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Litquake Shakes San Francisco

San Franciso was shaken alive by a literary festival that
boasted some of the areas finest poets, storytellers and writers.
Appropriately marking the 15th anniversary of the Loma Prieta
earthquake, Litquake and its 175 authors were just in time to rock
the mic and Mission St., featuring the likes of Peter S. Beagle,
Amy Tan, and April Sinclair to name just a few.

Lit Crawl in the Mission ran through 17 different
venues along Valencia and 22nd St. all Saturday night. The streets
were bustling and the cafés
crowded with beatniks in black. Many of the pubs and shops hosting
the festival were so packed that you couldn’t hear a word the
authors were saying.

The Edinburgh Castle Pub, a Scottish landmark on Geary, hosted
“America, What’s that?” Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting, was
quoted as saying “The Edinburgh Castle Pub has become a San
Francisco underground literary institution, now having much the
same status as that erstwhile unofficial home to the Beat
Generation, Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookstore.”

Each poet/author turned a new page on life in our beloved
country. Alejandro Murguia opened with a poem entitled Valencia
which speaks passionately about the Barrio, el Camerro el

The poem set the stage for the legendary Laurence Ferlinghetti,
founder of City Lights Bookstore, the nation’s first all-paperback
bookshop, in 1953. Ferlinghetti published Alan Ginsberg’s poem
“Howl” that got him arrested and challenged the First Amendment.
Ferlinghetti read from his recent book, Americus: Book I, a
humorous impersonation of George Bush and his fable about our
current political situation.

“When Ferlighetti speaks, said sophmore Sara Wintz, “people
listen to what he’s saying. He’s a guy who’s been around for a
while and really speaks passionately about his beliefs.”

Michelle Tea ended the evening to a crowd of female fans who
were excited to hear another brutally honest story of “crazy girl
love” and “drug abuse.” She read from her most recent book, Rent

Overall, Litquake proved that San Francisco has an incredible
literary scene with talented artists.