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Tuesday
Oct082013

Philadelphia, Ep. 5

October 8, 2013 — For Literary Death Match's grand return to the City of Brotherly Love, we celebrated Painted Bride Quarterly's 40th birthday at Underground Arts in the middle of an insta-classic that ended when Paul Lisicky stormed back from a 6-0 deficit at Literary Pictionary to topple Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon by a final score of 9-6, winning Lisicky the LDM Philadelphia, Ep. 5 crown. 

But well before Sharpies were leaned upon for the finale, the night kicked off with Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon (PhD, poet, playwright, and professor at Temple University) blowing the doors off with her pitch-perfectly presented poem Euthanasia, followed by Ru Freeman  (the award-nominated author of Disobedient Girl), who read a staggering excerpt from her novel On Sal Mal Lane, followed by a "literary strip tease" before reeling off a short piece from an anthology. 

The mic was then turned over to the night's trio of all-star judges: Eric SmithGeekadelphia founder, Quirk Books social media guru; author of The Geek's Guide to DatingAnna N. Dhody, curator of the Mütter Museum; and Anna Goldfarb, blogger, screenwriter and author of Clearly, I Didn't Think This ThroughWhile Smith and Dhody traded praise about the opening rounders' work, Goldfarb discussed the mesmerizing jangle of jewelry from Williams-Witherspoon, and the "blueness" of Freeman's hair in the venue's pink light. 

After a heated deliberation between the trio, they announced that it would be Williams-Witherspoon that would advance as the night's first finalist. 

After a brief intermission, Round 2 opened stories-blazing with Lee Klein reading out rejection letters he's written while editing Eyeshot (since 1999) — to be published as Thanks and Sorry and Good Luck by Barrelhouse Books in 2014. Next was Paul Lisicky — the Lambda Award-nominated memoirist and novelist (The Burning HouseUnbuilt Projects) — who read a poignant scene from his novel Famous Builder

Again the judges were center stage, with Dhody recognizing the two decided there was a dressed code — Klein and Lisicky were both wearing similarly-patterned shirts — and Smith being fascinated by the character Klein had created (who was, in fact, Klein himself), while praise was heaped upon Lisicky's prose. 

Once again, the judges were tasked with a difficult decision, but decided it would be Lisicky who would advance as the night's second finalist. 

Then came the calamatous finale, as LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage, as he announced the finale would be Literary Pictionary, in which audience members would be tasked with drawing Pulitzer Prize-winning novels while the two finalists (and the crowd) guessed what those books were. After a slow start, Williams-Witherspoon was in the driver's seat, and up 6-0 with two rounds to go, but Lisicky found his footing, and points galore, taking the final two rounds, and astonishing himself, and the crowd, as he won it all in the sudden death round, 9-6, winning not only the LDM Philadelphia, Ep. 5 medal, but literary immortality to go with it. 

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