June 25, 2009—Literary Death Match NYC, Ep. 15 (also the East Coast launch of the media-darling Opium8: The Infinity Issue) at Bowery Poetry Club brought surprises, laughs, tears (and even some misogynism), as Julie Metz edged out co-finalist Lisa Carver in a race to infinity, beyond, and the end of the stage.
Hosted by Opium’s Todd Zuniga and star literary agent Erin Hosier, the first round featured Felicia Luna Lemus (Like Son) pitted against radical punk-queen Lisa Carver (Drugs Are Nice), who read a non-fiction reaction to, and protest of, the influence of corporate ethics on indie media—particularly their fear of publishing a piece about the taste of pee. Carver’s performance ultimately won the panel of judges over (which panel included Ben Adams, an editor at Bloomsbury, comedian Todd Barry (known for this roles in The Wrestler, Flight of the Conchords, and now the Literary Death Match), and Vice Magazine co-founder Gavin McInnes), possibly due to her profound and timely sign-off (“The truth is dead! Long live the truth!”).
Round two didn’t short-change on the excitement either, as Julie Metz’s (Perfection) beautifully written panegyric to friendship and lust ended with her waving a wooden sword in the air. Next was Zachary Mexico (China Underground), whose reading, a hard-boiled tribute to Michael Jackson which examined the psychology of crime, moved just as many as it made laugh. For the second round, the judges went with Julie Metz—a New York Times bestselling author—for an array of reasons that probably aren’t publishable on the Internet because of sensitive content.
The match ended with a swift but competitive homage to infinity, in honor of Opium's latest, 8est issue. Finalists Lisa Carver and Julie Metz sportingly undertook a three-part round of challenges related to the issue's theme.
The finale commenced when the hosts asked each author to step into her own black hole, represented, in this case, by an opaque plastic trash can liner. Thus adorned, the finalists raced to the end of the stage with bound legs and high spirits. Neck-and-neck, the pair of scribes then scribbled any ten numbers from Pi on a balloon-bedecked poster board. Finally, Lisa Carver and Julie Metz teetered across the stage with copies of Infinite Jest balanced on their heads. In the final inches of a riveting race, with a burst of unforeseen athleticism—the kind of energy that can't be seen, folks, at any comparable reading series—Julie Metz shot over the line to snare literary immortality by winning the coveted Literary Death Match championship medal.