LIT CRAWL: an incomplete guide to the chaos

(Evan Karp)

If you’re like any of us, this has been a long, exhausting, and completely enriching 8 days. Today is the finale: 79 events. 3 hour-long phases. 1 district. The important thing to remember is that everyone’s looking for something different, and the best strategy is perhaps to roam around and happen upon things. That said, here’s a starter-guide to some of our favorite events:

  • Phase One: 6:00-7:00pm

Clarion Alley (between Mission and Valencia, 17th and 18th): I Live Here: SF. Those not familiar with Julie Michelle‘s portrait/storytelling project should definitely check this out: profiles of a broad spectrum of residents and their takes on our city, how they got here and why they stay [More here].

Dalva (3121 16th): Instant City‘s occupation of this seedy bar worked so well last year they’re back again, this time with Ian Tuttle‘s fictional stories in real places, the comedy and properly-cut yarn of Alia Volz, and the combination of speculation and grit that tends to make IC Mission-centric [More here].

Adobe Books (3166 16th): With I Live Here: SF, this is one of the best examples of a project that you’ll take away from the Crawl if you hit up X-Reference, readings from The Encyclopedia Project: a multi-volume hardcover book project that presents a wide variety of approaches to narrative. Part reference book, part literary journal, each volume appropriates the form of the encyclopedia—from general layout to cross-referencing—as a venue for publishing new, innovative literary and visual works. Contributors are, as you can imagine, diverse, erudite, and fascinating [More here].

Muddy Waters (521 Valencia): This is the place to be if you want performance. Representatives from the weekly gatherings at 16th and Mission will take turns reciting poems to the musical accompaniment of one of their tribe. The best part? This event features some of the old-timers, if you will—founders of the phenomenon that is now over 8 years-old and one of the more interesting “institutions” in the city [More here].

  • Phase 2: 7:15-8:15pm

Clarion Alley (between Mission and Valencia, 17th and 18th): Invisible City Audio Tours presents readings from each of their three projects—the creation of original, fictional histories appended to real places—the latest of which, Everywhere Man, launched earlier today. As a bonus, there will be readings from at least 2 future projects! [More here]

Elbo Room (downstairs) (647 Valencia): Snap Judgment always puts on a good show: high-energy, well-told tales that deliver more oomph than you bargained for. Two slam champions, a beatbox poet/performer, and creator Glynn Washington should make this a memorable hour [More here].

The Summit (780 Valencia): Threepenny Review‘s events are always clutch. This year they feature 2-time Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, a film and sound editor, novelist, poet, and novelist/playwright/screenwriter. The venue could either make or break this one [More here].

Amnesia (853 Valencia): Canteen Magazine just released a new issue. It’s one of the best lit mags around. This reading features an excellent spectrum of writers in one of the best Crawl settings [More here].

The Beauty Bar (2299 Mission): Bang-Out always features quality, high-energy work. With Lizzy Acker, Marisa Crawford, and Matt L. Rohrer as starting points (surprises to come), this event is perfectly placed and ought to be entirely satisfying [More here].

Bollyhood Cafe (3372 19th): Poetry Flash presents a stunning array of poets [More here].

Bruno’s (2389 Mission): KQED’s Writers’ Block has a fantastic group of “girls from the Block:” fiction, YA, poetry, illustration—all here [More].

Dog Eared Books (900 Valencia): This quartet of readings will be off the freakin’ hook: Bucky Sinister, Erika Lopez, Jennifer Blowdryer, and Alvin Orloff. Watch those videos and Understand [More here].

  • Phase 3: 8:30-9:30pm

Viracocha (upstairs) (998 Valencia): Lambda Literary Foundation has a strong lineup this year, with Meg Day and July Westhale back in town (power itself), Cole Krawitz, and Oscar Raymundo. I have a feeling this place will be packed, and the surroundings are always inspired [More here].

Viracocha (downstairs) (998 Valencia): InsideStoryTime is one of the best reading series in SF. Usually at “the gem of the Tenderloin,” this intimate storytelling series is a perfect fit for the downstairs lair of Viracocha and features everything from the cerebral, improbable fiction of Sean Taylor to the true-to-life comedy of Tissa Hami [More here].

Gravel & Gold (3266 21st): City Lights and Wave Books are two institutions I trust. For lovers of poetry, Joshua Beckman, Maggie Nelson, Cedar Sigo, and Garrett Caples should give you the real thing [More here].

Ritual Roasters (1026 Valencia): Why There Are Words brings its class act to this hipstery, with some of the writers that have featured at the series. If you want to hear superb novel excerpts, this is likely your best bet [More here].

Make-Out Room (3225 22nd): The Rumpus‘ Crawl event last year was tops. If you miss Stephen Elliott, here’s your chance to say hello. Also, Kathleen Alcott is in town, and you shouldn’t miss a chance to see Isaac Fitzgerald read. Oh wait: they’re joined by Laura Goode and Elisa Schappell [More here].

Latin America Club (3286 22nd): Only McSweeney’s & The Believer could bring you Matthew Zapruder and Daniel Handler at the same time. And that’s not all [More here].

Press: Works on Paper (3492 22nd): Eleven Eleven and Fourteen Hills are two local litmags that publish quality, no-nonsense work that deserves your attention, and this venue is a beautiful, stark new shop at the edge of the Crawl’s periphery. Keely Hyslop and Emily Meg Weinstein on the same bill? Don’t forget we sent you [More here].


Note. This is almost true: you can’t lose! The Crawl is a perfect time to discover new things, people, projects, places. Explore! Most of these people are involved in series that recur year-round; find your favorites, take notes; today is a great day to improve on next year.

Resources: Grab the whole schedule online | download the PDF