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NYC, Ep. 26

May 20, 2010 — Literary Death Match NYC's Ep. 26 was a wild and fiery affair that saw a brilliant set of talent light up the Bowery Poetry Club stage, as Mike Edison powerfully outdueled Melissa Febos in a fierce match of Literary Pinata to claim the storied Literary Death Match crown. 

But before the first book was swung, the night kicked off with WHIP SMART author Febos leading off, a striking excerpt from her novel that kept the crowd enthralled, followed by the LDM NYC's first-ever sit-down reader Mike Topp (author of Shorts are Wrong and Happy Ending) who reeled off a series of short-short-shorts, including this gem: "Thought of the Day: It's okay to stare at a dog's dick." 

The mic was then turned over to the judges, with subversive comedian Jena Friedman who lauded Febos' diction, and her "bi-curious vibe," while literary renegade Richard Nash applauded Topp for his brevity, though admitted he was distracted by his desire to shorten Topp's pieces even further, while blogger/author/goddess Paulina Porizkova admitted Topp's work "resembled nothing as much to me as Mr. Spock doing stand-up comedy, and that to me is really hot" and Friedman felt his "serial killer vibe really worked" for him. 

The judges, torn between the two excellent/different performances, made the tough decision of announcing Febos as the night's first finalist. 

After a short intermission, co-hosts James J. Williams III (Opium’s Director of Weird Artistic Projects) and Mayhem Specialist Ann Heatherington introduced Wythe Marschall (representing Electric Literature), who led off Round 2 against King of Counterculture Mike Edison (High Times, Screw). Marschall barreled out of the gate, read a new short story in a hurried twang that kept the judges and audience on their seat-edges, then Edison amped things up to never-before seen heights, backed by the LDM's first-ever bongo player, as he growled out a porn-based story while stomping about the stage in dramatic fashion. His piece included the line: "Fucking, by it's very nature, is a repetitive business." 

Then the mic, once again, was handed to the trio of all-star judges.  Porizkova noted that Marschall's passionate reading reminded her of the Czech westerns she'd once seen while living in Eastern Europe, and Friedman regarded him as an irresistably smug wunderkind. Nash liked Edison's use of French in his story, admitted his soft spot for his use of the Smurfs in his story, then deducted three points for knowing him, while Porizkova loved Edison's performance so much, she wouldn't have minded him reading a tractor manual. 

After a long huddle, the judges decided to select Mike Edison as the night's second finalist. 

Then came the night's wild finale that pitted Febos and Edison against one another in a game of Literary Pinata, in which the two were tasked with bashing the bejesus out of a white-suited pinata (that vaguely resembled LDM creator Todd Zuniga). After half a dozen hammering strikes, Edison sent his pinata reeling, before decapitating it, and spearing the skull on a broomstick, fired up on the energy of literary immortality and being crowned as NYC's latest Literary Death Match champion! 


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