Beyond Wakanda

At the Laundry, six black writers dove into the surreal, reading from futuristic and Wakanda-inspired works (that’s the fictional setting of Black Panther).

Dera Williams.

Rochelle Spencer.

“There’s a huge spider on the wall … Huge is relative. This thing is huge for a spider that’s allowed to live in my house,” Audrey Williams reads from Anansi’s Interweb.

Audrey Williams.
Amis White.

Tasty Lit with 7×7

Noteworthy chefs filed on stage. The Lit Crawl audience went nuts. The panelists presented their cookbooks.

One couple, Evan and Sarah Rich, co-authors of Rich Table, took a trip to Mumbai, which inspired a new technique for making spaghetti. While looking for kitchen utensils, they happened upon surgical equipment that looked like it could work. But they resorted back to the kitchenware section and found a traditional Indian implement that worked exceptionally well for making traditional Italian pasta. Finding new ways to make classic standards is what the Riches are after. And the audience got a chance to taste the fruits of their labor –– the Riches handed out chocolate cookies to the audience at the end of their presentation.

Aubrey Pick, a cookbook photographer who has worked for the likes of Chrissy Teigan and Guy Fieri, hosted a caption contest with the audience. The winner, Steven Boyle, took home a cookbook for his punny caption. She’s also shot for Cedella Marley’s Cooking With Herb book. Several pounds of weed filled the set for the photoshoot –– published before Prop. 64 passed.

The caption contest.

Tyson Amir Reads at Lit Crawl During “Whoop Whoop That’s the Sound of The Police / Whoop Whoop That’s the Sound of The Beast”

TYSON AMIR – LIT CRAWL 2018 from Michael Katoni on Vimeo.

Voices and Writing from Beyond Prison Walls

Conversations about mass incarceration and a broken criminal justice system were just some of the topics discussed during “Voices and Writing From Behind Prison Walls held at Homey in the Mission.”

Write on Mamas: She’s Got This: Women as Heroes of Their Own Stories 

At Write On Mamas, our next Lit Crawl stop, four of the five speakers said they would be sharing stories of courage, personal challenges, girl-power pieces about strength and surrender.

The first reader, Jessica O’Dwyer, read an excerpt from her short story. “Like many adoptive parents, I feel a reunion helps a child become whole, filling in the blanks of ‘Who am I?’”

Jessica O’Dwyer.

Sweta Chawla followed, explaining how she found her authentic voice when she became a mother. She read from her work “Burdens of Silence.”

“I don’t know if I ever questioned to my mom in these moments. She looked like she was fighting with an imaginary person. […] My role for the next two decades was to snap out her of it, back to reality. Sometimes, I wonder if my brother and father thought about it. To this day, we have not uttered a word about it.

“I’m making the choices that I wish my mother could make.”

Sweta Chawla.

One of the night’s speakers, Mindy Uhrlaub, said attendees can expect “girl power pieces about strength and surrender.” @MLNow #LitCrawl #writeonmamas

— Tsanavi S (@Tsanavi) October 21, 2018

Laurel Hilton, the emcee, spoke to the crowd: “We are nearing seven years of working as a community. We learn from each other and have one book out that came out a few years ago, and another coming out in 2019.” The book will be titled She’s Got This.

Laurel Hilton.
Christina Julia.

Mindy Uhrlaub spoke of her wedding night:

“That night, we gazed at the stars from the beneath the branches and felt home. […] Four years after we settled into our new home, Kirk [her husband] went in for an MRI. It was November and the holidays were upon us. We tried to carry on, but it was impossible. […] Without knowing the type of cancer, there was no treatment. […] When we go, we should do as little damage as possible. […] Kirk was much like an oak tree himself. […]The reality is that everything dies eventually, just as nature dictates. […] I always marvel at his bravery. Like our oak tree, Kirk might be fortunate enough to have a long life.”

As of yesterday, her husband is now cancer-free.

Mindy Uhrlaub.

Dorothy O’Donnell read, “Slowly, I put together a string of alcohol-free days. Along the way, I cobbled together a life that was astonishing.”


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Scenes from earlier in the day … and week.

A Split Crowd at the Laundry
The split-level Laundry space hosted two simultaneous Lit Crawl events –– and some audience members flitted between the two.

Laurie Ann Doyle at Voices in the Dark @MLNow #litcrawlsf

Ghost Tour: Memories of Dolores Park Cafe

Literary-minded Mission residents gathered today at Dolores Park Cafe. “Memories from Dolores Park” has launched the very first volume of the zine with readings by San Francisco authors.

About 80-90 people came for this event. The crowd struggled to fit in the small room.

A small monument to represent the collective memory of Dolores Park was unveiled at the cafe during the reading. Community members sent snapshots over the years to the author Elina Ansary. The art project will be installed in Dolores park next week during a Halloween picnic event.

Visual artist Elina Ansary asked, “What does it mean to be from San Francisco? How can you hold onto the smell of foggy grass, like a cold sweat? When you are from here, it is inside you, and you know what it tastes like.”

