May 9, 2012 — In what will stand as the single greatest LDM in Southern California (at least until June 5, 2012), an awe-filled night at Busby's East went from dazzling to spectacle to glory, and the blinding, breakneck finish saw Team Taylor Negron out-pin Team Ramona Ausubel by a few whiskers at a wild game of Pin the Mustache on Hemingway, winning Negron LDM LA, Ep. 9's crown.
But before Faulkner and Twain's mustaches were handed out, the night kicked off with The Rattling Wall's hand-picked reader-rep Graham Moore (author of The Sherlockian) leading off with a tale about Roxy the racist dog, and the narrator trying to get a black dogwalker. He was followed by novelist/short storyist/New Yorker-includee Ausubel (author of No One is Here Except All of Us) who reeled off a tale of erotic cars that are into sexual innuendos, starting themselves up, and driving through windows.
The mic was then handed to the night's trio of superstar judges: master-musician Moby (who now writes a must-read LA architecture blog), one of LDM's picks for "Top 5 Funniest People on Earth," comedian Rory Scovel (the mastermind behind the album Dilation), and LA Times staff writer/book mastermind Carolyn Kellogg. Kellogg said of Moore that his story was Franzen meets Baldwin, while Moby felt canine racism is congenital, then waxed nostalgic about I-95. Scovel was impressed that Moore talked about racist dogs, and was "willing to go places most people won't." About Ausubel, Kellogg used the words "fantastic" and "delightful," while Moby mentioned that the story reminded him that he felt helpless and alone every day of his life. Scovel appreciated her use of capital letters.
The judges then huddled, and faced with an impossible decision, it was Ausubel who came out on top as the night's first finalist.
After a booze-fueled intermission, Round 2 kicked off with writer/director/performative wunderkind Carolyn Cohagan (author of The Lost Children) who read a just-for-LDM-original: a piece about Jerry Bruckheimer presents Catcher in the Rye which featured cameos by Boo Radley and Ignatius J. Reilly. Also, explosions! Then it was time for playwright/comedian/actor/everything Negron (The Aristocrats, The Last Boy Scout) to take center stage, with a just-for-LDM-original of his own, in which he turned to Yelp for non-Russian car help. "I'm done with results; I want kind." He took up the battle for all that is frail.
The judges were, again, handed the microphone, with Kellogg saying of Cohagan that her piece was "awesome" and "50 Shades of...14." Moby said Salinger was retarded, while admitting that he believes everything he reads. Scovel mentioned that he loved it, and that "You did what you do." Then followed with a hysterical impression ofa guy in a theater who expected to see the actual Catcher in the Rye movie. About Negron, Kellogg wanted to know what books were in the backseat of his car, and liked the use of 'gloaming' and 'quarrels.' The Russians made her think of Anna Karenina. Moby then gave away the end of Anna Karenina and considered a tattoo of "I'm done with results; I want kind" on his body. Scovel would vote for Taylor regardless of what he was running for.
Again the judges were faced with a cruelly difficult decision, and after hours in a huddle, they emerged to announce Negron as the night's second finalist.
Then up stepped LDM creator Todd Zuniga, who introduced the night's madcap finale: Pin the Mustache on Hemingway, in which each finalist — Ausubel and Negron — were paired with two volunteers from the crowd, and each were given a mustache of a famous writer. In turn, the participants were blindfolded, as Zuniga shouted, "Pin the Mustache on Hemingway!" After six blindfolded folks stumbled across the stage, some figuring a way to get the mustache somewhere near Hemingway, it was Negron who struck closest to Papa's original cookie duster, winning him the Literary Death Match crown, and literary immortality to go with it.