Instead, the Rocky theme played before Bellamy introduced the competitors. Some of them wore Mexican Day of the Dead face paint and waved prop machetes while issuing threats to spell-check the opposition's work. Others carried inspirational totems such as dragon figurines, yarn dolls, and replica animal skulls. A matched pair swatted sheets of paper towards each other before the five-minute time frame to type began.
Yes, typed -- with typewriters. Depending when you were born, you may or may not know what those are.
The combined absurdity and antiquity suggested by the above promotional photo and exhibited at the event had those of us in audience "oooh"ing at word prompts pulled from Moby Dick, laughing at comedic vignettes generated from choice words, and clapping after the contestants read what they wrote aloud. Themes birthed from the prompts ranged from reflection on what it is to feel confused to bizarre plots about using human lipids to fabricate drugs. All were well-received.
That's what Lucha Libro is really about. "It's an improvised, generative art sort of thing," Bellamy said, all done while having a good time. He explained that poetry tends to be the focus of literary performance, but the event welcomes anyone who fancies themselves a writer of any form to participate.
Competing writers are paired in several rounds and type their entries based on a prompt within a time limit. After time expires, they each present their pieces and the audience votes on who advances to the next round. This continues until one writer is left to challenge the previous month's reigning champion.
Want to work out your writing muscles? Tired of holing yourself up in your laundry-strewn bedroom to crank out your next masterpiece? Search Facebook Events for Lucha Libro Literary Death Match in the upcoming months and come out for a change of pace. Just watch out for any flying thesauri -- it's possible when the game is no rules, just write!