WEEK IN PREVIEW: 2/25 – 3/4

Our top picks for the week starting Monday, Feb 25 2013. Suggest an event.

Monday 2/25

John SantosLunada @ Galería De La Raza, 7:30 pm: Lunada is back with its Spring 2013 season opener celebrating “the life of the lyric”, featuring artists John Santos, Isreal Matos, & Deuce Eclipse, and with open mic host and curator Sandra Garcia Rivera. Lunada is a bilingual spoken word and musical open mic every month on the night of the full moon. The open mic is first come first serve and there are only ten spots, so those of you who wish to perform on the same stage as these wonderful artists should make sure to get there early!

All three of the featured artists have deep roots in the Mission, and have a “commitment to ongoing international struggles for peace and justice, within a collective movement of artists and activists”. Watch a previous Lunada in-full; it’ll give you a good idea of what to expect.

Tuesday, 2/26

Ursula K. Le Guin: What Can Novels Do? Berkeley, 7:00 pm: Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of more than one hundred short stories, four collections of essays, seven volumes of poetry, and nineteen novels. You may know her from her Earthsea fantasy series, which have sold millions of copies and have been translated into sixteen languages.

Le Guin is a master of her craft, and has won an incredible amount of awards including the National Book Award, five Hugo Awards, five Nebula Awards, SFWA’s Grand Master, the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize, and many more. There’s more info on her website, and here’s a full reading:

Wednesday 2/27

Jerry Stahl, Rich Ferguson, & Bill Moody @ Moe’s Books, Berkeley, 7:30 pm: Really great collection of readers at Moe’s Books:

Jerry StahlJerry Stahl is going to be reading from his new book, Bad Sex On Speed, (which is one of the most badass titles I’ve ever heard), a story delving into Amphetamine America and told from the point of view of the users themselves. This sounds like a fascinating read especially because of Stahl’s relationship with drugs, which you can read about more in this piece by The Fix. Stahl is the author of six books, including Permanent Midnight, which was made into a movie with Ben Stiller and Own Wilson, and he’s worked extensively in TV and film (he also wrote the screenplay for Bad Boys 2!). His fiction and journalism have been published in EsquireThe New York Times, and more.

Rich Ferguson is a spoken word poet and musician who will be reading from his book, 8th & Agony, a book of poetry combining his musicality and spoken word experience.  Ferguson has shared the stage with esteemed poets and musicians such as Patti Smith, T.C. Boyle, and Bob Holman, and he has performed on The Tonight Show, the New York City International Fringe Festival, and other celebrated spaces for poetry and music. His poetry is raw and strikingly original, and has been published in LA Times and spotlighted on PBS.

Bill Moody is a professional jazz drummer and Professor of Creative Writing at Sonoma State University. He has played and/or recorded with Jr. Mance, Maynard Ferguson, Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, and Lou Rawls, and was a musician in Las Vegas for many years. Moody is the author of five mystery novels, featuring his character, jazz pianist Evan Horne.

Here’s Ferguson at the Santa Cruz Poetry Festival:


Wednesday 2/27

Word Performances @Viracocha, 7:15 pm: Word Performances is an interesting reading series which features readers from across genres of poetry, fiction, prose, and memoir, where “music is featured and dance makes a brief cameo”. This month’s lineup is impressive:

Sylvie Simmons is an award winning writer and music journalist, who writes for MOJO magazine, BBC, and the UK Guardian, and has written books on prolific musicians such as Serge Gainsbourg, Neil Young, and recently Leonard Cohen, which NPR called the “best biography of the year”. Watch Simmons read and perform for that book’s release right here.

Doug Cordell is a radio essayist for NPR’s Snap Judgment and APM’s Marketplace, and is an Emmy nominated writer that has been featured in readings across America, including the HERE Arts Center and the Bowery Poetry Club (NYC), Tongue & Groove at the Hotel Café (LA), and Quiet Lightning and Lip Service West right here in San Francisco. Watch a recent performance here.

Tim Toaster Henderson is a poet, muralist, and musician, and has competed as Berkeley’s Individual World Poetry Slam representative. He is the Outreach Coordinator, performer, and teaching artist for The Voice of A Generation, where he uses his skills to help youth express themselves. Check out an interview and exclusive reading on SF Weekly.

Casey A. Childers is the author of the novel Bear Season and has a collection of short fiction coming out soon. He co-founded the reading series WRITE CLUB San Francisco and hosts a semi- weekly podcast by the same name. Watch him read at The Make-Out Room on the third Tuesday of every month. Check out this recent SF Weekly interview and exclusive reading.

They are joined by Phil LumsdenSarah Maria Griffin, Marina Lazzara, C.J. Reiss, Todd Siegel and Cybele Zufolo — for all bios check the Word Performances site.

Here’s Sarah Griff:


Wednesday 2/27

Andrew LamAndrew Lam @ The Booksmith, 7:30 pm: Join Andrew Lam to celebrate the launch of his new book, Birds of Paradise Lost. Lam is an American-Vietnamese writer who moved to America during the fall of Saigon in 1975. He’s a noteworthy journalist and short story writer who has written extensively on the problem of identity for Vietnamese expatriates in the United States, and has won the PEN Open Book Award for a collection of essays called Perfume Dreams. Lam has been a frequent contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered and was featured in a PBS documentary.

