Thursday, December 3, 2009

Literary Death Match Seattle Winner!

Via Opium Magazine-
November 11, 2009—The Literary Death Match return to Seattle (sponsored by Against Nature) was an absurdly fun affair, with playwright Kelleen Conway Blanchard scoring a narrow 6-3 victory over Stacey Levine in a battle of "Nonsensical Animal Toss" that featured each author throwing tiny plastic animals (Blanchard thew wild animals; Levine tossed animals from the farm) through the mouths of three famous writers: Virginia Woolf (3 points), Ernest Hemingway (2 points) and Sherman Alexie's gaping maw (1 point).

But before the farm animals had entered stage left, the night kicked off with Aaron Dietz (Reserved for Emperors, representing KNOCK) taking on Levine. Dietz read a superhero-based piece that ended with him ripping open his shirt to reveal a secret identity, followed by Levine (winner of the PEN/West Fiction Award for My Horse and Other Stories, representing Dewclaw) who tore the proverbial cover off the literary baseball, reading a brilliant story from an adapted children's book called I Like Birds that featured not-so-children's-book themes.

The mic was then turned over to the all-star judges Paul Constant (of The Stranger), Maria Semple (ex-writer for Arrested Development), and Jonathan Evison (All About Lulu). After a stream of comic-based comments, the judges decided Levine was the night's first finalist.

Onto the second round, Blanchard (playwright of Small Town, representing Spin the Bottle) led off with a hilarious story about a doofusy rocker-type that had the audience tittering and fascinated. Then up stepped Danbert Nobacon (lead singer of Chumbawumba, representing Exterminating Angel Press). Nobacon read a haunting piece that featured a range of dark and vibrant voices like never before heard at a LDM.

The judges again were handed the mic, and after much debate decided that Blanchard would be the night's second finalist.

Then came the wild finale (watch it below, now!). Tasked with tossing plastic animals through a range of gaping-mouths writers, Levine and Blanchard shined in the first round of tosses, each scoring three points (all via Sherman Alexie's carved-out mouth). But while Blanchard scrambled for more ammo, Levine predictably called it quits, stepping off stage. A proxy was rushed under the hot lights immediately to play for her, and while he went for gold and an insta-victory by aiming for Virginia Woolf's 3-point mouth, it was Blanchard who pecked away and scored the victory with a final toss through Alexie's gaping mouth. The result: Blanchard won the contest, and in the process won Literary Death Match immortality.