QUIET LIGHTNING: an authentic north beach experience
Posted: March 10, 2011 Filed under: Excerpt | Tags: chris cole, clive matson, elise hunter, evan karp, graham gremore, James Warner, maureen blennerhassett, maureen duffy, nonprofit organizations, quiet lightning, reading series, renee nelson, rob mclaughlin, russell dillon, sean taylor, shideh etaat, sparkle and blink, susan browne
Mon Mar 7 11, 15 Romolo
Come to think of it, a lot of things we might consider “authentic” do not have a home. Authenticity doesn’t have a comfort zone. Perhaps you read Benjamin Wachs‘ SF Weekly writeup of our last show (and if you’re following along—whether in your comfort zone or somewhere on the road—perhaps you read his writeup of our previous show). supperclub was something of a risk. Parts of it were incredibly successful, and parts of it—as Benjamin noted—were less so. Everything about our 15 Romolo show was a triumph, though we took a different kind of risk.
To go somewhere you’ve never been for the express sake of sharing your soul takes a certain amount of bravery only troubadours and rock stars and circus performers and homeless people know. It has nothing to do with business. To take a chance when you don’t have to, when you could lose everything, and this everything is invaluable … to jeopardize your legitimacy for strangers’ entertainment … that is a dangerous and exciting thing. But it is always worth it if you truly have something to say. But you also can’t be afraid to say it.
At showtime it was loud. I didn’t think anyone would be able to hear me. We’d never used The Beat Museum‘s PA before (thank you, Beat Museum!), and it was only just barely loud enough with the entire bar silent. Capacity there is 100; we had 130+ in there easily, and probably more (if you are reading this and have something to do with the fire code, I am using hyperbole).
But something amazing happened. It was like that famous passage in the Old Testament (yes, I’m going there) in which the Jews are fleeing the Egyptians’ captivity, and “it was so peaceful that not even a dog barked.” Graham Gremore calmly commanded the crowd, and it shutup. We were going somewhere, and it was important. There was no looking back, either. To continue this metaphor (against all better judgment), let’s call all the people who were in the bar for Quiet Lightning “Jews;” alternately, all those who were already there are “Egyptians.” There was no distinction. The readings blurred the lines, wiped the slate clean. Married the contraries. Created … a humanity.
The only thing that went wrong during the entire evening was that we couldn’t hear our busking friend Leo play his cello. Don’t worry, though; he’ll be back.
And so will you, I hope. We’ve got some very exciting announcements over at our website, which I hope you’ll check out. We’re talking directly to you, I think.
Enjoy the show.