Thursday 2/28

Success & Failure @ The Odd Fellows Hall with Stewart Home, 7:30 pm: City Lights and the Live at 851 reading series celebrate the release of three new titles from Penny-Ante Editions‘ Success & Failure series: Stewart HomeJarett Kobek‘s If You Don’t Read, Then Why Should I WriteJohn Tottenham‘s Antiepithalamia & Other Poems of Regret and Resentment, and Stewart Home‘s Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane: A Novel.

Home is a notorious English writer about whom The London Review of Books has said: “I really don’t think anyone who is at all interested in literature has any business not knowing the work of Stewart Home”.

Watch Home reading while doing a handstand:


Thursday 2/28

Robert Hass @ University Press Books (Berkeley), 6:00 pm: Legendary writer, translator, and critic Robert Hass will be discussing his new collection of essays, What Light Can Do, an exploration of writers, place, poetry, and photography (with accompanying pictures) at University Press Books. Hass was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 1995 to 1997, and won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for his poetry collection Time and Materials.


Friday, 3/1 

Manil Suri @ Mrs. Dalloway’s (Berkeley), 7:30 pm: Manil Suri will be reading from his new book, The City of Devi, a love story set in Mumbai at the brink of the apocalypse. The novel “brilliantly upends assumptions of politics, religion, and sex, and offers a terrifying yet exuberant glimpse of the end of the world”. Suri is a professor of mathematics at the University of Maryland, and his three novels have been translated into 27 different languages.

Here’s a great interview with Suri:

Saturday, 3/2

Bernal Yoga Literary Series, 8:00 pm: Another great collection of readers to this newly revamped series: Maisha Z. JohnsonKristen KadnerPhil LumsdenJoshua MohrPaul OcampoAimee PhanNina Schloesser, and Sandra Wassilie. Check all the bios hereget a glimpse of Aimee Phan here, and enjoy a reading from Maisha Z. Johnson below:



Saturday, 3/2

Terry Bisson & Tamim Ansary @ Babylon Salon, 7:00 pm: Babylon Salon presents Terry Bisson and Tamim Ansary:

Terry Bisson is a noted science fiction and fantasy writer who is most well known for his short stories, which have been published in Playboy, Omni, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Harper’s, and many more. His short story “Bears Discover Fire” swept almost every honor in the SF field in 1990-91, including the Asimov and Locus readers’ awards, both the Nebula and Hugo awards and the Theodore Sturgeon short fiction award. He is the editor of PM Press’s OUTSPOKEN AUTHOR series and hosts a monthly author reading series, SF in SF. I just found a great poem by him called RSVP to the FBI — check it out!

Watch: Bisson reads and discusses his novel Any Day Now.

Tamim Ansary is a a writer, lecturer, editor, and teacher. Born in Afghanistan, he is the author of fiction and nonfiction books including West of Kabul East of New YorkDestiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes and The Widow’s Husband.

Watch him read and discuss his book Games Without Rules:


Saturday, 3/2

East Baydar Literary Cabaret @ La Peña (Berkeley): This is the first in a new quarterly collab between Radar Productions and La Peña Cultural Center, which you can read more about here. Artists will be Novella CarpenterAmber DawnCheryl Dunye, Nia KingVirgie Tovar, and Marc Bamuthi Joseph, who was the artistic director of the 7-part HBO documentary “Russell Simmons presents Brave New Voices” and an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, which annually recognizes 50 of the country’s “greatest living artists”.

Sunday, 3/3

Kevin Killian: Afterglow, World Premier, 5:00 pm: Poets Norma Cole and Kevin Killian reunite for a second production for San Francisco Poets Theater and Small Press TrafficAfterglow is “a light comedy with bittersweet edges, a hilarious piece about the things that make you cry”.

Norma Cole

Norma Cole

Kevin Killian is a well known poet, author, and playwright who mainly focuses on LGBT literature. He’s also co-founder, with Norma Cole (a poet, visual artist, and translator), of the San Francisco based Poets Theater. Poet’s Theater is incredibly interesting and almost undefinable, as Killian and Cole have passed the boundaries of genre and mixed real life, poetry, art, and stage performance into one beautiful mass of visual and auditory delights.

Watch Kevin Killian rock Literary Death Match:


Monday, 3/4

Dave EggersDave Eggers & Gary Shteyngart @ San Francisco Day School, 9:00 am: Yeehaw! Make sure to wake up early this morning and wrangle your way into the SF Day School to see some of the best contemporary writers of this generation. You probably don’t need an introduction, but here’s a refresher course:

Dave Eggers is the author of many bestselling books that include A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, What Is the What, Zeitoun, and A Hologram For the King. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house, and Scholar Match, a program that matches donors to students needing funding for college. He’s also the co-founder of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for kids.

Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad and came to the United States at 7. Selected as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists, his first two novels The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Absurdistan received utmost praise and have been translated into more than 20 languages. Watch the book trailer (featuring the ever lovable James Franco) for his newest novel Super Sad True Love Story:

Michelle GreenbergMichelle Greenberg is a Litseen intern and Creative Writing student at SFSU. She likes to play drums and write poetry in her free time, and is obsessed with Charles Bukowski, Mexican food, and cats. She wants to publish at least one book of her original poetry and/ or own a guinea pig farm when she grows up.