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Tulsa, Ep. 1

November 15, 2011 – In one of the Literary Death Match's greatest all-time city debuts (Tulsa became our 39th home), the Muzakal Chairs throwback finale saw Team Cary Aspinwall fall to Team Sloan Davis in a remarkably close, and brilliantly contested finish at Congregation B'Nai Emunah Synagogue that won Davis Tulsa's first ever LDM crown. And all of it thanks to Booksmart Tulsa.

But before DJ Booksmart Tulsa (a.k.a. the night's producer Jeff Martin) spun the first Muzakal Chairs tunes, the night kicked off with Tulsa World-rep Aspinwall taking the audience into the deep, sweaty south of Walker Percy and Eudora Welty with just a dash of white trash. Next up was Urban Tulsa Weekly's Jennie Lloyd, who recounted an email from years ago about a man trying to bring alternative music to the far East.

Then the mic was handed to the trio of all-star judges: master-comedian Barry Friedman, debut thriller scribe Taylor Stevens (author of The Informationist), and award-winning novelist Constance Squires (Along the Watchtower. The three traded praise for the reading duo before huddling, and deciding, by a fraction of a fraction, that Aspinwall would be the night's first finalist.

After a booze-fueled intermission, Round 2 led off with This Land Press-rep Mark Brown told a tale about surviving a tornado in a cellar, complete with a metal trashcan by his side (a LDM first!) for sound effects. Finally, it was Sloan Davis representing Nimrod Journal who smartly played with the idea of genre in a noir-infused, irony-laden take on what being "literary" really means. 

Again the microphone was handed to the judges, and again they reeled off thoughtful, humor-skewed commentary, before deciding that it was Davis that would go on to be the night's second finalist. 

Then LDM creator Todd Zuniga took center stage to explain the finale: a Tulsa tune-themed Muzakal Chairs finale, in which Davis and Aspinwall were both paired with two volunteers from the crowd, with the "last team sitting" winning the LDM crown for their finalist. After Aspinwall and Davis were both bounced, it came down to a derrière-a-derrière between two volunteers, and when the music stopped, Davis's finalist had slightly better position, winning him Literary Death Match Tulsa's debut medal, and literary immortality to go with it.

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