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NYC, Ep. 18

September 17, 2009—Literary Death Match NYC at Bowery Poetry Club put the needle on the lit record for its 18th episode, with the inaugural music-themed LDM. Opened with a stellar, nostalgia inducing set by the Mountain Goats' member (and Intangibles judge) Franklin Bruno. Todd Zuniga's replacement host, Liam Gallagher, failed to show citing a sore throat (sources have him scarfing down some fish and chips outside of Shoreditch earlier that afternoon). So Luke Dempsey, another noteable and far more affable Mancunian, stepped up to the plate with equal parts literary brilliance and filthy potty mouth irreverance. 

Christopher R. Weingarten kickstarted the readers portion of the evening, spinning an exciteable, and often unfortunate tale of love, lust and drug abuse between the lead singer of Ministry, one of their roadies, and an unassuming ostrich. Then up stepped James Gavin, who read a piece about Chet Baker that could only have brought the crowd closer to tears if Chet had crooned it himself. Judges Ben Schafer (DeCapo Press), Carla Rhodes (with a dummy), and Bruno were dumbstruck by Weingarten's opener, and let sentiment and pop-culture sustainability win them over in Round 1: Gavin was selected the night's first finalist. 

The judges look onFor more pictures from this event, click here. 

Jessica Hopper opened up both Round 2, and our eyes, to the sweetness of Van Morrison's TB Sheets, helping us remember he is not just a great voice on a mission to win The Creepiest Dwight Yoakam Impersonator In The World Award. When Hopper seemed like a sure favorite, Courtney Gillette stepped up to the plate, bribing the crowd with 100 handmade Cartoon Bunny books, and with as much energy as she could muster explaining just how awesome it is to be a female drummer. The judges were in a stalemate, Rhodes' dummy offering nothing but lascivious asides, and when a crowd vote was also even, Opium Staff put the serious hurt on the judges to ante-up and decide a winner. Gillette was awarded the prize for her energy, and her soothing schoolteacher cadence.

Tom Tom Magazine's Courtney Gillette thrills

The finale did not leave sportsmanship at the door amongst all this high culture, deciding the winner with a fantastic game of Musical Chairs. Each finalist was teamed with two volunteers, with each team then clad in same-colored silly T-shirts, with the final team seated in the final chair to be declared winner. En Vogue jumped back on the PA and the team members slowly dwindled as did the chairs, and with Gavin watching on from the sidelines as his last team member tried so hard to win one for the boys, Gillette snaked in (her kindergarten teacher past was called into question), and stole the show and the prize of Literary Death Match Champion. While the official LDM medal was not on hand, Gillette earned a giant, hand-painted, solid gold, Flava-Flav like Gold Record Necklace for Tom Tom Magazine and female drummers everywhere. 

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