K’VETCH TURNS 14: and now, my dears …

Sun Nov 7 10, Club Eros

(Charles Kruger)

Early last month, I attended the 14th anniversary of K’vetch, the longest continuously-running queer open mic in the United States. It was founded by writer-artist Sarah Seinberg, and is presently hosted by Tara Jepsen and Kirk Read. It inhabits a niche of its own.

Some reading series and open mics are about the work, and the ambition of writers, and professional networking and all that noise. (And that is not a criticism; nothing wrong with ambition and professionalism. We all want to eat and we all want to be recognized).

Other readings (like the wonderful Queer Open Mic and Vetted Word) are as much about community and emotional support and loving one another as they are about networking or professional ambition. Sort of like twelve-step style support groups for people who think and feel more deeply than most. Places that are as much about sharing experience, strength and hope (as they say in AA) as they are networking and professional ambition. K’vetch falls into this camp.

We need both sorts and they do overlap, of course. I have seen top-notch professional work at Queer Open Mic, Vetted Word and K’vetch. And the community support and expressions of group love at such expertly professional events as Quiet Lightning or The Monthly Rumpus cannot be faulted.

K’Vetch is unique. For one thing, it is presently hosted at a sex club. You probably would not invite your agent or your mother, unless they are unusually open minded. Even I attended with some trepidation, and I’m no Mrs. Grundy. Arriving early, I entered through a lobby where I had to be buzzed in. The reading doesn’t take place in an orgy room, but a tidy little lounge with snack machines and tables. There was, however, a big screen TV playing hardcore gay male pornography (okay, I looked, sue me), and a few naked men wandered about in towels. I wondered if I’d be allowed to use my video camera.

When the hosts arrived, however, the room was quickly transformed into something more typical of a literary venue. The porno was covered up and silenced (I was relieved). Chairs were arranged, a podium placed and voila! –  sex club to reading venue in just a few easy steps. I was delighted, however, to note that several of the towel-clad men continued to haunt the doorways throughout the reading with no signs of discomfort from anybody. I love San Francisco!

And, now, my dears, some wonderful queers. Enjoy the video!

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