A late-night incident involving underwear, a swimming pool, and uniformed sailors was gleefully reported by onlookers at last year's Litquake -- poet Kim Addonizio was unrepentant, and denied nothing. In all likelihood, other writers were green with envy. Possibly due to the near-universal jealousy of that admirable display of rule-breaking, this year's organizers have arranged for the literary festival to kick off with a panel discussion called "Creative Demons: Writers Behaving Badly." Here's hoping the panelists -- Addonizio, Thomas Sanchez, Kathi Kamen Goldmark, and Patrick Hughes -- will be encouraged by moderator Kevin Smokler to embrace the unorthodox.
Since last year's events were packed to capacity even before the whole underpants thing, the 2003 salute to bookishness is bigger and better. "Loudmouths of Lit" (which for some weird reason does not include Lynn Breedlove) celebrates the screeching, rasping, and obnoxious behavior that for some people, in this case Daphne Gottlieb and Tim'm T. West among others, is just part of the writing process. "Tenderloin Temblor," on Saturday night, features the grimy, street-level observations of tough guys like JT LeRoy and Michelle Tea.
Altogether, 70 writers are scheduled to read, discuss, defend, and celebrate the work they do. It's pretty much impossible to pick out who the "really interesting" ones are, since the younger and newer authors tend to rival the more famous ones for skill. There's not a lightweight talent in the bunch, but the proven heavy hitters include Dorothy Allison, Tamim Ansary, and Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh. Don't take anyone's word for it, though -- see them all at the two marathon read-ins, "Off the Richter Scale," Saturday and Sunday at Yerba Buena Gardens, Third & Mission streets, S.F. Litquake events begin Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Mechanics' Institute Library, 57 Post (near Market), S.F. Admission is free-$5; call 393-0100 or visit www.litquake.org for a complete festival schedule.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Broken Doodads Healed!
Chairs get bent, lamps get broken, and knives get dull. In fact, every single object you own is hurtling toward an unconsecrated landfill burial. But it doesn't have to be that way. Give your damaged possessions a new lease on life at the third annual Fix-a-Thon, the daylong event at which the Crucible's staff puts its considerable expertise -- and welding, machine shop, and jewelry equipment -- to work for you. Mangled bike frames, wobbly furniture, dismembered earrings, busted neon -- all these misfit items and more can be repaired for a nominal fee. The refurbishing begins at noon at the Crucible, 1260 Seventh St. (at Union), Oakland. Admission is free; call (510) 444-0919 or visit www.thecrucible.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Look, Don't Sit
Sometimes a chair is just a chair, but this is not one of those times. "Bay Area Furniture Art 2003"features the work of locals whose out-there approach to tables and chairs has some interesting results. Marcia Stuermer picked up trash in the Mission, covered it in machined resin, and made it into a chaise longue. Imagine reclining on it: Are you nice and comfy? Or are you thinking about garbage? Or both? You're right where the artist wants you -- her title for this piece is Refuse/Refuge. Other thought-provoking work is at the opening reception at 6 p.m. at the Blue Room Gallery, 2331 Mission (at 19th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 282-8411 or visit www.blueroomgallery.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
The Hot Spot
Bless you, Chronicle Books, for correctly guessing what makes us sweat: luscious firefighters, the public servants so hot they give admirers another darned good reason to call 911. And as if their fetishy uniforms, well-worked-out physiques, and heroic deeds weren't enough, now a gaggle of San Francisco's finest wants to cook for us. SFFD lovelies will appear tonight with free recipes and sample dishes culled from the new tome Firehouse Food: Cooking With San Francisco's Firefighters. Oh, sir! I believe we'll be needing some mouth-to-mouth over here! The tastiness begins at 7:30 at Books Inc., 2275 Market (at 16th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 864-6777 or visit www.booksinc.net.
-- Joyce Slaton