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Words and Blood Shed: The Literary Death Match

Posted by Caitlin / October 12, 2011

The Literary Death Match series kicked off its North American tour on Tuesday October 11th at our very own Sala Rosa. Paired up with local lit mag Maisonneuve Magazine and with Sean Michaels, Alexis O'Hara and Jonathan Goldstein judging readings by Katrina Best, Jason Camlot, Zoe Page and Byron Rempel, it was a pretty Montreal-centric night of high-quality performance, writing and wit.

This was an event like none other I'd ever seen but, contrarily to what the title might suggest, there was no actual blood shed all night, which was, I've got to say, a little disappointing.

However, if the readers went over the allotted seven minutes, the host did throw a piece of wood at them.

I'd expect no less ridiculousness from the man who allegedly created the event so that "all the fun literary people in a city (would be in) one room together, so they can eventually marry one another and have brilliant literary babies".

The series' co-creator and host, Todd Zuniga, was wonderfully energetic and charismatic with the appropriate dose of awkwardness; in short, everything you'd want out of a nerdy literary entertainer.

It was the Death Match's second stop in Montreal since its creation five and a half years ago and, when I asked Todd why he finally chose to include us on his international word circus, he replied that there are "just gobs upon gobs of literary and comedic talent in this town. Plus, (he likes) any city where the people skew from good looking to very good looking." Both completely legitimate explanations that I have no problem with.

The first showdown was between fiction writer Katrina Best and poet Jason Camlot. Although Jason sang one of his poems to the music of George Brassen and went to the extent of playing the kazoo, it was Best who survived the round. I wouldn't be completely confident in saying that it wasn't because of her lovely British accent.

zoeresized.jpgZoe Page beat out Byron Rempel possibly due to the ineffably poetic line "I danced seductively toward her, crotch forward". It definitely resonated with the hilarious, sass-aholic judges.

For the finale, three people from the audience went up on stage, two to crumple up pictures of book burnings and pass them to the authors while one held up a children's basketball net that the writers had to throw the paper balls into.

Katrina Best won by a nose (or a hair or whatever body part you choose) and was accorded a medal and infinite bragging rights.

thewinnerresize.jpgI look forward to the next time the circus comes to town and, if you have even the remotest funny bone in your body, so should you.

Photos Courtesy of Christine Zoltok



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