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: evan@quietlightning.org.
  • 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. [http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org/visit/directions]

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

galería de la raza + beast crawl

We are thrilled to announce the lineup for our July 2nd show at Galería de la Raza:


This show was curated by Chris Cole and Josey Lee and will feature the art of Steven Gray, a special performance by Michael Musika, $3 drafts of Lagunitas, wine and a specialty drink a la Raza, food (feel free to bring a dish), and an afterparty down the street.

This was a particularly excellent batch of submissions and we had to make some painful decisions. Of the 61 people who submitted work, we selected 15 authors; of those 15, 11 have never performed at Quiet Lightning, 1 has performed 3x, 1 2x, and 2 1x. We mean it when we ask you to resubmit: several of these pieces did not fit into previous shows, but we are proud to present them to you on July 2nd. This is going to be a dynamite show, packed house, promise. War on words with words! Tell your friends: $5 donation, no one ever turned away.

Now, below:

Announcing a new Quiet Lightning series: Random Play: this is how we determined who will read at our show on July 7th at Vessel Gallery; we are in the first leg of the very first, sure to be epic Beast Crawl. Sure, but what is all that random business?

We assigned every author who has every read as part of Quiet Lightning a number corresponding with the order in which they’ve performed, used random.org/integers to select 20 of them and then emailed the first 10.

8 said they could roll so we got ourselves the first Quiet Lightning: Random Play:

Lauren Becker (3)
Chris Peck (152)
Nicole Henares (144)
Anna Pulley (142)
Lizzy Acker (112)
Amanda Snyder (80)
Nick Johnson (199)
Alia Volz (13)

Each person received one number regardless of how many times they have read. Selected authors who have read @ QL more than once (Lauren, Nicole, Lizzy, and Alia) were allowed to choose which of their sets they wanted to read. We took a healthy relook and put them in order. See how it plays on July 7th, then continue with the rest of the crawl (we’re in the first leg).

This will be our first show in the East Bay and we are stoked!

Hope to see you on July 2nd and July 7th — our first double dose of the lightning, and hopefully yours!

en la galería!

Humongous gratitude to Jimmy Siegel and Kelly Edwards for having Quiet Lightning at the William Westerfeld House, and to everyone who spent the night with us we hope you are as happy with the way things went as we are. We should do that again sometime, right?

Let’s meet at Galería de la Raza on Monday, July 2nd. Bring a friend. Say what you have to say, but say it by the end of this Wednesday, June 13th!

Let’s meet at Vessel Gallery on Saturday, July 7th. We’re doing this new thing called Random Play and it’s part of the first Beast Crawl and our first time in the East Bay. That whole day is going to be off the richter.

Then, to the Conservatory of Flowers! Who is letting us get away with all of this?

Thanks to all of our volunteers: Josey Duncan, Christian Lee, Sandra Wassilie, Sarah Maria Griffin, Ceri Bevan, Shelli Owens, and Tom Joyce; to our artist, Dianne Hoffman; to Julie Michelle Sparenberg for putting us in touch with the Westerfeld; and to all of you for being there. Really, what an unforgettable evening.

Do check out our authors and their projects. They’re not just amazing in mansions!

That’s it for now. Talk to you soon. xoxo

the legacy of the william westerfeld mansion welcomes quiet lightning’s neighborhood heroes

It’s true: on Friday, June 8th Quiet Lightning will join the rich cultural legacy of the William Westerfeld Mansion* with the fifth installment of our Neighborhood Heroes series:

