Notable San Francisco: 12/30–1/5

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Wednesday 12/30: The Berkeley Poetry Slam presents The Third Annual Anarchy Slam with performance poet Mighty Mike McGee, a former National Poetry Slam Grand Champion, who has performed with Tons of Fun University, The Whirlwind Company, Electric Whale Revival, and Junkyard Ghost Revival. $7-$10 sliding scale. Workshop: 6:30 p.m. Sign-up: 7:30 p.m. Show: 8:15 p.m. Starry Plow.

Monday 1/4: Quiet Lightning strikes The Lost Church. The venue has limited seating, so an early arrival is recommended, or you can purchase advance tickets here. This show was curated by Lapo Guzzini and Joanna Lioce. Readers: Michael Palmer, Laura Jew, Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, Alexandra Naughton, Carly Nairn, Kristina Ten, Emily Pinkerton, Annelyse Gelman, Mindela Ruby, and Chris Carosi. $10, 7:30 p.m., The Lost Church.

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Last week we presented a selection of monthly reading series for your edification in the New Year. Today, we offer a selection (again, highly subjective) of Bay Area bookstores we love. Each of these bookstores regularly hosts literary events worth checking out, and we think they are cool places to hang out.

Moe’s Books, in Berkeley since 1959, has been hosting poetry readings for nearly six decades, including the famous “Thursday Nights” produced by Poetry Flash.

Borderlands Book Store nearly closed due to escalating rents and neighborhood gentrification, but this beloved science fiction and fantasy bookstore was saved by its customers, by means of a sponsorship program. A unique institution.

Modern Times Bookstore Collective is one of the last surviving “Movement” bookstores in San Francisco, pursuing a progressive agenda in the Mission since 1971. Currently, they host the weekly “Queer Open Mic,” one of the city’s longest running and significant reading series.

Green Apple Books is a massive emporium of new and used books with its main location in the Inner Richmond (they also have a shop on 9th Avenue in the Sunset). Reputed to be a favorite of Sir Paul McCartney. A place to get lost in for hours.

Bird and Beckett is a small, eccentric, and charming place that features regular jazz performances along with poetry readings and open mics. A home away from home.

Alley Cat Books is another Mission gem. (Do you see a pattern?) They often host readings, including one of the area’s few bilingual poetry events, the monthly Voz Sin Tinta.

E.M. Wolfman is a tiny bookstore, barely bigger than a closet, with a mighty agenda. A collective of Berkeley progressives built the space by hand, and they regularly host some of the most interesting literary events in Oakland.

Pegasus is a traditional, mainstream bookstore in Berkeley’s Shattuck Avenue shopping district, notable for hosting the monthly series, Lyrics & Dirges.

The Booksmith, in the heart of the Haight Ashbury district, hosts the infamously ribald and deliciously fun “Shipwrecked” series, which has been described as the most tasteless literary event imaginable.

Book Passage is lovable for their wonderful way with writers, providing a beautiful room for readings, and offering writers coffee and pastries from their own cafe. Always pleasant.

City Lights is a worldwide legend and deserves to be; it is the very soul of North Beach, still under the guiding hand of the amazingly consistent and dedicated Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

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This week’s theatre recommendation is The Secret of Life presented by Indra’s Net Theater Company at the Berkeley City Club. Indra’s Net is a theatre company that specializes in original plays inspired by science. The Secret of Life is a dramatization of Watson and Crick’s famous discovery of the structure of the DNA moleucle, the so-called “double helix.” Excellent performances and fine dramaturgy make this story suspenceful, entertaining, and informative. For further information, click here.

For more extensive coverage of the Bay Area theatre scene, visit TheatreStorm.

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Evan Karp presents video of this week’s featured local author, Daniel Curzon. Read an interview here.

And, finally, recent video of an extraordinary poem performed by SF Notable John Oliver Simon.

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If you have a Bay Area event listing you’d like us to consider, please contact [email protected] as far in advance as possible, and include the date of the event in the subject line.


Charles Kruger is a Bay area arts practitioner known as "The Storming Bohemian." He tries to do as much as he can. More from this author →