September 19, 2008—Bras were flying, fists were cuffing, and harmonicas were wailing at LDM SF Episode XI. And that was just the first performance, during which Litquake’s Kim Addonizio read her poems, unbound her breasts and knuckles, and blew on her mouth harp. Kim went on not only to win Round 1, but also to stomp out Round 2’s winner in the final challenge: a full-body audience-participation scavenger hunt.
With its lack of seating, red lights, and whiff of communism, Amnesia lent a Russian Orthodox flavor to the evening’s exertions. Co-host Sean Finney of Canteen Magazine brought the rollicking angst and tuft of free-ranging chest hair, and co-host Alana Conner of the Stanford Social Innovation Review added psychological commentary and bare knees for the slapping.
In Round 1, Addonizio faced Whore’s Rhea DeRose-Weiss, who cleverly employed a mustachioed soundman to Foley her story about facial hair. The judges deliberated at length. Rocking a Sarah Palin upsweep, literary merit judge Gravity Goldberg of Instant City commented on, among many things, the readers’ allusions to fauna. Performance judge Jack Boulware of Litquake fame sported earth tones and offered helpful pointers about phrasing and disrobing. Intangibles judge Ian Lendler, dressed for the prom, remarked upon auras and likened the authors’ literary output to garage bands, among other untouchable phenomena.
Round 2 brought out the bearers of the Y-chromosome: n+1’s Damion Searls and One Story’s Tom Barbash. Searls showed off his translation chops and then shared his own curmudgeonly observations of a certain putty-colored Dutch city. Barbash read the hilariously earnest letters of a boarding school tennis coach to the parents of an underperforming charge. Coruscating discussions at the judge’s table produced Round 2’s victor: Damion Searls.
For the final round, a ridiculous and wonderfully conceived scavenger hunt using audience members as the subjects. Addonizio and Searls had two minutes to collect onlookiers with characteristics such as tattoos high on their bodies, condoms in their wallets, and non-English poems in their memories. Among the contenders’ finds were a woman with two belly buttons and—considerably rarer in San Francisco--a real, live Republican. In the end, Addonizio scavenged more people and so won the day. She now bears the cardboard crown and the medal of LDM championhood. And despite the lack of pork rinds, all audience members said they had a good time.