three years and we’re headed to the lab

On Monday, December 3rd we are proud to present our final literary mixtape of 2012:

Club Deluxe » Cocoanut Grove (Santa Cruz) » Elbo Room » Boxcar Playhouse » Alley Cat Books » William Westerfeld House » Galeria de la Raza » Vessel Gallery (Oakland) » San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers (August and September) » Red Poppy Arthouse » San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers (October) » Viracocha » Monday, December 3rd

Yes, we’ve done shows this year in a night club, a grand ballroom, a dive bar, a theatre, a bookstore, a mansion, three art galleries, a greenhouse, a creation factory; in two national landmarks and three different cities.

We’ve partnered with LagunitasLitquakeBeast Crawl, Salon 97 and the ItCH, and earned the support of the Zellerbach Family Foundation. We are so grateful for all of these things!

We’ve inducted a new board member and established five committees: outreach, design, PR, special ops, and art. We’ve toyed with Quiet Lightning Crunch, a new cereal that brings out the poet in you. But this is not a year-end report! We’re just excited to invite you to the finale of our third year:

Join us at The Lab on Monday, December 3rd to celebrate our 38th show and the 34th issue of sparkle + blink.

Curated by SB Stokes and Meghan Thornton and featuring art by Jacqueline Norheim, this marks the first time we’ve ever had a curator (SB) who is not a board member or committee director. If you want to put together one of our shows, check this out.

At The Lab, we’ll begin accepting nominations for our June Neighborhood Heroes show.

We will have delicious ice cold Lagunitas drafts for only $3.

Admission is a suggested $5, but we’ll never turn anyone away. We want to inject this literature into your brains; that’s why you can read and watch all of our past shows for free.

MroBen is going to be playing some music after the readings—check that out!

In related news, we’ll be running our Instagram contest: take photos at the show  (or on the dance floor) and tag them #quietlightning or #ql and the winner(s) receive(s) a month as our Facebook cover and a copy of sparkle + blink.

On a separate and final note, we’ll be opening submissions to our January show very soon. We’re still working out the details because we’re planning something special. December 3rd is not the end of our monthly submission-based series… exactly, but we hope you’ve all enjoyed Quiet Lightning as you’ve known it, and hope you will continue to enjoy it in all of its future forms.

Remarkably, over a third of the people who attended our shows this year had never been to a Quiet Lightning before. Of this month’s 13 readers, 1 has read 9x, 1 has read 3x, and 1 has read 1x; all of the rest (77%) are first-timers.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, or excited, or maybe even a bit of the both, perhaps you’ll enjoy this video from last year’s anniversary.

Thank you for everything. Three years!

– Evan
for Quiet Lightning

thanks, viracocha!

Hi everyone, and welcome to our website. This is not just another WordPress site. This is the home of Quiet Lightning, and we have been expecting you. Take your digital shoes off. Kick back in your chair. You’ve earned this internet. We’ve prepared a feast for you; but first, a message from our sponsor (read: heart):

Thanks to everyone at Viracocha for making last night the perfect homecoming. We were nervous to do a show at Vira because it’s so special to us; like bringing a lover home to ma for the first time, we were afraid of the worlds colliding. But of course that was foolish! All of our authors—11 of which, out of the 12, had never performed at QL before—were comfortable, and thus spot-on pros at the mic. Julie Indelicato made us sound as good as we ever have, hands down, and Sean Taylor kept us honest. If you’re reading this and you haven’t been yet, seriously, get ye to Viracocha! Jon Siegel: San Francisco, the world needs more places like Viracocha. Thank you.

Thanks to everyone who helped last night: Charles Kruger, Kristen Kramer, Meghan Thornton, SB Stokes, John Panzer, Sandra Wassilie, and Chris Cole for putting the show together with me. That was the first show I co-curated since May and it was a true delight from start to finish. 37 shows now. 32 books. Which brings us to the future:

Next month, on December 3rd, we will celebrate 3 years of Quiet Lightning. Hard to believe. Easy to celebrate. We’re accepting submissions through the end of Wednesday, November 14th. Send all submissions here. We are proud and more than a little excited to announce SB Stokes and Meghan Thornton will curate that show. This marks the first time a non-board member, non-committee head will join forces for the selection process. If you’re interested in being one of the people who puts together the shows, here’s more information.

If you’re wondering: what’s up with Neighborhood Heroes: the next installment will be in June. We will soon open a public nomination process, so stay tuned! A lot of exciting stuff around the corner, everyone. Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm. Just between September and October we had 82 people attend Quiet Lightning for the first time—and that’s just including people who filled out surveys. Last night, about half of the 100+ had never been. We look forward to seeing old faces and meeting new ones each month, and couldn’t be more proud and excited to welcome in the new year with you all very, very soon.

