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Pittsburgh, Ep. 1

November 9, 2011 — Before a jovial crowd at Brillobox, the Literary Death Match made Pittsburgh it's 38th city worldwide with a wild night of literary and comedic heroics — presented by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre — that saw Team Lori Jakiela outduel Team Jimmy Cvetic in a Pulitzer-themed Cyrllic Off, with a down-to-the-wire 9-7 victory, winning Jakiela the LDM crown. 

But before the Cyrillic mayhem took hold, the night commenced with Lissa Brennan reading a vivid paean to the international language of profanity — and coining the term "Kardashiyinzers," which drew huge laughs from the crowd. Jakiela followed with a beautifully articulated and frequently hilarious series of reflections from her days as a flight attendant. ("There's a new show on ABC called Pan Am," she prefaced. "I hate that fucking show.")

Judgment was passed by a trio of local luminaries including brilliant and strange grad student and "aspiring curmudgeon" Nate Bell, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer (and meal bar entrepreneur!) Julia Erickson, and deliriously funny comedian/actress/writer Gab Bonesso. The judges complimented both readings on their unrestrained use of profanity, and confessed that this decision was the hardest they had ever made as a LDM judging panel, but in the end, the votes went to Jakiela.

After a boozy intermission, New Yinzer columnist Adam Matcho lit up the stage with a series of poems about his experience selling "Pornaments" in a novelty store on Black Friday. He was followed by poet/retired cop Jimmy Cvetic, who reduced the crowd to hysterics with a tale of guilt and punishment in a Catholic school, delivered via "nun boots."

The mic was once again turned over to the judges, whose cutthroat debate lasted "literally five seconds," as Bonesso quipped. They were full of praise for both readers, but were won over by Cvetic's uproarious presentation, which Bell deemed "pure Pittsburgh."

Then LDM creator Todd Zuniga took the stage, bringing with him a handful of volunteers from the crowd. Each finalist was assigned a team of audience members and tasked with shouting out the names of Pulitzer Prize-winning authors whose names had been phonetically "Cyrillic-ized." The match very nearly went to a tie, but Jakiela (and her very enthusiastic team) finally pulled ahead, making her the first-ever LDM Pittsburgh champion, and propelling her to literary immortality.

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Reader Comments (1)

Brilliant! I had a great time. Come back to Pittsburgh, LDM! We miss you already!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathan Bell

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