Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Winner, December 12th bee

Our last set of tickets to the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was won by Tom Landers!

Next bee: Monday, January 9th.

The Good Morning America piece should air on some Sunday, any Sunday, in January.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The next bee: Monday, December 12th

Featuring: Round One Holiday Words!

Yes, round one will be chock full of tricky words from Christianity, Judaism, Kwanzaa (well, really just the word "kwanzaa"), Wicca, and Hallmark.

December 12th
Sign up at 7, compete at 7:30
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St. in Williamsburg
No cover, open to all.

Winner gets tickets to Bingo: The Musical! Second and third place win bar tab.


So, on Wednesday, I did a comedy show at which the host, a comic named Theron, introduced me as, "Co-host of the Williamsburg Spelling Pee."

Everyone laughed. Flustered, he followed up with:

"Uh, yes, the Williamsburg Spelling Pee ... it comes right after the Math Poo."

Good Morning America

From my contact at GMA: "Looks like we got bumped a couple of weekends in a row. Now we're looking ahead to January. That's what happens with an evergreen feature story sometimes."

I'll let you know when it's going to finally air (if they tell me)!

Friday, December 02, 2005

November 28th recap

First prize winner Dilip Babu won tickets to the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee!

A big thanks to our sponsor!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Spelling Bee on German Public Radio

This was recorded October 14th, at the Finals, by Sascha Storfner.

It is mostly in German, but that kind of makes the English bits in the middle funnier. dhjsjhdskhdfskhsd Kiss My Spelling Bee kljfskdljfsdlkfjsdlfsd beer.

Featuring bobbyblue singing the theme song, Tim Moyle talking about beer, and Jonathan Lill singing "onomatopoeia."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

L train as sex object

Pete's has a new poster for the spelling bee and for Comedy Show & Tell. It's a "Back to School Mondays" theme, with a creepy little girl straddling a train on the Williamsburg Bridge.

click to enlarge

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Columbia Radio News clip

Our blog has audio! Audio spelling! We are so multimedia.

Hear Cameron Coleman, Josh Malamy, and bobbyblue quoted in this October 2005 clip by Peter Ritter for Columbia Radio News.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Our sponsor: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (the musical) is sponsoring the bee with prizes -- and not just for the finals! For the first time ever, we've got big prizes for the winners of regular-season bees, at least through 2005!

The first-place winners of the Nov. 14, Nov. 28, and Dec. 12 bees will each win a pair of tickets to the musical!

Six young spellers of the Tony Award-winning musical The 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee are learning about growing up, fitting in and earning R-E-S-P-E-C-T. In this “R-I-O-T-O-U-S” show (New York Times) Marcy, Chip, Logainne, Leaf, William and Olive learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser. “A Super-Smart show that’s also a bona fide crowd-pleaser. It is perfect in every possible way.” (The Wall Street Journal)

Visit the Website

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Next seaon - mark the 2006 calendars you haven't bought yet!

Season three begins Monday, November 14!

Here is a complete list of spelling bee dates for the season: November 14, November 28, December 12, January 9, January 23, February 6, February 20, March 6, March 20, April 3, April 17, May 1 (The Finals!)

All bees take place at Pete's Candy Store, Mondays at 7:30. Contests are open to all. Arrive by 7:15 to sign up.


We got a mention in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Good Morning America spot should air in about three weeks.

go find yourself!

It will take a long time to organize these into a more attractive format and I think you want them now, so I'm just posting a link:

Spelling Finals Photos are Here!

Seeking Round One Guest Readers!

You guys have seen too much of me -- it's time to spread the love around! If you have been to a couple of spelling bees and feel like spending more time on stage, we'd like to have you as a guest word reader! Here's how it works. Round one, everybody answers one icebreaker question and spells one word. You need to come prepared with about 20 icebreaker questions, and 20 words with a theme (cooking words? words from French? geography words?) To get the party started, email me (jen@jenisfamous.com) with your theme idea.

Season Two Finals October 17th!

(There are MANY more pictures coming soon, but here is a small preview! All photos by Brian Van).

The finals Monday night were a blast. bobbyblue's band, ...y las flores, opened the bee with the Williamsburg Spelling Bee theme song, and even German Public Radio was there to get a piece of the action.

Our winners were...

1st place - Josh Malamy
2nd place - Liane Yee
3rd place - Megan Rudesill

Season winner Josh won tickets to Bingo: The Musical, a $100 cash prize, a Neighborhoodies package, and -- the most stylish prize of the night -- a retro phone headset that plugs into a cell phone, donated by CITE (the store for which our very own bobbyblue is the buyer!)

Next bee: Monday, November 14, 7:30, Pete's! (And then every alternate Monday thereafter!)

from our sponsor, Bingo: The Musical

BINGO is a winning new musical comedy from the Grammy–nominated songwriters of Swing and the Musical Director of Mamma Mia!. It’s an evening of great numbers and number calling, where love blossoms and long lost friends reunite. Starring Chevi Colton (Cabaret), Ann Crumb (Anna Karenina), Liz Larsen (Hairspray, Most Happy Fella), Liz McCartney (Mamma Mia!), Beth Malone ("Reno 911"), Janet Metz (Fiddler on the Roof), and Patrick Ryan Sullivan (42nd Street).

Spelling Bee fans can get tickets for $39.50 (reg $65.00) for performances through November 27th by calling 212-947-8844 and mentioning code BNPCS27. (A $1.00 facilities fee is included in the established ticket price.)

