Our top picks for the week starting Monday, April 1, 2013. Suggest an event.
Beast Crawl Hat Party Fundraiser: Make sure to attend Oakland’s annual literary festival and wear your most amazing hat! It is for all ages and features many writers. You can check out a Litseen review of the first annual Beast Crawl here, as well as an entire schedule of events (with videos of nearly every reader) from last year’s Beast Crawl. This fundraiser should make for a super fun night of writers and funky hats! Read a recent interview with Paul Corman-Roberts about this year’s Beast Crawl.
First Person Singular: Shotgun Cabaret presents First Person Singular’s The Divine Game: Vladimir Nabokov at Cornell, performed by John Mercer. This will be an extra special event to attend in Berkeley, as it is only going on for the first four Mondays in April. Nabokov knew that a lecture was a performance, a piece of art for the audience to watch and listen to, and Shotgun is recreating the experience. Any lovers of Russian literature or performance literature should not miss this! Check out Shotgun Cabaret’s summary of the event for ticket prices and a description.
Tuesday + Wednesday, 4/2 – 4/3
Emerging Writers Festival: Ending their season of Lone Mountain Readings with a bang, USF presents two nights of emerging writers who’ve traveled for the privilege. But the term “emerging” is misleading: together, the five have already claimed finalist status for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and have won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Minnesota Book Award, the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, the Whiting Writer’s Award, and an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship (along with publishing credits galore, of course). Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang joins Marlon James (Minnesota) and Elena Passarello (Oregon) on Tuesday night. Dana Johnson (LA) and Shane McCrae (Iowa) read on Wednesday. Best of all? These are writers of poetry, fiction, and essays – a cross-genre collection of new leaders in contemporary American writing.
Lunch Poems: C.S. Giscombe: Join UC Berkeley’s series Lunch Poems in welcoming C.S. Giscombe. He is a Cornell graduate and was the editor of Epoch magazine. His work has appeared in places such as Callaloo, New American Writing, and River Styx. Giscombe is currently a Professor of English at UC Berkeley. His newest collection of essays, Back Burner, will be published this year. You can read an interview with Giscombe from the Poetry Foundation.
Center for the Art of Translation: Mikhail Shishkin: This event with the Center for the Art of Translation is a don’t-miss! Mikhail Shishkin is considered to be one of Russia’s greatest contemporary writers and lives in Switzerland, so he rarely makes an appearance in the US. His novel Maidenhair has been compared to Ulysses for its prose and complex plot. Shishkin won two of Russia’s top three literary awards for Maidenhair and recently made headlines when he pulled out of Book Expo America because he did not want to represent Putin’s regime. Read about Shishkin’s decision to pull out of the Expo at The Guardian, and check out this beautiful essay on language.
Studio One Reading Series: Zapruder + Conoley: Studio One Reading Series presents poets Matthew Zapruder, Gillian Conoley, and Jason Bayani with Michael Zapruder in support of Pink Thunder. Matthew Zapruder is the author of three collections of poetry, Come On All You Ghosts being the most recent. His poems, essays, and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, Tin Can, and several other publications. Gillian Conoley is the author of seven collections of poetry, with her next book entitled Peace forthcoming from Omnidawn in 2014. Her work is widely anthologized and has appeared in Norton’s Postmodern American Poetry. Along with being the editor and founder of Volt magazine, she is a professor and poet-in-residence at Sonoma State University. You can watch a video of her reading for the release of Zapruder’s album Pink Thunder here.
The music performed at this reading will be a special treat, with Matthew Zapruder’s brother Michael performing songs from his album Pink Thunder. This album contains free verse pop art songs made from the poems of over twenty contemporary poets, and Zapruder didn’t change any of the words — it’s really quite something. You can check out an earlier performance of some of the songs from a Small Press Distribution event here, and watch the brothers perform their songs and poetry here.
Noisy With a Chance of Text: Come on down to The Turquoise Yantra Grotto for this concert of instrumentalists and improvisers. The writers include C.J. Reaven Borosque and Maw Shein Win, and the musicians are Laurie Amat and Amar Chaudary.
Maw Shein Win’s poetry has appeared in several journals such as 2River and Big Bridge. She is the co-founder of Comet and in 2012, she co-organized Broadside Attractions | Vanquished Terrains, a show that featured 24 Bay Area writers and artists. Here is a video of her reading at a Lyrics & Dirges event:
Amar Chaudhary is a musician specializing in electronic and contemporary music. Along with his solo career he has also performed with the bands Reconnaissance Fly and Surplus 1980. He is also the author and creator of the popular website CatSynth, where he writes about music, art and cats.
Karen Lillis, Mike DeCapite + Dani Leone @ Alley Cat Books: Alley Cat Books welcomes three talented writers: Karen Lillis, Mike DeCapite and Dani Leone. Karen Lillis’ most recent short novel, Watch the Doors as They Close, was all over the Best of 2012 reading lists. Lillis has been a resident at Shakespeare and Company Bookstore in Paris and is hard at work on her memoirs of those years behind the register. She is currently based in Pittsburgh and blogs about the small press scene and indie bookstores at Karen the Small Press Librarian.
Mike DeCapite, author of powerhouse cult novel Through the Windshield, performs as well. DeCapite returns to San Francisco after ten years away to read from his novel Radiant Fog, a prose collection describing his reluctant romance with the city and the struggles of divorce. Hear DeCapite reading from Radiant Fog:
Dani Leone has had her Cheap Eats column in the San Francisco Chronicle for over 20 years and has published two short collections of fiction including Eat This, San Francisco. She performs musically as Sister Exister, playing the ukulele and singing about homemade butter and chickens. Watch Sister Exister perform a song here:
Both Lillis and DeCapite will be reading at The Makeout Room on Friday, April 5th as well.
Small Press Traffic: Carla Harryman + Jon Raskin: Small Press Traffic presents a writer/musician collaboration between author Carla Harryman and artist Jon Raskin. Harryman is the author of seventeen books, including The Wide Road and Adorno’s Noise. This is not her first collaboration with Raskin; the two performed together upon publication of Open Box. Harryman is the editor of Non/Narrative, a special issue of the Journal of Narrative Theory. Watch Harryman and Raskin perform at the Eleventh Annual Outsound New Music Summit:
Jon Raskin is a founding Rova member, who has also served as music director of the Tumbleweed Dance Company and as founding member of the Blue Dolphin Alternative Music Space. Read an interview with Raskin at the website What’s New?.
Erica Arvanitis is a Litseen intern and a senior at SFSU for Creative Writing. She is originally from San Diego and enjoys writing short stories, eating burritos, and watching TV in her free time. She hopes to write professionally for a magazine when she grows up — any magazine will do.