video by LoonarCity


Quiet Lightning began as a monthly, submission-based reading series on December 14, 2009, featuring all forms of writing without introductions or author banter. The series moved around to a different venue every month, appearing in bars, art galleries, a music hall and a bookstore in our first year. Since, we’ve been to night clubs, a greenhouse, a ballroom, a theater, a mansion, a sporting goods store, a pirate store, a print shop, a museum, a hotel, and a cave. We’ve produced 101 shows, and since the 3rd have published a corresponding issue of sparkle + blink… featuring, now, 1,062 individual readings from 596 different authors! Our books have been read many times all over the world.

In 2013 we orchestrated a Tour Through Town—an initiative to collaborate with a different literary organization every month, creating special hybrid shows with 826 Valencia, SOMArts Cultural Center, Porchlight storytelling, Studio One Reading Series, Beast Crawl, City Lights, Litquake, the Center for the Art of Translation, and Pints and Prose.

In 2014 we launched Quiet Lightning Books via an annual chapbook contest, publishing Tupelo Hassman’s Breast Milk and Zack Haber’s if you want to be one of them playing in the streets….We also launched Quiet Lightning Films, adapting Amy Glasenapp’s story Combustion, selected through a blind submission process, into a screenplay, casted through Craigslist, shot, produced, and then debuted at The New Parkway Theater.

In 2015 we launched a collaboration with Name Drop Swamp Records and The Emerald Tablet called Chemical Wedding—bimonthly shows featuring music and literature—with a corresponding annual print magazine, vitriol. We initiated a collaboration with the California State Parks System to produce the first Poetry in Parks, held at Samuel P. Taylor State Park over Labor Day, and started a partnership with the Bay Area Video Coalition to produce weekly episodes of Quiet Lightning Television.

Already, 2016 has been an important year for us. We’ve partnered up with longtime inspiration Radar Productions for a queer literary mixtape, part of their Queering the Castro series, and now provide the resources necessary to publish Litseen, a near-comprehensive calendar of Bay Area literary events that also posts weekly interview profiles of local authors, called The Write Stuff, which will help us expand on our mission. We have just released our third chapbook, The Sacred Text of Rosa Who is Great, and produced our first feature-length film, the experimental documentary of San Francisco Water  Under the Bridge. Thanks to a recent grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission, 12 of our shows over the next year will be free, and everyone who reads or contributes art to Quiet Lightning will be paid! We’ve partnered with the Chinatown Community Development Center, revived the Call and Response series w/presentations by Kim Anno and Pamela Z, and teamed up with ArtSpan again to present the 3rd annual Art, Readings, & Reactions event. Our 100th show will be on October 9, 2016 – save the date!


The primary objective of Quiet Lightning is to foster a community based on literary expression and to provide an arena for said expression.

Quiet Lightning incorporated as a nonprofit on June 1st, 2011 and received tax exemption on January 1, 2012. We remain a submission-based series with a completely blind selection process entirely open to the public. We even accept applications to curate our shows. Should you be interested (and we hope you are), there are in fact many (easy) ways to get involved.





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