Love and lightning,
Evan for QL

november 5th @ viracocha

Click on the photograph by this month’s artist, Kirsten Harkonen, for links and videos, and here to pre-order your copy of sparkle + blink.

Kirsten was selected by our new Art Director Jacqueline Norheim – more on our new art process very soon.

This show was curated by Chris Cole and Evan Karp. Next month’s curators will be Meghan Thornton and SB Stokes. We will soon announce a submission process for curators.

Of the 95 submissions we received:

  • 12 accepted (13%)
  • 11 first-timers
  •  1 has read 4x

245 writers • 37 shows • 32 books
December 3rd is our 3-year anniversary.

Monday, November 5th
Viracocha • 998 Valencia @ 21st
7pm doors, show at 7:30

videos + photos from our litquake show at the conservatory of flowers

Thanks to the always inspired and inspiring Julie Michelle, you can enjoy photos from the final show of our second annual three-show series held at the Conservatory of Flowers, The Greenhouse Effect, which was part of Litquake:

[portfolio_slideshow size=large showtitles=true nav=top trans=fadeZoom]

As you can see, it was a really packed house. Of the 73 people who filled out the survey (and we estimated probably near twice that many people in attendance), 50 people had never been to a QL before. It was actually pretty overwhelming; when first-timers were asked to raise their hands, so many arms shot up that the crowd let out a collective “woa!” 34 people had never been to the COF before, and 22 hadn’t been in over a year. Again— this survey reflects only about half the people in attendance.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone had a wonderful time. The show, curated by the entire board of directors, was a work of art itself, moving flawlessly between genres of writing, timbres of voice and degrees of performance, and each of the readers stepped up and really delivered. You can watch all the readings right here.

Mary Behm-Steinberg was the artist for this month’s book, and we are all very proud to announce that this was her absolutely first installation. Check her out! She’s already made quite a portfolio of stunning book covers, and does them to order. Cannot recommend her too highly. Joining her, to help make The Orchid Room sparkle and blink, was Todd T. Brown, our September artist. It’s almost crazy how much their work did to the room (and to the evening, for that matter).

As always, beer was provided by Lagunitas Brewing Co., who we seriously cannot thank enough. They have really put the hops in us! And while we’re at it, there’s a lot of people who deserve thanks. Quiet Lightning could not happen without a large number of people, and while that group is somewhat amorphous, some dedicate their time every month to make this organization what it is: Josey and Christian Lee, along with Tom Joyce, at the beverage station, Sarah Maria Griffin, Ceri Bevan, and SB Stokes (at the door), Robin Terrell (on the books), and Jonathan Hirsch + Valerie Chavez for their utility help… and a special, big thanks to Morgan Davis at the COF for having us and making The Greenhouse Effect such a beautiful part of our year.

Thanks also to everyone who came out to the show, and to those of you who supports us month after month (or whenever and however you can). You’ve made Quiet Lightning what it is, and have helped us earn the support of the Zellerbach Family Foundation; hopefully, this is just a start. It’s been a series of special events and we can’t wait to tell you all about 2013—Quiet Lightning will never be the same! But before that happens:

  • Get ready for Monday, November 5th at Viracocha! We received 95 submissions for this show, and the bar has been smoking dope or something (for it is really so very high). We’ll announce the roster by Thursday, the 25th, so stay tuned.
  • Submissions to our show on Monday, December 3rd are open through the end of Wednesday, November 14th. Submit here! This will also be our 3rd anniversary party!
  • Take a break. Enjoy the second installment of Quiet Lightning: Random Play, which we did at the Red Poppy Arthouse on Sept 30th.

Finally, please weigh in if you’d like to get involved, if you have suggestions (what should we do with our recent grant money, for instance, and where should we have a show, who should be a neighborhood hero, etc.). We welcome all feedback – positive and negative – at all times, and hope to hear from you. And to see you very soon.

Love and lightning,
Evan for QL

we got our first grant! come celebrate (with litquake) at the conservatory of flowers

Hi everyone,

By now you probably know we received our first grant last week, courtesy of the Zellerbach Family Foundation. We are thrilled nearly beyond belief; nearly, for we are inspired every single month by the work that comes in, by the readings—every time the books come in, e’ry time the submissions converge—by the packed rooms and attentive faces; we believe in what we do, and thank you, thank you for believing too.

