Online sales have ended for this event.

Better Ancestors on October 3, 2022

The Booksmith

1727 Haight St., San Francisco, CA 94117

Free Event

No upcoming date/times for this event.

Quiet Lightning presents the 8th Better Ancestors, featuring readings and performance by Alie Jones, Sarai Bordeaux, Briana Swain & Nazelah Jamison, hosted by SevanKelee Boult! Join us for what is sure to be a memorable evening at The Booksmith!

PLEASE NOTE: Advance sales to this event have ended, but we will have seats available at the door. ALSO:

  • Safety: ID and proof of full vaccination, including booster, will be required at the door. Masks will be required throughout the duration of the event and capacity will be limited to allow indoor distancing. We'll also have extra ventilation in place. 
  • This is a free show, with sliding scale donations of $0-20 encouraged to help support our work. Quiet Lightning is a 501c3 nonprofit and all donations are tax deductible.
  • Because we're limiting capacity, we can't guarantee we'll have space for walk-ins. The best way to ensure you’ll get a seat is to reserve one now.
  • If we feel it is not safe to gather, as the event gets closer, we will pivot to a virtual event and your registration will remain valid.
  • Question? Accessibility request? Write [email protected].


Alie Jones is a self-care advocate, writer, artist, and Creole mermaid. She is Co-founder and Director of Black Freighter Press, a revolutionary press committed to the exploration of liberation, using art to transform consciousness. She is a founder of Bodacious Bombshells, a wellness collective in Oakland. Alie is a yoga instructor passionate about centering our breathwork as sacred and hopes to build a legacy of awareness and expression. Alie graduated with her MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Mills College. She received her MPA from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and BA in Cinematic Arts & Technology from CSU Monterey Bay and a minor in Creative Writing and Social Action. Alie is the host of the podcast called Chit Chat with Aliecat , she explores self-care practices and journeys of self-love in community.

Sarai Bordeaux holds a Masters Degree from San Francisco State University in Education with an emphasis in Equity and Social Justice. Through TK-5 curriculum development and her own personal poetry, Sarai is now working on strengthening the ways that parents and children build their capacities and identities as life long learners together through the development of relationships with self and others. For more than ten years she has been connected in many ways with Peoples Kitchen Collective. She has served as a conceptual partner for events, as well as front of house and logistics capacities during Life is Living, the STREETS! meal, and other gatherings. She is presently facilitating groups with PKC around Octavia Butler source material for their upcoming project. Sarai is honored to contribute to the conversation around food justice with PKC through intentional focus on personal growth and community building. Sarai’s poetry was recently published in the book, Patrice Lumumba: An Anthology of Writers on Black Liberation.

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. You can connect with her on InstagramTwitter & Youtube.

Nazelah Jamison is a gifted poet, emcee, and vocalist who has learned from and graced the stage with some of the finest people in entertainment today. She has competed on and/or coached 12 National Slam teams; and has performed poetry & music across 3 continents. Until she retired (ha!) in 2014, she hosted and co-produced The Oakland Poetry Slam & Open Mic, an on-going monthly poetry slam in Oakland, CA, as well as performing at venues around the SF Bay Area and the country. She has collaborated on music recording projects with the Rondo Brothers, and is embarking upon a career as a stand-up comedienne. Nazelah is also using her extensive experience both on stages and as the coach of winning Poetry Slam teams to coach performers and speakers into giving their most captivating stage performances. Her first collection of poetry, evolutionary heart, was released by Nomadic Press in Fall 2016. Nazelah is well-known and beloved for her work with Spearhead and the French music group, Les Nubians, and her love of hip-hop translates onto the stage.


SevanKelee Boult (bka Lucky 7) (pictured above, right) is a well known Bay Area poet. She has been seen on HBO Real Sex since 2000. She has represented several Bay Area slam teams over the past 10 years. In 2014, she became the only person in the Bay to win the honored title Grand Slam Champion of 4 different Bay teams (SF, Berkeley,Oakland and Palo Alto). She has performed all across the country. Gracing such places as The De Young Museum in San Francisco as well as Yerba Buena, and the Marsh Theater. A UC Berkeley graduate with a minor in Theatre Arts, SevanKelee has been crafting her spoken word performance. Sevan Kelee has been writing since childhood. Her most recent artistic venture involves the ukulele and spoken word. She effortlessly blends music and poetry to engage the audience with her soft, raspy voice and mesmerizing stage presence. SevanKelee is currently fiscally sponsored by Independent Arts and Media. Check out her page on their site.


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 13th 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 147 shows featuring 1,796 readings by 964 local authors in 91 venues, ranging from dive bars and art galleries to state parks and national landmarks, and has published 119 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: Alie Jones, Sarai Bourdeaux courtesy SJSU, Briana Swain & Nazelah Jamison. All images courtesy of the authors unless otherwise noted.

Better Ancestors on October 3, 2022 poster
The Booksmith
1727 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94117