When a guy contacts you to ask if you want to represent at something called a Literary Death Match, it's hard to refuse. However, there's no shortage of ideas that sound cool on paper but fizzle in reality. But after checking out Todd Zuniga's web site it not only clear he knew what he was doing, he was having a blast being successful at doing it.
Co-founded by Zuniga, founding editor of the Brooklyn-based Opium Magazine, Literary Death Match "marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips of American Idol’s judging (without any meanness), and the ridiculousness and hilarity of Double Dare."
Since its first episode in 2006, Zuniga and his partners in other cities have waged more than 60 matches, mainly anchored in New York City and San Francisco but with events around the country and abroad in London, Paris, and Beijing. A look at past literary pugilists and judges gives an indication of the sort of entertaining community Zuniga is forming.
Now the fun comes to Baltimore's the WindUp Space on Saturday, January 30. Zuniga has assembled a genius set of Mob Town judges featuring Dear Everybody author Michael Kimball, The Stoop Storytelling co-mastermind Jessica Henkin, and Baltimore-born author/journalist and The Wire scribe Rafael Alvarez. Competing for LDM immortality will be readers Michael Hughes (representing CityLit Project), Mike Young (Publishing Genius), Jen Michalski (JMWW), and Dave Housley (Barrelhouse).
When: Doors at 7, show at 8:05 (sharp), after-party at 9:30.
Where: The Windup Space, 12 W. North Avenue, Station North
"We've called this the great literary ruse: an audacious and inviting title, a harebrained finale, but in-between the judging creates a relationship with the viewer as a judge themselves," Zuniga writes on the LDM site. "Our ultimate goal is to perform the Literary Death Match all over the world, and to continue to showcase literature as a brilliant, unstoppable medium."
As a recent poster to the Opium blog noted, "