Bingo: The Musical

Monday, October 17, 2005

Season Two Finals Contestants

Here are the contestants who preregistered. Other qualifiers may show up on the night of the bee.

Name: Dilip Babu
Age: 26
Profession: researcher
How do you feel about your chances: I think I pretty much have it in the bag, provided that Josh gets a weird stomach ailment, Jonathan Lill has a freak accident with a boa constrictor, and Megan can't make it.

Name: Josh Malamy
Age: 23
Profession: Lover
How do you feel about your chances: Pretty good! Otherwise I wouldn't be flying in from my soon-to-be new home Chicago.

Name: Liane Yee
Age 31
Profession: Technical writer
How do you feel about your chances: Just hoping for a respectable finish!

Name: Greg Hannahs
Age: 30
Profession: Child Shrink
How do you feel about your chances: It's a crapshoot. Also depends on how tired I am.

Annie Bui
Age: 29
Profession: IT
How do you feel about your chances: not so good

Jonathan Lill
Age: 34
Profession: Art Librarian; man about town
How do you feel about your chances: No one can withstand the human steamroller Josh Malamy. I have no conviction my recent losing streak will be reversed (notwithstanding the possibility of an inexplicable reversal of fortune). But hope springs eternal etc., etc.

Michael Maier
Age: 34
Profession: Office Manager
How do you feel about your chances: I won't win, but I'll have fun losing. Having fun is the important part. So it's all good.

Megan Rudesill
Age: 89
Profession: glorifier of the WC
How do you feel about your chances: I might not fall off the stage.

Ryan Harrison Hunter

Saturday, October 08, 2005

s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g c-h-a-m-p neighborhoodie!

Here are some of the prizes that will be awarded at the finals!

The Brooklyn Museum – Catalog & Membership
Neighborhoodies - Hoodie
ReadyMade – Free Subscription
19:23 – T-Shirt
C.I.T.E. – Hulger Phone
Lodge Restaurant - $50 Gift Certificate
Commune Hair Salon – Free Haircut ($40 G. C.)
Hearmuff – one Hearmuff (a winter hat with headphones built in!)
Brooklyn Industries – A Laptop Sleeve
Georg Jensen –Silver Elephant Paperweight
Jigsaw Gallery - $25 gift certificate (graphic novels and indie art goodies)

New York Times picture

Finally, I got my scanner working. From the print version of the NY Times article.

by G. Paul Burnett

Dear spellers, you are now officially the hippest people on earth

Yesterday morning bobbyblue and I spoke to radio station KTYD in Santa Barbara, which apparently does a lot of reporting on spelling bees. Also on the line was another special guest -- current ESPN Scripps Howard spelling bee winner Anurag Kashyap.

Hosts Matt and Julie attempted several times to get Anurag's last name right, and then they asked him to spell a word that they couldn't actually pronounce, but Anurag figured out what they meant and spelled "ichthyopathy." (Not sure about that -- it was hard to hear, but the word wasn't "ichthyology"; it was definitely an "-opathy" word).

Bobby and I discussed the bee, the kinder-and-gentler three strikes policy, and how drunk people tend to get at the bee (not much; I think most people tend to save the real drinking for after the competition).

This adult-spelling bee trend is blowing up in the media. We're a little weirded out by it. Good Morning America is producing a two-minute spot and will be taping at the finals.

If any of you have met a date at the spelling bee, or were former child spelling champs, or are avenging a child spelling bee loss, or have some other unusual spelling bee story, and would be willing to talk to the press about this, please email me at jen (insert-appropriate-preposition-here) jenisfamous.com

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

October 3, 2005 spelling bee recap

TimeOut filmed the spelling bee last night for their on-demand cable show. It was a lively, funny bee, won (again!) by Josh Malamy, with Lianne Yee (who, as a five-year-old, wanted to be an ergonomic enginner, but instead grew up to be a fairy princess) in second and newcomer Harrison Hunter in third.

Come out next Monday for Show and Tell, and the next Monday, October 17, for the spelling bee finals.

If you have qualified for the finals, be sure to preregister (scroll down for info)! I will post the contestants' bios here soon!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

We're in the New York Times!

"If the spelling bee final on Oct. 17 is anything like the twice-monthly bees that have preceded it, the room will be packed. The air will be warm and thick with anticipation, not to mention the smell of beer."

The Williamsburg Spelling Bee is in today's Thursday style section! If you pick up a print edition, there is a color photo of Josh Malamy and Jonathan Lill, the two contestants who happened to respond to my last-minute email that the Times wanted people to come to Pete's for a photo.

"A new kind of bee has emerged, one where participants tackle baffling words between flirty smiles and sips of Yuengling."

Are you guys drinking Yuengling?

The Night Life of Bees

October 3 - last regular season bee before the finals

Last chance to qualify for the finals!

The Williamsburg Spelling Bee
Monday, October 3

7pm signup, 7:30 competition
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St. (map)

TimeOut really will be filming this time. They'll just be there for a little bit in the beginning.

Important: Will you be competing in the finals?

If you have already placed in the top three of a spelling bee this season, we need you to please pre-register for the finals on October 17 (if, indeed, you will be competing).

To do that, all you have to do is email jen(insert appropriate preposition here)jenisfamous.com with these answers:
Which bee did you place in (approximate is fine):
How do you feel about your chances in the finals?
(All the finals contestants will be listed here on the blog!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

October 17 Finals - a few preparatory notes

The finals will begin promptly at 7:30pm on October 17th. Contestants -- please arrive early to secure a seat! We would reserve seats, but most people bring friends and want to sit with them, so we suggest just showing up in time to grab some real estate before it's gone. We expect a packed house.

