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Thursday
Sep092010

SF, Ep. 33

September 10, 2010 — Steady Mike Adamick pulled a one-word victory over impassioned, high-fashioned Pam Benjamin in Literary Death Match 33 at the Elbo Room.  Adamick secured the win by not quite completing the dying words of Che Guevara: “Shoot coward, you are only going to kill a man!”

Fueled by foxy moxie and horsefeathers, co-hosts Alia Volz and comedienne Janine Brito, commanded the crowd’s attention with an absurdist homage to the alphabet that left Volz bleeding on the floor at Brito’s feet. Gertrude Stein would have proud to love these ladies!

Dressed like a yesteryear dandy, Jonathon Keats (The Book of the Unknown) dignified the panel with incisive observations on literary merit throughout history. Laura Albert (the JT Leroy novels, Deadwood) channeled her inner Elvira, bringing dark zeal to the performance category. Judging intangibles—and also Courtney Love—Ron Donovan (rock poster art god) kept the panel real, just as soon as he found a place to stash his skateboard.  

Fate, aka le audience, chose the competitors for Round 1. Domenic Stansberry (The North Beach Mystery Series) took on Pirate Cat Radio’s Pam Benjamin (The Pigeon Chronicles or Bike Messenger Assassins). Following an indecisive Suicide Cult book toss, Stansberry claimed first at bat, reading an atmospheric excerpt from his novel Naked Moon. Pam Benjamin rallied with a recitation as striking as her candy-striped Diane Von Furstenberg dress. The judges scored this match 3-0 in favor of the pirouetting Benjamin, noting her exemplary use of the phrase “whisky shits.”  

In Round 2, Cara Black highlighted her sultry strengths with a tantalizing (despite the bike-shorts references) passage from her mystery Murder in the Latin Quarter. Mike Adamick (SF Chronicle) met Black’s challenge with a story exploring what is certainly the worst part of hypochondria: “always thinking your penis is bleeding.” Both contestants got wet along the way, though not from Adamick’s material. Fireman Sian happily hosed both for exceeding the 7 minute limit. Although Black did leave the panel hungry for French sex, Adamick destroyed their appetites completely, thereby winning the round.

For the final death match, our hosts reclaimed cocktail tables from the audience and outfitted them with antique typewriters. Mike Adamick and Pam Benjamin sat face-to-face for a tense word-to-word duel. Judge Ron Donovan tried to sit between them, and had to be removed forcibly. The final challenge: complete the dying words of an unnamed revolutionary. Each contestant was charged with typing ten words missing from ten book titles to identify this hero’s final utterance. Pam’s use of the “N” word led to her demise, as the revolutionary turned out not to be Michael Richards. In the end, the self-aware tortoise squeezed out the win over the fast and loose hare in a feisty finale of fill-in-the-blanks.        

by Heather Grout

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