March 7, 2015 — To continue our 9-Year birthday celebration, Literary Death Match returned to the Bay Area for a Saturday nightstravaganza at Elbo Room that came to a glorious, high-wire conclusion with Cassandra Dallett outlasting Casey Childers in Literary Spelling Bee II by a score of 7-6 to win Dallett the LDM SF, Ep. 59 crown.
But before the finale was even a consideration, the evening kicked off with Maggie Tokuda-Hall, writer, artist, and Shipwreck champion, who told a brilliant story about a girl's date with a nervous squid. Next up was Dallett, poet and author of Wet Reckless, who reeled off a trio of wowing poems the last of which centered on her father's death and giving all of his stuff away.
Then the mic was turned over to the trio of star judges: Faith Adiele, author of Meeting Faith (winner of PEN Beyond Margins Award for Best Memoir); Echo Brown, storyteller, writer and star of Black Virgins are Not for Hipsters; and David Nihill, founder of FunnyBizz, and author of the best-selling Do You Talk Funny. The threesome praised Tokuda-Hall's magical writing, and lauded Dallett's inner roar before making the night's first impossible decision, declaring Dallett as the Round 1 winner.
Then it was on to Round 2, led off by Casey Childers, writer, co-producer of Shipwreck and Write Club SF producer, who charmed with a tale of modern-day mythology that focused on fatherhood. Then, finally, it was B. Alexandra Szerlip, two-time NEA Writing Fellow, and sculptor behind A Visit to Mad Geppetto's Workshop, who opened by handing out Grouch Marx-style glasses/noses/mustaches to the judges and audience before ripping off a perfectly written heartacher that stilled the audience.
Again the judges were center stage, with Brown applauding Childers three-piece fashion sense and prose, and the judges lauding Szerlip's crystal-clear writing before making the night's second impossible decision by naming Childers the night's second finalist.
Then up stepped LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga who announced the night's finale: Literary Spelling Bee II, in which Dallett and Childers were tasked with spelling increasingly difficult author names. The game started with a stylish calamity and ended with Dallett taking the grand prize by the narrowest of margins (a 7-6 score), winning her the LDM SF, Ep. 59 crown, and literary immortality to go with it.