Beast Crawl Literary Festival commemorates the life and legacy of the iconic, bubble-blowing Berkeley poet Julia Vinograd with our first open mic of the festival dedicated to her.
Join us if you know her work or if you want share your crafted words. All are welcome.
Leg: 1 4pm - 5pm Venue: Oakland Photo Workshop
Oakland Photo Workshop is a community gallery and workspace, offering exhibitions by local photographers and community groups, as well as photography classes, talks by local artists, photo walks, and meetups.
We’re in the historic Asian Resource Center building, in the heart of beautiful Oakland Chinatown.
to live and write: A Murder of Crones
To Live & Write is a multifaceted online and in-person writing community based in Alameda, accessible on Facebook, and open to writers from all over. We host daily, weekly, and monthly writing events and activities designed to develop creative habits, stretch storytelling skills, and turn fear into thrill within safe spaces. Our focus is on writing, belonging, and community. Our gifting economy is anchored in genuine support, encouragement, and connection. Membership is free, we do not compete with each other or other writing communities (you can double dip!), and new members are always welcome. Reading at Punchdown Wine Bar is a collection of a few of our writers of a certain age and wisdom that we’re calling A Murder of Crones.
Bronwyn Emery is the founder, facilitator, and chief bottle washer of To Live & Write. She is a writing + creativity coach who focuses on habit, practice, and turning the dream of writing into reality. It’s her job to stay ahead of the writers and develop opportunities for each one to start writing, keep writing, stretch their skills, and achieve their ambitions – but most days, she feels like she’s playing catch up with this amazing community of talented storytellers. She hosts a variety of events and activities through To Live & Write that are free to all members, as well as labs, workshops, and retreats with price tags that pay the bills. You can find more about her at Bronwyn Emery ~ writing + creativity coach. Bronwyn is still revising her first mystery, because she still gets sidetracked by the shiny, sparkly short stories and personal narratives she loves to write. And by her grandson. And by her partner. And then there’s her cat, so warm and so fluffy …
Heidi Benson Stagg is a writer with a sailing problem. She used to live on a 42” sailboat with her husband and Chiweenie in Alameda, but after an intense sailing adventure last year, they now call La Paz, Mexico home. Her blog, Vivo O Sonho | Living the Dream, captures the challenges and joys of living aboard, explores the creation of full meals in her tiny kitchen, and shares a collection of memoir and fictional short stories featured at Alameda Shorts over the past several years. She is a regular contributor to the Imagine March project and tries to hit at least one Flash Lit month every year. She was the on-site cook for many a To Live & Write retreat for several years. When she returns to the Bay Area each year to reconnect with friends and family, she joins any handy retreat she can – purely as a writer these days.
Alison Greene’s 30-year career in science has been punctuated by blogging for the NY Times, fiction writing, and the adoption of a stubborn rescue chihuahua, Toby. As a long-time member of To Live & Write, Alison enjoys stretching her skills in writing workshops and retreats (when she isn’t attending her day job or obeying her bossy dog). She is a popular reader at Alameda Shorts, where her honest memoir musing and humorous contemplation really shine, and might have an addiction to the To Live & Write retreats. Alison has yet to miss an Imagine March project and she is in the early stages of writing her first book and having a little too much fun with backstory.
Bethany Polentz is a User Experience Strategist for a large corporation, which often entails using all of her words to explain to executives why they should care about the user experience.. She enjoys spending time with her husband and voicing the interior dialogue of her cat, Lulu, and is dedicated to the art of Tsundoku and collecting random secondhand items. She also has a fair-to-middling cool collection of finger puppets, made a mean mixed-tape back in the day, and is related to a one-time Jeopardy contestant (but not a famous one). Bethany has been an inspired lurker in To Live & Write since 2014 and an active member for the past couple of years. She is currently working on a collection of vignettes on her relationship to material possessions, American consumption and consumerism, and her desire to simplify.
