On the night of November 24th, 2014, while the country waited to hear from a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, a group of us gathered in a room in downtown San Francisco to speak out and listen attentively to a cascade of words. We were a small crowd of writers and audience, different in age or gender or ethnicity or style of writing, unique in experience, the same in our shared passion for deep and contemplative looking, listening and engaging. We were and are Bay Area Generations, a reading series for the ages.
Our words touched on politics and history, violence and peace making, language and continuity, community and hope, the persistence of and longing for love. It mattered. It continues to matter. We are witnesses and what is more truly human than that?
That witness is unreliable is a truism. Did a man ever rise from the dead? Where lies the truth in Palestine? Are there any true heroes anywhere? Who is guilty in the death of young Michael Brown? Does war change anything? But witness we do and must.
Paul Corman-Roberts calls out abusive powers in the death of an innocent childhood pet. Justice Morríghan comes to grips (or doesn’t) with the tragedy of My Lai in a San Francisco hotel room.
Stephen Kopel tells of a girl who dreams of love and conquers her fear of the sea while Clyde Always weaves a tale of imagined amours with the power to keep hope alive.
Ellery Akers teaches us something of need and of aging. Nina Pick explores the still life of the living. (Actually, Ellery and Nina declined to be videoed, so you won’t see their performances here. Sometimes, friends, you just have to be there or miss out.)
Maureen Hurley takes us on a journey to the countries of summer and Ireland and language. Bruce Moody dancers with form like a master of tango.
Bonnie McManis and Annie Marron tell tales of two very different young women, very much the same.
At last, Delia Tramontina and Sarah Rosenthal take it all home as they splice, dice, chop and experiment with an eclectic chemical stew of language full of startling effects.
And all of it nicely spiced up by Mike Richards’ songs in his “American Eclectic” style, accompanied by bassist Joel Mark.