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Kansas City, Ep. 3

February 28, 2012 — On a stormy, tornado-warning night in fountain-filled Kansas City, a talent-packed night at Firefly ended with a dimly-lit Literary Pictionary face-off that saw The Atlantic contributor Hampton Stevens narrowly outduel co-finalist (and spoken word bring-it-atist) Iris Appelquist by a score of 3-2 to win him the LDM KC, Ep. 3 crown. 

But before the finale was even a thought, the Single Wing Creative-curated night kicked off with Stevens against Beecher’s magazine co-editor Ben Pfeiffer. Stevens hopped onto the makeshift stage and started his reading without delay, before stopping to say, "Oh, no that's from The Great Gatsby." He then finished with a chuckle-inducing piece about homemade porn. Pfeiffer followed with a captivating story about the trials and travails of a coyote who's penis was eaten by a chipmunk. 

The mic was then handed over to the trio of all-star judges: actor, tour guide, author Speed Levitch (author of Speedology: Speed on New York on Speed), novelist Brandon Tietz (author of Out of Touch), and actress/musician Kate O'Neill. The three traded quick quips, and after a thoughful deliberation, they decided to send Stevens on, as the night's first finalist.

After a booze-fueled intermission, Round 2 starred Hollie Leilani Hayes up against Appelquist, as the two traded verbal, poetic pyrotechnics. Hayes had the audience breathless on the edge of their seats, while Appelquist's words bobbed and weaved and lured them to laughter. 

The mic was again handed to the judges, who dealt whimsy with aplomb before a long huddle ended with them deciding to send Appelquist on as Finalist #2.

Then came the finale, which pitted the two finalists in an epic clash of Literary Pictionary, LDM creator Todd Zuniga invited volunteers from the crowd  stage-ward to tackle drawing books from the 100 Best Novels of All-Time. After Naked Lunch and Grapes of Wrath had scored points, the 2-2 deadlock came down to Hampton Stevens first shouting out the final answer for the crucial third point, giving him a 3-2 win, the LDM KC crown, and literary immortality to go with it! 

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