Sherri Jackson divides her time between Sebastopol, California and La Paz Mexico, two beautiful locations that inspire her writing as she expands from non-fiction into fiction. Sherri is the author of Las velas de Pablo, a travel blog detailing her journey with her husband by sailboat and motor home through California, Baja California Mexico, and the Sea of Cortez. Her passions are nature photography, world travel, sunny days, and cooking. Sherri is an active and engaged member of To Live & Write, despite having just joined our community this year. As a brand-new member, she dove right into Flash Lit June to test her skills and courage, and participates in the community’s gifting economy with genuine and helpful feedback, support, and encouragement.
Erica Peck is a self-described mild-mannered, stay-at-home mom and lapsed drama major who likes to write stories. She has been an active member of To Live & Write since 2016 and is currently working on two novels, both in the realms of fantasy and romance. As a longstanding member of The Flash Lit Collective and regular contributor to Alameda Shorts and Imagine March, she also allows herself periodic forays into the world of short stories and poetry. This year, you can find Erica at home, sequestered as much as possible from the chaos of renovation construction in her tiny but mighty upstairs office, which is located directly above said construction—hammers, saws, drills, and all. You can find much of her fiction (and the occasional poem) on her blog, Soundchecking The Void.
Janet Salsman is a writer cleverly disguised as a personal trainer and Pilates instructor. She loves flower photos, picture books, carousels, and single malts, though not usually all at the same time. Janet has been an active member of To Live & Write for five years. She is a great role model for anyone new to the Daily Pages practice and the concept of a regular writing habit and has been a regular contributor to The Flash Lit Collective, Imagine March, and Alameda Shorts over the years. In 2023, she has been querying one novel while working on another in a completely different genre. In her spare time, Janet is the host and official Safe Space Protector of Friday night Proof of Write. She shares her short stories and poetry on her site, JanCanToo.
Leg 1: 4pm - 5pm Venue: Punchdown Wine Bar
THE PUNCHDOWN NATURAL WINE BAR AND KITCHEN: Our selection reflects like-minded, small businesses that do it out of love and passion. Some are breaking the rules and regulations of their respective regions by choosing to make wine in a natural way. We regard them as heroes in a competitive industry that increasingly manufactures wine as though it is a soft drink or a processed food product (spoofy frankenwines) with a big marketing department.
Milvia Street produces a print and online journal showcasing the diverse voices and visions of Berkeley City College students. The journal is all student-made to help usher them into professional publishing.
Come hear the work of six up-and-coming and super talented writers and poets!! This year's readers are Angel Sunlight, Vida Felsenfeld, Tracy Abeyta, Heather Canfield, Mary Magagna, and r.a.d. Leng Leng!!! Check out the new issue of Milvia Street: www.milviastreet.com.
Leg 1 (4pm - 5pm) Venue: Bookmark Bookstore 721 Washington
ABOUT BOOKMARK BOOKSTORE:
The Bookmark Bookstore is a nonprofit used bookstore that is owned and operated by the Friends of the Oakland Public Library and staffed by volunteers. All of the many thousands of books and media in store are donated, and all proceeds support the Oakland Public Library. A true local establishment, the Bookmark celebrated its 30th anniversary this past year. Located at 721 Washington Street in Old Oakland, the store is open Wednesday-Friday from 11:00am – 4:00pm and Saturday-Sunday from 10:30am – 5:30pm.
1428 Poets presents-Friends of richard sanderell
1428 Poets is a long running San Francisco poetry reading once hosted by Richard Sanderell. After Richard's passing, Antoinette Vella Payne continued the reading to keep it alive. A group of Richard's friends rescued Richard's poems from a broken laptop, YouTube readings and various anthologies and the much loved, dusty files of friends. Two years after Richard's passing,
Mitch, who grew up in San Francisco, loves art. It’s her way of shouting at the world. She is a Spoken Word artist and Musician who has hosted Mitch’s Salon, a weekly online Open Mic Poetry series on Friday nights since 2020.
