October 15, 2012 — In a lit-brilliant debut at One Longfellow Square in Portland (Literary Death Match’s 45th city!), it was Lily King who outdueled poet Gibson Fay-LeBlanc in a wild game of Author Word Jumble that saw King win by a narrow margin of 1.2 seconds to win her the LDM Portland (ME), Ep. 1 crown.
Hello I am Zin and did I ever have fun at the first-ever Literary Death Match in Portland (ME)!
Do not confuse LDMs with your routine reading! Yes, there is reading: four local authors read! And to keep them within the time limit, they are shot with nerf disks every 30 seconds starting at 7 minutes! And in the second round they must play a game! Do you see what I mean that it is not your typical reading?
It was also especially good to hear Sarah Braunstein read her Barack Obama FanFic explaining his poor performance in the first debate (you see, back when he was a child in Hawaii, there was this little girl he used to hula-hoop with… even Presidents get nostalgic, be it ever so ill-timed!) – and you can read it yourself at the Good Men Project! Or listen to it FREE on iTunes!
But the semi-finals went down to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc for his hockey poetry because, well, who can resist even the idea of hockey poetry, and Lily King with a mouse penis (nothing can top a mouse penis) and a round of Author Jumbles, from Nin and Poe to Asimov and Huxley!
And congratulations to Lily King, winner of LDM-Portland (ME) Ep.1!
I have known about LDM for a while but never really paid attention: I was always intimidated by Todd Zuniga and Opium Magazine (it is one of those impossibly cool litmags) so I put the LDMs in the category of “things I am not cool enough to appreciate.” But my blog buddy Stan (hello, Stan!) sent me an email to tell me LDM was coming up here! He has been to the ones in Boston and loves them! So I went to the LDM and either I am cooler than I thought, or Todd is not that cool – or maybe he is so cool, he is willing to do things accessible to the un-cool! As it happens, he is completely cool, and also very nice, posting pictures of the Portland match even as he was racing to London! He is nothing like I expected, he is very goofy and fun and easygoing!
What is Literary Death Match? It is a… literary comedy variety show? Part WWE, part game show, part standup, part celebrity roast, part community theatre? I do not know how to describe it, but fortunately I do not have to, you can see a speed preview on Youtube, or for that matter, you can watch dozens of clips from past matches, or listen to an entire LDM on iTunes!
But you should really go! They are all over the place, in cities of course like London and New York and Chicago and LA and Beijing (Beijing? Yes, and Shanghai!) but also giving local writers a chance to shine in less expected places like Kansas City and Tulsa and Iowa City and Raleigh and Vilnius! Yes, a Lithuanian LDM! That is reason itself to go when they come to your neck of the woods, to support something so cool! Todd described the project as a “gateway drug” for those who might not know where to start reading!
Check the schedule at the LDM website to see where they are, or sign up for the newsletter or Twitter feed to see when they are coming to your area! Or even email them and ask them to come, that is how they ended up in Portland!
Past winners include writers we have talked about on these very pages, including Roxane Gay, Baratunde Thurston, Etgar Keret, Andrew Kaufman, Elissa Schappel, and Amber Sparks. And the judges are from all manner of disciplines, people like Jeffrey Eugenides, Tig Notaro, Toure, Lisa Loeb, Chuck Palahniuk (you knew he had to be in the mix somewhere, right?), W. Kamau Bell, and Amber Tamblyn.
You want to go, you do, trust me!