The stereotypical literary reading is about as thrilling as televised fly-fishing, with tweed-jacketed professorial types mumbling through their work, struggling to be heard over the crickets outside. Unlike many stereotypes, theres more than a bit of truth to that one, which is why were grateful for the literature-as-bloodsport approach of the Literary Death Match. It introduces cutthroat competition and high stakes to readings, like an Ultimate Fighting Championship for word nerds. At this LDM, queer pulp novelist Monica Nolan, poet Geoff Bouvier, self-avowed straight male expert John Scott, and The Aristobrats author Jennifer Solow each have seven minutes to assert their storytelling dominance. The panel of judges includes former Chronicle book editor Oscar Villalon, novelist April Sinclair, and Sam Barry of HarperOne books. The format inspires obvious comparisons to American Idol, and while the judges are encouraged to bring the Simon Cowell-esque quips, the overall tone is more about quick wit and constructive criticism than glib assholery. The top two contenders who withstand the slings and arrows and dominate the competition face off at the end of the evening in a wild competition that draws more inspiration from the kids' game show Double Dare than the sleepy readings of yesteryear.
Fri., Feb. 11, 7 p.m., 2011