Frozen solid and sneezing continuously, with a bad mood and a raw nose, I never the less pulled on my new jacket (thanks Bestamor) and headed down to the nexus of SOMA and the Mission for Quiet Lightening, possibly my favorite San Francisco reading series. LDM is funny; Radar is striking and weird; Porchlight has that sweet, homey public radio feel (although it’s so freakin’ hard to get out to the Verdi Club I hardly ever make it); Writers with Drinks is hit and miss.
Quiet Lightening is pretty close to perfect. It’s immersive, it’s chill. It’s always somewhere new, always somewhere central, always somewhere with drinks, and they keep the pageantry to a minimum. Writers read one after the other in rapid succession, without pausing for introductions or explanations. The length of the applause is just long enough for the next reader to get to the front of the room.
Sure, there are some selections I could miss (not naming any names here, but if you were thinking of bringing an accompanist, please reconsider), but the rate of really good readings is remarkable–in every two hour event, there are always 3-4 writers who are honestly great.
The first night I attended, I was completely in love with readings by Charles Kruger and Lauren Becker. Last night’s videos have not been posted, but I was definitely impressed with Jesus Castillo (and that’s saying something–I don’t care for most contemporary poetry), adorable David Sedaris Jr., Graham Gremore, and pun-happy Steven Grey.