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Better Ancestors @ Round Weather Gallery: Rebecca Samuelson, griffin jing martin, Charles Orgbon III & ayodele nzinga

Round Weather Gallery

951 Aileen St. Suite P, Oakland, CA 94608

Free Event

No upcoming date/times for this event.

Quiet Lightning presents the 10th Better Ancestors, featuring readings and performance by Rebecca Samuelson, griffin jing martin, Charles Orgbon III & ayodele nzinga at the beautiful Round Weather Gallery in Oakland, hosted by Duane Horton! Featuring typewriter poetry by Briana Swain!

Doors open as early as 6pm – come early to check out the gallery's exhibition The Other Side of Time, and/or to sit with Briana for a poem. The event will begin between 7-7:15pm. We have a limited # of seats, which will be first-come, first-served. We will have space for walk-ups. This will be a set of intimate performances, followed by a brief community Q&A. We hope you'll join us!

Masks will be required throughout. Questions? Concerns? Availability requests? Write [email protected]


Rebecca Samuelson is a Bay Area poet from Hayward, California who writes from the intersection of caretaking and grief. She received her MFA in creative writing, with a concentration in poetry, from Saint Mary’s College of California. She received a BA in English, with a concentration in creative writing, from San Francisco State University. Her work can be found at rebecca-samuelson.com.

griffin jing martin is a san francisco based interdisciplinary artist. griffin’s work finds form through connection with community, reverence for the collective, and the belief that every trans person is precious and completely necessary. griffin’s work shares their transfeminine asian american perspective on togetherness and singular identity in all of their whimsical, prismatic complications. griffin’s poetry can be found in the ana, mixed rice zines, dekopon! magazine, sine theta mag, and is upcoming in foglifter journal vol. 8.1.

Charles Orgbon III (he/him) is an environmental sustainability consultant by day, and freelance writer by night. When it comes to writing, Charles has done a variety of creative projects, from personal essays to news journalism to even comics and songwriting. He has two music projects out now, “A Survivor’s Reward” and “Blackberry,” both available anywhere you listen to music. He loves writing about identity, culture, and sexuality.

ayodele nzinga is a multi-hyphenated artist; a brilliant actress, producing director, playwright, poet, dramaturg, performance consultant, educator, and community advocate. She is the director of the Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc., Oakland's oldest North American African Theater Company and founder of Lower Bottom Playaz Summer Theater Day Camp. She is co-founder of Janga’s House, a Black Women Arts collective, and a founding member of BlacSpace Collective. She is the Executive Director of the Black Arts Movement Business District Community Development Corporation, of Oakland, (BAMBD CDC); and founder and producer of BAMBDFEST International Biennial a month-long arts and cultural festival animating the Black Arts Movement Business District in Oakland CA. Nzinga holds an MFA in Writing and Consciousness; a Ph.D. in Transformative Education & Change; is a Cal-Shakes Artist Investigator Alumni; a San Francisco Foundation Arts Leadership Fellow; a member of the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame; recognized by Theater Bay Area as one of the 40 faces in the Bay that changed the face of theater in the Bay Area; is recognized by the August Wilson House as the only director in the world to direct the complete August Wilson American Century Cycle in chronological order; a YBCA 10 Fellow, a BIPOC Circle Fellow and a VOICES Community Journalism Fellow. Nzinga is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Oakland CA. Nzinga's work for the stage has been reviewed internationally. Her blog is read in 81 countries. She is the author of Preforming Literacy a Narrative Inquiry into Performance Pedagogy, The Horse Eaters, SorrowLand Oracle, and Incandescent and her work can be found in numerous journals and anthologies. Nzinga, a cultural anchor, is part theoretician and part partitioner. She describes herself as a cultural architect invested in creating structures for culture making.

Briana Swain believes in herself and the power of her words. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College. Leaning into the tradition of expansion, Swain writes to envision new manifestations of Black consciousness, subvert the colonial gaze, ascend possibilities, and exist in humanity as a site of liberation for the African Diaspora. Swain has received scholarship to The Juniper Summer Writing Institute and is published in Pleiades. Her art has been selected for exhibitions presented by Sebastopol Center for the Arts, the Center on Race, Immigration & Social Justice at Sac State and Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art. She currently works as Program Coordinator for No More Tears, a violence and crime prevention workshop held in San Quentin State Prison, is the curator for Studio One, a poetry reading series in Oakland, extending her creative practice beyond a degree and into the hands of the people.

