The Second Half of Litquake Has Some Awesome Events

Everything cool and literary from tonight until Saturday night's Lit Crawl.

Tom of Finland’s notorious Kake Comics were first published in the US in 1968, and were collected in a handsome Taschen Books edition in 2014 (Taschen Books)

Litquake has been happening all around us for a few days now, but as with most festivals, some of the best events happen as the whole shebang crescendos toward its climax, Saturday evening’s Lit Crawl. Here are our picks for the best events of Litquake’s second half.

 

Beefcake: 50 Years of Tom of Finland

Tom’s of Maine is really a fascinating toothpaste, but Tom of Finland has enduring appeal. Born Touko Valio Laaksonen in Finland in 1920, the artist’s exaggerated portraits of often-uniformed, hyper-masculine men became iconic images of the leather subculture starting around end of World War II. The highbrow erotica crossed into the mainstream, even getting depicted on a Finnish postage stamp and the labels of wine bottles.

On Wednesday, the SF Public Library’s James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center, Dog Eared Books, 48 Hills, the Bay Area Reporter, Lambda Literary, and the GLBT Historical Society join forces at the Eagle Tavern for a Tom of Finland lookalike contest emceed by drag queen Honey Mahogany and moderated by S.F.’s chief leatherman, Race Bannon. Also joinig is Dian Hanson, who wrote, edited, and published definitive collections of Tom of Finland’s work.

Wednesday, Oct. 17, 7-10 p.m., at the SF Eagle, 398 12th St., $20-$25, 21-and-over, tickets.

Literary Death Match

The ultimate battle royale returns to the Elbo Room for the last time on Wednesday as judges determine which contestant shows the best talent, poise, and showmanship (or, rather, literary merit, performance, and “intangibles”). This year, Literary Death Match recognizes its own creator’s first novel — that would be Collision Theory by  Adrian Todd Zuniga — as a panel consisting of Vernon Keeve III, Karinda Dobbins, and Mac Barnett judge five readers, including Maisha Z. Johnson and K.M. Soehnlein. None other than Cleve Jones guest-stars as the center square.

See here for the full rundown from SF Weekly‘s Litquake issue.

Wednesday, Oct. 17, 7:15 p.m., at the Elbo Room, 647 Valencia St., $15-$20, tickets.

The Simpsons and Other Jewish Families

While the residents of 742 Evergreen Terrace are churchgoing Christians and members of Rev. Lovejoy’s flock, 30-year Simpsons writer Mike Reiss makes a compelling case that the protagonists of the longest-running sitcom in U.S. television history have different roots. Reiss, a four-time Emmy winner, will give a lecture based on his memoir, Springfield Confidential.

See SF Weekly‘s full interview with Reiss here.

Thursday, Oct. 18, 6:30-8 p.m., at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., $15-$20, tickets.

Rachel Kushner: Voice of Witness

The author of the highly acclaimed 2013 novel The Flamethrowers is a native of Eugene, Ore., who lived in San Francisco for a number of years, receiving her MFA from UC Berkeley. On Thursday, Rachel Kushner appears in conversation with the Chronicle’s columnist Caille Millner, accented by Mohammed “Mike” Ali and writer Mateo Hoke, who’s work on solitary confinement in America parallels Kushner’s new novel, The Mars Room.

Thursday, Oct. 18, 7:30-9 p.m., at the Makeout Room, 3225 22nd St., $5-$10, tickets.

SF Legends: Amy Tan & Armistead Maupin

The authors of The Joy Luck Club and the Tales of the City series have been friends for some time, and on Friday, they share the stage to chat about writing as a profession, their respective memoirs, and various assorted et ceteras.

Friday, Oct. 19, 6 p.m., at the Swedish-American Hall, 2174 Market St., $15-$20, tickets.

Botnik Live! A Reckless Night of Literary Experiments

Every Litquake needs something super-wacky and this is it. Botnik Live! is a collaborative performance and writing group that uses the thing that’s going to reduce writers to total cultural irrelevance sometime in the early 2030s: artificial intelligence. Part Clickhole, part Pixar, this Botnik Live! show will marry dystopia Y.A. with some nerdy choose-your-own-adventure games and no doubt a bunch of deliciously obscure cultural effluvia. Bring on the Singularity and get weird!

Friday, Oct. 19, 7-9 p.m., at the Makeout Room, 3225 22nd St., $12-$15, tickets.

Paul Madonna and Glen David Gold Are Drunk: What Better Way to End the Festival?

Go out with a slurry bang! On Friday night, writers Paul Madonna (All Over Coffee, Close Enough for the Angels) and Glen David Gold (Carter Beats the Devil, Sunnyside, I Will Be Complete) will share a bottle of wine at the Bindery to talk about the arcs of their respective careers against the backdrop of the gentrification of the city and the evolution of the writing life.

Friday, Oct. 19, at the Bindery, 1727 Haight St. Free, info here.

Lit Crawl Book Fair

As you crack your knuckles and clap your increasingly sweaty palms together in anticipation of Lit Crawl, head to The Chapel early in the afternoon for the first-ever Lit Crawl Book Fair. Browse from selections from exhibitors like McSweeney’s and Cinco Punto Press, enter the raffle to win some prizes, and enjoy some food and drink from Curio, the venue’s new bar and restaurant.

Saturday, Oct. 20, 12:30-4 p.m., at the Chapel, 777 Valencia St. Free, more info.

 

Read more from SF Weekly‘s Litquake issue:

This Is the Last Literary Death Match at the Elbo Room
Don’t expect authors slamming each other over the back with folding chairs on Oct. 17. Expect literary excellence with a little silliness.

Park Ranger Betty Reid Soskin Has Led a Most Magnificent Life
And she makes a compelling case that Richmond, Calif., saved the world.

What Would the Kids in the Hall Do?: Dave Foley at Litquake
Dave Foley discusses his memoir, Kids in the Hall: One Dumb Guy, and the sketch-comedy troupe’s legacy.

Ron Stallworth, Real-Life BlacKkKlansman
As in Spike Lee’s film adaptation, the Black police detective’s memoir of infiltrating the Klan reminds us that the ugliest parts of our country never quite left us.

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