Elina Ansary reads aloud.

“It was no contest,” read columnist Tamim Ansary. “I was an obscure nobody — no flies on me. He, poor guy, had that famous sister hanging around his neck like a milestone. When the women of Valencia street called to tell me the room was mine, I felt like I had hit the jackpot, gotten into Harvard, and won a Nobel Prize, all on the same day.”

Liliana Silva, a local freelance writer, added her contribution.

“Who does Dolores Park belong to?” she asked.

“In the midday sun of a 75 degree Sunday in October, it is surely the dominion of the fields of sunbathers, their bikinis and shorts and skin. It belongs to the ice cream vendor tinkling along its outskirts like a Summer Santa Claus.”

“Who does Dolores Park belong to? In the gray misty fog of a November afternoon, I’m pretty sure it belongs to my grandmother. For all the prayers she sent up in Mission Dolores, for all the times she took the pilgrim’s progress on a MUNI bus from Lincoln and 28th to 16th and Dolores.”

Lilian Silva reads aloud.

Debora Krant, San Francisco resident since 1973 and a Litquake executive committee member, has volunteered for Lit Crawl for the last 13 years. “This is my first event for today. I have two more I am in charge of.”

Debora Krant reads.

826 Valencia
The Lit Crawl event at 826 Valencia drew a crowd of young writers and listeners. Vickie Vertiez offered straightforward advice:

“Don’t listen to people who don’t think you’re amazing, because you know you’re amazing,” she said.

Vicki Vertiz reads aloud.

The youngest readers of the Lit Crawl performers took the stage after. Dahlia read from her poem “A Simple Way to Change the World.”

“Everything costs too much money,” she said. “If only there were a rule so that everything costs 25 cents … homeless children could afford to buy healthy food.”

Kenaz H. read from his poem, First Mission. “‘Mr. Speed, we know your secret. Watch your back.’… His secret was safe for now. Even though he didn’t like keeping this secret, he knew he had to keep the secret.”

Kenaz H.

Bethany W., 9, from Ulloa Elementary School, read a passage from her published piece “What Climate Change Means for Bay Area Traffic.” “Some ways we can slow down climate change are to drive less and turn off electronics when they aren’t in use. Slowing climate change could help us prevent more damage to roads.”

Amina F., 15

Amina wrote the her essay My Dear Aunt Esméralda when she was 13. Tonight, she read from it;

“I had always loved the visits to my Aunt Esméralda’s Pinterest-consumed house, not just to try on her oversized floral dresses and stomp around her home in my tank top and polka-dot rain boots like I was the queen of the world.”

Will B., 15 from Palo Alto High School

Will, a student at Palo Alto High School, read the dramatic end to his short story:

“Exiting communication range in five.




Cool car’s engine dies outside Dog-Eared Books, driver and passenger suddenly less cool #litcrawlSF @MLNow

— Nick Roberts (@nickabroberts) October 21, 2018

Fourteen Hills, the San Francisco State literary review, hosted “GINDAER: A READING?” at Dog Eared Books on Valencia Street. Troung Tran read from his poetry.

“I’m afraid of looking, seeing the presence of your absence at my side … I’m writing to you, the you that is me. I’m writing to you that the indictment of others means the indictment of yourself.”

The Chapel prepared for the SF Chronicle Roast of the Little Man.

Free books at the Bookmobile!

The Bookmobile handed out free books on the corner of Sycamore and Valencia. Passersby mulled over the options set out on a folding plastic table. The choices included a heavy guide to knitting, Christmas cookbooks and young adult classics like Whale Rider

Whoop Whoop That’s The Sound of the Police / Whoop Whoop That’s the Sound of the Beast

Poets cozied up in Adobe Books & Art Cooperative on 24th Street during one of the first events of Lit Crawl. The performances crossed genre, but all dealt with the police and state-sponsored violence.

“The pile wakes up and comes for their safety,” reads Fresno-based poet Rebecca Lopez. It’s her first time reading in front of a crowd.

Full house at Adobe Books & Art Cooperative.

“Very few of us can survive the madness. And for those of us that do, government-issued bullets fly faster than light that travels from the sun to our planet,” read Tyson Amir, whose father was a member of the Black Panther Party. He performed his piece “Between Huey and Malcolm.”

“That we might identify as residual within the history of settler or colonial capitalism does not disappear. To the contrary, it persists and endures.” read poet Ana Clarissa Rojas. Her performance followed Adriana Camarena’s reading on Alex Nieto.

“Shots or fireworks? 59 Shots echoed out the north rock base of Bernal Heights air … I went out carefree that evening,” Camarena read.

New SF resident Rebeca Flores prepares for her Lit Crawl reading. “I’m a little nervous. It’s my first time reading in San Francisco,” she said. @MLNow #litcrawlsf

— Pedro Cota (@pcota) October 21, 2018

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