ABOUT THE HOST (pictured above, right)

Duane Horton is a black queer fantasy writer and educator who currently resides in the Bay Area but is from the Mid-West (Ohio). He believes in writing his intersection of identity into his fantasy work to widen the cannon of literature. And so that folks who look like him can see themselves represented on the page. He graduated with his masters in Creative Writing from Mills College in 2019. Since then, he has been published in Green Mountains Review, Sapphire Hues Press, CinnabarMoth Publishing, SeaGlass Literary and more. Duane works for a youth writing organization. And he teaches a fantasy and science fiction writing workshop for LGBTQ plus identified youth of color in Oakland. And he is currently working on a novel. Duane uses his studying of feminist theory to create stories that align with those values. Values that have the power to break down oppressive structures. 


It’s amazing! A typewriter poet arrives finely dressed with their own manual typewriter and a supply of fine-quality cardstock. Guests are engaged by the poet one on one to tell their stories, share their experiences, what delights or frustrates them, what is meaningful to them, or anything at all. After listening to their needs, the poet creates a short poem based on what is shared and each guest will leave with their newly crafted and customized poem. Donations are welcomed, but not required.


One of Quiet Lightning’s efforts to diversify and move toward racial equityBetter Ancestors is a new quarterly showcase of writers of color. Developed in partnership with Michael Warr, the series features 5 authors reading or performing whatever they choose. Each author selects one performer for the following show, so the series – and community – is self-generating. All authors are paid and published in an end of the year anthology.

Why Better Ancestors? As one of our initiatives to diversify from a board that has historically been mostly white, this showcase aims to provide a long-term, forward-thinking goal. As a society, we are suffering the consequences of pervasive systemic injustice against people of color, queer and trans people, the poor, disabled, and otherwise disadvantaged. But we are all ancestors of the future. If the planet is to remain inhabitable; if the function of humanity is not to sort and oppress our descendants based on their skin color, accent, or material property, we must be better ancestors. This begins by listening to one another, and by giving each other space to be heard.

Better Ancestors was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.


Now in its 14th year, Quiet Lightning is a literary movement to create and foster community around the written and spoken word. QL aims to democratize public space by offering performances, curation opportunities, and programming with no barriers to entry, providing a launchpad for new and emerging artists, a reliable platform for professional writers, and an inclusive, accessible gathering place for the public. QL is committed to care-taking and progressing the rich threads of literary culture that exist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recognized by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as one of the 100 “people, organizations, and movements who are shaping the future of culture”, Quiet Lightning’s flagship is the literary mixtape, a submission-based series with a blind selection process and different curators for each show. The shows, which are free to attend, are published as books, handed out free to the first 100 people, and all participating artists are paid. QL has now produced 150 events featuring 1,811 readings by 975 local authors in 94 venues, ranging from dive bars and art galleries to state parks and national landmarks, and has published 120 books and produced two films, all selected by 77 different curators. In 2019, Quiet Lightning pioneered an application process for limited-term board-membership, called Disruptors, to regularly bring new ideas and energy into the organization. QL maintains Litseen.com, a daily calendar of literary events.


Every tax deductible donation helps Quiet Lightning invest in a sustainable, ethical arts ecosystem, with the goal of building that culture into the fabric of our lives. You can donate by Venmo or PayPal or pledge a recurring donation by becoming one of our supporters on Patreon, which comes with a few additional perks and helps us expand on the work that we do.

featured images, clockwise from top L: ayodele nzinga courtesy the author; Charles Orgbon III courtesy the artist; griffin jing martin by Sara Hoffpauir; Rebecca Samuelson by David Morales. Background photo of Round Weather Gallery by Evan Karp features work by Daniela Naomi Molnar.

Better Ancestors @ Round Weather Gallery: Rebecca Samuelson, griffin jing martin, Charles Orgbon III & ayodele nzinga poster
Round Weather Gallery
951 Aileen St. Suite P
Oakland, CA 94608