There are about a million trillion websites that cover, catalog, review and curate music (you could probably name five right now), but not so much when it comes to literature. Evan Karp, founder of Litseen, moved to San Francisco never having experienced a spoken word event. He’s now creating and maintaining a library of over 2,500 video archives of literary events. We met up with him to talk SF lit scene and can’t-miss-thems during Litquake this week:
SCOUT: Quiet Lightning is a reading series that you actually put on. Tell us more about it, starting with where the name came from:
EVAN: I was trying to describe how I wanted the room to feel after a reading ended; really charged and quiet but as though you could still hear the voices. It’s a submission-based reading series that anyone can submit to. We hold reading events where the accepted work is shared and then everything is published in book called sPARKLE & bLINK every month. The next one is coming up October 10 as a part of Litquake.
SCOUT: Speaking of Litquake, what else should be on our radar aside from the all-famous Lit Crawl?
EVAN: Barely Published Authors is always rad. It’s up and coming people who just deserve a stage. Booksmith is also putting on a stage reading of The Great Night in Buena Vista Park; they're going to have fairies and gypsies, and it seems like it’s just going to be pretty magical.
SCOUT: What about the SF lit scene in general? Who’s doing something cool right now?
EVAN: Invisible City Audio Tours. It’s like a fictionalized history of landmarks and parts of the city. They use maps of original literary works to take you on a tour of the city. It plays with the idea of being a tourist in your own home.
SCOUT: With everything you cover for Litseen, you must have visited just about every venue in the city. What are some of your favs?
EVAN: Actually, holding Quiet Lightning at the Conservatory of Flowers has just been one of the best experiences ever. We hold a potluck picnic on the lawn before, and then go in and do our show. I always love Mina Dresden Gallery. It’s a rectangular room with white walls and hardwood floor and what I like about that is everyone who is there is just there for the reading. There’s something to be said for bar readings, but I personally go just for the literature and not so much the socializing. The fewer distractions, the better.
Photo by Yanina Gotsulsky