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LDM100: Baltimore

October 30, 2010 — On a superstar-dappled evening at the Baltimore Museum of Art to celebrate Andy Warhol's final decade, it was Daniel Wallace who, with a team of wise(wo)men, scored a close victory over Cliff Lynn's intelligentrio by a score of 6 to 4 in a tense game of Warhol Celebrity Mashup to win victory for Wallace before an enthusiastic house.

But well before the first maraca was shaken in the finale, the magical night kicked off with LDM NYC executive producer Ann Heatherington introducing playwright/translator/fiction star James Magruder (Sugarless), who led off with a sexy story that had the crowd a-tingle, followed by Wallace, who read a stellar piece on how how best to build a coffin, right from the pages of Inch Magazine

The mic was then handed over to the threesome of genius judges: William P. Tandy (Smile, Hon, You're In Baltimore!), gift-rich musician ellen cherry (heart like a lion), and beatboxer Shodekeh. Tandy noticed the use of "words" in both stories, which he appreciated, while cherry felt like both readers backsides were first-rate. Shodekeh passed on verbal judging, requesting Magruder "make out with himself," and the greatest of sport, he laid on the stage, and folded himself in two, inspiring wild cheers from the crowd. For Wallace, Shodekeh requested some "coffin box" beatboxing, to which Wallace — after asking "What's beatboxing?" — blasted out a few beats that had the audience roaring once again. 

After a difficult deliberation, the judges decided to have Wallace advance as the night's first finalist. 

With no time to spare, the 2nd Round began immediately on BMA's gorgeous stage, led off by multi-media phenom Stephanie Barber (representing Publishing Genius), who read a series of Warhol-themed poems that concluded with a funny-sad piece about a tuna order at a grocery store deli counter that turned into a sing-a-long. The thrilled crowd quieted down for !SPEAK YOUR PIECE! rep Cliff Lynn, who continued the brilliant night with a series of perfect poems that left the final finalist in doubt. 

The judges were leaned on, once again, with cherry saying she loved that Barber's reading was half workout (she had stretched her quad mid-reading), and was put off by how Lynn was obviously pandering by lifting his suit jacket at one point to display his own backside. Shodekeh asked Barber for a haiku on the spot — and she delivered without hesitation. Lynn was then asked to do an interpretive dance to a Campbell's soup song sing-a-long that led to Lynn disrobing up top to crowd roars (before opting to reclothe halfway, by putting his jacket back on). 

After another difficult deliberation, the judges moved Lynn along to the finals. 

Then came the Warholian finale, which showcased some of Baltimore's finest "authors" in Warhol wigs. LDM creator Todd Zuniga invited "Baltimore experts" from the crowd, and then paired them with Wallace and Lynn. A slideshow was then flicked through, with each team's captain tasked with shaking a maraca high above their head if they knew the right answer. Team Wallace claimed victory when Frederick Douglass was sung out, taking an insurmountable 6-4 lead — giving Wallace literature's grandest prize (the LDM crown), and insuring him literary immortality. 

Reader Comments (1)

Hey, Todd and Ann, how does one purchase literary death match t-shirts? I've seen a poet's dozen of them being worn around Baltimore, and I want one, and I really need to make sure that I buy some for my friends and family, they seem like the perfect stocking-stuffer!

November 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercliff lynn

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