Northside SF
Off the Beat(en) literary path

An example of Carrington's vibrant collage style,
which will be on display at Live Worms Gallery later this month
Lest you think that our literary scene in North Beach is limited strictly to beat poetry, the library’s monthly Sit-Down Readers’ Theatre series definitely puts lie to that misconception.

The Sit-Down series, cruising along in its 15th year under the stewardship of librarian Robert Carlson and literary guy Peter Garland, is kind of like a sing-along for people who would rather read aloud than sing.

The format is simple enough: the library provides scripts of the month’s selected work (with funding provided by the Friends of the Library) and those so inclined can read along in choir-like fashion.

And it’s classic literature only, thank you. No Benzedrine-fueled, 3 o’clock-in-the-morning “automatic writing” will be foisted upon an unsuspecting public. We’re talking the likes of Shakespeare here, and Whitman and Poe and Emily Dickenson and Langston Hughes: a veritable Murderers’ Row of literary heavyweights.

Every six months, just to shake things up, the Sitdowners stage a reading by a French classicist and perform it aloud … in the original French. No understanding of the language is required to participate, making it kind of like verbal blogging.

On tap this month is a tribute to the musings of Ben Franklin, that noted journalist and kite flyer. If you want to participate, or merely sit back and bathe in the majesty of Franklin’s writings come to life, drop by the Joe DiMaggio Playground Clubhouse adjacent to the library a little before 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 9. Be sure to gargle with something first if you’d like to read along. You’ll want those pipes cleared for action. I’d suggest something in a nice, 12-year-old single malt.

Did I say this program is ongoing? To see which worthy author is being featured from month to month, as well as to ponder the library’s other upcoming events, check out the online calendar at You have to navigate a bit to find the North Beach calendar, but it’s not terribly difficult.

Sean O'Donnell's portrait of North Beach
poet Jessica Loos is among the images
he'll be showing at Live Worms Gallery
later this month
In the galleries in July: With the visual arts thriving again in the Beach, it’s a pleasure to tout some of the gallery shows scheduled during any given month. Of course, I’m not clairvoyant, so you have to send me the information if you want it reproduced on this dead tree. Here are a few of the artists who did.

The multi-disciplinary skills of three artists will be on display in a one-nighter at Live Worms Gallery (1345 Grant Avenue) on Saturday, July 16, between 5 and 11 p.m.

Melissa Cha (photography, film, video), Nick Nadeau (art, illustration, music) and the inimitable Momo (cartoon art, intellectual whimsy) will be showing some of their new work. Cha and Nadeau currently call Austin, Tex. home, although the former is a native San Franciscan. Momo is hard-core North Beach, period.

In keeping with the eclectic nature of the show, digitally rendered art pieces as well as video works will be displayed alongside traditional art hangings.

To sample some of Cha’s work beforehand, visit her website ( Ditto Nadeau ( As for Momo, well, you’ll just have to come see for yourself. Momo can’t use the Internet, let alone host his work on a website.

Several days later Live Worms plays host again, this time to a two-day exhibition featuring collage artist Carrington and photographer Sean O’Donnell.

Carrington will be showing some of her new mixed media paintings, while O’Donnell mounts a large sampling of black-and-white images featuring local icons and “Beat-erati” dating back 20 years or so.

The exhibition runs July 27–28, with an artists’ reception on the 27th between 7 and 11 p.m. 

There’s still time: Time, that is, to register as a participating artist in the Telegraph Hill Dwellers’ (THD) annual North Beach Artwalk, being held this year on Sept. 24–25.

Had you shrewdly registered before the end of June (and if you were paying attention to the leaflets all over North Beach, you would have done so by now), you’d be on the docket and in the catalog for 25 bucks. Now it’ll cost you 30 clams. But it’s a worthwhile investment, if getting your work before the eyes of an adoring public matters to you.  

THD’s Termeh Yeghiazarian conceived Artwalk, now entering its fourth year, as a riposte to ArtSpan Open Studios after local artists expressed disappointment in that show. Julie Jaycox of THD’s arts and culture committee gets a ton of credit for yeoman work here. Without her labor in the show’s infancy, ArtWalk would probably be nothing more than art talk by now.

But it’s alive and well, and you still have time to get on board. Visit the website at or e-mail for more information:

Last month’s column included a bit of wishful thinking on my part. In welcoming Nico’s Tacos to Grant Avenue, I implied – well, I didn’t imply anything; I said it – that the neighborhood’s newest taqueria would be applying for a full liquor license so it can serve up margaritas that might approximate the stellar elixir cranked out over at Puerto Allegre in the Mission.

Leanne Lai, Nico’s proprietor, set me straight. Nico’s is not applying for a liquor license, but a “Type 41 beer-wine license.” That means beer … and wine. Forty-one flavors to choose from, maybe? Nah, probably not.

That’s a wrap. Not another word this month. If you want more words next month, send all vacuous observations and hot news tips to

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