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Sunday
Sep162012

Montréal, Ep. 3

September 18, 2012 — On a rain-slicked night in brilliant Montréal, Literary Death Match returned to Canada for a fantastic spectacle of wit, lit and drink-sipping at Sala Rossa that ended with a Literary Spelling Bee that saw Jonah Campbell outduel co-finalist Taylor Tower by a closer-than-it-seemed margin of 20-6 to win the Literary Death Match Montréal crown. 

But well before Solzhelnitsyn reared his impossible-to-spell name, the night kicked off with Branka Petrovic (whose poetry was recently published in journals The New Quarterly and The Malahat Review) who reeled off a series of bite-sized poems that addressed everything from Klimt to chairs with a lovely tenor. She was followed Campbell, who delivered a pitch-perfect anti-brunch tirade in a city that loves its brunching. 

The mic was then turned over to the trio of all-star judges that included The Dears singer/keyboardist extraordinaire Natalia Yanchak, author/book reviewer Joel Yanofsky (author of Bad Animals: A Father's Accidental Education in Autism) and "the godfather" of Montréal's alternative comedy scene George H. Braithwaite. Yanofsky admitted he wasn't a brunch fan, earning Campbell immediate points, while Yanchak admitted that from her angle it was strange to see armpit hair when listening to a piece about omelets before praising Brankovic's shoe selection, while Braithwaite hilariously responded to both readers with bright-minded quips. 

The judges huddled, and after a lengthy deliberation, it was Campbell who was announced as the night's first finalist. 

After a booze-fueled intermission, the wily crowd settled back in for a homerun Round 2 that kicked off with A.M. Klein prize-winning poet Gabe Foreman (author of A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Kinds of People) delivering a staggeringly delightful series of Montréal-specific poems that had the crowd in stitches. Finally, it was Taylor Tower (frequent contributor on the CBC program Wire Tap) who finished the show with a from-memory story that featured her time at a Motel 6 and prank calling locals to get a rise. 

Again, the judges were handed the mic, with Yanofsky admonishing Tower on all counts, while Yanchak and Braithwaite traded turns praising Foreman and Tower in kind. 

The judges huddled a second time, and with another impossible task before them it was Tower who was sent on to be the night's second finalist. 

Then came a dazzlement of a finale, in which LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage and introduced the finale: Literary Spelling Bee, welcoming LDM Montréal producer Carmen Joy King on stage to help aid the proceedings. The two finalists traded turns, first asked to spell Chabon and Pynchon, and after three rounds, Cambell held a 5-3 read over Tower. But it was the Round 5 of 5 that did Tower in, as Campbell used his phone-a-friend to perfection, welcoming up Jeffrey Mackie to stand-in and spell Solzhelnitsyn without pause, giving Campbell a commanding 20-3 lead. To tie, Tower was tasked with spelling Wa'Thiong'O but after a series of correct letters, she faltered, and the Literary Death Match Montréal medal was awarded to Campbell, who won literary immortality to go with it. 

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    Montréal, Ep. 3 - Journal - Literary Death Match
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    Montréal, Ep. 3 - Journal - Literary Death Match
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    Montréal, Ep. 3 - Journal - Literary Death Match
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    Response: Matthew Sample
    Montréal, Ep. 3 - Journal - Literary Death Match
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    Wow that seems to be the toughest challenges ever. The competition is high and it's a big task to all the judges to give judgement and choose the finalists. You have imparted the data in a beautiful way by describing the each thing happened over there. Good work pal.
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