For those of you not competing in the finals, never fear! We are putting on a show! Spectacular, spectacular! In between rounds of the finals, we will have short, silly audience participation contests for which anyone may volunteer -- for instance, spelling backwards, or spelling a long sentence under a time limit. So even if you are not competing, this is an event not to be missed!

Also, our own bobbyblue will open the bee with the Williamsburg Spelling Bee theme song. I'll bet some of you didn't even know we had a theme song.

We expect the bee to last until about 10pm, after which there will be live entertainment.

After the finals, we will take the next alternating Monday (which is Halloween) off, and then begin Season Three on November 14th. On non-spelling Mondays, you may also enjoy show and tell.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

September 22, 2005 spelling bee recap

The spelling bee tonight was charming! It was a full room but not overly packed, with fourteen contestants (we'll take up to twenty if people sign up in time, but with twenty, I have to rush things a bit).

The bee was won decisively by Mr. Josh Malamy (also winner of the August 22 bee), who brought his mother and aunt to watch. He spelled a fantastic array of words correctly, including "chaffinch" and "lepidopterologist." Spellers Jean and Annie took second and third place, respectively. Annie actually conquered in a runoff for third, thus achieving a particularly hard-won sandwich.

bobbyblue and I did a bit of bantering about the sandwiches at Pete's (third place winner gets a free sandwich) and why it is that panini sandwiches become better because they've been pressed. Do we really want our sandwiches denser and flatter? I theorized that it was related to the desire to smush Wonderbread into dough when you're a kid -- pressing is great! Pressing greatly adds to the desirability of bread products. Mmmn, Wonderdough.

Josh may soon be moving to Chicago, where he is thinking of starting up his own spelling bee. I have given my blessing to this project. We could have a sister spelling bee!

At some point during the bee, I made remarks about spellers uniting to form a giant Voltron Speller. I really can't remember the context. I have no idea why I said this.

Spelly-spellers, unite!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Next installment: tomorrow!

The Williamsburg Spelling Bee

Monday, Sept. 19
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St. in Williamsburg
7:30pm, signup 7:15pm

Monday, August 22, 2005

Liveblog 3, Round 3

Well, we've reduced our numbers by a lot, since so many of our comrades fell in Round 2. Number 1 is named Katie, I think. She did not correctly spell her word, which had to do with a kind of surgical incision. I utterly couldn't spell it either, which is why I haven't tried. Joe #2, has a word "belomancy," (probably spelled wrong by me as well, sorry, the spell check is really not working out for me) that has to do with picking arrows at random out of a container....um, that didn't fly, and neither did his second word, so he has struck out. Number 3...er, I totally missed the first word. The second "menticide," having to do with brainwashing or mental torture. That undid her, sadly. Josh, #4, is wearing a nifty stripey shirt and about to spell his second word, "dinurgate," a soldier ant having an unusually large head -- which we BOTH spelled right, how nice. "Monolater," one who worships one god, but doesn't deny the existence of others. He went for the "or," as I did, and we were both wrong. Jonathan Lill, lucky #5, is facing "parabulia." Something about a reversal of one's will. It may be an "e," not an "i," but I just don't know. He went down with "paregoric," which I think I may have spelled wrong as well. Jen has pointed out that the next spelling bee will be the first anniversary of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee. "Perinate" was the undoing of #6. Number 7 is coping with "anosmatic," lacking the ability to smell. Isabelle/Isabel is now onstage, number 8. "Paraclete," an advocate or intercessor, or one called on to help or support. She spelled it with a "peri," which was my instinct as well. "Irreption," a stealthy entrance, or the act of creeping in. She spelled it with an "ere" at the beginning, which I totally sympathize with. Drat! I missed Melissa's last word, which was her strikeout. Malika, of the real rad skirt, #11, is now onstage. "Rutidosis," a wrinkling condition on the cornea. I don't know if I spelled it right, but neither did she -- the end of her role as a competitor. Now Rebecca, #13 is poised to spell. "Navicella," a decorative thingie in the shape of a ship, apparently. Ooo, and that word was her undoing. The people are falling like flies tonight, but this is certainly one of the most demanding bees on record. Oh, whew. I just got back from being onstage (I'm number 15, which is one of my favorite numbers). I spelled three things right! But in all fairness, as you know by now if you've read the other posts, there were definitely tons of words earlier that I couldn't have spelled. Number 16 is now on his 3rd word, and he has just struck out, despite a very good showing. Dilip is back on the scene...Bobby can tell just by looking at him that although this is only his second time, he's clearly a regular at heart, and will be back again and again. He has spelled "skimeister," to delighted cheers, and is now spelling "etiolation." Right again! "Solivagant," one who wanders alone. (Going down the only road they've ever known, no doubt.) Mmm, that one did not work out for him, but he's clearly still in the game. Christina the Cheery must now spell "colonette," which earned her a strike. "Hemiplegia" is her next challenge, which did overpower her. ("Hema" instead of "hemi.") Number 21 is now dealing with "ionosphere," with aplomb. Something to do with a muddy environment, which stumped both her and me, and she is now benched. "Whorliwort" is some sort of medicinal herb which is clearly a pain to spell, for both of us. Oh good grief, final round now, and I'm in it.

