Naming that Tune
The Literary Death Match’s 7th Episode at San Francisco’s Rickshaw Stop was thrilling and memorable, bringing together--for the first-time ever--local publishing houses MacAdam/Cage, Soft Skull Press, Manic D Press, and Heyday Books in what turned into a wowing battle. In the end, Andrew Lam walked away with the championship head-and-hardware.
Before the readings began, though, performance judge Larry Gallagher kicked off the festivities with an original song—proffering that things wouldn’t be any different if William Shakespeare were still around.
Maybe, maybe not, but the round 1 theatrics would’ve pleased the bard--as it was all about getting freaky. Daphne Gottlieb (Soft Skull Press) revved up the crowd with an explicit one-night-stand account. Intangibles judge, Helena Echlin, decided intangibles had most to do with outfits—and while Gottlieb’s funky combat boot v. girly black top combo garnered points, Echlin feared the sexy subject matter offended her own parents, who were in the audience.
Eric B. Martin (MacAdam/Cage) followed suit with his short story How To Have Sex With Anyone You Want. According to Martin, the secret is spices—coriander in particular. After a hard and long think, the judges chose Martin as the night’s first finalist.
After a short, jovial and boozy intermission Round 2 began with Jon Longhi (Manic D Press) winning the coin toss, but deferring to Lam to take the stage first.
“When I left Vietnam 10 years ago, I never thought I’d be reading in San Francisco at a place called the Rickshaw Stop,” Lam said, then captivated with the funny and moving Grandma’s Tales, which began with two young people freezing their dead Vietnamese grandmother’s body, who later emerged from the icebox—younger and speaking fluent English.
Longhi boldly took the stage and said, “I want to apologize to Echlin’s parents in advance”—and hilarity ensued with a series of short tales. The first protagonist suffered from undies that caught fire while relaxing on the toilet, the last featured a pot smoker hopelessly devoted to his dildo-shaped pipe. The crowd was in stitches.
Literary Merit judge, Laura Lee Mattingly praised Lam, while his blue shoes and alphabet shirt greatly impressed Echlin. And while Longhi’s just-out-of-bed look annoyed her at first, Echlin was won over by the penis-shaped bowl, so Lam emerged the night’s second finalist.
Armed with a kazoo duct taped to the mike, Gallagher led the final round—Name That Tune. Things looked grim when neither contestant got “Breakdown” by Tom Petty, but Martin picked up “If I Only Had a Brain” and the Flinstones theme, while Lam scored with Moonriver and Material Girl. In sudden death, Lam named On The Street Where You Live to bring home the crown.
Gottlieb and Martin mug; judges Echlin and Mattingly all smiles; Gallagher kazoo’s