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.