Alan Harris' spoken word is informed by his experience as a performer in sketch, improv and stand-up comedy. He has lived in New York and Los Angeles, but prefers San Francisco because it smells like weed everywhere.
Alice Elizabeth Rogoff grew up in New Rochelle, New York. She received an MA in English: Creative Writing from San Francisco State. She's been in several poetry groups like Noe Valley Poets, LaborFest Writers, and with the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal as an Editor. She's been published in Poetry Pacific, Pudding Magazine, Avocet for nature poetry, Blue Collar Review and the anthologies Fog and Light by Blue Light Press, and Your Golden Sun Still Shines, by Manic D Press. She received a grant for poetry from the San Francisco Arts Commission, was a semi- finalist in the Codhill book award, and has won a Blue Light Book Award, and two District 7 awards. She has several books of poetry, and fiction in the on-line magazines Caveat Lector and So To Speak.
Britt Peter was born in the North Arm of Indian Valley (Plumas County) in 1938. His poems can be found on the internet under britt peter poet (You Tube, Jerry Jazz Musician). He has published in the Richmond Anthology, Poetry Expressed, Grounds Are Sacred, Poetalk, Blue Collar Review and the California Quarterly. He puts great value to the conversations he had with “The Cursive Writer” on the 21 Bus, in Golden Gate Park, Café International, the Chavis Library, Sacred Ground Café and the Pork Shop.
LEG 1: 4-5p VENUE: Awaken Cafe 1429 Broadway
ABOUT AWAKEN CAFE:
Rocking it in downtown Oakland since 2008, Awaken Cafe & Roasting is a community coffee-house, espresso bar, best-in-class coffee gear retailer, restaurant, beer & wine bar, and event venue. But mainly we are here to help bring people together to launch what's next for Oakland and the world, and we might as well #drinkgoodcoffee while we're at it. We roast our coffee regularly at Pulley Collective in West Oakland
Announcing the Afrosurreal Writers Workshop of California
A reading of speculative fiction by members of the Afrosurreal Writers Workshop of Oakland and the announcement of the pending state wide anthology.
Afrosurreal Writers Workshop of Oakland is a select group of speculative fiction, memoir and poetry writers whose writing is informed by our personal and individual heritage as members of the African Diaspora in California.
Ellen McBarnette has been organizer of the Afrosurreal Writers Workshop of Oakland for four years. She is a life-long writer whose nonfiction work has been published as testimony, fact sheets and opinion pieces for organizations that include the Sierra Club and the American Bar Association. A performance storyteller, she writes speculative fiction in the Afrosurreal and Afrofuturist traditions as well as poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work caan be found in Midnight and Indigo and, coming soon, in the award winning Fault Zones. As a native New Yorker, she is delighted to find such a welcoming literary home in the SF Bay. She lives in Hayward with her partner Ben and their cat Java.
LaMar Mitchell was born in the North California East Bay Area on December 16, 1978 (same day Philip K. Dick was born as a matter of fact) LaMar was born and brought up by a family of giant ewoks who taught him the scrupulous art of the non sequitur. He bides his time chasing bisexual mermaids while trying to build a career in cyberpunk infused Surrealism. He has a digital poetry chapbook incubating in his womb along with a raw rough draft of a first time novel. He can be found in your local foxhole as the only atheist alive in there. Born to write, write, write and feverishly guard the gateways of his geeky opinions.
Karla Tiffany is a Black poet and fiction writer from Oakland, CA. She holds a BA in Writing and Literature from California College of the Arts. She is a recipient of the San Francisco Foundation/Nomadic Press Literary Award for Poetry (2021). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the San Francisco Public Library’s Poem of the Day series, Second Stutter, Gulf Coast Journal, Augur Magazine, When We Exhale (Black Freighter Press), midnight & indigo, and SAND Literature and Art.
