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LA, Ep. 25

November 12, 2013 — To celebrate the numerology of the moment, Literary Death Match returned to LA on 11/12/13 with a rocket-fueled lineup at Busby's East that ended when Rachel Shukert outlasted co-finalist Carson Mell in a hotly contested Literary Spelling Bee II finale by a score of 24-19, to win Shukert the LDM LA, Ep. 25 crown. 

But before the finale was even a consideration, the night kicked off with Rachel Shukert, author of memoirs Everything is Going to be Great and Have You No Shame?who read a wildly entertaining short story that she described as "a mash-up of Three Men and a Baby and Toni Morrison's novel Beloved." Next up was the mesmerizing Cherry Chevapravatdumrong (author (DupliKate), and executive story editor/co-producer of Family Guy) who read from her piece in an anthology about race/culture. 

The mic was then handed over to the quadtet of all-star judges: Travis Sentell (screenwriter/novelist and author of Fluid); Jessie Kahnweiler, writer, filmmaker (Meet My Rapist) and comedienne; and The Walsh Brothers, the duo behind Comedy Central's The Great & Secret Comedy Show. The foursome reeled off an array of apt and wild commentary before making the night's first impossible decision, naming Shukert as the night's first finalist. 

After a shock-fast intermission, Round 2 kicked off with Carson Mell (filmmaker, artist and author of Saguaro: The Life and Adventures of Bobby Allen Birdwho reeled off four brilliant poems (one of them in song) ranging from Dolemite to how Ringo will be the last living Beatle. Finally it was the captivating Deni Béchard (award-winning author of Empty Hands, Open Arms: The Race to Save Bonobos in the Congo and Make Conservation Go Viral) who read a heartaching tale from his book Cures for Hunger, about he and his father shopping for a Christmas tree. 

Again the judges were center stage, with Sentell suggesting guilt was a great motivator for living (Ringo's fuel for life being his guilt over replacing Pete Best) and Kahnweiler trying to give her phone number to Béchard, and the Walsh Brothers bringing intangibles to an all-new level. Again, they huddled, and emerged with a split decision, deciding it would be Mell who would advance on as the night's second finalist.

Then host and LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga stepped up to announce the night's finale: Literary Spelling Bee II, in which Shukert and Mell were tasked with spelling complicated author names. After Shukert took charge, it was up to Mell to spell Ferdydurke's author to claim victory, but it wasn't to be. Shukert was crowned champ, winning the LDM LA, Ep. 25 medal, and literary immortality to go with it.  


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