The "Elimination Round" has us each spelling up to 8 words to determine our places. A tubular pasta went fine. Now, "punctilear." (Under My Thumb is playing in the background.) He took it on successfully. I am so utterly doomed. He just spelled another right, and is on a new word. Another word conquered by Josh! He says he's been studying real hard. How sweetly humble! "Tongawalla" was no match for Josh, he aptly spelled it. "Grobianism" is now on his plate. However, he mistook the first "i" for an "e." This is his second strike of the game. "Meromictic," something with water. Here I go!

Yeah, I pretty much died in a pool of my own vomit onstage. Which is to say that I rashly got all adventurous and insouciant and mangled a couple words, striking myself immediately into the sandwich zone. Dilip has spelled his first word correctly and is now spelling "metaphrast," something to do with literature I think. He did it! "Interstice," was also beat down by Dilip. "Fluviatile" also proved no match for Dilip Babu. "Pasigraphy" is now staring him down. He added an extra letter, final strike, now he's sitting down behind me again, not reading over my shoulder I hope.

They're doing the add-up. The next bee is September 19th, after Labor Day (so no white shoes!). This will be the big anniversary. There is just so darn much LOVE in the room!

Ok, 'cause I'm so psychic: yeah, I (Megan Rudesill) was the sandwich, Dilip Babu(who I am so proud to be associated with) is in second place, and Josh Malamy (yes, I did ask how to spell his last name, with the hope that someone who has a huge secret crush on him will google him and discover his CHAMPIONSHIP) is our First Place Winner. That's right, sweet, stripey Josh Malamy you are Prom King of the August 22, 2005 Williamsburg Spelling Bee. Go down that drink tab!

Liveblog 3, Round 2

Number 1 has "glissade," and spelled it perfectly. Now: "avifauna," which I initially misspelled, but so did Number One. Number 2: "anisette" and "sollerette." I metal shoe which is a part of a knight's outfit. But that may be an "a" and not an "e." Number 3 has "molinary" and spelled it perfectly. Josh, #4, must spell "lamasery," and spelled it right. "Humifise" went right too. "Palouser" is what #5 must spell, a candle in a can used as an improvised light. He spelled it wrong, but so did I initially. "Solineal" is his next challenge, which he quickly dispatched. Sandra, #6, gets "hamartia," a character defect, especially in a tragic hero. "Femeral" next, she started it incorrectly with a "ph," but hey, so did I. Number 7 is Tim, actually (wrong name on previous post), and is facing "mephitis." I think that's a ph, I didn't hear the correction. (I used the spell check last time, but I think somehow I don't know how to operate it.) "Barbicel," something to do with feathers, stumbled up number 8. Melissa, #9, is facing "frondeur," which went well, and now she's dealing with "farriery" (?) something to do with horseshoes, which did not go so well. Number 11 spelled "beriberi" right (although I may not have) a disease sort of thing, and her next word was spelled incorrectly. Billy is the name of #12, something to do with inducing muscle relaxation with a South American woody vine. "Curarize," which didn't work out for him, and "rasoreal" didn't either....This is very sad, Billy with the snazzy glasses has struck out. The first word for #13 didn't work out, and now she's got "betacism." Michael of the nice argyle, number 14 is staring down "enresol," which he has dispatched. "Acculeate" went wrong by replacing "e" with "i." I just embarrassed myself with "tourelle," but handled "braillist" without further humiliation. "Plaquette" went well for #16, and Dilip is dealing with a word that means "the quality or state of being hunchbacked." "Gibbosity," and he went wrong with the "i," preferring an "e." Oh, such a popular mistake. He totally showed his second word who's boss. Cheery #18 was defeated by her first word, and is now attempting "ascensive," with success. Liz is #19, and contemplating "cadential," having to do with musical cadence. Oh dear, she has started with a "q." She went awry with a soup that starts with "m" and can be served hot or cold. I can't spell it, and she couldn't either, leading to her strikeout. "Lidocaine" (I think I spelled right) but she wasn't able to. She's spelling her second word, which did not work out -- good heavens, another one bites the dust! This has been such a devastating round! Bobby feels that the whole "Hollaback Girl" album is a shameless ripoff of M.I.A. He's not afraid to say it like he sees it. Our buddy #21 earned a strike, but is still in the game. Meredith, #21, has misstepped with "primatial" and "kaiserdome," but she's still in the game --- and BREAK! That's right we're taking a teeny breather, and resuming the spelling slaughter.

Liveblog 3, Round 1

I am taking the opportunity to start before the spelling starts, since despite my best attempts to type speedily, I thought it best to get a head start. Bobby has just reminded us that there are W'burg Spelling Bee t-shirts available for $10, a wise investment if I ever saw one. After polling the crowd, Jen has determined that there's a significant percentage of first-time spellers. Perhaps from her bathroom wall marketing blitz. Reminder of format: First round you spell one word and answer an icebreaker question, second round you spell two words, third round varies based on the number of remaining spellers, sometimes three words, sometimes as many as you can spell until you reach your third strike. First prize: $25 bar tab, second prize: $15 bar tab, third prize: fancy Pete's grilled sandwich.

