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.
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.
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!