Leg: 1, 4pm -5pm Venue: Cape and Cowl Comics
Cape and Cowl Comics
Located between 16th St & 17th Streets in Downtown Oakland, just steps from Frank Ogawa Plaza and the 19th street BART station, Cape & Cowl Comics is your comic book store in downtown Oakland. Easy to find and easy parking.
If we don't have want you're looking for we can order it for you. We are passionate about all genres and themes and just want to share our love of comic books with you. Drop in, say "Hello" and check us out.
Where Should We Begin?
We all need to start somewhere. The Starting Points open mic team is inviting writers of all stripes, whether you’re new to reading in public or you read out every week, to come and share your freshest work with us in 3-minutes-or-less at this open mic event. Meet, mingle, and trade chapbooks with other members of the community. We have a feeling this will be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Ruth Crossman is a Pushcart-nominated writer from Berkeley, California. She is the author of the auto-fiction collection All the Wrong Places and is currently looking for a home for her debut novella, All My Friends Lie. Her work has appeared in publications including The Fabulist, Litro, Maximum Rock n Roll. You can find out more information about her at https://msruthcrossman.com/
Sara Biel is a poet, visual artist, and social worker. Her work combines original text with different art materials. She is passionate about collaborative art and performance processes and focuses on art as a community-building medium. Her debut poetry collection, Prescribed Burn, was published by Finishing Line in 2023.
Elisa Salasin is a writer/poet and educator living in Berkeley, California. Her writing and photography have appeared in a range of online publications including AMP/Always Electric, CounterPunch, sPARKLE & bLINK, and Digital Paper, the online magazine for the Bay Area Writing Project. Her debut poetry collection, She Watches Wild Horses, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2023.
Keith Mark Gaboury earned a M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College, a M.A. in English from San Francisco State University, and a B.A. in English from Baker University. His poems have appeared in such literary publications as Poetry Quarterly and New Millennium Writings along with chapbooks from Duck Lake Books, The Pedestrian Press, and Finishing Line Press. Keith lives in Oakland, California.
Leg 1 (4pm -5pm) Venue: Feelmore Adult
Feelmore is the keeper of secrets such as: insecurities, infidelities, and sexual expression. Our ground-floor location represents a twilight zone for unlikely encounters and friendships to crystallize and collisions to occur.
Conceived and raised in the stomping grounds of Oakland, Feelmore is redefining the retail experience for the city, small business owners, and community residents. Keeping with our tradition, we aim to preserve and build upon the hometown feel Oakland is known for.
At Feelmore, it’s about more than just sex — it’s personal!
The Throwback was a low-tech literary journal edited and distributed by Dan O’Connell. Several issues were put out in the early 2000s. It was re-born for Beast Crawl 2022, and still lives. This year we feature five stellar writers from Nick's Lounge.
Leg 1 (4pm -5pm) Venue: Binny's Cocktail Bar & Restaurant
A celebration of the return to an intimate and community-based bar and dining experience. Binny’s presents a tailored menu of original and classic cocktails with shareable plates of uncomplicated, veritable bites. From the Art Deco-inspired interiors to the elegant U-shaped bar and cozy banquet seats, Binny’s invites you to have a laugh, enjoy the atmosphere and stay awhile.
Hear the brilliance of young Oakland writers!
Started in 2012, the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate (OYPL) program is an unprecedented citywide effort to celebrate literacy through poetry and connect young writers to far-reaching opportunities. Each year OYPL accepts applications from talented Oakland writers (ages 13-18) to join a community of young poets. The program is run by the Oakland Public Library with support from the Friends of the Oakland Public Library.
Nairobi Barnes, 2023 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate
Michelle Vong - 2023 Oakland Vice Youth Poet Laureate
Ella Gordon, 2023 OYPL Finalist
Maya Raveneu-Bey, 2023 OYPL Finalist
Xander Timmons, 2022 OYPL Finalist
Oakland Youth Poet Laureate information, videos, and bios.
