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SF, Ep. 22

October 14, 2009—Sequins, audience members getting high on stage, and a supersized game of local-lit card shark made for Literary Death Match SF, Ep. 22. LDM regulars as well as Litquake X attendees filled Verdi Club to witness the literary merit, performance, and intangibility of four readers before James Nestor took home the gold for his drug-related genius and card-guessing skills. 

The annual Litquake LDM, in celebration of San Francisco's brilliant literary festival, kicked off with the Abbot and Costello back and forth banter of Opium founding editor Todd Zuniga and San Francisco LDM director Sky Hornig replete with her west coast-wrapped Midwestern quirkiness.  

Amber Tamblyn at the mic between artist Paul Madonna (left) and editor David Wiegand

The first round, a heated battle of words between Tod Goldberg (Other Resort Cities) and Lynka Adams (A Skeleton at the Feast), ended after Goldberg's inner lecherous rabbi was followed by Adams' own sex-driven raucous romp through the woods. The judges, after a brief pow-wow, turned the mic over to lit merit judge David Wiegand (SF Chronicle), who declared Adams the winner and awarded her passage to the final round.

After the break, Nestor (Get High Now) took to the stage with a selection from his book Get High Now and a Death Match first: he sat, then lay down during his reading. Even after involving six people in his performance, Nestor managed to finish his reading with a nearly-perfect time of 7:59.9 (the time limit is 8 minutes). Well done, sir. Once the stage was cleared of eager participants, Frances Dinkelspiel (Towers of Gold) had her moment to bask in the glory of stagelights and skunk spray, as she related her undying love for the man who rid her basement of skunks while her husband spent his days stench-free. Heading into judging, artist extraordinaire/intangibles judge Paul Madonna suggested that skunks are a euphemism for pot (obviously) while actress, poet, and performance judge Amber Tamblyn praised Nestor’s interactive style — which eventually got Nestor the win.

Volunteers flip playing cards in a rehash of "Card Sharks" (Lawrence Ferlinghetti shines as Ace—Tobias Wolff was King)

The finale featured the largest set of playing cards that feature local literary talents ever made. The faces of Amy Tan (10 of Hearts), Dave Eggers (Jack of Diamonds), Armistead Maupin (Queen of Hearts) and others graced the cards in a classic game of guess-if-the-next-card-will-be-higher-or-lower-than-this-one. After some heartbreaking and fruitless guessing, Round 2 finalist James Nestor beat Round 1 finalist Lynka Adams in a low-scoring duel that finished 1-0, and became the latest LDM SF champion!

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Reader Comments (1)

An event promoted through the Lit Crawl that promised to be "a violently high-stakes game of musical chairs"? Sponsored by a little lit magazine called Opium? Sounds all around edgy, right?

I hate to be a Dotty Downer or sound really negative, but this was one of the worst, most poorly-put-together events I've ever attended. Three people read three, what I would call Urban entries, and were judged by a panel of judges whose comments ranged from, "I really liked that," to "I didn't really like that one as much, but there were some good parts." The hosts were two clueless 20-somethings who entertained us with witty banter such as "Get a load of THAT guy!" Wow!

I'm not sure that this event was worthy of incorporating "literary" into the title. I'd say it was more like "death".

November 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

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