  • Isaac Fitzgerald: Editor does not begin to do justice to Fitzgerald’s role in the SF-based literary culture website/revolution The Rumpus; without Isaac there would be no Rumpus, which has lately received national attention for its innovative print subscription Letters in the Mail (The Rumpus sends subscribers near-weekly letters from esteemed authors, often handwritten and with a return address, for only $5/mo), and monthly Rumpus Book and Rumpus Poetry Book Clubs, which provide an unparalleled forum for small presses, writers of true literary fiction and poetry, and their fans. Isaac has one of the largest hearts you’re bound to experience in this life and the world experience of a man twice his age and privilege [watch].
  • Lorna Dee Cervantes: Internationally acclaimed for her poetry, Cervantes has been performing and lecturing for over 40 years. She has been an instrumental force in the emergence of many Chicana/o writers, publishing new and established voices in MANGO, the literary journal she founded in 1976, and has received many awards and honors: the American Book Award, 2 NEA Fellowships, and the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Foundation Writer’s Award for Outstanding Chicana Literature (to name but a few). She is the Regents Lecturer at UC Berkeley this year [watch].
  • Jack and Adelle Foley: Jack has been doing a weekly literary radio show on KPFA since 1988, and a weekly column called Foley’s Books on The Alsop Review since 1998. Author of several books of poetry and of criticism, he recently published a two-volume, 1,300-page chronoencyclopedia of California poets and poetry that spans 65 years (read more). Adelle, on the Poetry Flash board, is the author of a book of haiku and writes a column in the monthly community newsletter The MacArthur Metro. Together, they perform what they call “choral poetry” [watch].
  • A.D. Winans: A San Francisco native, Winans came to poetry “accidentally”, falling in with and taking inspiration from the North Beach crowd that included Bob Kaufman and Jack Micheline. He founded and edited Second Coming Press, publishing many writers who would go on to be influential (including a relative newcomer named Charles Bukowski, with whom he went on to enjoy a regular correspondence). Winans is the author of over 50 books and is published widely in the small press world; his poetry presents a tough exterior and everything it’s supposed to protect, and is usually based on observation. His papers are housed at Brown University [watch]
  • Toni Mirosevich: Beloved Professor of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University and former MacDowell Colony fellow, Toni is the author of five collections of poetry, including The Takeaway BinQueer StreetThe Rooms We Make Our OwnMy Oblique Strategies (which won the 2005 Frank O’Hara Chapbook Award), and a book of nonfiction stories, Pink Harvest (which won the 2007 First Series in Creative Nonfiction Award and was a finalist for that year’s Lambda Literary Award). Her pioneering multi-genre work has been anthologized in Best of the Bellevue Literary Review, Best American Travel Writing, The Gastronomica Reader, The Impossible Will Take a Little While, AutoBioDiversity: True Stories from Zyzzyva and elsewhere [watch].
  • Jarett Kobek: Author of ATTA, a theoretical fiction that posits the question: what if 9/11 was as much about architectural criticism as religious terrorism, Kobek thought people took his book too seriously and authored the forthcoming If You Won’t Read, Then Why Should I Write?, a collection of short stories that are transcriptions of the incidental scenes from celebrity sex tapes [he does not like to be filmed].
  • Cassie J. Sneider: Comic artist and author of Fine Fine Music, a collection of coming of age / rock and roll stories set in Long Island and on the road, Cassie recently toured with Sister Spit and is creator of the new storytelling series The Worst! [watch].
  • Keely Hyslop: Winner of the 2011 Michael Rubin Book Award for her debut collection of poems Things I Say to Pirates on Nights When I Miss You, Hyslop’s writing is bold, fierce and tender, experimental and accessible [watch]
  • Timothy Walker: It’s hard to tell what’s real from what’s surreal when you’re listening to or reading Timothy Walker, Fairfield Ranger, though he looks like a normal guy [watch].

Be there! It’s not every day you can hang out in The Westerfeld House; it’s not every day you can hang with all these heroes at once. Across from the Painted Ladies, the mansion is located at the northwest corner of Alamo Square.

Lagunitas will be in the house and we might have another surprise or two, so bring your wallets and leave everything else at home. Except whatever you take pictures with: every inch of this building is worthy of capture, and we hope to make every second the same. As always, admission to this show will be $5.


*Once owned and operated by Rolling Stones co-founder Charles Fraccia and experimental film genius Kenneth Anger as a studio and crash pad for the likes of The Grateful Dead and Beat artists such as Lenore KandelKen KeseyJanis JoplinThe Cockettes; Fillmore jazz legend John Handy; occultist and author of The Satanic Bible Anton LaVey… Tom Wolfe called it “a great shambling old Gothic house, a freaking decayed giant, known as The Russian Embassy” in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test; it was home to Bobbie Beausoleil of The Manson Family, who, with Anger, is sworn to have experienced “a couple of very good flying saucer sightings” from the tower; there has been at least one murder in the house… In short, yes, there is an outrageous, even mystical energy to this place and a cultural legacy we are privileged to be a part of.

On June 8th, 2012

thanks everyone! see you on june 8th

Big thanks to everyone who came out to Alley Cat Books last night! What a great venue, right? Thanks to all of our volunteers: Josey Duncan, SB Stokes, Justin Hannigan, Jessica Moll, Nick Mwaluko, Sarah Maria Griffin and Ceri Bevan; to our sponsor, Lagunitas; and of course to all of our wonderful readers. I think I can speak for everyone when I say last night was a great reading and a lot of fun.

Not there? Enjoy videos of the show and/or read the entire thing for free here.

Save the date: Friday, June 8th we are going to the William Westerfield Mansion for Neighborhood Heroes!


it’s not hip anymore! come for the writing.

Dear everyone:

Just wanted to inform you that we are no longer a hip organization. Please disregard all notions that Quiet Lightning is a new, fresh idea; something it might be good to be a part of; a place where people are ‘seen’ or ‘looked for’.

That is all.

Alley Cat Books | 3036 24th St
7pm doors | 7:30 show
$5 suggested | $3 Lagunitas

see you in the alley, cat

After our mystical triumph in the boxcar we’re headed to the new Alley Cat Books for our show on Monday, May 7th and truly hope you can join us. This is our second time in a bookstore (here to revisit or scope out the first) and we have an entirely different (and perhaps our most vestal) show for you this month.

