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Thursday
Feb202014

LA, Ep. 27

February 25, 2014 — On one of the great nights in LDM's storied history, we teamed with the Los Angeles Review of Books for an event at Largo at the Coronet that saw Kristin Newman outduel Brendan Constantine in a Pulitzer Prize Cyrillic-Off by a score of 14-13 to win her the LDM LA, Ep. 27 crown. 

But before the finale was even a consideration, the night kicked off with the ceaselessly charming Susan Orlean (author of The Orchid ThiefRin Tin Tin and a regular New Yorker contributor) who stunned with a piece about shooting rifles with a group of women. Next up was Brendan Constantine (poet and author of Birthday Girl With Possum and Calamity Joe) who blew minds and broke hearts with a pair of poems: "The Last Thing I Want to Do Is Hurt You" and "Dementia, My Darling." 

The mic was then turned over to the trio of superstar judges: Diablo Cody, screenwriter of Juno, Young Adult and Jennifer's Body; Molly Shannonactress extraordinaire (SNL, Enlightened) and author of Tilly the TricksterStephen Tobolowskyauthor of The Dangerous Animals Club who's appeared in over 100 films. The three heaped praise on both writers — Orlean's quiet power, the magic of Constantine's performance — with Tobolowsky finishing with an echo about Constantine's dementia poem: "It broke my heart. It broke my heart. It broke my heart." After a huddle, the trio decided it would be Constantine who advanced as the night's first finalist. 

Then came Round 2, which boasted Chris L. Terry (author of Zero Fade, nominated for the American Library Association's YALSA BFYA) who told a young adult tale that had the jaw-dropped crowd on the edge of their seats. Finally it was Kristin Newman (writer for Chuck and The Neighbors) who read a stellar excerpt from her upcoming book, What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

Again the mics were handed over to the judges, who again wowed the audience with observations and off-the-wall witticisms before they announced that it would be Newman who would be the night's second finalist. 

Then up stepped LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga, who announced the night's finale: a Cyrillic-Off, in which Newman and Constantine (with the help of volunteers from the crowd) were tasked with decoding Pulitzer Prize winning author names that had been translated into cyrillic. It was neck-and-neck from start to finish and with everything to play for it was Kristin Newman who first shouted the final answer, winning her the LDM LA, Ep. 27 medal, and literary immortality to go with it.

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