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NYC, Ep. 39

October 12, 2011 — Before a crowd hushed by tension and sparseness, LDMs return to NYC ended with Jon-Jon Goulian out-literary-spelling Starlee Kine by a final score of 14-9 (impressing with a spot-on race through H-O-U-E-L-L-E-B-E-C-Q) to capture NYC's 39th-ever Literary Death Match crown.

But before the first word was spelled, the evening kicked off with a clash of similar surnames between Goulian and Emily Gould (of the newly-launched Emily Books). Goulian led off with an excerpt from his memoir, The Man in the Grey Flannel Skirt, which described in no small detail his first awkward pubescent handjob. Gould fired back with a selection from an as-yet-untitled piece about a girl who took up jogging and Klonopin and whose boyfriend used the phrase "playing kissyface" instead of "fucking."

The mic was then turned over to all-star arbiters Ben Greenman (of the New Yorker), comedic mastermind Jessi Klein, and Videogum editor Gabe Delahaye. Greenman appreciated Gould's skillful weaving of present and future narrative, and was disturbed by Goulian's comparison between ejaculation and baby vomit. Klein expressed her envy of Goulian's ability to look "constantly turned on by himself," and was disappointed that, unlike her narrator, Gould did not use Klonopin and couldn't hook her up. Delahaye complimented Goulian's bellbottoms, because they were invented by the Navy, but admitted that he didn't know which branch of the military was responsible for Gould's skinny jeans.

After a heated judges' debate, Delahaye announced Goulian as the winner of the first round.

After a boozy intermission, the second round opened with a reading from radio superstar Starlee Kine,  who read half of her piece from her Droid and the other half from paper. She was followed by Ned Beauman, who peppered a reading from his novel Boxer, Beetle with non-sequitur interjections about the current state of the literary world. 

Due to time constraints, the judges presented their second round of critique at lightning speed. Greenman noted that Beauman's juxtaposition of the Nazis in his novel with asides about modern writers forced a comparison between the publishing industry and the Third Reich. Delahaye asked the audience to let him know if anyone had found Kine's sweater, which was lost at a previous event, and Klein decreed that Beauman's English accent meant that he should "win everything ever." Accent aside, however, the judges chose Kine to move on to the finale.

To conclude the evening, LDM creator and host Todd Zuniga brought Goulian and Kine back to the stage for a literary-themed spelling bee, in which they had to correctly spell the names of authors to remain in the competition. The names started out fairly simple, but quickly escalated to the ridiculous, and it was Kine's understandable inability to spell "Solzhenitsyn" that won Goulian not only the LDM crown, but literary immortality to boot! night for  and propelled him to literary immortality.

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