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LA, Ep. 10

June 5, 2012 — LDM returned to Busby's East for another reckless night of readings, culminating in an ultra-competitive final round of Author Word Jumble. Moshe Kasher triumphed over Anne-Marie Kinney (author of Radio Iris and representing Black Clock) when he sorted letter-holding volunteers into the correct order to spell HUXLEY.

Kasher (author of Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16 and representing Grand Central Publishing)  a writer on NBC's The New Normal) shared a story about the greatest day of his young life, when a hippie angel offered him a ride and some weed, while Trinie Dalton (author of Baby Geisha and representing Two Dollar Radio) read from "The Perverted Hobo," introducing the audience to two Eugenes, one of whom might be imaginary, and a beloved waterslide named Slidey.

Eliza Skinner (producer, writer, performer, and Twitter must-follow) kept her response to Kasher's performance brief: "I thought it was good." She handed the mic to Eliza Coupe (Jane in the ABC comedy Happy Endings), who admired Kasher's outfit, and added "You were leaning on the outer part of your right foot for a bit. I liked it." Justin Ian Daniels (comedian featured on VH1, Lifetime, and the Montreal Comedy Festival) noted that "The only thing that spoiled the ending — that you didn't get molested — was the title." About Dalton's story, Skinner commented, "I like that the guys were named Eugene, but the slide was named Slidey." Coupe admired the way Dalton's jacket matched her own nail polish, "I feel very validated." Daniels checked his notes and commented, "1,2,3,4,5 references to panties... Love it." Overall, the judges felt they got to know Kasher a bit more, and advanced him to the finals.

After a boozy intermission, Round Two kicked off with debut novelist Anne-Marie Kinney (recently called "a Southern California Camus"), and Dylan Hicks (author of Boarded Windows and the companion album Dylan Hicks Sings Bolling Greene). Kinney shared two snippets from her book Radio Iris, and Hicks (representing the American Literary Translators Association) read a piece from Boarded Windows about being a "full-time key holder" at a record store. 

Skinner "found a lot to relate to" in Kinney's piece, and Coupe offered "I kind of wanted you to dance and hum... that was just a thing I wanted." Daniels admired the way both contestants "look like they'd sleep out for tickets to This American Life." Skinner and Daniels felt a connection with Hicks' piece, because they had experience as full-time key holders, but chose Kinney as the Round Two winner.

Audience volunteers joined LDM creator and host Todd Zuniga on stage for the final challenge, a fast-paced round of Author Word Jumble. After the contestants recognized short names like POE and NIN, Kinney struggled to unscramble the word ASIMOV, possibly because the M was being held upside down and looked like a W. Kasher, sorting audience members into the word HUXLEY as if they were Scrabble tiles, prevailed.

As the night wrapped up, Zuniga asked the two finalists, "What does this mean to your literary career?" Kinney responded, "You know... nothing," but Kasher recognized the importance of the evening, stating, "The reason I started writing was to eventually crush the other writers." 

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