Literary Death Match: Pride Edition
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1. LDM ticket: Proceeds from this edition went to The Trevor Project, supported by POZ and Out Media. 2. Eddie Sarfaty, Jason Stuart, and Jason Schneiderman and their judging eyes
In honor of Pride week here in NYC, Literary Death Match put on a Pride edition of its series last night. Show host and executive producer Ann Heatherington was joined by judges Jason Schneiderman (literary merit), Jason Stuart (performance), and Eddie Sarfaty (intangibles).
First up, Frank Anthony Polito read from his novel Drama Queers! Choosing a scene involving a young boy’s first performance at a drag bar in Detroit [*], Polito stepped up for his performance requirement and found himself doing ballet steps across the stage, book in one hand and microphone in the other. Judging Polito, Schneiderman said he was happy that a reference to Emmanuel on Taboo Island and had made it into the book. Jason Stuart, however, chided Polito for pronouncing the word “apropos” incorrectly. Heatherington immediately cut in to remind him to stop being a dick.
1. Polito and Pratt take the heat from the judges. 2. R. Erica Doyle vs. Regan Hofmann.
Up next was David Pratt, who performed in shorts, sandals, and a green Hawaiian shirt. To combat Polito’s performance, Pratt read from his debut novel Bob the Book, which is about the life of a gay book. Pratt then explained that a gay book is in fact a book that sleeps with other books of the same gender. Stuart immediately harped on Pratt’s outfit, saying he looked like he was shopping for trinkets in Miami. Meanwhile, Schneiderman adored Pratt’s pseudo-gender theory book titles (i.e. The Maverick Clitoris). However, after mere seconds of deliberation, the judges chose Polito to move on to the finals.
Round two opened with R. Erica Doyle reading her story “Tante Merle.” Doyle warned the audience that she was about to read in Trini (a dialect from Trinidad), and that if we couldn’t keep up then we should just sit back and enjoy the ride. Clocking in over her time-limit, Doyle was shot twice from stage right with a Nerf gun and exited the stage.
1. Ann Heatherington preparing for the final round. 2. Polito reads from Drama Queers! 3. Regan Hofmann on prepping for her first media appearance with Diane Sawyer.
Finally, POZ editor-in-chief Regan Hofmann read a section from her memoir I Have Something to Tell You. Schneiderman said that her book cover was hot, and Stuart confessed to hating her on-sight for her beauty. Scrounging for intangibles, Sarfaty said he got the sense that she’s a skinny blond. Hofmann then moved on to the final round, and Doyle rejoined the audience.
With the judges dismissed, Heatherington took control and began the final round. Polito and Hoffman were to identify literary geniuses based on their childhood photos projected on the screen. If we learned anything here, it’s that Eileen Myles was (and still is) beautiful and that Polito had never heard of Langston Hughes. He did, however, reclaim his lit-cred by identifying some awesomely obscure playwrights. Polito won the event and was thusly awarded the LDM medal.
Despite Heatherington’s apologies that everyone was out of town (ahem, Provincetown), it was great to see a Pride edition of an awesome literary event. Full disclosure, though: R. Erica Doyle really should have won. It frustrates me that I can’t fully convey the way she carried herself on stage.
–John Zuarino is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn.