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Friday
Mar122010

SF, Ep. 27

March 12, 2010 — Raucous readings. Hilarious tales of personal highs and lows. An Elbo Room so packed it should have to change its name. But in the end, the never-less-than-sidesplittingly-funny Ali Liebegott (The IHOP Papers) reigned victorious, and deservedly so, after first-round winner Tania Katan (My One Night Stand With Cancer) narrowly lost The Shortest Spelling Bee in Modern History finale. 

To kick off the evening, Katan stared down Chris Colin and won the coin flip, the coin being host Elissa Bassist's constant companion: Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Katan impressed the crowd with the tale of a lesbian couple applying to work as period characters in a Mormon version of Colonial Willamsburg. They would wear bonnets and churn prairie butter, but with a sense of post-modern irony. Colin then showed class with a let's-hear-it-for-Katan, generating a fresh round of applause for his adversary. Then: "If you like that sort of thing..." He proceeded to wow the crowd with a reflective tale of a mid-30s husband and father encountering a nonsensical phrase, scribbled down on a piece of scrap paper, that ten years before had encapsulated for him the meaning of life and love. A twisting tale with unexpected turns featuring French Canadians in Austria. But alas, this was the LDM, not a hockey game! The judges — Julie Greicius826 Valencia's publishing and pirate store director Justin Carder, and memoirist Rebecca Walker — chose Katan, who celebrated with a rock-star salute kick to the literary gods.

French Canadians in Austria 0, Ironic Mormon Lesbians 1.

Round Two started with another book toss. Unfortunately, co-host Braden Marks' cherished copy of In a Queer Time and Place (Judith Halberstam) insisted on ambiguity, landing open-faced twice, forcing the judges to stop-loss The [ever reliable] Bell Jar back into service. Ally won and read from her memoir, The IHOP Papers. The crowd roared with laughter at the tale of a young girl taking her own virginity with a marker pen. 

Chicken John followed up with a powerful reading from his new book Fail... to Win! Essays of Engineered Disperfection. He even broke out his ukelele.

Host Elissa Bassist paying homage to Carmen Electra. Click to see more partying shots.The judges conferred and conferred and conferred some more—long enough for both Marks and Bassist to demonstrate their best dance moves (Thank you, Carmen Electra!) — before announcing the finale would be a Lesbian Spelling Bee Smackdown between Liebegott and (who claimed she is technically bi-sexual, hello). The finale was a Comp Lit exercise in which Bassist read a sentence from a great work of literature, then selected a word for the finalist to spell. Liebegott struggled with a selection from James Joyce, having to spell the word "yes." But pulled through. Then Katan was challenged with "it." Despite asking to hear it in a sentence, she misspelled it as "T-I-T," and Liebegott took home the Literary Death Match medal!


Winner Ali Liebegott. Click to see more partying shots.

See more event coverage (video!) from San Francisco’s own Evan Karp.

Write-up by Andy Dugas

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Reader Comments (1)

so this is how it's done! i wish you had shown me sooner; i've been trudging along blindly this whole time!
nice write-up, andy, and a strong event all-around.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterevan karp

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