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Baltimore, Ep. 3

June 2, 2011 — In the Literary Death Match's historic 150th episode, Davida Gypsy Breier and her teammate out-charaded co-finalist war-zone hopping author Dan Fesperman and teammate/daughter "Emma" by a 5-3 count, winning Breier the Literary Death Match crown! 

But well before the finale, the giddy crowd at Creative Alliance at The Patterson were introduced to the night's first two readers: Fesperman (author of Lie in the Dark and Layover in Dubai) going up against peerless poetess Barbara DeCesare (Alaska Quarterly Review, Birmingham Poetry Review). Fesperman was all-business when he stepped to the mic, using zero preamble as he leapt into an excerpt from his latest espionage novel that lasted a buzzer-beating 6:59.8 (.2 below the 7-minute time limit). Then up came DeCesare with a recently broken arm (snapped in three places!), who leaned on the audience to do her reading for her — a poem about a piano found in the forest, where different audience members were asked to read highlighted lines, then a collective "the piano!" would ring out. 

The mic was then handed off to the night's trio of all-star judges: playwright and Nommo Theatre cofounder Bashi Rose, brain-bending artist Joyce J. Scott (a.k.a. "The Queen of Beadwork"), and Publishing Genius' own Adam Robinson. After firing off a few quips — Fesperman accused of being a young man wearing an older man's outfit; DeCesare's Mary Poppins look — a long deliberation took place, and in the end they opted for Fesperman as the night's first finalist. 

Then came Round 2, which saw minimalist master Joe Young (author of Easter Rabbit) up against Breier (contributor to Ninety-Five: Meeting America's Farmed Animals in Stories and Photographs). Breier led off with a story of the impending rapture (and the annoyance of it turning earth into hell), followed by Young's clever letter-based story about Picasso and a boy's father. 

Again the judges were handed the mic, and while Robinson praised Young for writing a letter-based story that wasn't stupid, Scott felt like he needed a good iron for his stylishly-wrinkled shirt. Rose loved Breier's proximity to the mic, and it came to the fore that there's a company you can pay $144 to have your pet taken care of if you are, indeed, one of the chosen ones. Another deliberation, the second longer than the first, had the judges declaring a momentary tie before Rose finally gave the nod to Breier to advance. 

Then LDM creator Todd Zuniga took center stage, introducing the night's finale: Literary Charades. Fesperman and Breier were teamed with a volunteer each, and were then tasked with charading book titles from Time's list of the 100 Greatest Novels. Team Breier was flawless, going 5-for-5 while Team Fesperman couldn't catch up after being unable to get their audience half to guess Deliverance. The result: Breier was crowned Literary Death Match champion, and literary immortality was all hers! 

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