May 10, 2008—In the most ambitious Literary Death Match ever--an “All-Star” event featuring past SF winners, judges and hosts--Andrew Lam (the winner of SF’s Episode 7), trumped all with his blindly skilled placement of Leatherface’s body (yes, the chainsaw murderer in cardboard cut-out form) onto the oversized, two-dimensional heads of great literary figures/past LDM champs: Daniel Handler, Bucky Sinister and Rupert Estanislao. The feat was witnessed by 190 laughing fans at the Rickshaw Stop, who cheered wildly (and confusingly) at the finale.
The night, sponsored by redroom.com, doubled as the launch of Opium6: Go Green! (But Save Me First), started with a big surprise: the magazine never showed (it exists, we promise!). After host Todd Zuniga intro’d Opium’s epically talented designer David Barringer for a hard-to-see glimpse of the slideshow of the issue via Powerpoint, the night began with Kirk Read (Episode 2’s winner) squaring off against Lam. Read went off the board, reading his story from memory, a tale of the perils of jury duty, then came Lam who slapped himself on and off throughout a clever story read from the pages of ZZYZYVA. Both shined, but judges Stephen Elliott (Ep. 1 contestant and author of Happy Baby and tons more), Kurt Bodden (Ep. 5 judge, the host of LDM’s 6 and 7, and the hilarious host of Talk Show Live) and Michelle Richmond (Ep. 1 contestant, Ep. 5 judge and author of The Year of the Fog) selected Lam.
After a hasty intermission, the LDM pulled a maneuver that sent shockwaves through the entire literary community: the show changed hosts, and the panel of judges were replaced by all-new All-Stars! Bodden took the hosting mic, while Jon Wolanske (Ep. 5 champ, Ep. 1 judge and Killing My Lobster genius), Sean Finney (Ep. 5 judge, Ep. 8 host and the editor of Canteen) and Todd Zuniga (LDM’s co-creator) took seats on the judging couch. Then up stepped Ep. 6 winner Tony DuShane who lit up the crowd with a saucy tale that earned oohs, ahhs and laughed, followed by Ep. 1 champion Sam Hurwitt who read a story of superherodom and charm. After a quick deliberation, the judges made a difficult choice, electing DuShane as the nights second finalist.
That led to the most beautiful disaster of a finale ever. The name of the final game: Pin the Body (of Clubber Lang and Leatherface) on the Literary Figure’s Head! The result: mayhem. Each contestant was handed a decapitated cardboard standee, blindfolded and asked to pin the body on the heads (held by our pretty volunteers). After being tied after two tries (the heads were Daniel Handler, winner of Ep. 5 and Bucky Sinister, winner of Ep. 3), the final “pinning” was on the head of Rupert Estanislao (the winner of Ep. 8). By a Clubber Lang beard, Lam toppled DuShane to make history as the LDM’s only two-time winner. An epic end to an epic event!