Reader essay: The war of art

August 17, 2011|by Michael Bracco

Armed with their own artistic ingenuity, random topics and a blank canvas, combatants wage war at Super Art Fight. A rock-infused art competition, the popular SAF will hold its 11th tournament Saturday. Among the bouts: the reigning Super Art Fight champ, Michael “Spaghetti Kiss” Bracco, defending against Kelsey “Killer” Wailes (scary!). Bracco, a 32-year-old Hamilton resident, shared what’s on his mind before his big artsy match.

Soon, I will be waiting in a small dark area behind a stage, dressed in something excruciatingly uncomfortable, embarrassing or both.

Beads of sweat will drip down my face and soak my clothes, not only from the weight of my costume but also from my nerves.

After 10 ranked bouts and 20 or more exhibitions, the only thing I can feel in the moments before a Super Art Fight match is the twisted, angry knot in my gut.

I wait for one of two familiar, witty voices to announce my name to a dense crowd of hundreds. When I charge up those four steps to the stage, with my arms raised above my head holding a belt that signifies that I am the champion, I will hear cheers and screams and see fists punching the air.

Instead of a drum set behind me, there will be a giant blank-white wall of paper. Instead of holding a guitar I’ll be gripping tightly a fat, black permanent marker.

My competitor, the wildly creative Kelsey “Killer” Wailes, will be called up and she will also enter the stage to a similar deafening response in one of her signature gigantic yet cute self-constructed costumes.

We will be given topics to guide our markers and then a countdown: 3 … 2 … 1 … ART FIGHT!

Over the following 25 minutes we will draw our hearts out trying to win over the crowd with our bravado and witty drawn responses to random suggested topics such “Sharktopus” or “Muppet Burlesque.”

In the end, a winner and champion will be chosen by the crowd as it is their cheers, fed through a decibel reader that decides which of us walks away with the belt.

Super Art Fight 11 turns the awkward and geekish into rock stars.

Doors open at 8 p.m., Super Art Fight 11 starts at 9. Tickets are $15 at The Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St., Remington. For more information, go to

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