Quiet Lightning presents the 9th Better Ancestors, featuring readings and performance by Briana Grogan, Tongo Eisen-Martin & Dazié Grego Sykes! More authors, host and location TBA soon.
Briana Grogan (she/they) is a Black queer femme from Southern California. Her poetry found form in San Francisco, where they currently live and work as a bookstore clerk. She received her MFA in Poetry from Mills College. Their writing explores the silence in grief and rejoice in healing. She is the Guest Poetry Editor for Foglifter Journal Vol. 8.1 and was a 2021 finalist for the Button Poetry Chapbook Contest. Their work can be found in Foglifter Journal, The Ana, and is upcoming in When We Exhale and Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora. Photo by Lauren Hanussak.
Originally from San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin is a poet, movement worker, and educator. His latest curriculum on extrajudicial killing of Black people, We Charge Genocide Again, has been used as an educational and organizing tool throughout the country. He is the author of Someone’s Dead Already, Heaven Is All Goodbyes, Waiting Behind Tornados for Food, and Blood on the Fog. In 2020, he co-founded Black Freighter Press to publish revolutionary works. He is San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate. Photo courtesy the artist.
Dazié Grego-Sykes is an Oakland-based performance artist, author, and educator. He graduated from The Experimental Performance Institute at New College in San Francisco and holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Writing from The California Institute of Integral Studies. He is most known for his two solo plays Am I A Man and Nigga-Roo. He won the Best of SF Fringe Award in 2017 and recently published a collection of poetry titled Black Faggotry (Nomadic Press) which sits alongside his debut spoken-word album Make Me Black. Currently, he is working as the Associate Artistic Director of San Francisco’s Tenderloin-based performance ensemble Skywatchers. For more information, bookings or to contact the artist go to www.DazieGrego.com
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.
ABOUT THE SERIES
One of Quiet Lightning’s efforts to diversify and move toward racial equity, Better 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: Briana Grogan by Lauren Hanussak, Tongo Eisen-Martin courtesy of the artist & Dazié Grego-Sykes courtesy of the artist.