The Pen Is the Sword Just as the international Art Battle presents competitive painting with time constraints and stroke-by-stroke scrutiny in front of collectors, WRITE CLUB pits wordslingers on opposing sides of a concept and lets the audience choose a victor. (We usually frown on the ALL CAPS thing, but these folks say it applies because the very title should shout at you.) It is, as they say, “literature as blood sport.” San Francisco is the second city in a growing syndicate based on Chicago’s original chapter. In keeping with the spirit of the event, local cornermen Steven Westdahl and Casey Childers build enthusiasm like announcers at a monster-truck rally; the audiences are raucous, and the action is fast and loose. Writers are given seven minutes to do their worst. Just like martial arts cornermen, Westdahl and Childers compete but don’t always win. They keep it clean by asking each winning writer to donate their share of the purse to a charity of their choosing. This month, in a nod to Bloomsday (which was celebrated on Saturday at the Mechanic’s Institute Library as well as in every Irish pub in S.F.), the title of the show was taken from the opening sentence of Finngeans Wake: “Swerve of Shore to Bend of Bay.” The topics of the bouts are slightly less poetic but no less demanding of interpretation: Up vs. Down; Top vs. Bottom; and Charm vs. Strange. Sharpen your little red pencil.
Tue., June 19, 7 p.m., 2012