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Jun242011

Dublin, Ep. 4

June 24, 2011 — While rain showers flooded Dublin, inside The Workman's Club, the literary stars shined bright-hot, as Stephen James Smith out-near-kissed James Joyce (using a Nerf shotgun with lipstick-tipped darts), narrowly beating co-finalist Virginia Gilbert to win Smith the Literary Death Match crown. 

But before the first trigger was pulled, the night began with must-read poet Niamh MacAlister charming the audience into applause with a series of poems about growing up in Dublin — one about her hands becoming her mother's hands. Then up stepped master-performer Smith (curator of The Glór Sessions) who performed a starkly candid poem that gripped the packed house.  

Virginia Gilbert shines bright under the Workman's Club stagelights. Click to see more photos!

The mic was then handed to the night's trio of all-star arbiters, including writer/actor Mark O'Halloran (the writer and co-star of Adam & Paul), actress Kelly Campbell (One Hundred Mornings co-star), and stand-up comedian/conceptual artist Miriam Elia (Sony nominated for her BBC Radio 4 sketch show "A Series of Psychotic Episodes"). O'Halloran praised MacAlister's poetry and her posture, while Campbell loved the way her skin looked in the blue-hued light. About Smith, the trio were in equal awe of the boldness of the piece, and that he performed his entire piece from memory. They then huddled to decide the round's winner, and after admitting they were faced with an impossible choice, they advanced Smith on as the night's first finalist.  

After a booze-fueled intermission, Round 2 commenced in glorious fashion with funnyman Gareth Stack going first, performing a bafflingly wonderful story that spewed out, funny voices and all, in the form of mock radio ads advertising Catholic church agencies curing gayness (a satire on contemporary Irish morality). Then it was time for award-winning, BAFTA-nominated writer and director Gilbert (author of Abroad, shortlisted for the Scott Prize 2011) who read a very funny prose piece about a couple on holiday, and the awkward truth about a modern marriage (y'know, how two people can live and love but still be surprised and appalled by one another). 

The judges were again handed the mic, with all three being semi-confused by Stack's performance though Campbell acknowledged the audience obviously loved it because of their laughter, followed by O'Halloran praising both Gilbert's storytelling along with the shininess of hair. Again, a very difficult decision; again, the judges deliberated for hours before finally deciding on Gilbert as the night's second finalist. 

With the two finalists decided, LDM creator Todd Zuniga invited two volunteers to the stage, one to hold a poster of James Joyce and the other to be a "human blindfold." Then Stephen James Smith was handed a Nerf-style shotgun with a lipstick-tipped dart in its chamber, and tasked with "kissing" James Joyce — after three shots the one closest to Joyce's lips would be declared the winner. Smith's first shot smacked Joyce in the forehead, then came Gilbert who fired a foam shotgun shell off his shoulder. Smith triangulated with his second attempt, hitting Joyce right in the tie knot. Gilbert was closer, but still too distant compared to Smith's first two shots. Then the "human blindfold" was summoned, and asked to hold his hands over the finalist's eyes for their final shots. Smith was way off, and Gilbert took the gun with everything to win. The audience held their collective breath, and when her shot sailed well-wide of Smith's earlier attempts, the LDM Dublin, Ep. 4 medal was revealed as Stephen James Smith was crowned champion, and with it literary immortality was all his. 

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Reader Comments (1)

Thanks again, I had a wonderful time!

Keep it lit and see you in September.

June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephen James Smith

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