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Salt Lake City, Ep. 2

October 24, 2013 — In a brilliantly successful return to Salt Lake City, Literary Death Match's partnership with the Utah Humanities Book Festival offered up a wild night of whimsy and smarts that ended with Sara Zarr out dueling co-finalist Melissa Bond 10-5 in a hotly contested Pulitzer Pictionary finale that won Zarr the LDM Salt Lake City, Ep. 2 crown. 

But before the chisel-tip Sharpie was even a consideration, the night kicked off with poet/improviser/former mixed martial arts fighter Jesse Parent who set the stage aflame with a pair of poems, the first from the perspective of a potentially murderous clown, followed by a piece about the boys who would someday date his daughter. Next up was Zarr, the National Book Award finalist for Story of a Girl, who countered with a piece about a kick being kicked out of school for plagiarism that entranced the crowd. 

The mic was then handed to the night's trio of all-star judges: Alex Caldiero (poet, sonosopher, polyartist and author of Poetry is Wanted Here); poet Jean Howard, author of Dancing In Your Mother's Skin; and Pat Bagley, author and editorial cartoonist and journalist for The Salt Lake Tribune. The three dealt high praise mixed with crowd-pleasing barbs — except for Bagley, who brilliantly drew his response to both author's work — before deciding that it would be Zarr who would advance to the finals. 

After a brief intermission, Round 2 commenced with Adam Love (fiction writer/poet and author of the chapbook Another Small Fire) who came out poetry blazing with a pair of poems — one focused on an apocalypse algorithm, the other masterful piece about being stuck in childhood. Finally, it was Melissa Bond (winner of Best Poet in Motion and Gutsiest Spoken Word performance, and a Catalyst 100 in 2013) who unleashed her inner Beck by combing the lyrics of his song Debra to present a story that had the audience in throes. 

Again the judges were under the spotlight, and after another round of fun-time commentary, and drawings to boot, the three decided it would be Bond that stood as the night's second finalist. 

Then LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage, inviting the show's producer Michael McLane to the stage, and serve as The Human Stanchion, holding canvases while audience members came up to draw Pulitzer Prize winning novels, while the two finalists guessed what book they were drawing. It was a see-saw battle — which included a hysterically baffling drawing of To Kill a Mockingbird — but with the score tied 5-5, Bagley came up and drew the tie-breaker, and it was Zarr who first shouted "A Color Purple!" winning her the LDM Salt Lake City, Ep. 2 medal, and literary immortality to go with it. 

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