Curated by Nicole McFeely and Evan Karp, our lineup features 11 authors, 8 of whom have never performed at Quiet Lightning before. All 3 of the others have only read with us once. Also, several of the pieces we are proud to feature this month have been submitted before (and a couple more than once). Finally, we had to ‘reject’ several people this month because they included their names on their submissions. Don’t do that! Our process truly is blind.

Without further ado, click on the art by our beloved artist Agneta Falk, whose work you can currently see at The Emerald Tablet (though hurry because it is selling out!), to see this month’s readers and stalk them until their reading day.

We’re very excited for this one. Alley Cat is being gracious enough to keep its doors open (they usually close at 7), so the space is essentially ours. The show will start at 7:30 and end by 9, though probably a bit earlier. As with our last show, we will have delicious beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company at only $3 a cup, so come take advantage of us and let’s thank each other in the morning.


Monday, May 7th
Alley Cat Books | 3036 24th St @ Balmy, just East of Folsom St.
7/7:30pm | suggested $5 | beer $3

RSVP « tell your friends

Holler at kristen@quietlightning.org if you want to volunteer; all vols get a free copy of this month’s book and a comp beer with their comp lit.

ace in the boxcar

For the first time, I didn’t vote on the submissions. I didn’t introduce the show. Thanks to Litseen‘s assistant, Evelyn Manangan-Price, I didn’t have to film, either [click here to watch]. It was a sweet cherry on the mondae that I got to perform one of my poems, too, and one that really forced the issue of my introducing the shows. Sometimes it takes something like that to enact a change. Point is, we all know what we’re doing now; the board is trained up – that was evident Monday night! Now we can bring our own aesthetics to the shows. Now we can play with the form. Wait and see.

Don’t wait. Play with the form. On a personal level, I wish at least one person every show would address what we’re doing here. The board has different opinions on this (and for the record we have no specific guidelines regarding what we’re looking for).

We all admire writing; that’s not news; we all love community, too; we all want to be part of something significant, whatever it may be (if I can speak for you, which is what I do, and if you don’t like it… speak for yourself). I wrote the poem I performed specifically for Quiet Lightning. I had no idea whether it would be picked or not; I was rejected in February for a poem I think might be better. Point is: capture the moment. This show. That show. This movement. That: you don’t know until you talk about it; you can’t talk about it unless you are it; you’re it; talk about it; you change, talk about it; you are always it, ql, though the stage may change every month; though the standard manuals of style change; though the way you talk will invariably change if you keep talking and remain honest.

Talk like an Egyptian. There is no wrong way to say your heart.

[portfolio_slideshow size=medium showtitles=true nav=top trans=fadeZoom align=center]

All photos courtesy of our multi-talented friend Ian Tuttle, whose book StretchyHead we reviewed here. Speaking of books, we sold out but you can still get a copy with j. brandon loberg‘s beautiful new designs here. While we’re giving thanks, praise be to Charles Kruger and Meghan Thornton, who did an arguably flawless job sewing this show together. If you think so too, tell them. Putting these shows together is a lot of work and it takes real heart to do properly.

In that spirit, we could not have done Monday night without Kristen Kramer, Josey Duncan, and our volunteers: Laura Joakimson, Sandra Wassilie, L.J. Moore, and Christian Lee.

Our show would not matter if our audience members were not so attentive. Thank you. We had maybe more first timers at this show than ever before but it didn’t feel that way: everyone seemed to know and really care about each other; it was like a party where everyone was close and everyone was welcome.

Boxcar Playhouse was a perfect fit for Quiet Lightning and we will certainly do another show there and look forward to it. Perhaps most of all, though, we can now look forward to delicious Lagunitas beers every month! What a boon they have been to us: first of all, we were able to give a copy of sparkle + blink to every author for the very first time. Speak of heart; it speaks to you. Did you get some of those magnets? We have more and will bring them on May 7 (this is not a euphemism).

The best literary event in San Francisco is going to happen soon. It will be the next event you go to. It will be your open hand making contact with another open hand. It will be poetry. If you tell the tale it could become mythology. It is just around the corner. You should put on your funkiest shirt and part your hair, according to touch. You should not care about caring (you should just care). Everyone will be there. Personally, I would love you to look me in the eyes and say hello to everyone. Everyone will smile back.

Participate in the revolutions around you / some will not stop without you

This copy will be hard to use for promotional purposes. It was not written with anything else in mind. Please send in some of your work for our show on May 7th. We are delighted to meet new people every month and delighted to read new work by the same people every month. Submission deets are here but the deadline is the end of Wednesday, April 18th. We are also, as always, accepting art submissions, ideas, volunteers, and donations (tax exempt, of course).

Thanks everyone. This was truly a thrilling experience and we are excited for May 7, which will be at Alley Cat Books on 24th Street near Folsom. Curators for this next show will include – for the first time – a non-board member! How about that? Nicole McFeely and I will be putting this one together. Hope to see you on the page and on the stage.

ek for ql