Briana Grogan, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Dazié Grego Sykes & Duane Horton / Better Ancestors @ Fabulosa Books!

Fabulosa Books

489 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

Free Event

No upcoming date/times for this event.

Quiet Lightning presents the 9th Better Ancestors, featuring readings and performance by Briana Grogan, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Dazié Grego Sykes & Duane Horton, hosted by Alie Jones!

We are so excited to kick off the year at the wonderful Fabulosa Books in the Castro! We have a very limited # of seats so please only RSVP if you know you can make it. We can't guarantee admission 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].


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 JournalThe 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 AlreadyHeaven Is All GoodbyesWaiting 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

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. 


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 Chit Chat with Aliecat, where she explores self-care practices and journeys of self-love in community.


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


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 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, 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. Photo of Duane Horton to come.

Briana Grogan, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Dazié Grego Sykes & Duane Horton / Better Ancestors @ Fabulosa Books! poster
Fabulosa Books
489 Castro Street
San Francisco, CA 94114