OYPL at BEAST CRAWL!
Leg 1 (4pm -5pm) Venue: Dusk Coffee/ Latham Square
Dusk Coffee is a cafe in Oakland, CA. Our experienced staff provides friendly and prompt service for a remarkable cafe experience. We value our customers and strive to satisfy your coffee cravings by serving you our cafe's best and tastiest recipes. Our coffee shop is the perfect place to meet a high standard of flavor and sustainability. We are friendly and care about the customer experience here. We are confident that one visit will satisfy your cravings and give you an unforgettable day.
Dusk Coffee also offers the following:
Coffee, Matcha, Happy Hour
Wine, Pastries, And More!
At Dusk Coffee, we treat every customer like family. We are dedicated and committed to providing a comfortable environment. Our team ensures it continues to be the best destination for excellent and tasty beverages for any occasion. We are dedicated to ensuring that our customers are served exceptional quality drinks and food every time. For more information about our cafe and delicious food and drinks, do not hesitate to visit Dusk Coffee today!
Superbloom: A CWC-Berkeley Reading
THE California Writers Club was started by a group of civic-minded writing professionals in the early 1900s. They met informally until 1909—often in "The Hights." which is now Joaquin Miller Park— when the Club was incorporated, with Austin Lewis as its first president. The Berkeley Branch is the founding branch of the statewide Club, which now has 19 branches and around 2000 members throughout California. We are the third oldest writers’ club in the country.
LEG 1: 4-5pm VENUE: Make Westing 1741 Telegraph
ABOUT MAKE WESTING:
What's with the name?
The name "Make Westing" comes from a short story by Oakland native Jack London. While a bit grim and violent, the tale centers on the overwhelming need to make the westing wind back home to Oakland - to a place of warmth and family (and bocce courts?).
Who are we?
Make Westing is located in the thriving Uptown district of Oakland. Wood, iron, and slate make up the décor that resonates with the industrial heritage of our city. We are equipped with a full bar, a variety of gourmet bites, an outdoor patio, and two indoor bocce courts. The Fox theater is less than one block away, and the 19th st. BART stop is across the street.
While we are not bocce aficionados per se, we did play at some of our favorite bars in Brooklyn and the lanes fit the space perfectly, while serving as an entertaining companion to a cocktail. The courts are first come, first serve and are free. When there are others waiting, each group may play one game to seven and then give up the court to the next group in line. If you would like to rent the bocce courts, we do so at $50 per hour, per court.
Make Westing is more a bar than restaurant and as such (according to the alcohol beverage control rules) no one under 21 is allowed, infants included. For credit cards, we request a $10 minimum. As relates to credit cards - some banks will place a temporary double charge on certain cards only as a hold and will release the charge within 7-10 business days. We have no idea why they do this, but it happens often enough that we thought we should mention it. We have an ATM on site.
Poetry Flash builds community through literature, providing literary writing, access to literary activities, information and inspiration to writers and the public through publishing on Poetryflash.org and events such as the Poetry Flash Reading Series, Northern California Book Awards, and Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival. Poetryflash.org is what Lawrence Ferlinghetti called a “living newspaper.” We are committed to literary publishing that is rich in editorial content and provides access to literary experiences in the East Bay and across California. In 1972, our founding editors “flashed” on the idea of combining a poetry calendar with a literary review, so that poets could dialogue on their work and find each other. Publishing for over fifty years, Poetry Flash serves our vibrant literary scene, an independent voice on behalf of poets, poetry, and other genres of creative writing.
This year, Poetry Flash is celebrating our 50th Anniversary, and in the spirit of our events and publishing, we present four Bay Area poets to show the amazing power and range of our collective poetry place.
