“Life is very tough and fragile at the same time, it never backs down or surrenders, but will break open to reveal its beauty and ugliness. As a evening primrose that blooms in the flooding moonlight, just before being trampled upon underfoot by the four-legged frost of the night.” ― Anthony Liccione
Beast Crawl is Back
In its fourth year, the East Bay literary pub crawl is more ferocious than ever.
The East Bay literary landscape is sprawling, and local poet Paul Corman-Roberts likes to describe its diverse subcultures as tribes — spoken word, storytelling, and poetry are a few examples. Thanks to Corman-Roberts and his fellow organizers, all those tribes gather once a year to take part in Beast Crawl, a full day of free literary events spread throughout downtown Oakland. This year's festival will take place on July 11, from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m., and will constitute the largest gathering to date.
This is the event's fourth year, so many people may be familiar with its dense structure. There are three legs that each last one hour, with a bonus fourth leg that's actually an after-party at The Legionnaire Saloon (2272 Telegraph Ave.). During each of the first three legs, twelve readings happen simultaneously at various venues across the downtown area. The first leg begins at 5 p.m., with a half-hour break separating each.
Over the years, Beast Crawl has grown steadily, as has the local literary scene. That's allowed the festival to involve more spaces and curators each year. This time, there are 35 wide-ranging venues, including the Senegalese restaurant Bissap Baobab, the sexy Feelmore Adult Gallery, and the popular new venue, Starline Social Club.
In terms of events, the usual suspects will make an appearance, such as the reading and performance series BustingOut Storytelling, Tourettes without Regrets, and Quiet Lightning. But there will be newcomers, too. One of those is "Brown People Don't Read?" which will take place at AU Lounge (2430 Broadway) during the third leg. Curated by the Mills College-based writing group Sunday Stories, it will feature readers whose stories challenge the notion that narratives told by people of color aren't as central to the American literary canon as those by white authors. "Liminal at the Beast," also a new addition, will be a strong session of female writers curated by author Gina Goldblatt, the founder of LIMINAL, a feminist writing space in the Laurel district. That will take place during the second leg at Farley's East (33 Grand Ave.). Also during leg two, Pochino Press and Spectrum Queer Media will be hosting a new session called "Rise!" at Club BNB (2120 Broadway), in which a number of writers and performers will address the theme of proactive resistance.
From the start, the purpose of Beast Crawl has been to make Oakland a literary destination, said Corman-Roberts in a recent interview. And, for a number of reasons, that's slowly starting to happen. When the festival was born in 2012, there were nearly no independent bookstores downtown, and now there is a network of them that consistently open their spaces for readings — Octopus Literary Salon, Bergeron's Books, and Laurel being a few of the newer ones. Corman-Roberts said that gatherings like Beast Crawl are important for building the strong ties that form such a network. "It's not much different than when we were primitive people sitting around a campfire passing a talking stick," he said. "But it still really addresses this human need for connection ... it builds infrastructure for the community."
See the full Beast Crawl schedule at BeastCrawl.Weebly.com
Two Chances To See Me Read/Perform Beginning This Saturday July 11 & Again On July 14th....
The evening’s theme is proactive resistance. Oakland is going through immense change and many residents, both new and old, seek to engage in dialogues towards making our city a safe and welcoming one. Our readers explore how they define and redefine their own identities, informing broader conversations and community change.
Performers and Bios
Blackberri is a singer and activist whose recognition includes induction into the Smithsonian Institute Folkways Recordings and writing the theme song for the first National Third World Lesbian and Gay Conference.
Kin Folkz is the founder of Spectrum Queer Media and a lauded producer of effective social justice gatherings, screenings and community actions across the globe.
Mali is a multi-talented performer, earning accolades in arenas including singing, acting, and dancing. Among his accomplishments are co-creating the first theatre project addressing AIDS in the black community.
harold was awarded the San Francisco Foundation's James D. Phelan Award in poetry. He is writing his first manuscript Hunting Izotes, a poetry collection based on his family's immigrant experiences.
Jair is a writer, poet, spoken word artist, vocalist, activist, and arts curator living in Oakland. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, print publications, online, as well as anthologies.
Mona creates new platforms for lyrical creativity, music, visual art, and dance in all that she produces. Her most recent productions debuted in The National Queer Arts Festival.
Daniel D. Zarazua
Daniel is currently working on a book exploring Black and Latino communities in Taiwan. He draws upon a background that includes DJing, photography, and as a high school educator.
Monica earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the UNLV. Her stories have been published in The Collagist, The Blotter and Asia Literary Review. She lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
BEAST CRAWL is Uptown Oakland’s annual free literary festival featuring more than 200 writers in a single night, in dozens of events, spread out over three hours and thirty-five local galleries, bars, restaurants, cafés, performance spaces, and storefronts.
Each leg of The Beast lasts one hour, and offers a dozen different readings to chose from. There’s a half hour break between literary legs for socializing and relocating to a new venue before the next reading begins. We recommend choosing one reading per leg. You can even plan your route in advance.
Crawl maps, curators, readers, and venues are all searchable on our website: www.beastcrawl.weebly.com.
Printed crawl maps will be available on the day of the festival at all the Leg 1 events, and at the Beast Crawl Information Table in front of The Legionnaire Saloon.
Everyone is invited to the Leg 4 After Parties (marked with stars on the crawl map) starting at 9pm at The Legionnaire Saloon (drinks, dancing, 21+) and Telegraph Beer Garden (food, drinks, all ages).
Every city should have its own unique literary identity, and Beast Crawl is the beating literary heart of Oakland.
Beast Crawl Literary Festival
Saturday, July 11, 2015