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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lies and the Literary Liars Who Tell Them -- A Live Version of Balderdash

Posted By on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Michelle Tea leads the liars in a live version of Balderdash. - AMOS MAC
  • Amos Mac
  • Michelle Tea leads the liars in a live version of Balderdash.

For word-lovers there can be no greater bluffing game than Balderdash. Originally a Victorian parlor game known as the Game of Dictionary, the rules are little changed: Competitors submit their own definition of an obscure word and accumulate points by duping their rivals.

What is the true definition of snollygoster?

A) A joke that makes one laugh uncontrollably.

B) The gills through which snails respire.

C) A politician guided by self-interest.

While the game can easily be played with nothing more than a reliable lexicon, it has been adaptable in every age to every media. Call My Bluff, a popular panel game featuring B-list celebrities, aired on BBC for 40 years. With the advent of the Internet, Balderdash naturally migrated online. One game was started on CompuServe and continued for 2,000 rounds and 16 years, making it one of the longest online games in history. However, nothing beats real belly laughs and lying to someone's face. To this end, Balderdash: Live brings the game and the neighborhood to the stage at Intersection for the Arts on Wednesday.

What is the true definition of collywobbles?

A) Spacers used for setting floor tile.

B) Intestinal cramps.

C) Elderly women prone to gossip.

Hosted by wordsmith Michelle Tea, the match features contestants from local organizations such as Hub Bay Area, ISF DigiFilm, TechShop -- and you. (In case you're wondering about the words above: C and B, respectively.)

Balderdash: Live starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday (March 21) at Intersection for the Arts, 925 Mission (at Fifth St.), S.F. Admission is $10-$15.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Silke Tudor

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