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Friday
Jan132012

SF, Ep. 42

January 13, 2012 — The first Literary Death Match of 2012 was an instant classic, as our triumphant return to the Elbo Room saw Alia Volz  topple Seth Harwood at Literary Author Jumble by a hugely narrow margin of 51.8 seconds. 

The evening began before a house packed from emergency-exit-to-emergency-exit, as LDM's own Todd Zuniga took the stage and introduced the judges, an all-star panel comprised of past judges and contestants: SF comedic mastermind W. Kamau Bell (check out his comedy album Face Full of Flour), Pop Up Magazine producer and New Yorker contributor Douglas McGray, and best-selling author/general charmstress Michelle Richmond (author of The Year of Fog and No One You Know). 

Following new-age tradition, Zuniga shot Nerf darts into the crowd to determine the lineup. Round One was Ginger v. Ginger, as the redheaded Litquake co-founder Jane Ganahl (author of Naked on the Page) took first read against the redheaded Volz, LDM SF executive producer and fiction writer extraordinaire (ZYZZYVA, Dark Sky Magazine). Ganahl began with a plea for pity, as she was a mere journalist, then proceeded to wow the crowd with a tale of a modern-day Lady Chatterley whose best plans to get laid are thwarted by political correctness. Volz stepped up (her heels were to die for) and delivered a tale of heartache and maternal disconnection involving a developmentally disabled child with an overdeveloped member.

No one envied the judges their task. All three were personally touched by the stories, so much so that Bell weepily confessed to knowing all too well the pain of growing up overdeveloped. The narrowest of margins elevated Volz to the finals.

After a libatious break, Round Two started, still no hint yet of the trouble that would erupt post-match. Writer/activist/showman Chicken John Rinaldi won the toss and forced "Vanilla Ice" Harwood (Jack Wakes UpYoung Junius) to read first. Harwood wowed the crowd and mocked his own attempts at voicing his characters, a risky but effective breach of the fourth wall. Rinaldi, true to his showman roots, theatrically set up two stools, one of which served as a perch for a carefully prepared whipped cream pie. None of which seemed relevant to his tale of a dead Marine's ashes encountered in a junk-yard car and how those ashes were redeemed by the narrator.

Again, the judges faced an insurmountable challenge, except of course, they did surmount it: to the Harwood go the spoils!

For the final round, Volz joined Harwood on the stage, which was quickly crowded with audience volunteers for a round of life-sized Literary Author Jumble. Volunteers flipped over the scrambled letters while Volz and Harwood scrambled to sort and order and solve the puzzles. Nin! King! Alarcon! The redheaded Volz, perhaps empowered by the alien superiority of the Ginger People, quickly overtook the struggling Harwood, who is only partially Ginger at best. Like maybe a quarter.

Volz accepted the medal and the crown, but was her thirst for victory slaked? Oh no, far from it! Without hesitation or any consideration of the long-term theosophical ramifications, she seized Chicken John's whipped cream pie and thrust it toward the unsuspecting Zuniga!

But, oh my sisters and brothers! Zuniga, demonstrating moves as quick as his wit, dodged the pie-jectile, leaving it to strike instead innocent volunteer, Wesleyan professor Miri Nakamura. 

Oh the humanity!

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