Below you will find (click on the bullet to go straight there):

qui•et light•ning |kwahy-it ˈlaɪtnɪŋ|


  1. an ever-expanding community of writers formed in san francisco in december of 2009
  2. a submission-based readings series produced by said writers that generally recurs in a different location every first monday, with a blind selection process and printed book of each show
  3. the noise one can feel between the end of an experience and the beginning of a new one: We clapped to manifest the quiet lightning.
  4. a softball team in Elk Grove Village, IL
  5. a novel by Deborah Hughes
  1. to make everything alright by joining together (often used with the definite article): One of these days we’ll all quiet the lightning together.
  2. (rare) to experience the same sounds as a group of people: Listening to an audiobook on a long family road trip is my favorite way to quiet lightning.

Well, that was fun (and feel free to comment with your own definitions and phrases). But what we really wanted to tell you was you should come out to our show this Monday, October 8th as part of Litquake. It’s the final installment of our annual three show series at the Conservatory of Flowers and it’s going to be like last year—an in-your-face literary doozie (just look at our readers!). We received nearly 150 submissions for this and the August show, and (like last year) our entire board of directors put them together as a team.

Lagunitas will be providing those ice cold drafts, as always—sexy sponsor that they are—for only $3 apiece. We’ll also have some wine, sodas, and sparkling water, so bring your favorite He-Man thermos and stay cool.

You can pre-order the show as a book, with artwork to brag about by Mary Behm-Steinberg, who will be exhibiting Monday night alongside recent de Young Artist Fellow Todd T. Brown, our September artist. We’ll also have some of our back issues for sale.

Conservatory of Flowers
100 John F Kennedy Dr • Golden Gate Park [directions]
Doors at 7pm • Show at 8pm sharp
$5 suggested, but come if you don’t have it and give more if you do

Our first public board meeting

That’s right. We’re opening our doors (we have doors now). Here’s your chance to get behind the scenes. Speak up. Volunteer. Propose. You name it. There will be food. There might be dancing (more likely: a saunter through Golden Gate Park). Sunday, October 21st at 10am (that stands for morning). If you want to come, send Kristen a line (that way we’ll know how much food to have).

November 5th @ Viracocha

Yes. Finally. Viracocha is more than the gracious entity that hauled several literal tons of setup to make last year’s Litquake show homey; more than our mic stand sponsor; this is, for a lot of reasons, a place that feels like home. If you’ve been inside, you probably feel that way about it too. There’s backstory. You can feel it in the wood. It’s not dust that gathers there, but affinity. Join us—for the love of all that is sacred—for our first and likely only show at Viracocha. Submissions are open through midnight of Wednesday, October 17th. Click here to submit.

Come as you are.


random play @ the red poppy arthouse, videos from the conservatory of flowers + winners of our first instagram contest!

Hi everyone,

Are you still buzzing from our last show at the Conservatory of Flowers? You can now watch all the videos here, including songs from Ash Reiter and Quijeremá. We’d like to thank everyone a final time before moving forward, no less the winners of our first Instagram contest! Congratulations to Jonathan Hirsch, Dominick, and Leilani Clark! These three will each get a copy of this month’s book, and we’ll feature their photos as our Facebook cover photo all month. Stay tuned for more on next month’s contest, and thanks everyone for playing.

Our next show is free! It’s the second installment of Quiet Lightning: Random Play and will feature James WarnerAlbert Flynn DeSilverBoris Glants, and July Westhale at the Red Poppy Arthouse! This is part of the ItCH mixer, so it’s a potluck; bring some food or wine and come meet other artists and enjoy a special QL Sundae. Sunday, September 30th

Also, save Monday, October 8th on your calendar: the finale of The Greenhouse Effect, a featured Litquake event curated by the entire QL board of directors, will be an absolutely stellar show! Remember last year’s? Just sayin’. Stay tuned for more information… we hope to see you there!

a thousand thrilling directions at once

Our show yesterday at the Conservatory of Flowers was even more fun than we thought it would be. Pictures, videos, and a transcript of the show will all be online soon, but we’d like to thank the many people who made yesterday what it was (and we think you should know them):

Huge thanks, first, to Morgan Davis for having us; to Viracocha and Andy P. for helping us with our tech setup; to everyone who brought food for the picnic; to Ash Reiter and Quijeremá for setting such a wonderful mood (follow those links for a good time) (help Ash with their Kickstarter campaign—only three days to go, and they’re almost there!); thanks to Todd Brown for the beautiful artwork that adorns this month’s books and j. brandon loberg for designing them so tastefully; to Lagunitas for putting so much love into their brews and, no less, into the community; to Kristen Kramer and Ceri Bevan for making literary mixtape #34; to each and every person who stepped up and helped with the execution:

Is that overwhelming? So many people made that show what it was, and we’re grateful for every single one of them!

