March 6, 2006—At the Literary Death Match debut, Ted Travelstead (reading for Mike Sacks for Sweet Fancy Moses) was crowned after winning a bitter battle of Stab a Hole in Nebraska versus the ever-talented Deb Olin Unferth.
In an event that pitted four literary stars against one another for the first time ever, the debut Literary Death Match was a wowing success.
According to Tao Lin (Bed, Eeeee Eee Eeee), "The first Literary Death Match was as interesting, funny, exciting, pleasant, anti-depressant, and affirmative as hamsters fighting bears in friendly underwater combat."
The event featured a first round of Bryan Charles (Open City) vs. Deb Olin Unferth (NOON Magazine) in which Unferth was selected the winner by a narrow margin by judges Ben Greenman (New Yorker), Moby (yes, that Moby), and comedian Jack Kukoda.
The second round had Geoff Wolinetz (Yankee Pot Roast) squaring off against Mike Sacks (as read by Ted Travelstead) reading for Sweet Fancy Moses. Travelstead read with tact and ferocity, and pulled off the win.
In the finals, Unferth and Travelstead stepped up to engage in a bitter contest of "Stab a Hole in Nebraska" which consisted of each taking one blind-folded pencil stab, the winner being the one coming closest to Lincoln, Nebraska. Unferth's stab poked a pencil-sized hole into Raleigh, North Carolina. With the debut championship on the line, Travelstead ripped a baseball bat-sized hole into the Rocky Mountains, securing the victory.
"Beer in bags, liquor in coffee mugs, and reading aloud for a prize," said Travelstead. "And Moby liked me. He really liked me!"
Finalist Deb Olin Unferth said, "I've never competed so gently before! We were very well-cared for and respected. I felt somewhat like I was the happiest member of a circus or the most colorful fish in a bowl. It was fun."