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SF, Ep. 37

February 11, 2011 — On a classic night in Literary Death Match History the finish came when Monica Nolan raced to the end of a passage from Candide — her mouth full of marshmallows — as she out mushmouthed co-finalist and poet Geoff Bouvier to win literature's grandest prize. 

The near-capacity Elbo Room crowd had a literary fever and co-hosts Alia Volz and Will Franken had the comedic cure. In an American Idol parody, Will judged Alia, an Idol hopeful whose talent did not match
her persistence. Neither, according to the Simon-esque judge, did her worth as a human being.

In Round One, award-winning poet Bouvier (Living Room) threw down with a rap (yo) written in the voice of a woman and advising women on how to treat men, garnering some strong eyebrow-raising from Judge April Sinclair. Not to be outdone, Her Royal Hotness Jennifer Solow (The Booster and The Aristobrats) stepped it up, enthralling listeners with the tale of a beset advertising exec who calls his dominatrix for a quick feel-good remedy. (Let's just hope the pencil went in eraser-end first.)

No easy call for the judges to make, with Oscar Villalon (newly crowned editor of ZYZZYVA) on literary merit, novelist April Sinclair (Coffee Will Make You Black) on performance, and you-can't-touch-this Sam Barry (HarperOne exec and author of How to Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons) on Intangibles. After much deliberation, Villalonian comedy, hard advice from Ms. Sinclair, and harmonica playing from Sam, they named Geoff Bouvier the winner.

After a libatious break ably ministered, the crowd settled in for Round Two. But first a peek into the special world of cohost Franken's comedy, in which he posed as a trio of students reciting their essays, "How I Spent My LDM Break." (Show some LDM love and run to your computer and get tickets now for his show at the Purple Onion on February 19th.)

John Scott ( got Round 2 off to a raucous start with an essay that began as a diatribe, but quickly veered into narrative satire, its barbs aimed at both upscale Mill Valley housewives and wannabe blue-collar pickup truck drivers alike. Alas, Scott's piece ran long, prompting a SuperSoaker onslaught from the
ever-helpful Mike Skott of Ink Publishing & Design.

Nolan (Bobby Blanchard, Lesbian Gym Teacher) took the stage, quickly captivating the San Francisco audience with a tale that married Madmen period perfection with pulp girl-on-girl seduction in a gym teacher's office. She ran long too, earning herself a soaker shot from Mr. Skott, but what the hey. Her tale had left half the room wet as it was.

No one envied the judges their task, but they rose to the challenge, complete with harmonica accompaniment. Nolan took the round!

What followed next, oh my brothers, astounded even this LDM-hardened observer. Round winners Bouvier and Nolan were called upon to read passages from Leibniz and from Leibniz-parodying Voltaire, as marshmallows were stuffed into their mouths every twenty seconds. Well, it looks like all our parents were wrong! Turns out that talking with your mouth full can be the key to victory.

Just ask the proud winner of LDM San Francisco Episode 37: Monica Nolan!

Writeup by Andy Dugas. 

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