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Chicago, Ep. 2

May 23, 2009—The Literary Death Match Chicago Ep. 2 at Pilcrow Fest proved a triumphant return to the Windy City, as four of the city’s top reader series battled to take home the LDM crown. After the smoke (and ill mathematics) cleared, Jill Summers (Orange Alert) out-looooooooooooong divisioned co-finalist Bobby Biedrzycki (2nd Story) to claim victory.

But before the epic final was even a forethought, the night kicked off with Opium’s founding editor co-hosting with Pilcrow founder Amy Guth, and media-genius Leah Jones. After introductions, Summers led off the night with a hilarious crowd-beloved tale that included her being a kid and sticking her head behind a ballet bar. A difficult act to follow, Brian Costello did brilliant work, hurrying off stage to read the night’s second story--a brilliantly penned love letter to Chicago, read from the perspective of a man in a news copter.

The judges, Elizabeth Crane (author of When the Messenger is Hot), David Barringer (Opium’s executive editor and designer) and TJ Jagadowski (a Second City legend and one of the Sonic commercial guys) took turns commenting, Barringer spewing non-sequiturs before Jagadowski repeatedly stole the show with genius ramblings that had the lively audience in stitches. After an excruciating deliberation, the trio finally decided to declare Summers the night’s first finalist.

Jill Summers' slightly less wrong final answer.
After an auction-fueled intermission (to support the Young Chicago Authors), Round 2 began with Nicolette Kittinger (Windy City Story Slam) reading a story of rape that silenced the crowd (Jagadowski later said, “Her story was like a toy gun where you pull the trigger, and out comes a BANG flag, then seconds later, out comes a real bullet!”). Following Kittinger was Biedrzycki (RUI), the first-ever (it really took 36 episodes?) reader to bring a guitarist on stage to accompany him. The judges were torn, again, but after a torturous debate, they elected Biedrzycki as the night’s final finalist.

The finale echoed the nightcap that originally appeared at LDM NYC Ep. 2: Looooooooong Division. A game that featured the number 375,652,300 divided by 7. While the right answer was roughly 53,664,614, the two finalists struggled with accuracy, as Summers was off by a whopping 48,331,464, she finished well ahead of Biedrzycki who’s final tally barely dented the original number, finishing off by 53,609,750. Thus, Summers was then granted the crown, and her first-ever LDM championship!

See all the pictures from this event here!

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