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NYC, Ep. 42

May 22, 2012 — A life-changing night of literary and comedic wonderment went down with star-fueld aplomb at The Back Room, as a staggering lineup lit up the NYC night, ending with a finale that pitted def poet extraordinaire muMs against the electric Sarah Rose Etter in a wild game of Literary Author Jumble that went down to the final seconds, with Etter shining brightest in the end to win LDM NYC, Ep. 42! 

But before the finale was even an inkling, the night kicked off with a brilliant chance pairing: def poet extraordinaire muMs (a.k.a. Arnold "The Poet" Jackson from HBO's Oz) v. the inimitable Leigh Stein (author of The Fallback Plan). muMs led off with a fantastically-told piece about being caught loitering between NYC subway cars, followed by Stein's Gary Shteyngart-loving piece about a Russian woman in love with the author of Absurdistan

The mic was then turned over to the trio of all-star judges: Get Your War On cartoonist and professional pencil sharpener David Rees (author of How to Sharpen Pencils), The Rejection Show's own comedian/author/hilaritist Jon Friedman (author of Rejected), and the hilarious actor/improvist Megan Neuringer

Neuringer, judging performance, was impressed by muMs' ability to read in the dark, while Rees (judging intangibles) went on a wondrous, pedagogic rant about the intangibles of life. Ironically, he noted, his job was to loiter in the space between the subway cars of muMs’ poem. About Stein, Friedman adored her "Shteyngart fanfic," Neuringer adored the line, “I want him to blow his blurb all over my heart,” and Rees fired off another rant that included: the Soviet Union, bread lines, and a writhing, emaciated cat. A painful judge deliberation followed, but after the closest vote in LDM history, they announced muMs as the night's first finalist. 

After a booze-fueled intermission, Round 2 kicked off with the abso-electric Sarah Rose Etter (author of Tongue Party) up against James Sprang. Sprang led off with an electric paper-free performance about corn and people, followed by Etter who told the heartbreaking/creepy story of "head meld." 

The mic was again handed to the judges, with Friedman saying there are no cornfields on 42nd and 7th, while Neuringer liked that Sprang "pocket-jerked himself off" when using the words "shucking corn." Rees suggested to Sprang — newly in NYC from Miami — that every night would be exactly like this one, and also admitted his bias: that corn is the “most unsettling of all Mother Nature’s products.” About Etter, Friedman felt her story should be in the dictionary under “Relationship," while Neuringer said Etter’s story was “good-emo.” Rees discussed Etter’s mis-pronunciation of the word “hexagonal," which caused him to dock a point, because it’s his favorite shape. 

Again, an impossible decision faced the judges, but after a long discussion they named Etter as the night's second finalist. 

Then LDM creator Todd Zuniga took center stage for the finale, explaining that muMs and Etter would compete in a Literary Death Match Word Jumble. Volunteers were plucked from the audience, and three rounds were played. The first with three-lettered author names mixed up (EOP = POE! INN = NIN!). Etter won the round easily, but muMs struck back with the four-letter round victory. With the LDM title on the line, Etter toppled muMs in the final, five-letter-name round, winning her the Literary Death Match NYC, Ep. 42 crown, and literary immortality to go with it! 

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