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LA, Ep. 29

July 10, 2014 — On a whimsical and vibrant night, Literary Death Match returned to Largo at the Coronet for a whizbang affair of the highest order (to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society), which saw Aimee Bender outduel co-finalist Annabelle Gurwitch in overtime in a Lone Star Lit finale to win Bender the LDM LA, Ep. 29 crown. 

But before the finale was even a thought, the night kicked off with Jay Martel, executive producer of Key & Peele, who read from his novel Channel Blue, where he touched the audience with a beautifully dark exploration of show business: Where no news is such bad news that it can lead down the rabbit hole of cynicism to the embarrassing role of teaching (say it ain't so!) and beyond to corruption in the classroom. Next up was Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, who soared high with the story of a hyper-analytical man's journey from his head to his heart, cold spaghetti, and those dangerous spaces between thoughts that lead to...feelings! 

Then the mic was handed over to the trio of all-star judges: Amber Tamblyn, poet (author of Bang Ditto), actress (127 Hours; House; Two & Half Men); Jody Hill, writer/director, creator of Eastbound & DownObserve & Report and The Foot Fist Way; and Dana Gould, comedian behind "I Know It's Wrong" and host of the Dana Gould Hour podcast and former writer/producer of The Simpsons. After ripping off a non-stop series of witticism and intelligences (excerpts below) the judges huddled and decided it would be Bender who would advance, by the narrowest of margins, as the night's first finalist. 

Then came Round 2, where Annabelle Gurwitch, author of the New York Times best-selling I See You Made an Efforttitillated the audience with ruminations on getting old through visions of hairless penises, sly vaginal lube technique, and dubstep in the dessert as her protaganist sits at the Genius Bar in the Apple Store. Finally it was Jarett Kobek, author of ATTA (a psychedelic biography of a 9/11 terrorist) and BTW, who pondered his married friend's instagram account as he read off an iPad; discussing the filters and captions created by said friend's wife and contemplating marriage as a potential reputation-booster.

Again the judges were center stage, reeling off brilliances at a head-snapping rate, before making the night's second impossible decision, declaring Gurwitch as the night's second finalist. 

Then up stepped LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga to announce the night's finale: One Star Wonders, in which he read off 1-star Amazon book reviews written about classic books. The finalists, teamed with volunteers from the crowd, traded points, and with everything to play for on the final question, it was Team Bender who slapped the boxing bell first, nailing the final answer, winning Bender the LDM LA, Ep. 29 medal and literary immortality to go with it.

Judge outtakes: 

Amber Tamblyn showcased her note-taking methods, providing poignant thoughts ranging from the loneliness of show business to discussing how "fucking boring, self-serving, narcissistic shit" poetry usually is, to revealing her feelings on political figures: "Fuck Ann Coulter. I'll piss in her blue eyes and make them green."

Jody Hill's performance reviews touched on areas such as his infatuation with Aimee Bender's jeans, his insecurities around manscaping philosophy, and his shortcomings in emoticon literacy.

Dana Gould's contributions included "I remember the day I met the woman that I would one day divorce," his description of the Hollywood writing community's importance to the big-time, corporate film-making machine as "a submarine full of rodeo clowns," and that "the fear and awkwardness of intimacy never abates. I took my children to 'Maleficent' and sat there staring at Angelina Jolie thinking 'I wouldn't even have a clue how to fuck her.'"


Follow us on Twitter: @litdeathmatch

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