WEEK IN REVIEW: toothpicks and chainsaws and meadows (o mai)

(Evan Karp)

This article does not have a lead sentence. Within even new forms there are forms long-clichéd. How many people does it take to make a scene? One on music, one projecting visuals onto the wall, and one live painting on stage. Guinevere Q’s Variety Show, the last Sunday of every month at Viracocha, featured a number of experiments for this month’s installment, including a prompt-driven, group-effort poem and an improv poetry battle. During Xandra Corpora‘s performance the lightbulbs, showcased behind plexiglass on the wall back of stage, suddenly lit up. “That means we all thought of a really good idea,” said Q, “at the same time!”

Other possible themes: a lone hat on a wooden hat rack, an open field, the creaking of indoor crickets.

For the first time, Quiet Lightning occupied the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. Of the many significances, the event marked the first time Howard Junker saw one of his fictions printed, and Cassandra Gorgeous memorized and recited an entire essay on the many significances of the word actually. They are accepting submissions.

LitUp Writers occupied 111 Minna Gallery for the first time, filling the space with at least 150 people and proving yet again that this zeitgeist is starving for true, humorous, first-person narratives. They are accepting submissions.

Meg Day and July Westhale packed their belongings and moved them to Utah, where the two will soon share their stories and poems, came back and slept this past week in a bare apartment, every night while the rest of this was going on on the floor, to — amongst other things — raise some money before leaving leaving. A unicorn piñata was stuffed full of condoms and raffled away. Go, sex pony, fly (we believe in you)! A friend took the stage and created a soundscape out of crowd-offered adjectives describing Day, looping them over a wistful melody. Some of us did not say goodbye. We were told: “Don’t Cry for Me, Oakland.” Another friend took the stage: “I haven’t yet processed that you’re leaving… so I’m going to keep it that way.”

Litseen discovered Deep Oakland and took a Deep Breath; went deep inside the house of Jack and Adelle Foley… Worlds open up to the constant explorer. The fabric of time unfolds, entire fields are opened, meadows of resonating daseins and their teleologies. There are hallways decorated with art made by creatures of varying significances. “He was a big deal,” I said, “I mean his work paved a new highway that so many depend on…” No trees were harmed in the paving of this highway.

“What is the point of documenting things,” I asked Mr. Foley. Despite the misty gray morning, it was sunny outside. On the way out of the house I passed one of Robert Duncan‘s hats, a lone hat on a wooden hat rack. How else would we know? One of Kerouac‘s coats is exhibited in The Beat Museum. The Shroud of Turin is evidence of so many shadowy things (i.e. the power of belief and the need for evidence). The corner of a garment was all we could see of god, said the word, the very most we could see. Countless sightings have been reported.

If that’s too obscure then do understand the corner of Haight and Masonic has stoplights like any other corner in America. But sometimes—in some buildings, on some streets—you can feel the presence of a spirit, residual of something indescribable, that flared up for a moment, made a difference, and disappeared. The civil war battlefields are visitable metaphors: this whole country is a field in which humans have died and been buried after fighting for their lives, and, sometimes, for something more meaningful. Can you feel it now?

How bout now?

K’vetsch announced that, after 14 years, it’s over. Co-host Tara Jepsen had this to say:

We feel that it is just time to let the old girl go and allow the ten billion other open mics and literary nights fill your entertainment holes. If you want more of these nights, then by all means, start one! Right now there are the marvelous RADAR Productions, Porchlight storytelling series, Litquake, Writers with Drinks, Smack Dab open mic, Queer Open Mic and whatever else you dig up on Litseen, etc. We are grateful for all your clapping, slapping, money, enthusiasm, sarcasm, and raw ingenuity. Thanks for listening to other people. Seriously. We have been blessed, awed and horrified by you. We hope there is always a place for the freaks to gather and listen to each other beyond Muni. Please kiss yourselves for us and know that you have made a mark on our lives, and we will spend the rest of our days slathering ourseves with ointment and snake oil. It has been an incredible fun time, and we wouldn’t trade it for anything except maybe like a billion kittens.