First contestant, the lovely and charming Candy. If she could make a legal thing illegal thing and vice versa.....college sketch comedy would become illegal, and flashing at Mardi Gras would become legal. What a woman of the people! Tonight's first round words are coming from the list of the most commonly misspelled words in the English language. She's got "commemorate," and has earned her first strike. Joe is 2nd speller, and he just told Bobby that his tattoo says: "cry for the moon." At least, I think that's what he said. I can't read the tat from here. His word: "handkerchief." Correct! 3rd speller: Kristen. Or maybe Kristin. Or Christin. Or Ckristynn. Who knows? She's wearing a lovely necklace of what seem to be interestingly shaped semiprecious stones...but who knows, plastic? She has earned a strike with "defendant." 4th speller: Josh. What would he do in outerspace that has not yet been done in outerspace. His response; "has anyone ever died in outerspace?" He thinks he'd died of old age there. Renowned is his word....he's spelling....Lucky number 5, superspeller Jonathan Lill. What flavor of licorice should exist, but doesn't. He responds that, rather, licorice flavor itself shouldn't exist. What's with the black licorice haters? I am so alone in loving it -- and I loved it before worked in all those movie theaters, for the record. "Ukulele" went down nice and easy for Jonathan Lill, as expected. Speller 6, Sandra, didn't do as well with "desiccate." Oh my! We have 4 new spellers to add to the roster. Tina, #7, if she could take the place of any '80's hair metal band, she would be. . .Someone has asserted that Def Leppard came from Sheffield, England, but I can't fact check that right now. "Camouflage" is what Tina is up against, and she vanquished it effortlessly. Isabel (Isabelle?) #7, if she had to make a sandwich with metals and plastic. . .would like to be able to add salt. "Broccoli" went down without a fight. Alyssa (I'm totally guessing on name spellings here, as you can imagine) is #9, and now she has to spell "embarrassment," which proved a mite too tricky. Number 11 (yeah, there IS no number 10) is wearing a real cute stripey skirt that Bobby has complimented. Her favorite Latin root: "ex." Carburator defied her grasp, and I suspect, my own. Number 12 thinks the worst name you could give to an infant would be Jezebel. Bobby objects. Daiquiri proved too much, and earned him his first strike. Rebecca is #13, Jen has pointed out that since there is no number 10, all the bad luck of 13 is removed. "Horrific," was handled able by Rebecca. Dude, that is so not Active Voice. That was definitely not Subject, Verb, Object. Number 14 has an excellent argyle shirt. "Labeled" was too tricky. I have spelled "irascible" (thanks Uncle Davbid!). Number 16 has real cute sneakers. "Lieutenant" seems to have been not too challenging for him. I hope that I find out his name next round, I will report it. Dilip, if he had to be a state capital, would be Olympia, WA, and he has spelled "pronunciation" correctly. Number 18 is Christine or Christina. She's facing down "publicly," and knocked it OUT. Number 19, if she could be any character from a now defunct cartoon, she would be Jem of Jem and the Holograms. She earned a strike with "privilege." Number 20, if she had to be a character in any book she read in junior high, would be Bilbo Bagggins. "Relevant" turned out to be a bit much. Number 21 if she had a pair of glasses that had a special feature other than X-Ray vision, they would enable her to read minds, but "supersede" was a setback. Number 22 has spelled "preferable." Oh boy! End of Round One!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

an apposite link

Apparently NYU held a spelling bee! Best quote ever:

"I'm Eurotrash ... I should have known how to spell discotheque."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

regarding the live blogging

Jonathan Lill had some technical trouble last night and lost two of his posts, including the one regarding the all-important final round. He will attempt to reconstruct these posts from memory and we will then post them here.

Officially speaking, Mr. Lill himself and Mr. Greg Hannahs tied for first place, and Matt, a newcomer, came in third. We look forward to repeat showings from Matt, who performed fantastically in his first bee, and a rather frenetic bee at that.

There are three chances left to qualify for the finals on October 17! Come out next time on Monday night, August 22nd (and then September 19th and October 3rd).

And this Wednesday (tomorrow!) come on out to Pete's for the Jenny Vaudeville show, a free variety show featuring ventriloquism, musical comedy, and all manner of weirdness -- this time featuring Adira Amram ("Sometimes Life is Like Mortal Kombat"), Joshua Grosvent ("Touched by an Uncle"), ventriloquist April Brucker, and Onion headline writer Sam Means, who will be performing in public for the first time, reading a list of his rejected Onion headlines. The show also features trivia, spelling, and literary quizzes for the audience, with prizes (CDs, etc.) donated by the performers.

The Jenny Vaudeville Show
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer
Wednesday, August 10
10pm (and done in time to get back on the L by midnight!)
Free! Win Prizes!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Live Update: Round 2!

Due to a technical problem, two thirds of this post was lost before posting. I have only my sweat to show for it. Let's catch up at the end of the round:

.....Kat gets conjunctiva and stumbles to get it wrong. Mike Ray, near the end of the round, spells martyrology right. And his second word is corniculate. And he also gets it right! Almost to the end of the round. #20 has to try stratocracy, it only looks easy on the page. He gets it right! His second word is obsecration and he missteps. Jen H, our next to last speller must spell nitrogation, a tricky pronunciation, she missteps. Her second word is interlludial and runs away with it. Delippe, our final speller of the round, spells extravascate. Impressive! His second word is pluvioscope and again he triumphs. That’s it for round two folks. The sweat is flowing, the competition is heating up. Who will come out on top? Stay tuned.

If you couldn't tell, the second round was giant leap up in difficulty. The crowd swayed and groaned in sympathy with the spellers but hardly anyone is out of the game.


