—The Literary Death Match's mile-high return (to Forest Room 5) was a smash hit of literary and farcical proportions, as Lighthouse Writers fantastic combatant Nick Franciose narrowly won over an equally stellar Jessy Randall (representing Ghost Road) in a daring duel of hula-hooping while reading Allen Ginsberg's "The Howl." The full story (aka: hilarious details) is below in the final paragraph, but know—for now—that Francoise was the winner.

The night started with Opium's editor Todd Zuniga and LDM Denver producer Jody Reale introducing the night's opening duo, as Franciose went page-to-page against past Opium contributor and Monday Night representative Sharon McGill. McGill led off proceedings after losing the "lime coin flip," banging out a story that titillated the booze-fueled jam-packed house, only to be followed by Franciose who dazzled with a surprising tale that didn't disappoint his applauders (though he did trounce the 8-minute time limit, which meant he was shot with a Nerf-dart for his indescretion).

Then up-stepped the judges, who emerged from their seats in darkness, trading the microphone as they spilled genius barbs. Literary merit judge Chris Ransick (Denver's Poet Laureate) was followed by the hilarious non-sequiturs of Curtis Pesman who was followed by Tara Anderson of Lijit Networks. Each wowed with spot-on commentary (to be seen in our Videos section—click to the right), and after a tough decision, elected to choose Franciose as the night's first finalist.

After a drink-blurred intermission, Round 2 began. After the lime-flip, Jessy Randall started things off, reeling off a series of layered and laugh-inducing poetry, before finishing with her masterful piece from Opium8: "Unt Not Invent System." But not to be outdone, Copper Nickel's Nicky Beer thundered back with a trio of poems of her own, starting with a tiny poetic piece focused on the perineum, and concluding with a lyrical stunner that had the crowd in throes.

Sharon McGill hypnotizes more than just the audience.

A turn to the judges, and they twirled off gem-filled quips, including Ransick's critique of Randall: "She mentioned George Orwell, and then I thought '1984,' and then I was back in the fucking '80s again. And the '80s were worse in '1984' than they were in the actual '80s, but not by much." A laborious discussion followed, but when the trio emerged from the huddle, Randall was selected as the night's second finalist.

Then came a finale that defied logic—a perfect fit for the Literary Death Match. Each was invited to hula hoop while reading "Howl," but Franciose's awful 3.8 second best (after three heats), led Randall to suggest—with both untalented in the circular art—the option of surrogates. The motion passed after zero seconds of consideration by Zuniga and Reale, meaning Franciose's sister went hip v. hip against Randall's mother (with a non-regulation hoop, we should say). Franciose's sister led off the proceedings and was ruthless, gyrating effortlessly for 41 seconds, tearing through Ginsberg's masterpiece before time was called. Next up was Mama Randall, who gave a valiant effort, but was no match for Sister Franciose. The result: the sister pulled off the wild victory to win her brother Literary Death Match immortality.

See all the photos here!

References (25)

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Reader Comments (8)

I don't think that woman was Nick Francoise's sister. I think she was some sort of hula hooping demon from the underworld. I've never seen such hula hooping.

August 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJessy Randall

hOLD IT. tHE WINNER WAS DECIDED BY HULA HOOPING SURROGATES ??? WERE THEY CLOSE IN AGE? WERE THEY BOTH HULA HOOP EXPERTS? THIS IS WEIRD? WHAT'S NEXT? EGG-TOSSING? HM. CONGRATS TO ALL. i WAS ROOTING FOR THE ONLY PERSON i KNEW, THE HILARIOUS AND POLISHED JESSY RANDALL, BUT WOULD HAVE HULA-ROOTED FOR MAMA HAD I KNOWN SHE WAS IN. jESSY WROTE ME THAT THE CROWD WAS EXTRAORDINARILY GOOD-LOOKING. HOW COULD THIS BE WHEN I MYSELF COULD NOT MAKE IT IN PERSON???? JULIANZA ps THIS PAGE WILL NOT LET ME PUT MY URL. UNRECOGNIZED FORMAT, IT SAYS. IT'S WWW.DROPPINGLIKERUBIES.COM AND YES I DID TRY WITH THE HTTP STUFF.

August 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjulianza shavin

It was a wild time, Julianza. And an attractive one.

Though: Not sure what your URL has to do with any of this, but I like that you're passionate about getting it on here!

August 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTodd Zuniga

The name is: "Franciose"; " I before O! CONGRATS from the proud father of both Nick & his sister, Natalie Francoise (sic). Sorry I missed this notable event; albeit one must ask: What is the niche cultural conflation that employs a hula hooping tiereaker to a booze fueled literary deathmatch.? Can the judges post their bona fides so the victor can parley this event toward a possible position with remunerative benefits? What's next on the Denver Opium scene, Mile High virtual Sam Taylor Coleridges critiquing rejects from Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks?

August 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRandy Franciose

Randy,

Sorted the name change—wrong on the program, wrong in my brain. But now fixed! And Ep. 3 in November: yes, yes, and yes. You should be there for all of it; we'll have Nick crown the next champ!

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