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Oakland, Ep. 1

July 30, 2014 — After over an eight-year wait, Literary Death Match finally made its way to Oakland, and what a debut it was. An insta-classic, the night ended with Nancy Davis Kho outdueling Tim "Toaster" Henderson in a Literary Pictionary Oakland-Style finale by a closer-than-it-appeared score of 9-1 to win her the LDM Oakland, Ep. 1 crown. 

But before the finale was even a thought, the night kicked off with "Toaster" Henderson, performance poet extraordinaire, who delivered an epically told poem about the Scoop Dunk (the first definition). Next it was performance poet Jaz Sufi, who dazzled with a poem about identity that masterfully mixed in spiced pumpkin lattes, uggs, and green cards, et al. 

Then the mic was handed over to the trio of all-star judges: Joshua Safran, activist and author of Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the GridSonya Renee Taylor, poet, activist and founder of The Body Is Not an ApologyKarinda Dobbins, stand-up comedian. After delivering a tidal wave of wit and smarts, the judges huddled and decided it would be Henderson who would advance, by the narrowest of margins, as the night's first finalist. 

Then came Round 2, where Mac Barnett (New York Times bestselling author of children's books (Extra Yarn) and a 2013 Caldecott winner) read an entire book — the must-read Guess Again, from which he charmed the audience over and over and over again. Finally, it was the inimitable Nancy Davis Kho, essayist whose work appeared in Oh, Sandy: An Anthology of Humor for a Serious Purpose, who reeled off a true-tale that had the audience in throes, and the judges, too. 

Again the judges were center stage, reeling off brilliances before declaring Davis Kho as the night's second finalist. 

Then up stepped LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga to announce the night's finale: Literary Oakland Pictionary, in which "artists" from the audience were tasked with drawing famous books from Oakland authors while the finalists looked on trying to guess. After Henderson raced out to an early lead, Davis Kho refused to be outdone, crowdsourcing her answers en route to a winning the LDM Oakland, Ep. 1 medal and literary immortality to go with it. 

Follow us on Twitter: @litdeathmatch

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