Live Update: Round 1

There is a great mix of regulars and newcomers tonight and a full complement of 21 players; it should be a thrilling contest. I am first on the list and the first to be called up to receive my plate and spell a word. Be right back...
The word was: Ohm. Correct!
Matt is up now; a perennial attendant (I think, I didn't get a good look). His question is whether any particular nonsensical song lyric bothers him. He has no particular answer except thatr any Billy Joel lyric in general is irather irritating. But his word is: Hew, correct!
Nick, is the next contestant. His word is Pica and he got it right.
Christina is number four and wants to go through life with green fingernails. Her word is fain, and she got it incorrect (those darn homonyms). But she's not out of the game yet.
Elissa is next (#5). She would love to Blondie if she had to choose. Her word is writ and once again it is spelled correctly. Josh is up now, another regular, and would love to equip his cell phone with a laser ray (this answer is met with general applause). The word is ante and he got it.
Greg is up; his favorite color is dark green, his word is gout and it's no trouble for the doctor.
The next speller, Michael, would love to be in Iceland if he had to choose and he spells bevy without breaking a sweat.
Tim Moyle would share, rather than horde, his Hershey kisses. And he can spell cowl without blinking.
Jason C, #11, and participated in geography bees as a kid (successfully, it turns out) and he is revenging his tardiness to an elementary school spelling bee. He not only spelled tibia he stood on it.
Michelle came up next and professed the desire to give nicholas cage a supreme makeover (many in the audience think he doesn't need it). She spelled cubit in seconds flat.
Contestant #13 ("Tom") ran through the letters of aphid without taking a breath.
#14 Chris K, recited a his favorite "yo' mama" joke and this led into a small discussion between the emcees. The word fiery was extinguished in due order.
Mark donned his plate and proclaimed the tofu burger as the best possible thing with which to decorate said plate. Bilge was spelled and put to rest.
Brian S., the next contestant, received the charmed "double plate". If forced to wear a mascot costume, he chose a pelican. He spelled privy. The streak is getting pretty long for correct words.
Ben was asked a sports question and had to profess his almost desparate ignorance of the subject (this is a spelling bee after all). he was given the word genus and he hit it out of the park.
Kat (contestant #18) got the favorite three wishes question where every wish myust cost less than $29. She chose parking for a day, a bikini wax and a nail job. Though alcohol would trump any of the other wishes. She got melba and finished it off in a trice.
Mike G., the next to last contestant chose to become Nancy Drew out of all the characters read in high school. He spelled thyme really fast.
Contestant #20 would be Madison, Wisconsin out of all state capitals. And finally, he spelled parry incorrectly.
Jen H., #21, if it were in her power, would invent brain implants. (May it be in her power.) And she sewed up jackal.
Megan, a multi-time winner was called to the stage only to excuse herself in a disgrace.
Her friend Delippe she called in as a replacement. As #22, he is asked what new item he would add to grocery stores. And he completely blanked. But he is from Tacoma! As the last speller in the round, he correctly spelled arcane to a round of applause.
These words were a bit simple and easy. But it is, after all, only round one. Jen warned that the words would ramp up in difficulty. Fore warned is fore armed

After a short break, we'll all be right back for round two!


Jen likes to break the ice by asking each contestant an amusing question. These can be tortuous and hard to transcribe but I shall do my best.

Live Update: Introduction

Date: August 8th, 2005
Location: Pete's Candy Store
Occasion: the biweekly Williamsburgh Spelling Bee
Welcome to all the attendees, competitors, returning participants, friends, supporters and hangers on. The spelling bee is less than a year old and has already garnered significant press attention, crowds of the curious and, perhaps most significantly, that most mysterious hip cachet. No doubt this is due to the tireless efforts of our two masters of cermonies, bobbyblue (any relation to Bobby Blue Bland?) and Jennifer Dziura. Visit their links at the top and you will see that the bee is merely one of their many talents and activities, though their most important one to be sure.

As always tonight's bee will begin with a review of the rules. There will be three rounds of spelling. In the first round, each participant will spell one word. In the second round, everyone must spell two words correctly. In the third round, each contestant spells as many words as they can until they are out. Since every entrant is allowed three wrong words before exiting the competition, everyone will make it at least through the second round. After the third round, the number of correctly spelled words is tallied for each speller and the three winners are declared. Any ties are broken with a spell-off, not an uncommon occurence and a real nail-biter sometimes. The prizes are as follows:

Third Prize: A certificate for a free Pete's Candy Store tasty sandwich
Second Prize: A $15 bar tab entitling you to the libation(s) of your choice.
First Prize: A $25 bar tab; ergo, even more libations.

And let's not forget that each contestant must wear the obligatory paper plate while playing. Since the paper plate must be surrendered upon exiting the contest, the paper plate is usually considered a badge of honor.

Now that we have reviewed the rules and procedures we have only to wait for 7:00 for the bee to begin.

N.b.: Since this blog is being typed with two fingers as fast as humanly possible in the semi-darkness with all the concomitant distractionattendant to a bee in a bar, any person who peruses this blog within the first twenty-four hours will have to turn a blind eye to typos, misspellings and any other egregious errors. They are all solely mine, your narrator,

Jonathan Lill

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


A big thanks to Julian of The Brooklynite magazine for taking all the photos on this blog thus far, and for allowing us to use them here. Julian actually has blogged about the bee, but it's in German.

Here are a couple more photos (scroll down for the rest):

The winners! Michael in second place, Jonathan in first, and Josh in third. Winner Jonathan Lill will be next bee's guest blogger. The plate Josh is holding is actually his free sandwich voucher, signed by bobbyblue.

Guest blogger and previous winner Megan Rudesill.

Sandwich winner Josh (on the right) and friends.

Bee founder bobbyblue (also a mariachi singer!) and word reader Jennifer Dziura.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Upcoming Dates

There are four more chances to qualify for the finals!

