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Nashville, Ep. 1

October 11, 2014 — In what was one of the greatest nights of our 2014, we teamed with the Southern Festival of Books and Third Man Records for a wild night of literary wizardry, knee-slapping judgment that finished with Abraham Smith winning out in sudden death over Adrian Matejka in a music-skewed battle of Literary Pictionary to win Smith the LDM Nashville, Ep. 1 crown. 

But before the finale was even a thought, the night kicked off in glorious fashion with Abraham Smith, poet and author of Hank and Whim Man Mammon, who did his magical best reeling off a poem about birds that had everyone in the audience jaw-dropped. Not to be outdone, Bret Anthony Johnston, author of the award-winning Corpus Christi and the all-new Remember Me Like This, came out in a wrestling mask, and opened with a hilarious series of rejections letters before shifting gears for a wowing "cover" of the Jamaica Kincaid story "Girl" called "Boy." 

The mic was then handed over to the trio of all-star judges:Antonya Nelson, multi-award winning author of nine books, including the all-new Funny OnceTeresa Mason, owner of Mas Tacos; and Ben Swank, former Soledad Brothers drummer and cofounder of Third Man Records. After delivering a tidal wave of wit and smarts, the judges huddled and decided it would be Smith who would advance, by the narrowest of margins, as the night's first finalist. 

Then came Round 2, where Adrian Matejka, Pulitzer and National Book Award finalist for his book The Big Smoke, came out with a series of musical poems, one of which featured Public Enemy, and another that featured musician Chet Weise strumming a guitar in the foreground. Then it was Patricia Lockwood, author of Balloon Pop Outlaw Black New Yorker and Tin House, who read a gut-busting essay about being with her mother in a hotel room that had a come stain on the bedspread that had the crowd in throes. 

Again the judges were center stage, reeling off brilliances and "cum"entary before declaring Matejka the night's second finalist. 

Then up stepped LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga to announce the night's finale: Literary Pictionary with a musical bent, in which "artists" from the audience were tasked with drawing books written by musicians. After Matejka raced out to an early lead, Smith refused to be outdone (with major help from volunteer Bret Anthony Johnston), nailing the final two answers to win the LDM Nashville, Ep. 1 medal and literary immortality to go with it. 

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