As with each month, we just met half of last night’s readers last night (!) and hope to get to know them better. Our whole board has formed from people who first submitted to read (Charles, Chris, Josey, Kristen, and Meghan—I met every single one of them through Quiet Lightning, and now look at us: friends!).

If you’d like to get involved somehow, get in touch: volunteer [@] (Josey originally volunteered to do PR and, just last month, as a result of the work she’s been doing we voted her onto the board).

Next up

Random Play: On September 30th we’re doing a free show at the Red Poppy Arthouse! This will be the second installment of our new Random Play series, and part of the monthly ItCH mixer (which means, among other things, it’s a potluck and you’ll get to meet some of the other artists behind the ItCH project—this is how we met Quijeremá, for instance).

Litquake: The final show of The Greenhouse Effect, this lovely three-show series at the Conservatory of Flowers, will be on Monday, October 8th as part of Litquake. I happen to think last year’s show was one of our greatest, and you definitely don’t want to miss this one! Go ahead: check out our readers.

Submissions: We’re accepting submissions for our November 5 show through the end of Wednesday, October 17th.

I know I’ve said it this whole time, but thank you: for coming to the shows, and – however you do it – for supporting Quiet Lightning and the generation of literature. Until very soon,

Evan Karp
(proudly) for Quiet Lightning

go green on labor day + join us on the lawn for free food a beer garden and live music by quijeremá and ash reiter, all free but the beer (only $3/ice cold draft) and all followed by a new book performed live ($5 to see it $10 to take it home)

Believe it or not, the title barely gets us there: the Conservatory of Flowers (that’s where)! Yes, on Monday, September 3 we will reconvene on the front lawn of the COF for a free potluck picnic (4:30pm), live music (5pm) and a beer garden à la La (made you sing) Lagunitas Brewing Co! Have you seen Quijeremá?

Ash Reiter? This is appropriate:

So yeah, both of those shows are free! Bring some food and let’s hang out. Bring notebooks, musical instruments, and/or toys, if you want. We might even sidewalk chalk the roads since they’re closed to autos, and if you want to meet up earlier and get into that you can send me a line.

As with last month, the first set will be in front of the Conservatory, so bring a light jacket. We will just beat the sunset to intermission, when we’ll take a 20-minute break to enjoy the building and find a place to absorb the second set, which will take place amongst the potted plants! Come one, come all; we are proud to present to you this month’s verbal acrobatics, framed by the artwork of Todd Brown! Curated by Kristen Kramer and Ceri Bevan:

click the image for links to each reader

If you’re wondering what this might all be like, and you can’t wait to find out, you can watch videos from last month’s show, and you can also peruse the wonderful photographs our friend Ian Tuttle took (all of which can be purchased—the B&W were shot on film—right this way):

[portfolio_slideshow size=large showtitles=true nav=top trans=fadeZoom exclude=”3647″]

Hope to see you all on Labor Day. Tell your friends. Bring your friends. Make some friends! The Greenhouse Effect, volume 2 will be followed by the Litquake finale show on October 8th, so go ahead and load that into your iCals. We’ve got so much else to tell you; let’s talk in person.


ps. it’s $5 to get in. if you don’t have it, come anyway. (click here if you have more)

Monday, September 3rd – litnic @ 4:30, music @ 5, readings @ 7:30
San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers
100 John F. Kennedy Drive | Golden Gate Park

ps. for those of you keeping score, we received 68 submissions this month. of those (as you can see), we accepted 11—for a rate of 16%. 6 of these 11 are first-timers; 3 will read for the second time; 2 for the third time. this is the first time since our third show that we haven’t had at least one person reading for more than their 3rd time. this is our 34th show and our 30th book.

the work of volunteers

Last year’s first show at the Conservatory of Flowers was a new dream. We were a new board, having received our nonprofit status only two months before. We’d already done 19 shows, but that was different. It was the kind of dream that opens your eyes to a new world. What does it mean that we’re a nonprofit? What does it mean that we’re doing our show in such a wonderful place? And how did all of this happen?

photo by Matthew James DeCoster

I’m not sure I could say. I know Morgan Davis is responsible for The Greenhouse Effect (writing that really made me smile, by the way). We do our show in a different venue every month, rarely returning. So arriving at the Conservatory of Flowers yesterday was truly a homecoming. In the interim, we’ve been voted one of San Francisco’s Favorite 49 nonprofits. We’ve gone down to Santa Cruz for the Poetry Festival. We’ve been to a bar, a nightcluba theater, a bookstore, and a mansion. We’ve teamed up with Galeria de la Raza and done a show in Oakland as part of Beast Crawl. We have big plans!

