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
  • !

explicit content: parental advisory

Our summer series at the Conservatory of Flowers, The Greenhouse Effect, returns on Monday, August 6th! Join us for the first of three shows in this second annual wonderfest; if you missed last year, check out some photos and videos here and here. We are proud (very proud) and excited (so excited) to present to you (and to see for ourselves):

Click on the image – by the uber-talented Cameron Forsley – for links to the readers. Stalk them! They’re all wonderful. Between submissions for this show and the The Greenhouse Effect finale on October 8th, which will be a featured Litquake show, we received 145 submissions; these 14 make one luscious literary mixtape! Performed live once!

This show will also be a collaboration with Salon97! Classical music with attitude, yo!

Monday, August 6th – doors @ 6:30, show at 7:30
San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers
100 John F. Kennedy Drive | Golden Gate Park
$5 suggested, no one ever turned away

RSVP | Volunteer (vols receive a free book and a beer!)

This show is sponsored in part by Lagunitas Brewing Co! Support QL by drinking delicious, ice-cold, $3 drafts.

  • Bring a light jacket; part of the show is going to be outside! Also, last year we suggested everyone wear white and that was gorgeous. Let’s do it again! But this time: let’s wear white and/or pink! Note: you will be admitted so long as you wear clothes.
  • Afterparty ideas? If anyone has a backyard to offer up, that’d be ideal (especially if it were nearby). Let me know:
  • Submissions for our Labor Day Litnic on Sept 3, with live music, free food and a beer garden before the show, are open through the end of Wed Aug 15. Here to submit. We are thrilled to announce that we are now an official project of the ItCH initiative (Investing in the Creative Hunch: read and watch more here); in September, we will feature the art of Todd Brown and the music of ItCH projects!
  • We’ll announce our Litquake roster soon… don’t want to overstimulate you! So here’s some math: we received exactly 100 submissions to be considered for either Aug 6 only or for both Aug and Oct. So the acceptance rate was 14%. Of those, 6 (43%) have never read at Quiet Lightning, 3 (21%) have read 1x, 2 (14%) have read 2x, and 3 (21%) have read 3 or more times. As is often the case, we will proudly feature work this month that has been resubmitted (upon our encouragement).
  • This month (and the Oct Litquake show) were curated by Evan Karp (that’s me), Chris Cole, Charles Kruger, Meghan Thornton, Kristen Kramer, and Josey Lee.
  • This show is recommended (and safe) for all ages.
  • This is the best show we could have possibly put together. Come see!


*Parking and Directions:
Be green and ride your bike, or take the 5, 6, 7, 21, 33, 44, 71 or N-Judah Muni lines. Parking is available in the Dahlia Garden Circle or along John F. Kennedy Drive. Bike racks are available in the Dahlia Garden Circle, or just west of the Conservatory platform on Conservatory Way. []

community wizard + beast crawl: random play free saturday in oakland

Thanks everyone who came out to Galería de la Raza last night; that was some pure Side A/Side B magic, right!? Proud of Chris Cole and Josey Lee for putting together such an emotionally resonant yet experimentally bold show, and really, truly proud that we are able to present a place for such beautiful people to express themselves: whether we particularly are happy to meet Zack Haber or Mariama Lockington, or to see Karen Penley work her stage magic, or to recognize the quaver in Zoe Brezsny‘s voice as the lump in our own throats; whether we saw ourselves more clearly in Aaron DiFranco‘s Mission Renga or Valerie Chavez‘s Tenderloin Portraits or in the inexplicably new-to-poetry wonder of Matthew Rogers; whether we believed Max Tomlinson‘s story was fiction or nonfiction, felt like an outcast in our own homes, submitted from Uruguay or traveled from Colorado to make something sonorous out of a physics-based exercise meant for the page; do you imagine Chris Carosi walking through the city working on these $ poems; did you see yourself in Cybele Zufolo‘s all-encompassing elegance, in Samantha Rubenstein‘s childhood coming to terms; after all that, still, did Casey McAlduff leave you wanting more?

With our powers combined; with our bag of tricks, so endless, we, Community Wizard, hereby ask you to join us this Saturday for our first-ever East Bay show in the first leg of the first Beast Crawl at 5pm at Vessel Gallery– a free show! We are introducing a new series called Random Play, which you can read more about here, and our readers will be Lauren BeckerChris PeckNicole HenaresAnna PulleyLizzy AckerAmanda SnyderNick Johnson and Alia Volz.

Click here to help us spread the word. Then there’s two more legs and an afterparty! Hope to see you sometime… the good people organizing this festival have done a wonderful job putting it together, and we hope you’ll check it out whether you can catch our show or not.

One final thing: please send in some of your work for consideration for our three-show series at the Conservatory of Flowers! If you weren’t there last year, check out some of Julie Michelle’s photos to see what you don’t have to miss again. Deadline for August 6 and October 8 is the end of Wednesday, July 18th; tell your friends, and make sure to specify if you’d like us to consider your work for August AND October, or for only one of them. Click here to submit!

Thanks again for everything. Big, big love; c’mon, let’s hug one more time.

xoxo Evan for QL