October 16, 2010 — Before a brilliant and energetic Paramount Theatre audience at the Texas Book Festival, journalist Hank Stuever's three-person team outsat Team Bob Shea, in a dramatic, Texas-skewed game of Muzakal Chairs — winning Stuever the LDM crown.
But before the chair of circles were slotted center stage, the afternoon event kicked off with co-host Owen Egerton introducing a dynamic first round led off by Mark Haskell Smith (Baked: A Novel) who went blue early, with a bawdy excerpt that gob-smacked the audience, followed by Hank Stuever (Tinsel: A Search for America's Christmas Present) who read off a multimedia-backed tinsel tale that had the audience in stitches.
The mic was then turned over to the trio of all-star judges, boasting NEA and Guggenheim fellow Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad), New York Times best-seller Holly Black (White Cat) and National Lampoon illustrator Rick Meyerowitz (Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead). Egan praised Smith’s sensitivity and understanding of women, and Meyerowitz simply held up a question mark in response. Stuever was applauded for his use of visuals and humor, and after a lengthy deliberation in which Egerton and LDM creator/co-host Todd Zuniga did a “live commercial” promoting the new trio of Literary Death Match t-shirts.
Without the audience having a second to catch their breath, the event raced to the second round, with Julie Klausner (I Don’t Care about Your Band) charming the masses with an excerpt from her hiliarious memoir, followed by children’s book genius Bob Shea, who brought down the house with a two-book presentation in which he read through his latest (“Dinosaur vs. the Potty”), then followed with a self-deprecating follow-up about the Dinosaur up against his newly written children’s book.
The judges were again leaned on, and faced with a very tough decision, gave Shea the nod to advance to the finals.
Then came the finale, in which random audience members were drafted to Team Shea and Team Stuever, for a rousing round of Muzakal Chairs. Stuever was eliminated, giving Shea a 2-1 edge, but Stuever’s teammate was not to be stopped, bouncing Shea’s sidekick, and bringing it down to the final chair. For the final song, Egerton lured the audience into a sing-a-long of the Eyes of Texas, and when Egerton gestured, the crowd went silent, Stuever’s teammate dropped into the seat, winning Stuever the LDM100: Austin championship, and leaving the crowd in throes of laughter.