Regular season dates: August 8, August 22, September 19, October 3 (Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer, 7-9pm).

The F-I-N-A-L-S will take place October 17th (look forward to a return of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee theme song, performed by bobbyblue!)

things we learned from this spelling bee

Wow. I am so delighted that we are at the forefront of live blogging. Thanks to Megan Rudesill (at right) for being our very first guest blogger! She was typing with great celerity, and everything is left as she originally blogged it, except the word "spllelled," which I have corrected on her behalf.

When people in the spelling bee say something you know they didn't mean to say -- like a contestant starts spelling "geriatric" with a "j" and then cries "Oh no, can I start over?" -- I often point out that the contestant just made a "verbal typo," and that we all know that he or she actually does know better, and even though the word must be counted as wrong, we are with the contestant in spirit.

Any other spelling mistakes from our live bloggers, we do not want to know about, as that is the charm of live blogging. How many authentic media sources do we have left?

In any case, here are some salient points:
  • To get on the mailing list, email us.

  • In an effort to develop a live blogging editorial style, live posts are written in red and begin with "Live Update" in the subject.

  • Next time, we will bring an extension cord for live blogging purposes, so our blogger does not have to sit way in back of the action due to inadequate iBook battery life.

  • The next bee is Monday, August 8, and this week's winner Jonathan Lill will be our guest blogger.

  • The Brooklynite was in attendance -- look for spelling bee coverage in this free paper "sometime in August or September."

The Brooklynite also had a photographer there who said he'd send me some pictures for this blog, so if you were present this evening, check back sometime and you just might see yourself. Not in that Micheal Jackson "Man in the Mirror" way. Just, you know, literally.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Live Update: Elimination Round (Winners Announced!)

There are enough people with too few outs that we must now do an Elimination Round, where contestants spell as many words as they can until they strike out (whenever they reach 3 outs). Jonathan Lill is now up, he has just misspelled something, but that's only his second out. God, the rich aroma of grilled sandwiches is making me weak. Weak with desire. Whoa, Jonathan Lill has just struck out, but he still has an awful lot of words under his belt. Mark has just got his third strike on his first word of this round. Now we've got Josh, spelling his heart out. In case anybody reading this doesn't realize: the 3 winners are determined by total number of words spelled correctly, so this elimination round is pretty gripping. Even if you go in with 2 strikes, if you can spell enough words before you strike out, you can be Number One! Winner of a $25 bar tab! Ultimate Champion! Poised Contestant Number 4 is reigning the stage with aplomb. Oooo, she just struck out. You know, she looks kinda like a Natalie Merchange/Sigourney Weaver lovechild. Or hybrid, whatevs. John G is onstage, caressing the mic stand. OK, now me!

--Jonathan here, filling in for Megan while she is spelling, except the bar is getting way too loud for me to hear what word she may be spelling or misspelling (did I misspell misspell?). She is still on stage so she must be doing okay. Its the final round as I'm sure she mentioned so the tension is really high, the A/C is starting to lose it's efficacy and everyone is starting to sweat. Megan just spelled out so she's out of the game but maybe still a winner, let's wait and see!

Yeah, I am so not a winner. I misspelled both my words, spelled none right. Number 9 is spelling "tachistoscope." I couldn't hear his word (sitting much nearer the bar part than the spelling part of Pete's, as Jonathan pointed out) but had to do with being "spoon-shaped." Molly's spelling now, somethingerother-osis. The hubbub makes me feel like I have rock'n'roll cotton in my ears. In the crowd, having joined us too late to spell competitively, multiple-winner Tom is looking on.

Holy moley! Sudden death spelling! Jonathan Lill and Number 9 in the camo shorts whose name I never learned are now head to head in Sudden Death Spelling!

Nine missed his word, but now Jonathan needs to spell his right. . . and he did!!
(Editor's Note: the winning word was "otorhinolaryngology").

Jonathan Lill
: Number one, and first place. Famous for having a Steve Buscemi-type appeal, and being an honest-to-goodness librarian.

Michael: Second place, and turns out, famours for being the Dark Horse Contestant I mentioned in Round 1 -- he didn't disappear, he roared into the spotlight. Oops.

Josh: Third place. Famous for being affable and having a lollipop in Round 2.

Thrilling bonus information: the fellas here to cover the bee were from Thrilling New Periodical: The Brooklynite. So, keep your eye on The Brooklynite, and hear what they have to say about this very same event that I just reported on. Plus, unlike this blog, The Brooklynite will probably offer pictures of the spellers.

This concludes my broadcast. It's been a long bee, time for some refreshment. See you next time.

- Megan

Live Update: Round 3

So, J. Lill has just spelled "imprimatur." He now has a really hard French-based garden-related word. Now up: Mark, Number 2. I think I earlier incorrectly referred to him as Michael. Interestingly, the Michael who as at the back of the room, whom I dubbed the Dark Horse Contestant, never actually materialized. Mark is bangin' 'em out. He just correctly spelled some difficult word that had something to do with fire. In color commentary: despite the relatively few contestants, we are now all crowdy because a hefty gaggle has gathered at the back to ogle the spellers. Josh, number 3, misspelled "dynamitard."

OK, a bunch of excitement was missed, not least of which was me running out of laptop-power, and having to try multiple outlets before I got what I needed. Betsy, speller Number 5, struck out. I can't even try to catch up on too much excitement -- right after I got power, I had to spell. I misspelled "mesoseismic," so embarrassing. Reared in CA, and I survived the Great Quake of '89.

