Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hump Day Nerdgasm (an increasingly regular thing)

If we're friends, I've probably invited you to a little event called Literary Death Match. If you've never heard me talk about this ever, then we are not friends. I'm sorry you had to find out this way.

Los Angeles became home base for Lit Death Match when event creator Todd Zuniga (who has been compared to Gatsby, always dresses for the occasion, and is one of the LA Times' Faces to Watch in 2012) moved here from Chicago. But he still travels all over to host these shindigs, which have been held in 36 cities around the world. If you live in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Boston, London, New York City, or pretty much any other major city anywhere, you have no excuse not to go to at least one of these and then get addicted and go to EVERY ONE FOR THE REST OF FOREVER.

But you're still a little confused about exactly what this is, aren't you?

Each episode features four different writers (be they well established or up-and-coming) and three judges. The readers are divided into two rounds, in which they each read an excerpt from their own work (published or unpublished), within a 7-minute time period. The judges---usually a mix of literary hard-hitters, celebrities, and comedians---decide the winner of each round based on the criteria of literary merit, performance, and intangibles.

Comedian Rory Scovel, musician Moby, and LA Times staff writer Carolyn Kellogg
pretend to take judging seriously while Taylor Negron reads at LDM  LA, Ep. 9.
The judging usually isn't serious or particularly insightful, but it's ALWAYS entertaining. And most of the audience is well into their second cocktail before the reading even starts, so everything is the most poignant and/or hilarious thing they've ever heard.

The winners of each round go head-to-head in a finale that is usually only vaguely related to literature and always requires volunteers from the audience. It could be "Pin the Mustache on Hemingway" or "Throw the Cupcake at Brett Easton Ellis's Face," or some other activity that involves tipsy audience members getting fresh with literary greats. Eventually, a winner is declared.

Kit (of Books Are My Boyfriends) reuniting Hemingway with his mustache.

You never know what may happen at Lit Death Match. Last night, for instance, I sat slightly to the left of Michael C. Hall, and the friend I went with convinced two out of three of the celebrity judges to make out with him (side note: only one of those judges was a woman).

So next time I ask you to come to Lit Death Match with me, you should have no questions. And you should be honored to have the opportunity. And you should say yes.


  1. You have a very attentive listening face.  I would most likely be caught biting my nails or something.  Sounds like fun - yet another reason why I need to go to CA more often!

  2. Apparently, whiskey makes me look very serious in photographs. Keep an eye out for the ones held in Chicago! (You ARE in Chicago, yes?)

  3. Why am I just hearing about this now??

  4. I HAVE NO IDEA. We're friends! I swear!

  5. It doesn't look like they'll be in nyc soon. But but I want to go to there.

    (Also you DO have an attentive listening face!)

  6. I decided to finally stop lurking & post because, well, this is awesome. and it makes me wish that I lived in LA or wherever it is that all you book nerds are. Detroit isn't exactly the middle of the literary world.

    but thanks for sharing the nerdgasm with us, I love it and will continue to live vicariously through you!!

  7. Oh YAY! It's a beautiful moment, that moment when you come out of the shadows and leave a comment. : )

    I just checked the website again, and you're right. Detroit isn't one of the LDM cities. Let's hope that changes sometime soon!


  8. Ok, I am SUPER far behind on my Google reader, but I am so glad because the SF Death Match is coming up and I just bought my ticket. Hurrah! I anticipate getting highly addicted to these...

  9. I'm hopelessly behind on my reader too...TOO MANY GOOD BLOGS.

    You're going to LOVE Lit Death Match and want to go to every single one ever. Good thing it's pretty cheap, right?