Joyce Jenkins will emcee this Beast Crawl reading! She is Director and Editor of Poetry Flash (poetryflash.org), and author of Portal and Joy Road, a chapbook Her poems have appeared in Ambush Review, Addison Street Anthology: Berkeley's Poetry Walk, ZYZZYVA, The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems of the San Francisco Watershed, and elsewhere. She received the American Book Award, PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Lifetime Achievement Award, National Poetry Association's Distinguished Service to Poets & Poetry Award, and the Berkeley Poetry Festival lifetime achievement award. Poetry Flash received the 2012 Barbary Coast Award from Litquake.
Cynthia Parker-Ohene’s new book is Daughters of Harriet, a finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prizes. Tongo Eisen Martin says, “With a messianic gift for image and history, Cynthia Parker-Ohene is a once-in-three-generations mind on the page. Virtuosic images and living histories bearing down on your pulse, expanding the potentials of your consciousness.” Her poems have appeared in Black Warrior Review, Kweli, Green Mountains Review, West Branch, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her work is also included in the anthology Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature, among others. Ohene is a three-time Pushcart nominee and winner of the San Francisco Foundation/Nomadic Press Poetry Prize.
Richard Silberg is Associate Editor of Poetry Flash. He is author of six collections of poetry, most recently The Horses: New and Selected Poems and Deconstruction of the Blues, recipient of the PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Literary Award 2006. His books include Reading the Sphere: A Geography of Contemporary American Poetry, reviews that were originally published in Poetry Flash. He co-translated, with Clare You, The Three Way Tavern, by Ko Un, with a foreword by Gary Snyder, which received the 2007 Northern California Book Award in Translation. Also with Clare You, he co-translated Flowers Long For Stars, poems by Oh Sae-Young, This Side of Time, by Ko Un, and I Must Be the Wind, by Moon Chung-Hee. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Volt, Parthenon West Review, ZYZZYVA, Eleven Eleven, and New American Writing, among many other journals. “Dynamic, kaleidoscopic, shot through with a thousand faces and voices too real to be characters, Richard Silberg’s work is a Chaucerian pilgrimage to strange and uncannily familiar places. The Horses is a journey that dazzles wherever it goes as Silberg, ‘an ecstatic balding older man / in a striped tee shirt,’ slips into words and finds a way to make them accelerate, plummet, and soar. The goal is a new self, a way to ride out the old isms towards a possible future. The Horses is a deeply serious, wild, and powerful contribution to American letters.” —D. Nurkse
Jason Bayani’s most recent book is Locus, a finalist for the Northern California Book Awards 2020. Truong Tran says, “In the profundity of Locus, Jason Bayani weaves the personal and the historical into a perfect storm of words, breath, poetry, consciousness and a literature of this time.” Bayani’s previous book is Amulet. His poetry has appeared in World Literature Today, BOAAT Journal, Muzzle Magazine, Lantern Review, and elsewhere. He’s a Kundiman fellow and artistic director of the Kearny Street Workshop. Bayani performs regularly around the country and debuted his solo theater show “Locus of Control” in 2016 with theatrical runs in San Francisco, New York, and Austin.
Caroline Goodwin served from 2014-2016 the first Poet Laureate of San Mateo County. An Alaska native, her recent poetry book is Old Snow, White Sun. Aileen Cassinetto said “It traverses various terrains with grace and a commitment to astonishment.” Her other recent collections include Madrigals (Big Yes Press) and Matanuska (Aquifer Press, Wales, UK).
Her previous books include Trapline, Peregrine, The Paper Tree, and Custody of the Eyes. Among many other Bay Area readings, she has twice been a featured reader at the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival in Berkeley.
Leg 1 (4pm -5pm) Venue: Annapurna Restaurant and Bar
Annapurna is known for its Nepalese comfort food, especially, their momos in three flavors (chicken, lamb, vegetarian). Ultimate mixture of spices in our cup. Come take a sip of some authentic chai, and enjoy the vibes.
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