Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim probably didn't have a literary reading in mind when they wrote "Cool" for West Side Story. But I can't help hearing those high-tension lyrics in my head -- Breeze it, buzz it, easy does it. Turn off the juice, boy! -- when I imagine what things will be like at the Literary Death Match, a national phenomenon presented by Opium Magazine making its second Denver appearance tonight, all for the benefit of Todd Zuniga's esteemed international literary rag. After all, when it's over, someone will take home the coveted Literary Death Match crown, which must be something like ruling the roost in your own culturally divided urban backyard.
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Here's the setup: Four writers of note compete by reading their most electrifying works before a three-person panel of judges and the public. Then, through a weeding-out process involving much humor and general pontificating, the four are whittled down to two and then one. At Denver's first match, local author and musician Daniel Grandbois finally took the honors, beating Laura Pritchett. But at 8 p.m. tonight at Forest Room 5, 2532 15th Street, Sharon McGill, Jessy Randall, Nicky Beer and Nick Francoise will come out with fingers snapping, all coolly cool, for judges Chris Ransick, Curtis Pesman and Tara Anderson. Zuniga and Boulderite Jody Reale host and admission is $10. Get details at www.literarydeathmatch.com.
For more ways to rock the night and kill the day, go to westword.com/calendar.