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Tulsa, Ep. 2

September 21, 2012 — On a cricket-filled Oklahoma eve, Literary Death Match once again teamed with Book Smart Tulsa for a return to the 918 for a genius night that saw TulsaPeople Magazine's Jeff Van Hanken outduel This Land Press's Natasha Ball in a hotly-contested Literary Spelling Bee that won Van Hanken the LDM Tulsa crown. 

But before Solzhenitsyn was summoned, the night kicked off with Van Hanken (scriptwriter of The Legend of Billy Fail) leading off with a hilarious and pitch-perfect rant about iPhone fetishism and constant distraction. Next up was Tulsa World's crime, public safety, military and veterans affairs expert Jerry Wofford who told the tale of coming out of the closet and being young and gay even though "he doesn't sound gay" as one pair of parents observed. 

The mic was then handed over to the trio of all-star judges: NEA poet/translator and Guggenheim fellow Geoffrey Brock (who recently edited The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry), and the amazing Lou Berney (author of Gutshot Straight and Whiplash River), award-winning fantasy and paranormal romance author P.C. Cast (author of Destined (House of Night) and member of the Oklahoma Writers' Hall of Fame). They took turns reeling off quips, with Berney noting Van Hanken "looks like a great dude who would also kick your ass." Maybe the threat of ass-kicking was the reason they advanced Van Hanken on as the night's first finalist. 

Then Round 2 commenced with Urban Tulsa Weekly's own Joe O'Shansky reading a violence-filled piece about a movie critic who suffered at the hand of a revenge-minded filmmaker. And finally This Land Press representative Natasha Ball (the mind behind Tasha Does Tulsa) finished the night with the evening's shortest tale, which had her fans in throes. 

Again the mic was turned over to the judges, who charmed the audience with witticisms before finally declaring Ball as the night's second finalist. 

Then came the finale, in which LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga took center stage, aided by LDM Tulsa executive producer Jeff Martin (of Booksmart Tulsa fame). The two finalists took turns spelling difficult-to-spell author's names, and Van Hanken raced out to a massive 18-2 lead, but Ball had one final crack at glory, with only Ngugi Wa'Thiong'O's name standing in the way. While she scored a handful of points, it was too little, too late, and Van Hanken was crowned champ, winning the Literary Death Match medal, and literary immortality to go with it. 

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Reader Comments (1)

After missing last year's LDM in Tulsa, I've been avidly waiting for your next return. Only to have to work 3-11 that night. Wah! My thought has always been if I miss it in Tulsa, I'll have a great excuse to go home to Minneapolis and catch it. And lo and behold... you really scheduled the Twin Cities event the day before the Tulsa event?! Curses! Your secret agenda to exclude me only fuels my desire to be there. I will figure it out. Thank-you for bringing something to Oklahoma that actually has me excited to be here.

September 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly T.

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