But perhaps the biggest change for me last night was having over a dozen people working together to make sure everyone else felt at home, too. I’m proud to say I wasn’t in the least bit anxious yesterday (you should know I’m usually sort of a wreck on first Mondays even though we’ve now done this 33 times). We have committees now. Just two days ago we voted Josey Lee, who we first met last January through the blind submission process and who volunteered to head up the PR committee, onto our board of directors. She and husband Christian Lee have turned our partnership with Lagunitas into a seamless aspect of our shows (Alcohol Enthusiasts that they are).

It’s impossible to do justice to everyone involved, but I want to thank Charles Kruger for his endless enthusiasm and passion for Quiet Lightning; Kristen Kramer for organizing a small tribe of helpers: SB Stokes, Sarah Maria Griffin, Ceri Bevan, Sandra Wassilie, Tom Comitta, John Panzer, Max Tomlinson, and Ashley Brim (if you click on those links you can see how lucky and how rich we are). Our visions are getting larger as our team expands, and we do sincerely invite you to join us. As I mentioned in our last post, our board meetings are now open to the public; we usually meet every other second Sunday, so tentatively the next will be on October 14th (though check back here for announcements, and/or send a line if you’d like to be there).

Before then, we’ll have our September 3 Labor Day litnic: a potluck picnic in the park with live music by Quijeremá and a band to be announced shortly. Submissions are due by the end of next Wednesday, August 15th [click here to submit].

We will also have our second installment of Random Play at the Red Poppy Arthouse on September 30th as part of the ItCH mixer (attendance is open to anyone who wants to volunteer for QL or one of the other ItCH projects). We will announce our readers shortly.

And, of course, our October 8 Litquake show which will conclude this summer’s series at the Conservatory of Flowers. We are beaming with pride to announce our readers for that show.

Before we move on from last night, though, which I don’t want to do, I want to thank Cariwyl Hebert of Salon97 for handing out cookies to everyone and sharing not only the wonderful music but all of that info on Bach! Did you know he had 20 kids and was imprisoned for leaving a job? Enjoy their new video series: Mozart does stuff! This first video shows what happens when Mozart tries to do the dishes.

Finally, thanks to Ian Tuttle for taking photos of everyone. Pictures are streaming in and I’ll put together a linkfest in the next couple of days. If you have any you’d like to contribute, we’d love to see them. Here are some. Here are some more.

Last night, when I walked into the potted plants room for the first time during intermission, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Walking into the Conservatory of Flowers, I knew I was dreaming; this dream started last year. But last night I couldn’t help but think we are starting to learn how to control this dream.

Thank you, each and all, for helping us to make this real. Stay tuned for more big announcements and a slew of photos. Until then, if you have any suggestions on how to improve for Sept 3, or if you’d like to get involved, send us a line.


these are the days my friends

at exactly 6:30 philip morris we will open the doors to the san francisco conservatory of flowers where if you would like you may have your photo taken (your photo taken) by ian tuttle so that you may cherish yourself looking good in supernatural surroundings as though these were the days and perhaps they truly are the days my friends my friends tonight at 7:30 we will present to you a series of readings of which there is a book; the book is the show my friends and you could stay home and read it for we will up load it for free and you can even watch it but hahahaha you can’t put the conservatory of flowers into a book but you can put the book (live) into the conservatory of flowers

also we will do that in september and october so you could not come to the show tonight and that would be smart but you could come three times in three months and i bet you would feel better and be genuinely more kind to the people around you and can you smell that (have you stopped?) can you feel your self when you smell that commingling?

salon97 is going to be in the (green)house! lagunitas with that? $3 drafts.

$5 to get in. if you don’t have it, come anyway. (click here if you have more)

our readers our artist our sponsor again a reminder to wear white and/or pink if you want, and part of the show is outside so a light jacket maybe?

Monday, August 6th – doors @ 6:30, show at 7:30
San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers
100 John F. Kennedy Drive | Golden Gate Park

announcements we will make tonight so you can tune them out when evan is talking:

  • we are accepting submissions for sept 3 thru aug 15
  • we elected a new board member for the first time yesterday
  • we confirmed 3 special events we will announce very shortly and have so many more in the works right now we thought you should know this is quiet lightning 3.0 or something there will be
  • tweeter contests hashtags and new strategies
  • a group of us that hopefully includes you doing 826 valencia’s 3rd annual write-a-thon on aug 26
  • from now on all board meetings are open to the public and followed by some (other) kind of fun stay tuned
  • see you soon
  • !