SAN FRANCISCO — You’ve heard of a pub crawl. Well, in San Francisco, they do a “lit crawl.” The idea is to drag your tipsy self—drunk on either beer, or good metaphors, or both—from bar to bar, or café to café, listening to serious words from serious writers.
Over the weekend I attended Lit Crawl in San Francisco, an event held in conjunction with the big, citywide Litquake literary festival. All the events in Lit Crawl were held in on near the city’s Mission District. Eighty-four events over six hours, some in bars, a few out in the street. On Saturday night I saw 200 people in a San Francisco alley—Clarion Alley, to be precise—listening to a “smackdown” between writers penning spontaneous haikus about the city’s smelly public transit system, Muni.
There was alcohol served at many Litquake events too, including my own panel called “The Art of the Novel.” I resisted the temptation to take a swig of the wine or tequila on offer, but many members of the Litquake audience weren’t so reserved. “We had a guy at the Woody Guthrie discussion get drunk and start yelling,” Litquake’s marketing director, Elise Proulx, told me. “We had to chase him out with a baseball bat.”