Well, the outlet I found is a bit outside the Spelling Arena, which diminishes my ability to hear the excitement. On the other hand, at least I can report what I do hear, whereas without electricity I could not.

We are now a on a "very brief break." I'll go find out which magazine is documenting the bee and get back to you.

- Megan

Live Update: Round 2

Jonathan Lill back onstage. He has correctly spelled "mezzanine." And repeated three zillion times. I'm not sure how to spell his word. A crescent-shaped abnormal red blood cell. " His guess "sicklocyte." I think. Well, whatever he said, it was right. Michael, #2 just spelled "pizzicato." He now must spell a medical word I don't know. Number 3: Josh, enjoying a lollipop. He has just spelled "eucalyptus." Now he has to spell "nyctalopia." Darn it, he misspelled it. Pretty, serene number 4, who looks kind of like Sigourney Weaver. She spelled "pedagogist," but flubbed her second word. Betsey, number 5 must spell "cirrhosis." She has misspelled it, I feel so bad! But on the other hand, I guess she probably has never been close to someone suffering from it, which is awesome. She has just spelled "mosaicist." John G ("h" or no "h" I wonder") just spelled something right, but now has to spell "oxydactyl." He got it right! Yay! Oh, now Kimball, number 7, is here. Since we're doing this Tiger Beat style, I should point out that a friend said he has a serious Keanu-style appeal, but with a less "lachrymose" vibe. (He just forgot the "h" in "lachrymose." He pointed out that he had just missed the "h" in "fahrenheit," it's a theme for him. Drat, I just realized he has 2 outs -- this could be his last! ACK! It was! And now me. Oh, and Bobby is now explaining that the reason the dude in the nice shirt is snapping photos because he's covering the bee for um, a magazine. I forgot which one in the excitement of spelling! I spelled a couple things (correctly, but barely) and Number 7 is now spelling "pyrethrum," correctly. What a star. Now he must spell "spinescent." I hope I just spelled that right. Yay, we both did. Molly, number 11 (because there is no number 10, it's part of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee lore) has just been described by Jen as "the dark horse contestant." It's like she and I share some sort of melodramatic brain part that makes us use that descriptor. (See my Round 1 commentary if this doesn't make sense.) Oooo, she has just misspelled "daiquiri," and a second really hard word that I can't spell either.

We are going directly into Round 3, without a break, I am posting now, Jonathan Lill, contestant Number One is onstage.

- Megan

Live Update: Round 1

Well, this is the first sentence I have ever written as the first guest blogger of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee. We are about to start!! As Jen and Bobby have just pointed out, I could totally pretend that there are 50 people here for spelling, causing a thrilling fire hazard. Instead, I feel obliged to point out that this is the most intimate bee we've had in ages, 10 including me. Last time (2 weeks ago) we had 22 comptetitors. JEN IS TELLING EVERYONE THAT I AM LIVEBLOGGING! I feel so freaking famous. Right now, Bobby is languidly reviewing the rules for everyone, and warning us that we don't always get word origins. I'm taking this rule review moment as an opportunity to explain that I initially argued that I shouldn't spell since I'm providing live color commentary on the event -- wouldn't that be like a sportscaster getting on the field?-- but everyone encouraged me to spell anyway, since it's not like I have to pretend that I am offering objective reportage.

First up: Jonathan Lill, a returning champ with a magnetic Steve Buscemi style sex appeal. He is also a librarian - hott! Darn it, I missed Second Speller's name. He's a guy who is dressed for the beach in a light blue t-shirt, shorts, and brown flip-flops. Oops-- he just misspelled millennium. I hope I haven't just made the same mistake. Number three is an affable looking fellow whose name I missed again. I will start focusing harder on names. My apologies. Oh my! New dark horse contestant, because it is not yet the end of Round 1, a man named Michael standing in the back of the room has just added himself to the list. Michelle, who looks very serene and smart is the Number 4 speller. She has just correctly spelled "maintenance." Betsy is now up, Speller Number 5. If she had to be a character in a book she read as a youth, she would be Mathilda from the Roald Dahl book. Correct spelling, no outs. Speller number 6 is sporting a turquoise polo shirt. Darn it, he forgot the second "e" in "sergeant." Kimball is a returning winner, now putting on his plate (#7). OK, I don't think I can do any better, but I feel bound to acknowledge that my commentary so far sounds like DAMMIT IT'S MY TURN!! Hang on. I spelled "sacrilegious" correctly. Whew. Anyway, I wanted to say that so far my coverage is low-grade Tiger Beat prose (what they wear! Their particular style of appeal!). So, Kimball accidentally left out the first "h" in fahrenheit, and speller number 9 spelled something right, and was wearing a beige tank top and camo shorts, and I got a cherry Blow Pop on my way offstage. Round 1 is now complete, we are on break. I'll try to become a better person and reporter during our very brief break. My resolution for next round: Take note of everybody's names and words.

- Megan

Welcome to the Williamsburg Spelling Blog

This blog was created to post news and recaps from the Williamsburg Spelling Bee at Pete's Candy Store.

The next spelling bee is tonight, July 25, and previous winner Megan Rudesill will be our guest blogger, recording the bee's events as they occur.

I'm Jennifer Dziura, a comedian who reads the words at the bee. My co-emcee, bobbyblue, founded the bee in 2004 and has done amazing things in making it what it is today. I keep some more bee background, plus press info, on my site, which I'll copy over to this blog as things develop.

Viva la spelling,