September 6, 2012 — On a wild night to remember, Literary Death Match kickstarted its lucky 13th LA show at Busby's East, which ended with a Muzakal Chairs finale that saw Team Vanessa Veselka out-sit Team Carlos Kotkin in sudden death overtime, winning Veselka the Literary Death Match LA crown!
The night kicked off with Morgan Macgregor won the coin toss and chose to read second, so Carlos Kotkin took the stage. Kotkin shared a story from Please God Let it Be Herpes: A Heartfelt Quest For Love and Companionship about meeting a woman named beachvixen78 online. After they had sex, she confided that she might have "the H word." (Spoiler alert: it was herpes, and he didn't contract it.) Then it was Macgregor, who avoids the internet in real life, and shared a Craigslist-inspired help-wanted ad for her dream assistant — "someone to do the internet for me."
The mic was then handed over to the night's trio of all-star judges: comedian/impersonator extraordinaire James Adomian (who judged in character as Christopher Hitchens), two-time Oscar-nominated documentarian Lucy Walker (The Tsunami & The Cherry Blossom and Waste Land), and comedian Byron Bowers (seen on Comedy Central and The Eric Andre Show on Adult Swim). Adomian-as-Hitch said of Kotkin's piece, "On a scale of Voltaire to Oscar Wilde, I'd have to rate him an Honoré de Balzac." Lucy Walker ran with the "H word" theme, ending a stream of alliterative feedback with a "Hell yeah!" Byron Bowers thanked Kotkin, joking, "I just met beachvixen78 online, so you've saved me a lot of time."
About Macgregor, Adomian-as-Hitchens said, "There were some jewels contained in that technological tantrum," and Lucy complimented the way Macgregor looked from behind, "It was good to see a back with no tattoos." Byron Bowers pointed out an oversight in Macgregor's detailed job description: "I would apply for that job, but there's no porn time in there."
After conferring with her fellow judges, Walker announced Carlos Kotkin as the night's first finalist, explaining, "He confronted his difficulties, while she ran from hers."
After a booze-fueled intermission, Round 2 commenced with Veselka (author of the Pen/Bingham award-winning novel Zazen) winning the coin toss, and going on to read a touching piece about trying to find the right cake for her daughter Elena's thirteenth birthday. Her challenger, Black Clock editor-at-large Anthony Miller, read a timeline of alternate cinematic history that he described as "a love letter to the movies that is also a love letter to timelines and the stories timelines tell."
Again the mic was handed over to the judges, with Adomian-as-Hitchens saying of Veselka's piece, "No one had to bake that cake." Instead of judging the piece itself, Walker spoke of her appreciation for the NYC café that shares Veselka's name. Bowers praised Veselka (the writer, not the café), saying "It's hard to read dark pieces. If I ever write a suicide note, I want her to read my shit."
Responding to Miller's cinematic timeline, Adomian-as-Hitchens recommended that Miller avoid impressions, because "Anyone who does an impression is a crypto-fascist." Walker said of Miller, "He was a little Amish-y, don't you think?" and spoke about her work with the Amish. Bowers admonished Miller for leaving out movies he remembered from childhood like "the OJ Simpson case, Baby Jessica in the well, the Berlin Wall..."
When Adomian-as-Hitchens and Bowers couldn't agree on a winner, Lucy Walker called the second finalist. "Maybe God isn't quite that bad, and she'd give it to Vanessa Veselka."
In the always-thrilling Literary Death Match finale, LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga chose four volunteers to join Kotkin and Veselka on stage for a quick and savage game of Muzakal Chairs, with the music played by LDM's first-ever house band, led by ace drummer Keith Crutchfield. After Team Kotkin took an early 3-1 lead, the wheels fell off, and a tall woman in a tasseled shirt masterfully used her backside as a weapon, ultimately winning the day for Team Veselka, winning the LDM title for Veselka, and literary immortality to go with it.